Discover the Top 9 Substitutes for Cabbage in Your Recipes

9 Best Cabbage Substitutes
Cabbage is a versatile vegetable that is used in many different cuisines. However, there may be times when you need to find a cabbage substitute due to personal preference or dietary restrictions. In this article, we will explore nine excellent alternatives to cabbage that can be used in your cooking endeavors.

1. Bok Choy

Bok choy is an ideal cabbage substitute in many recipes. Although it has a milder flavor than cabbage, its dense leaves provide a similar texture. While it cannot withstand high heat like cabbage, it can be cooked in a way that minimizes the noticeable difference between the two. Bok choy is especially good in salads and stir-fried vegetables.

2. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is another fantastic cabbage substitute. It has a distinct vegetable and earthy flavor and a crunchy texture comparable to cabbage. Cauliflower can be used in a variety of recipes and can handle high heat with ease. Although it may not be suitable for raw preparations such as slaws or salads, steaming cauliflower beforehand can make it a desirable substitute in several scenarios.

3. Kale

Kale is a nutrient-rich leafy green with an earthy flavor. While not as spicy as arugula or as peppery as cabbage, it can be a great substitute in many recipes. Kale has firm leaves that retain their crispness and texture when cooked at high temperatures. However, it can become overly tender when used in stir-fry recipes. Kale is an excellent choice for salads or coleslaw recipes, providing a heartier bite compared to cabbage.

4. Turnips

Turnips are highly nutritious and can be a surprising cabbage substitute. Raw turnips have a slightly peppery and bitter flavor similar to cabbage, and their firm texture provides a satisfying bite. When cooked, turnips lose some of their peppery notes and develop a nutty, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor. They can be used as a substitute in salads and other recipes that call for cabbage. It is recommended that turnips be steamed before use.

5. Turnips

While beets may be considered a “distant substitute” for cabbage, they offer a unique flavor and texture that can enhance various recipes. Beets are rich in antioxidants and have many nutritional benefits. When cooked, they take on a distinct earthy and sweet flavor that is popular with many. Be careful when using beets as a substitute, however, as they can add a dark color to dishes. Beets are often steamed and can be a delicious addition to salads and other dishes.

6. Zucchini

Zucchini may not be a perfect replacement for cabbage, but it is a delicious and hearty vegetable that can be a viable alternative. Although it is not commonly shredded, sliced or diced zucchini can be used in a variety of dishes. When cooked, zucchini becomes tender, slightly sweet and earthy, with a rich texture. It is especially good in salads, adding a delightful flavor and texture. Steamed zucchini slices can be an incredible addition to mixed salads.

7. Spinach

Spinach is a readily available leafy green that can easily replace cabbage in many recipes. Packed with nutrients, spinach has a mild and slightly sweet flavor both raw and cooked. It should be noted, however, that spinach does not have the same level of crunch as cabbage and becomes tender when exposed to heat. Despite this difference in texture, spinach can provide a similar bite to cooked cabbage and can be used in a variety of recipes.

8. Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable in the same family as cabbage. It has a slightly bitter and earthy flavor that makes it a good substitute for cabbage in certain recipes. Chard leaves can be cooked in a variety of ways, including sautéing or steaming, and retain their texture and color. They can be used in salads, stir-fries, or even as a stuffing for wraps and buns.

9. Savoy Cabbage

If you are looking for a substitute that still resembles cabbage in flavor and texture, consider savoy cabbage. While not a drastic departure from regular cabbage, savoy cabbage has a slightly milder flavor and more crinkly leaves. It can be used in much the same way as cabbage, whether in salads, stir-fries, or other recipes that call for cabbage. Savoy cabbage retains its texture when cooked and can be a reliable substitute.
In conclusion, there are several excellent substitutes for cabbage that can be used in your recipes. Bok choy, cauliflower, kale, turnips, beets, zucchini, spinach, Swiss chard, and savoy cabbage all offer different flavors and textures that can enhance your culinary creations. Whether you are looking for a similar crunch or a distinct flavor, these alternatives offer a range of options to suit your needs. Experiment with these substitutes and discover new flavors and textures in your cooking. Happy exploring!


Can these substitutes be used in raw preparations such as slaws or salads?

While some substitutes, such as bok choy, kale, and savoy cabbage, can be used raw in salads or slaws, others, such as cauliflower and turnips, are better suited for cooked preparations.

Will the substitutes provide a texture similar to cabbage when cooked?

Yes, many of the listed substitutes, such as bok choy, cauliflower, kale, and savoy cabbage, provide a similar texture when cooked, adding a satisfying bite to your dishes.

Can these substitutes be used in stir-fry recipes?

Absolutely! Bok choy, savoy cabbage, and even zucchini can be excellent substitutes for cabbage in stir-fry recipes, adding a delicious crunch and flavor to your dishes.

Can I use these substitutes instead of cabbage in recipes?

Yes, in most cases you can substitute these alternatives for cabbage in your recipes. However, keep in mind that each substitute has its own unique flavor profile, so the taste may vary slightly.

Are these substitutes as versatile as cabbage in terms of cooking methods?

While these substitutes can be used in a variety of cooking methods, including grilling, boiling, baking, frying, and steaming, it’s important to note that some substitutes may not retain their texture or flavor as well as cabbage in certain preparations. Experimentation is the key to finding the best results.

Can these substitutes be used in certain cuisines or dishes?

Absolutely! Many of these substitutes, such as bok choy and turnips, are commonly used in Asian cuisines. Others, such as cauliflower and kale, can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, including soups, stir-fries, and even baked goods. The versatility of these substitutes allows for creative exploration in different culinary traditions.