Our 12 Best Cabbage Recipes

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  • From comforting cabbage rolls to savory pancake to easy pickle, here are our 12 best cabbage recipes you’ll enjoy.  Also, learn tips on how to choose cabbage and storing them.

    easy and delicious cabbage recipes

    Wondering what to do with a head of cabbage that’s laying in the back of your refrigerator? Before you give it another tired stare, let’s take out the frumpy vegetable and give it a new delicious treatment today! After all, cabbage is one of the most versatile vegetables in your arsenal.

    If you have only used it for coleslaws and salads, I’m here to help you discover some delicious cabbage recipes used in Japanese cooking. We have so many ways to enjoy this vegetable that you’ll develop a newfound appreciation for it. Here are 12 delicious cabbage recipes to try now!

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    4 Cabbage Types

    But first: what types of cabbage are used in these recipes? Here’s a brief overview of the cabbage types (you should be able to find most of them at your local grocery):

    • Green cabbage: It’s the most popular cabbage with a strong flavor and crisp texture. The thick, smooth leaves are often used in coleslaw, stir-fries, or sauteed dishes.
    • Red cabbage: Similar to green cabbage, but with dark reddish-purple leaves. Nutrition-wise, it has a higher amount of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that help protect against cellular damage.
    • Napa cabbage: An oblong variety, napa has a two-tone color with white and light green. It has tender lacy leaves and milder than green cabbage. The flavor is much more delicate and sweeter. It’s also known as Chinese cabbage and used in stir-fries and soup in Asian cuisine.
    • Savoy cabbage: Known for its beautiful lacy leaves, savoy cabbage has a softer flavor and is tender than other varieties.

    In this roundup, I’ll focus mainly on green cabbage and napa cabbage as they are most commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

    Why You Should Eat Cabbage

    • Nutritious – it is packed with Vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium
    • Store well – it can last from 3 weeks to up to 2 months in your refrigerator especially when properly stored.
    • Versatile – it can be grilled, braised, steamed, stewed, stir-fried, pickled or eaten raw.

    How to Choose Cabbage at the Grocery Store

    • Look for a tight, compact head that feels heavy for its size. The cabbage should look fresh and crisp, with firm stems.
    • The outer leaves should look crisp and not limp. Avoid any that have bruises caused by mishandling.

    How to Store Cabbage at Home

    To prolong the storage of your cabbage, you’ll want to slow down the process of respiration. So take care when handling it and try to minimize any bruising.

    1. Do not wash cabbage until you’re ready to use it.
    2. Store in a crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
    3. If you are using only a partial head, carefully cover the remainder with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

    Our 12 Best Cabbage Recipes You Must Try!

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    1. Stir-Fried Vegetables

    A white plate containing Japanese-style Stir Fry Vegetables (Yasai Itame).

    Use your cabbage to add heft to a stir fry! Into the wok or frying pan, toss it together with other vegetables or protein that you have on hand. You will have a quick, healthy weeknight dish to go with steamed rice within minutes.

    2. Yakisoba or Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir Fry Noodles)

    A Japanese blue and white plate containing stir fried udon noodles called Yaki Soba.

    Cabbage scraps are a great addition for Japanese stir-fried noodles such as yakisoba or yaki udon. Cook them fast so the vegetables retain the refreshing crunch that contrasts nicely to the savory noodles.

    3. Gyoza (Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings)

    Gyoza served on a plate.

    Juicy on the inside, crispy and golden brown on the outside, gyoza are such a treat to make at home. The filling is as simple as mixing juicy minced pork with cabbage (or napa cabbage), garlic, and ginger. Don’t forget to make a big batch, so you can freeze the extra, and enjoy more later!

    4. Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savory Cabbage Pancake)

    A white plate containing Okonomiyaki, Japanese savory pancake.

    This popular Japanese street food is absolutely sensational! Okonomi means ‘as you like it’ and Yaki means ‘grill’, and it’s exactly what the name says – you can cook up the savory pancake in any way you can imagine. The finely minced or shredded cabbage makes up the foundation in the batter, but you can play around with the rest of the ingredients. It’s best when topped with Japanese mayo and a quick homemade Okonomi sauce.

    5. Japanese Style Cabbage Rolls

    White bowl containing Japanese-style stuffed cabbage rolls.

    Served in a delicate tomato-based sauce, this Stuffed Cabbage Rolls dish is a beloved western-style Japanese dish that highlights the versatility of the vegetable. It’s such a comfort food that you can enjoy year-round. Any extra or leftovers can also be frozen and eaten later.

    6. Asian Coleslaw with Sesame Dressing

    Asian coleslaw in a glass bowl.

    Mention cabbage, you would probably think of coleslaw right away. This colorful and vibrant Asian-style coleslaw uses both green and red cabbage. Since it’s seasoned with apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and pinches of salt, sugar and black pepper, you can expect a much lighter and refreshing flavor from the coleslaw. It’s a welcoming change to the usual mayo-laden version. Enjoy it with BBQ or taco dinner!

    7. Miso Butter Pasta

    A blue plate containing Japanese-style Tuna and Cabbage Pasta.

    Oh yes, we call this the 15-minutes pantry pasta. Toss the cabbage and canned tuna (or bacon or mushroom) with al-dente spaghetti in Japanese seasoning, you get this umami pasta dish that everyone would enjoy!

    8. Nikuman (Steamed Pork Bun)

    A blue dish containing Steamed Pork Buns (Nikuman).

    Get creative and use your leftover cabbage to make Nikuman, Japanese steamed buns. It’s the best kind of savory snack.

    9. Mille-Feuille Nabe (Cabbage Hot Pot)

    A Dutch oven containing thousand layers of cabbage leaves and pork belly slices simmered in a savory dashi broth.

    Mille-Feuille Nabe is a simple Japanese hot pot that is made with napa cabbage and pork belly slices cooked in a savory dashi broth. It’s rustic and downright homey, the dish tastes extra delicious when you have the company of your loved ones at the dinner table.

    10. Instant Pot Oxtail Soup (or Stovetop Version)

    White bowl containing flavorful oxtail soup served with rustic bread.

    Hearty yet elegant, this Instant Pot Oxtail Soup (Hong Kong Style Borscht) is flavored with tomatoes, oxtail, stew beef, onion, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. It’s easily one of our family’s favorites comfort cold-weather meal. So good with crusty bread!

    11. Japanese Pickled Cabbage

    A light blue ceramic bowl containing Japanese Pickled Cabbage.

    When you’re blessed with more than just one head of cabbage, the easiest solution is to pickle them. The Japanese method is as simple as brining the cabbage in salt, kombu and chili flakes and store in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and a drizzle of soy sauce. The pickled cabbage makes the perfect accompaniment to a Japanese meal.

    12. Mizutaki (Chicken Hot Pot)

    A Japanese earthenware pot (donabe) containing Mizutaki (Japanese Chicken Hot Pot) filled with chicken, tofu, mushrooms, and all kinds of vegetables.

    Among the cabbage family, napa, an oblong Asian variety, is ideal for hot pots. Known for its tender leaves and delicate flavor, the cabbage lends an amazing sweetness to the broth. This Japanese Chicken Hot Pot, or Mizutaki, features chicken, mushrooms, tofu, and vegetables such as napa and carrots in a light kombu dashi broth.

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    Use Your Cabbage for Good Reasons!

    I hope you enjoy making these delicious cabbage recipes. Do you have any other favorite ways to cook and eat cabbage? And if you enjoy the above recipes, I’d love to hear from you in the comment below!

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