Napa or Chinese Cabbage

There are different types of Chinese cabbage and many more names for them such as  bok choy and Napa.  This blog is about Napa cabbage, which here in America is also referred to as Chinese cabbage. I will be referring to the cabbage as  Chinese cabbage. Chinese cabbage is more mild in flavor and more delicate in texture than other cabbage varieties.  The leaves are perfect for using as sandwich wraps and for rolling with clever mixtures.  The tender leaves are perfect for eating raw, but are delicious lightly sautéed or braised as well.  Botanically, this cabbage belongs to the brassica family which also includes Brussel sprouts and kale.

Nutrition

  • Low in calories, fitting in the classification of a zero-calorie food
  • Packed in antioxidants
  • High soluble and insoluble dietary fiber
  • Excellent source of folate, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid
  • Natural source of electrolytes and minerals such as Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese, iron, and magnesium

Without further explanation of the bulleted list above, Chinese Cabbage is a nutrition powerhouse, feeding the body by providing the phytochemicals and phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, to help protect the body against major disease and illness.  Please note that it is advised in some individuals with thyroid dysfunction to limit brassica vegetables in their diet.

Storage

Store the whole, unwashed head in a plastic bag in the fridge. If you are not preparing the whole cabbage, separate and wash individual leaves, but don't cut into the cabbage.

Preparation

Wash the head of cabbage prior to cutting it with a store bought veggie wash solution or with white vinegar and water. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the core. Now you are ready to follow your recipe or simply chop as desired.

Chinese cabbage is so tender and mild. It can be eaten raw or cooked: steamed, sauteed, braised, roasted. Toss it into soups (last few minutes of cooking), use in place of lettuce on sandwiches, use it as a wrap for sandwiches, chop or shred for salads and slaws, ferment for kimchi.  Add to your juice or smoothie. How about using the leaves as a taco shell for raw tacos?  YUM!

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-Dawn Swope, AADP Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach