Napa cabbage makes a great slaw; it's both more tender and less juicy than regular cabbage, so it softens easily without making a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. We like to pair it with carrots for color and crunch. You can change the flavor of the slaw, of course, by mixing up the seasonings. Basically you want salt and acid and a little bit of fat, plus whatever herbs or spices strike your fancy. Here are three ideas:
Pickled Onion-Cabbage Slaw
This recipe makes a great taco filling, a side to rice and beans, or a salad to go with grilled fish or meats. It takes quick pickled onions and adds two root-cellar staples: cabbage and carrots. Change the seasoning to complement your recipe - you could use bay leaves and peppercorns or herbs de provence instead of the spices listed here, for example.
This is an easy Asian-inspired salad. You don’t need to peel the cucumbers, since they are young and tender, but it looks pretty to peel off “stripes” of skin before you slice them. Of course, you can leave out the steak and make it even simpler (or replace it with chicken, seitan, or tofu). With the steak, this should serve 4.
Napa Cabbage Rolls
Napa (also called Chinese) Cabbage is one of our favorite veggies. It’s great either cooked or raw. You can use it anywhere you would use regular cabbage, and also, with the rib removed, most places you would use lettuce. It makes a great slaw, awesome stir-fry, a topping for tacos, a tasty sandwich addition, or a wrap for spring rolls or leftover rice or tuna salad or the recipe below.
From Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. Kimchi definitely falls into the “art” rather than “science” category – feel free to adjust ingredients to taste. You’ll want to keep the salt ratio about the same, though, as that’s what makes the environment right to support lactobacteria rather than other, uninvited, bacteria.
Easy Cabbage Salad
This is one of the staples of my lunchbox over the winter. Making it in the morning for lunch or dinner gives the cabbage a chance to soften up a little, but it's also great fresh and crunchy.
Other Good Places to Find Recipes
WTF is this vegetable?
Eating What We Grow (PDF)
Cookbooks We Like
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Flatbreads and Flavors
The Art of Simple Food
Feeding the Whole Family
Storage Guidelines for Fruits & Vegetables (PDF)
The Zen of Food Preservation (PDF)
101 Jam Recipes