Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: What’s the Difference?

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage
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Written by August Croft

Published: August 8, 2022

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When it comes to telling the difference between cabbage varieties, what’s the difference between napa cabbage vs green cabbage? While these two vegetables are closely related in some ways, there are many things separating them from each other. But what might some of these things be, and how can you learn how to tell them apart upon first glance?

In this article, we will compare and contrast green cabbage with napa cabbage so that you can fully understand both varieties. We will go over their physical descriptions, what they taste like, and what they are commonly used for in a culinary capacity. Finally, we will give you the nutritional benefits of both of these cabbages so that you can determine which one is best for you. Let’s get started now! 

Comparing Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage
Napa cabbage looks more like lettuce leaves compared to the leaves of green cabbage.
Napa CabbageGreen Cabbage
ClassificationBrassica rapa subsp. pekinensisBrassica oleracea var. capitata
DescriptionElongated shape with light green and white leaves, loosely bound. Resembles lettuce in appearance, with an equally delicate texture and crunchy base. Flavor is mild and delicate. Round, light green vegetable made up of compacted leaves. Dense, heavy, and ranges in shades of green, but typically remains light. Peppery and sweet, mild in flavor, and only gets sweeter as you cook it. 
UsesGreat eaten raw in salads or wraps, but can also be fermented, steamed, and stir fried. Delicate texture makes this the preferred cabbage for eating rawEaten raw, sauteed, roasted, stir fried, pickled, steamed, boiled, fermented, and more. Leaves are sturdy enough that you can wrap things in them, even after blanching
Nutrition InfoFull of Vitamin B and folate, as well as antioxidantsFull of Vitamin K and Vitamin C, as well as water
Special FeaturesNamed for the Japanese word for vegetable leaves (nappa), not after the Napa Valley!Originating in China sometime during 4000 BC, cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables known to man!

Key Differences Between Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

Napa cabbages are oblong or elongated compared to the perfectly round shape of the green cabbage.

There are a number of key differences between napa cabbage and green cabbage. For example, green cabbage is round in shape, while napa cabbage is oblong or elongated. In addition, napa cabbage looks more like lettuce leaves compared to the leaves of green cabbage. Finally, napa cabbage has a much more delicate texture compared to the firm texture of green cabbage. 

Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now. 

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: Classification

Given the fact that both napa cabbage and green cabbage are cabbages, they are members of the same genus, commonly known as the cabbage or Brassica genus. However, they are different species from one another and they are also very distinct variations within their own species. For example, napa cabbage is a member of the rapa species, while green cabbage is a member of the oleracea species. 

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: Description

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

The leaves of the napa cabbage are frilly and tender compared to the compacted and firm leaves of the average green cabbage.

It is easy to tell the difference between napa cabbage and green cabbage upon first glance. For example, napa cabbages are oblong or elongated compared to the perfectly round shape of the green cabbage. While both napa cabbages and green cabbages are green, napa cabbage has a significant amount of white toward the base of the plant, while green cabbage remains green all the way through. 

The leaves of the napa cabbage are frilly and tender compared to the compacted and firm leaves of the average green cabbage. In terms of their tastes, both of these cabbage varieties are fairly mild in flavor. However, napa cabbage is much more delicate in texture compared to green cabbage, making it ideal when eaten raw. 

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: Uses

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

Green cabbage maintains a firmer texture compared to napa cabbage, making it ideal when used as wraps or stuffed.

You can use napa cabbage and green cabbage almost interchangeably, in a variety of recipes. However, green cabbage maintains a firmer texture compared to napa cabbage, making it ideal when used as wraps or stuffed. Napa cabbage is perfect when eaten raw, making it ideal for salads, while green cabbage is better suited in a steamed or sauteed capacity. 

Given its delicate texture and popularity, napa cabbage is commonly used in kimchi fermentation, while green cabbage is not. However, green cabbage is ideal in stews, steamed, and it holds up well in a stir-fry, while napa cabbage wilts much faster compared to green cabbage. 

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: Nutrition Information

There’s a lot of nutritional value in both napa cabbage and green cabbage. Those are low calorie alternatives and ideally eaten in a variety of healthy diets, given their high amount of fiber and low amount of carbs and sugar. While napa cabbage is full of Vitamin B and folate, green cabbage has a high amount of Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Both of these options are great for incorporating into your diet, as they both have a lot of nutritional value to offer! 

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage: Special Features

Napa Cabbage vs Green Cabbage

While napa cabbage is full of Vitamin B and folate, green cabbage has a high amount of Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

Both napa cabbage and green cabbage are special for a variety of reasons. The cabbage species itself has been around for thousands of years, originating in China. While we don’t know the exact dates that cabbage was created, it is likely as old as 4,000 BC! Napa cabbage is as old as green cabbage is, but it has a unique name origin. 
You may think that napa cabbage originated in Napa Valley, California, but it is actually named after the Japanese word for vegetable leaves. Napa cabbage is extremely popular in many East Asian cuisines, and the Japanese word for vegetable leaves specifically is nappa. It’s no wonder that napa cabbage is so popular, and the same can be said for green cabbage too!


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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