What is napa cabbage?
Napa cabbage is a type of cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China. In most parts of the world, it is called Chinese cabbage. Like all other green leafy vegetables, it is also rich in vitamins and minerals. 250g of this fine vegetable will give you only 35 calories but almost 15% of your daily calcium intake and it is not even considered a calcium-rich vegetable! It is also rich in vitamin C and vitamin K.
Tip #1: Green leafy vegetables have the most nutrients per calorie.
It can be eaten raw or cooked
Napa cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. It is mostly used in Chinese cuisine as a stir fry ingredient, bringing freshness and crunch. But I also like to use it in a salad. Since the stem is really thick, it just has to be diced finely if consumed raw. Some recipes will instruct you to discard the stem, but that is not necessary and it is a waste.
Tip #2: Don't discard the stem, just dice it very finely if counsuming raw.
Sweet and sour
It goes great with sweet and sour tastes, that is why I choose to add sweet corn and balsamic vinegar, which is naturally already sweet and sour. I also added plain soy yogurt to give it more freshness and tang. And of course, garlic. Where I come from it is quite common to put garlic in any type of salad. If you are not fond of it or of the breath that comes with, you can omit it or use dried garlic instead.
Tip #3: Use dried garlic in salads to avoid "the garlic breath".
Plain soy yogurt
Is soy yogurt considered a whole food? Probably not, but it is a “yellow” food for me. That means it is close enough to a whole food so it doesn’t have to be avoided but whole soybeans are preferred. I love to make yogurt dressings for salads and wraps, but I don’t make them on a daily basis. When compared to dairy yogurt, I would say it is a clear winner in terms of health. You can see more about the health benefits of soy consumption here and more about the dangers of consuming dairy products here.
Recipe (quantities feed 2 people)
- 6 cups or about 500g of napa cabbage (one small head)
- 1/2 cup sweet corn
For yogurt dressing
- 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- salt to taste
Stack napa cabbage leaves one on top of the other and cut them into 4 pieces lengthwise. Than dice very finely from the stem up. Add the sweet corn.
Mix all the ingredients for the yogurt dressing and pour it over the cabbage. Mix well to spread the dressing evenly. Serve chilled.
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