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Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: What’s the Difference?

Summary of key points

The main difference between Napa cabbage and green cabbage lies in their texture, appearance, and taste. Napa cabbage, a variety of Chinese cabbage, is known for its tender bite and resemblance to lettuce in both texture and appearance. In contrast, green cabbage is tightly wrapped and ball-shaped with a denser, heavier feeling compared to Napa cabbage. While both are categorized as cruciferous vegetables, they differ significantly in their physical characteristics, making them suitable for various culinary applications.

Ever find yourself wondering what the difference is between napa and green cabbages?

Well, you’re not alone!

With their slightly similar appearance and uses in various recipes, it can be hard to differentiate between the two vegetables.

But have no fear – we’ve got all of your burning questions about napa cabbage vs green cabbage answered here today!

We go over everything from taste examination, nutrition facts, as well as ideal uses for each cabbage type so that you can make better-informed decisions during your next grocery shopping adventure or recipe creation session.

Sounds intriguing enough? Then join us on our journey into understanding these two veggie varieties!

What is Napa Cabbage?

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the brassica family.

It originates from China but is now widely cultivated throughout East Asia and parts of North America.

Napa cabbage has a unique appearance and taste compared to other cabbages.

Napa cabbage is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Korean dishes such as kimchi and japchae.

Its distinct texture and flavor make it an excellent addition to salads, stir-fries, soups, and wraps.

In terms of cooking methods, Napa cabbage can be cooked by boiling or steaming, sautéing or stir-frying.

It can also be eaten raw in salads or wraps.

To prepare Napa cabbage for cooking or eating raw, simply remove any damaged outer leaves and wash thoroughly.

What is Green Cabbage?

Green cabbage is a type of cabbage that is commonly used in cooking and as an ingredient in many dishes.

It belongs to the Brassica oleracea species and is a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables.

Green cabbage has leaves that are typically smooth, flat, and have a distinct round shape with a tightly compacted head.

To understand what green cabbage is, it’s essential to know its nutritional composition.

According to USDA data, raw green cabbage contains 22 calories per 100 grams, making it a low-calorie food.

It is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and may provide some benefits like reducing inflammation in the body.

Green cabbage is easy to recognize due to its smooth leaves that have a glossy surface on top and a pale green color underneath.

The outermost leaves of green cabbage can be relatively firm and tough, but as you move towards the center of the head, they become more tender.

When cooking with green cabbage or eating it raw in salads or coleslaw recipes, it’s essential to take care not to overcook it.

Overcooked or boiled green cabbage loses its texture and flavor and can turn mushy.

Differences Between Napa Cabbage and Green Cabbage

Napa cabbage and green cabbage are both members of the same family, but they differ in several aspects, including taste, appearance, texture, and usage.

One of the significant differences between napa cabbage and green cabbage is their respective tastes.

While napa cabbage has a mild sweetness paired with slight pepperiness, green cabbage’s bitterness characterizes it.

Moreover, another difference lies in their appearances as they have different structures.

Napa cabbages come in tall heads comprised of elongated yellow-green crinkled leaves while green cabbages come in round heads comprising tightly packed green or purple leaves.

When comparing textures between them as well, it is evident that Napa cabbages tend to have a softer crisp texture compared to Green cabbages’ fibrous texture that requires more cooking time.

Lastly, when it comes to the usability factor between these two types of cabbages: while napa cabbages are ideal for Asian-style salads such as kimchi or soups/stir-frys’ versatility; green cabbages typically make their way into coleslaws or braised dishes such as stuffed cabbage rolls.

Overall, Napa cabbage and green cabbage vary in taste, appearance, texture, and usability.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right type of cabbage according to your recipe’s requirements.

Physical Appearance

Napa cabbage and green cabbage are two different types of cabbages that exist, each with its own physical appearance.

The physical appearance of these two cabbages is primarily determined by their shapes, sizes, leaves, and colors.

The head or shape of napa cabbage is oblong or cylindrical typically.

On the other hand, green cabbage has a round head shape with an average size of up to seven inches in diameter.

Napa cabbage can grow quite massive compared to others; it can reach up to 16 inches long and eight inches wide.

Napa cabbage’s crinkled leaves are tightly packed together forming large layers around its stem.

Green cabbage, on the other hand, has smooth leaves that are looser in structure.

When it comes to their color, napa cabbage has light green to pale yellow-green colors at the top with white stalks at the bottom while dark bluish-green color throughout for green cabbage.

Taste and Texture

When it comes to taste and texture, Napa cabbage and green cabbage have some noticeable differences.

Napa cabbage has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor with a faint bitter note, whereas green cabbage has a stronger taste that is bitter and earthy.

The texture of Napa cabbage is more tender and crisp compared to the tough, crunchy nature of green cabbage.

Napa cabbage’s mild flavor makes it ideal for salads, stir-fries, or raw use in wraps, whereas green cabbage’s gamey flavor makes it perfect for sauerkraut and coleslaw.

The subtle sweetness of Napa cabbage complements many Asian dishes like noodle soups or kimchi.

The tender leaves of Napa cabbage make them easy to cook with as they wilt quickly when sauteed or stir-fried.

With its more robust texture, Green cabbage needs a longer cooking time to soften.

In summary, when it comes to taste and texture differences between these two types of cabbages – Napa is delicate; Green is strong; Napa is tender/crisp; Green is tough/crunchy.

Nutritional Value

Looking at the nutritional value of Napa cabbage versus green cabbage, it’s clear that these two vegetables have distinct differences.

A serving size of one cup of shredded Napa cabbage contains about 10 calories, whereas the same serving size of green cabbage generally contains around 22 calories.

