Napa Cabbage Salad with Miso Dressing

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Napa Cabbage Salad is a combination of sliced napa cabbage paired with fresh greens, carrots, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and a delightful orange miso dressing. It is an easy and affordable side dish that goes well with just about any entree. In only 20 minutes, this Napa cabbage recipe can be ready and on the dinner table!

overhead of 2 wooden bowls filled with napa cabbage salad with chopsticks, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries surrounding on white counter.

My family loves greens, and Napa cabbage is one of our favorites to keep on hand for recipes like ramen soup, vegetable stir-fries, and this simple cabbage salad. If you like Asian food like I do, check out our list of Asian-inspired recipes and grab those chopsticks!

I almost always have a head of Napa in my refrigerator because I love it so much. It’s inexpensive, easy to find in stores all year round, and it keeps in the refrigerator for a long time. Many grocery stores carry it including Walmart, so you likely won’t even have to go to an Asian market to find it. I show you what it looks like below, so you will be able to recognize it when you see it.

white plate full of napa cabbage salad on a basket place mat

What is Napa cabbage?

Comparison Photo of Napa and Green Cabbage on a white background

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a delightful leafy vegetable that traces its origins back to China. This cabbage variety has an oblong shape, featuring long, broad leaves. Notice the thick veiny stem extending into light green ends in the photo below. When selecting Napa cabbage, opt for bundles with firm leaves and a substantial weight, ensuring you get the best quality.

When you are shopping at the store, the oblong shape of Napa is the first thing you will notice when compared to regular green cabbage which is round and mostly green. Napa has a lot more white in the lower parts of its leaves.

Napa’s flavor is a little sweeter than regular cabbage, and its leaves are much more crinkly and soft, making it perfect for salads and stir-fries.

Uses for Napa cabbage

Use raw Napa cabbage as an ingredient in slaw or as a topping for burgers and tacos. It’s versatile and can also elevate stir-fry recipes, soups, and noodle dishes with its crisp texture and delicate flavor.

Ingredients needed for this recipe

This Chinese cabbage salad recipe is very simple and versatile. You can switch out the additional veggies used with any that you might have on hand and like. The miso dressing is the secret ingredient that makes this salad pop.

chopped napa cabbage, greens, and carrots on a cutting board
  • Napa cabbage. To prepare this recipe, you’ll want to have one small to medium-sized cabbage head on hand. It’s best to select a cabbage that feels substantial in weight considering its size. Look for bundles with glossy, green leaves, as older cabbages may show signs of browning on their foliage.
  • Veggies. I like to add a fresh mix of salad greens like the kind you find already packaged at the store. This adds plenty of color and more texture. Also include shredded carrots, onions, and broccoli slaw if desired.
  • Seeds. Sunflower seeds make a great addition and crunch, but other options could be any type of nuts or seeds. Walnuts and pecans sound tasty as well.
  • Dried cranberries. You might even use raisins, but I love the tangy flavor dried cranberries offer to this salad and others like this broccoli salad.
  • Dressing. While it’s true that you could use just about any salad dressing in this recipe, I love the orange miso dressing included and highly recommend giving it a try. Another great option is our miso-ginger dressing.

How to cut Napa cabbage

Instead of slicing the strips horizontally from top to bottom, first slice Napa cabbage long-wise, splitting it straight down the middle. This way you will have two complete halves. You can see the texture of napa cabbage changes from leafy near the top to crunchy as you work your way down and this way you get to experience all the textures with each meal. The photo below shows what I mean.

napa cabbage sliced in half to show core

How to make this recipe

The first thing I like to do when making this recipe is to mix up the orange miso dressing because it is super simple. After that, start chopping the veggies.

Making the miso dressing

orange miso dressing in mixing bowl with whisk. orange juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and miso ingrients

You only need a handful of ingredients and a mixing bowl to make this easy miso dressing. Combine the miso, orange juice, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic and whisk together in a bowl. Make sure to break apart all of the miso paste so it won’t have any lumps. Ground or fresh ginger can be used.

I like to make a double batch of this dressing and keep it in the refrigerator for different green salads throughout the week. It is also delicious in veggie poke bowls.

