Cabbage is a versatile and extremely nutritious vegetable to add to your dish. It is quite tasty and crispy. Therefore, it is definitely not difficult to enjoy. But if you accidentally run out of it or want to try something different, a suitable cabbage substitute would be a good idea.
Cabbage comes in an assortment of colors and shapes. Some varieties are purple or red. Whereas the shape ranges from round, almost flat, to point. Cabbage grows well in fertile soil and a cool environment.
Cabbage is quite easy to grow if you select the right variety and practice proper care, i.e., fertilizers and insect control.
|Nutrition||Per serving (per cup, raw, and chopped)|
|Other notable characteristics:|
|It is cholesterol free.|
|It has low calories.|
|It contains low amounts of sodium.|
|It contains no fat.|
Cabbage is very healthy and has a wealth of health benefits such as:
- It is very good for your skin.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It offers protection from radiation.
- It is very good for your eyes.
- It helps in weight loss.
- It aids in combating cancer.
- It boosts brain functioning.
- It helps in regulating blood pressure.
- It helps with digestion.
- It is very good for your bones.
What can I use instead of cabbage?
There are many vegetables that you can use to substitute cabbage in your dish. Some of my favorite replacements are:
1. Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage is a popular ingredient. It is found in Korean kimchi, becoming an increasingly popular food these days. It is quite different from other cabbages since it is believed to be a cross between bok choy and turnip.
Chinese cabbage is shaped like rugby and has yellow-ish leaves. It is quite delicious and provides a wealth of nutrients. Moreover, it is an excellent cabbage substitute for slaw. However, I particularly like using it in stir fry and salads.
Chinese cabbage has a mild but sweet flavor. It is better to buy it from Asian grocery stores as they have the juiciest and most fresh cabbages.
2. Brussels Sprouts
This alternative is uniquely like cabbage. Brussels sprouts were long considered to be ‘small cabbages.’ They have a very similar taste and look. Moreover, they are from the same family too.
Brussels sprouts are very healthy and contain a lot of nutrients. It is especially rich in vitamin K and C, which are important for our immune and bone health. Moreover, brussels sprouts also contain dietary fibers that are excellent for our digestive system and gut health.
You may have heard mixed reviews about this vegetable. It is particularly unpopular among kids because administering it boiled imparts a rather nasty sulfurous taste. Cut and clean brussels sprouts before using.
3. Savoy Cabbage
Savoy Cabbage is my favorite cabbage substitute in soup. It has a fine taste and is extremely nutritious. Savoy cabbage is rich in vitamin C, a nutrient essential for our bone health and to ward off carcinogenic free radicals.
I didn’t find savoy cabbages as crispy and crunchy as normal cabbages. However, they worked well in dumplings and hotpots. You can also add a little cucumber or celery to your dish if the lack of crispiness bothers you. Moreover, if you have a weak digestive system, it is better to boil this alternative with cumin or aniseed before adding it to your original recipe.
4. Choy Sum
You may find this vegetable being confused with Chinese cabbage. However alike the two maybe, they are, still in fact, different vegetables. Choy sum also originates from China and is quite popular in their recipes.
It has a mild bittersweet flavor and resembles Chinese broccoli in shape. Choy sum is delicious when cooked or roasted. Although it is not the best ingredient on this list, I find it gives your dish a new kick. Therefore, you must definitely try this substitute.
5. Bok Choy
Bok Choy, also known as Phak Choy and the Chinese white cabbage, is another great substitute for cabbage. It has been used in Chinese cooking for more than a millennia. I think it is a great cabbage substitute for dumplings.
What’s more, Bok Choy’s stems have the same crunchiness and flavor as cabbages. In addition, it is so versatile that you can also use it to replace bell peppers in your dish. However, Bok Choy leaves are pretty bitter. Therefore, I discard them and only use the stem. But if you do not wish to throw the leaves away, you can use them in some other recipe like kimchi or stir fry.
Bok Choy is very healthy and has a boatload of health benefits such as decreasing blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disorders, and chronic inflammation.
Kale comes from the same family as cabbage. The only difference is the place where the two are derived from. Kale comes from the leaves, whereas cabbage is obtained from the terminal buds. Because it is very healthy and tastes like cabbage, you can substitute Kale for cabbage.
Kale has two types:
- Curly Kale: it is better to cook curly kale before using it as it is quite earthy and fibrous.
- Baby Kale: this type is better for salads as the leaves are mild and not fibrous.
Kale is also considered a superfood because it is rich in nutrients but low in calories. Kale contains both essential and non-essential vitamins.
7. German Turnip
German turnip or kohlrabi is a stout cultivar of the wild cabbage family. You can eat it raw or cooked. German tulips are the size and shape of an orange. But with a stem sticking out. The stem is usually pale green. However, it can be purplish. Although, it is almost always pale yellow on the inside. I love using this cabbage substitute for pasta.
It is a lesser-known but equally tasty substitute for cabbage. You can find it in green or purple color. However, its purple variety is rather rare and difficult to find. Kohlrabi lends a unique sweet but bitter flavor to your recipe reminiscent of broccoli stems.