While both types of cabbage are low in calories overall, Napa cabbage is a slightly better choice for those watching their caloric intake.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, both Napa cabbage and green cabbage offer a variety of beneficial nutrients.

Both are great sources of vitamin C, which is important for immune system health and may protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Additionally, both vegetables contain vitamin K, which plays a vital role in blood clotting and bone health.

Napa cabbage tends to be lower in most nutrients than green cabbage.

However, it’s still a good source of vitamins and fiber overall.

In terms of other health benefits besides specific vitamins and minerals, research has suggested that cruciferous vegetables like both types of cabbages may help protect against certain types of cancer due to their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Culinary Uses

Napa cabbage and green cabbage may look similar, but they have different culinary uses.

Let’s take a closer look at how these two types of cabbage are used in cooking.

Napa cabbage is often used in stir-fries and soups, as it retains its crunch even after being cooked.

It has a delicate flavor that pairs well with Asian ingredients like sesame oil, soy sauce or rice vinegar.

The texture of Napa cabbage makes it ideal for wrapping fillings like rice or meat into dumplings or spring rolls.

In contrast, green cabbage is commonly eaten raw as part of salads or slaws since it has a crisp texture that holds up well against creamy dressing.

It’s also popular as a side dish that is typically braised, boiled or steamed to soften the texture.

Green cabbage is often pickled for use in sandwiches or tacos.

Napa cabbage is frequently used in Korean and Chinese cuisine, while green cabbage is a staple in Western cooking.

Napa cabbage has become popular worldwide as more and more people recognize its nutritional value and versatility in the kitchen.

Overall, both types of cabbage can be cooked in many different ways, so it’s important to choose the right one depending on your recipe’s needs.

Storage and Shelf Life

When it comes to preserving cabbage, both Napa cabbage and green cabbage can last for a decent amount of time.

However, there are some differences to keep in mind when it comes to their storage and shelf life.

To begin with, both types of cabbage should be stored in the refrigerator crisper drawer.

However, because Napa cabbage has thinner leaves than green cabbage, it tends to wilt more quickly.

To prevent premature wilting, wrap Napa cabbage in a damp paper towel before placing it in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.

Green cabbage can also benefit from this method but can also be stored directly without wrapping if tightly wrapped in plastic.

In terms of shelf life, Napa cabbage typically lasts for up to two weeks while green cabbage can last for up to one month if properly stored.

However, as with any vegetable, it’s important to take note of any signs of spoilage such as mold or slimy texture and discard accordingly.

Overall, while both types of cabbage have similar storage requirements and shelf lives, keeping a few tips in mind specific to each type can help extend their freshness.

Now that we’ve gone over how best to store and preserve your cabbages let’s explore how you can decide which type is best for your next recipe.

How to Choose Between Napa Cabbage and Green Cabbage?

When it comes to choosing between Napa cabbage and green cabbage, there are a few things you should consider.

The texture, flavor, and appearance of these two cabbages are quite different, so choosing the right one for your recipe is essential.

As you can see from the table above, Napa cabbage has a tender texture compared to the firmer texture of green cabbage.

Napa cabbage also has a mild flavor while green cabbage has a stronger taste.

In terms of appearance, Napa cabbage is pale green with crinkled leaves while green cabbage is darker green with smooth leaves.

When deciding which type of cabbage to use in your recipe, consider the flavor and texture you desire.

If you want something crunchy or for use in salads or slaws, then go for the firmness of green cabbage.

But if you prefer something milder or for soups and stews where it can soften up more quickly, then go for Napa cabbage.

It’s also worth noting that while both types of cabbages have similar nutritional values, Napa cabbages have slightly fewer calories per serving than their counterpart.

Popular Napa Cabbage and Green Cabbage Recipes

Popular Napa Cabbage and Green Cabbage Recipes are numerous and offer great versatility in cooking.

Here’s a list of some popular recipes you can try out with these nutritious veggies.

Napa cabbage is perfect for salads, stir-fries, or as a substitute for lettuce in sandwiches.

Steamed napa rolls are a popular dim sum dish that is easy to prepare at home.

Kimchi, a Korean dish made with fermented napa cabbage is revered as a superfood by many.

If you’re looking for something crunchy with an Asian twist, try making potato-napa cakes.

Green cabbage on the other hand can be used in stews, soups, casseroles or simply sautéed.

Coleslaw made with shredded green cabbage is a classic American dish that pairs exquisitely well with BBQs or fried chicken.

Stuffed cabbage is another globally popular dish that involves stuffing ground beef, rice and spices inside steamed green cabbage leaves before baking them in tomato sauce.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try making braised red cabbage as an accompaniment to slow-cooked meats such as roast pork or beef brisket.

Or if you’re short on time but still craving something flavorful and nourishing try corned beef and cabbage-which can easily be made in a slow cooker.


To sum up, we have discussed the main differences between Napa cabbage and green cabbage along with some popular recipes using both of them.

As you can see from the table above, these two types of cabbage differ not only in appearance but also in taste and nutritional value.

While Napa cabbage is ideal for salads or stir-fry dishes due to its mild flavor and crunchy texture when raw, green cabbage is great for cooked dishes like soups or stews because of its strong flavor.

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Interested in the disparities between Napa cabbage and green cabbage? You're in luck! We'll explore the textures and flavors of these cabbage types to assist you in picking the perfect one for your dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Napa Cabbage
  • Green Cabbage


  • Choose between two items based on your preference and availability.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, using the appropriate ratio of ingredients.
  • Prepare it according to your desired recipes.
  • Incorporate them into your dish, adjusting the amount to suit your taste.
  • Enjoy the unique taste experience and experiment with different dishes to explore their versatility.
Keyword Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage
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