Next, chop the Napa cabbage and other veggies. I like to buy bags of shredded carrots and broccoli salad because they don’t require slicing at all. I also tend to purchase bags of mixed greens as well.

Place all of the chopped vegetables, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds in a large salad or mixing bowl and toss to distribute well. Drizzle with the orange miso dressing and mix well, making sure the dressing is coating all of the veggies. Serve and enjoy!

Customize this salad

I tend to use mixed greens, carrots, and a bag of pre-cut broccoli slaw, along with cranberries and seeds, but you really can use any variety of ingredients. Here are some other great options.

  • Walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Bean sprouts
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Water chestnuts
  • Asian baby corn
  • Raisins

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Napa cabbage different than regular cabbage?

Napa cabbage is sometimes called Chinese cabbage, and its shape, texture, and flavor are different than green cabbage. Its flavor is a little sweeter than regular cabbage, and its leaves are much more crinkly and soft, making it perfect for salads and stir-fries.

Is Napa cabbage healthy?

With only 20 calories per cup and zero cholesterol, Napa cabbage has a list of other vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. It even has iron and copper.

Can you eat it raw?

Yes, Napa cabbage is delicious when served raw in salads like this one. Try adding it to sandwiches and wraps to add a deliciously crunchy flavor.

What can you substitute for Napa cabbage?

If you can’t find Napa cabbage in your local grocery store, regular green cabbage or Bok choy can be used as a substitute for this salad and many other recipes.

Can this recipe be made ahead of time?

Yes, this salad is a great make-ahead recipe. Put it together a day ahead of time and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I don’t suggest making it more than one day ahead though.

How to store Napa cabbage

My experience is that Napa cabbage keeps very well for at least a couple of weeks if not more. Store it unrinsed and uncut in the refrigerator. Place it in a plastic bag, or the produce bag it came in, in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

two stacked wooden bowls of napa cabbage salad with miso dressing

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overhead of 2 wooden bowls filled with napa cabbage salad with chopsticks, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries surrounding on white counter
5 from 6 votes

Napa Cabbage Salad

Napa Cabbage Salad is a combination of sliced napa cabbage paired with fresh greens, carrots, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and a delightful orange miso dressing. It is an easy and affordable side dish that goes well with just about any entree. In only 20 minutes, this Napa cabbage recipe can be ready and on the dinner table!
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 head Napa cabbage small to medium, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup leafy greens mixed salad greens or baby spinach
  • 1 cup carrots shredded
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw pre-shredded in bag
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or other nuts or seeds

Orange Miso Dressing

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso heaping tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced or from a jar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated, minced, or dry ground

Instructions

  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Make sure to break apart all of the miso paste so it won’t have any lumps. Set to the side.
  • Chop the cabbage and other veggies. I like to buy bags of shredded carrots and broccoli salad because they don’t require slicing at all. I also tend to purchase bags of mixed greens as well.
  • Place all of the chopped vegetables, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds in a large salad or mixing bowl and toss to distribute well. Drizzle with the orange miso dressing and mix well, making sure the dressing is coating all of the veggies. You don't have to use all of the dressing at once. Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Dressing- The dressing recipe makes about 1.5 cups which might be more than you want to use on this salad. Save any leftover dressing for green salads later in the week. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days.
I tend to use mixed greens, carrots, and a bag of pre-cut broccoli slaw, along with cranberries and seeds, but you really can use any variety of ingredients. Here are some other great options.
  • Walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Bean sprouts
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Water chestnuts
  • Asian baby corn
  • Raisins
How to cut Napa Cabbage
Instead of slicing the strips horizontally from top to bottom, first slice Napa cabbage long-wise, splitting it straight down the middle. This way you will have two complete halves. You can see the texture of napa cabbage changes from leafy near the top to crunchy as you work your way down and this way you get to experience all the textures with each meal. The photo above shows what I mean.
More uses for Napa cabbage
Use raw Napa cabbage as an ingredient in slaw or as a topping for burgers and tacos. It’s versatile and can also elevate stir-fry recipes, soups, and noodle dishes with its crisp texture and delicate flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 28mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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5 Comments

  1. Delicious and oh so very flexible. I love lots of possibilities to play with. I added fresh orange cubes to mine and only a few cranberries for color. Thank you!

5 from 6 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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