Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 5 reviews

Asian food recipes Cabbage Recipes Vegetarian

Cook time Cook time: 15 minutes

Sauteed Napa Cabbage is stir-fried with garlic, hoisin sauce, ginger, and soy sauce, then finished with sesame seeds and green onions. A quick, flavor-packed vegetarian side!

For more delicious Asian-inspired sides, try our Sticky Sesame Baked Cauliflower, Oven Roasted Bok Choy with Garlic, and Panda Express Mixed Veggies (Copycat).

Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

Sauteed Napa Cabbage is one of the quickest and simplest stir-fries ever! Chopped, tender Napa cabbage is sauteed with Asian seasonings like hoisin, soy sauce, chili flakes, ginger, and garlic with a touch of vinegar and sugar. The result is a savory veggie dish with sweet and tangy notes you’ll want to devour right out of the pan!

It’s easy to turn it into a complete meal, too, by adding meats like pork and beef. Do you have any leftover veggies you need to use up? Chop them up and add them to the pan! Try this versatile, tasty, and beyond easy stir-fry tonight!

What is Napa Cabbage?

Aka Chinese or celery cabbage, you’ll recognize Napa by its long, pale green leaves versus the usual green cabbage that’s packed tightly in a round shape. It looks sort of like romaine lettuce.  The Napa variety is the most tender of all, making it perfect for raw salads and stir-fries.

Is Napa Cabbage good cooked?

Yes! They turn slightly sweet and tender with a subtle peppery taste. But since they’re very delicate, they’re more well-suited for quick cooking methods like sauteing. If you’d rather roast or bake cabbage, it’s better to use regular green ones.

How do you cut napa cabbage to cook for a stir fry?

Slice off the tough, white bottom end. Then, take off the outer leaves if you haven’t already. After that, slice into shreds (1-inch in size for this recipe, in particular).

More Side Dishes Recipes:

Do you need to wash napa cabbage?

Yes, rinse off the whole head before prepping it for the recipe. This gets rid of any dirt or stray insects that may be in there. Make sure to drain and pat dry!

What do you need to make sauteed napa cabbage?

  • Napa cabbage: Chopped into 1-inch sized strips.
  • Soy sauce: Adds umami and a nice saltiness and color to the dish!
  • Hoisin: A thick, sweet-and-salty sauce that’s also known as Chinese BBQ sauce.
  • Aromatics: Fresh ginger and fresh minced garlic, plus dried chili flakes.
  • Vinegar: Balances out the hoisin and soy sauce with a delicious tang.
  • Sugar: Helps the sauces caramelize a bit and rounds out the salty and tangy flavors.
  • Green onions: chopped finely for both sauteeing and as a garnish.
  • Sesame oil and seeds: Adds a nutty finish to the dish.

How do you make sauteed napa cabbage?

  1. Saute. Stir-fry the ginger, fresh garlic, and chili flakes in hot oil for about a minute until it is fragrant and slightly soft.
  2. Add the veggies. After sauteing the aromatics, add your vegetables, plus all the seasonings and sauces. Stir-fry until it’s tender as you like, add the green onions, and saute for a minute more.
  3. Serve. Plate up with a drizzle of sesame oil, and sprinkle with more chopped green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Recipe variations:

  • Include meat: Turn it into a complete meal by adding thin strips of beef, pork, or chicken. Tofu or tempeh is a great vegetarian option, too!
  • Include other vegetables: Most vegetables taste delicious in this dish, so it’s a great “clear the fridge” recipe! Just make sure to adjust the sauteeing time for veggies that take longer to cook. Other great additions are cauliflower, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.
  • Alternatives to Napa cabbage: Can’t find Napa? Bok Choy, Savoy, regular green cabbage, and swiss chard will work just as well.

How to serve:

You can eat it on its own as a really light vegetarian meal! But it really shines as a side dish, especially for Chinese or Asian entrees like Garlic Sesame Chicken, Panda Express Beijing Beef, and Teriyaki Salmon. 

How to store leftovers:

Cooldown all the leftovers, then transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge for up to three days. However, we do recommend finishing the leftovers as soon as you can so that it doesn’t get too soggy in there.

Can you freeze sauteed napa cabbage:

Sure! Once it’s cool, transfer to a freezer bag and squeeze all the air out before sealing it up. You can store it frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw, then microwave until hot.

More Asian Recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Look for a cabbage that’s bright green outside, crisp, and with no signs of wilting anywhere.
  • If you can get it, use toasted sesame oil— the intense, nutty flavor is fantastic. You can toast the sesame seeds too before using them as a garnish.
  • Make sure to chop off the stem end of the vegetable because it’s tough to eat.
Save Recipe
5 from 5 reviews

Sauteed Napa Cabbage

Sauteed Napa Cabbage is stir-fried with garlic, hoisin sauce, ginger, and soy sauce, then finished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 25 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Nutrition information

Calories: 124 Carbohydrates: 11 Protein: 4 Fat: 8 Saturated Fat: 1 Cholesterol: 1 Sodium: 541 Potassium: 603 Fiber: 3 Sugar: 5 Vitamin A: 1025 Vitamin C: 63 Calcium: 197 Iron: 1
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Comments

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melissa chapman

That cabbage dish looks so yummy and the sauce is full of the best things I can not wait to try this. I have never tried Napa cabbage but I want to try it soon

Reply

Ben

Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables. I can't say I've ever had it satueed before. I'll have to try this.

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dixya @food, pleasure, and health

i love napa cabbage or any cabbage in general but never thought of sauteeing it as a side dish. lovely idea!

Reply

Nikki Wayne

It kinda looks like Kimchi..? I bet it's savory too. Yum!

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Lynndee

Yum! I would love to have that as my side for dinner today. Looks so good!

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Beth

It looks delicious! I will have to make it with tofu for a family dinner.

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Bethel

This looks really delicious and healthy!! And you made it look like its so easy to cook! Nice photography also!

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Rosey

I may have had Napa Cabbaget, but if I have, I can't remember. I think I would enjoy the stir fry.

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Everything Enchanting

Oh wow! This looks so simple yet delicious! I'll add some fresh green peas to it 🙂

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Kita Bryant

This cabbage looks so delicious. It would go well with so many dishes!

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Janeane M Davis

That cabbage looks so delicious. I also like the little additions that you shared. It is a way to take the cabbage and make it a little more special.

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Josh Mckenkey

Looks so yummy and I want to try this soon!

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Anosa Malanga

The ingredient arrangement is indeed very pinteresty! I love how you able to prepare it all. I hope I can do as clean as this. Haha! Taking out your recipe too so I can cook it over the coming weekends.

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