Sautéed Napa Cabbage is sliced cabbage cooked with butter, olive oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar and any fresh herbs you’d like. An easy and inexpensive side dish that pairs well with just about any main you’re serving. This Napa cabbage recipe takes just 20 minutes to make, is super tasty and nutrient-rich! 

I just about always have a head of cabbage in my refrigerator for recipes such as roasted cabbage , pickled cabbage, and this super simple sautéed cabbage.

Think you don’t like cabbage? Take 5 minutes of your time to prep this dish by combining just 5 ingredients, plus any herbs and/or spices you’d like. After just 15 minutes of cooking, I’m willing to bet this delicious and easy cabbage recipe will quickly change your mind!

I seriously love cabbage because it’s readily available year round, is very inexpensive and keeps fresh in the fridge for a long time. If I need a fast veggie side to go along with dinner, this super simple sautéed Napa cabbage is my go-to.

What is Napa cabbage?

Cabbages come in all different shapes and sizes, and Chinese cabbage is one of the four main varieties of cabbage (along with green, red and savoy). Napa cabbage is the most popular type of Chinese cabbage. Most grocery stores label Napa varieties as “Chinese cabbage,” but beware: they may also put bok choy, pak choy or other Asian greens under the same label. See below for a good visual of what Napa cabbage looks like.

Fresh Napa cabbage on a cutting board.

Ingredients needed

This Napa cabbage recipe is made with just 5 basic ingredients (including salt and pepper)! You will need:

  • Napa cabbage. For this recipe, you will need one medium head of cabbage. Look for one that is firm and heavy for its size. Choose one that has shiny, green leaves, an older cabbage may have browning on the leaves.
  • Garlic. Gives the cabbage a nice boost of garlicky flavor!
  • Olive oil + butter. To sauté the cabbage, I like to use a combination of olive oil and butter for delicious rich flavor. Feel free to use a vegan butter, as desired.
  • Salt + pepper. To bring all of the flavors together. You can add in other seasonings that you love too!
  • Apple cider vinegar. Adds a fresh, subtle tang.

How to cut Napa cabbage for sautéing

Cut the head of cabbage in half from top to bottom, lengthwise. Lay each half flat on a large cutting board and slice it into thin strips (see video for reference!).

How to make this recipe

If Napa cabbage is new to you, this recipe is a great one to try! The cooking method is so easy and the flavors pair well with a variety of meals. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Sauté. Once the cabbage is cut into thin strips, add butter and olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until it’s tender.
  2. Serve. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Serve with additional salt and pepper as desired and enjoy!
Cooked cabbage in a skillet.

Customize this recipe

This Napa cabbage recipe is wonderful as-is, but feel free to add other ingredients to change up the flavors. Here’s some ideas:

  • Cabbage. If you don’t have Napa cabbage available, you can swap it with green cabbage, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage or bok choy. Just be aware that the cook time may vary.
  • Protein. Add some cooked crumbled bacon or tempeh for extra flavor, or make it a meal by stirring in some crispy tofu or cooked ground turkey.
  • Vegetables. You can add more veggies to the mix. Try sautéing sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, shredded carrots or broccoli with the cabbage.
  • Herbs. Finish your cabbage with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or thyme.
  • Seasonings. Stir in some added flavor with any favorite spice. Some options: Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning or taco seasoning. You can even add in a splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame oil for an Asian twist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Napa cabbage healthy?

Napa cabbage has a variety of health benefits! It’s a great source of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for gut health. It also contains nutrients that help lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar. In addition, it’s packed antioxidants and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Cabbage is definitely a great vegetable to include in your diet!

How to store cabbage

Store it in plastic and in the fridge to prevent it from wilting. Remove any outer leaves that show signs of browning or insect damage. A raw whole head of cabbage will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you’ve cut the cabbage, it will keep for about 3 days.

Can this recipe be made ahead of time?

For best results, this is best when made just before serving. However, the Napa cabbage can be cut and the garlic can be chopped in advance. Cook it just before serving. 

Sautéed Napa cabbage in a bowl.

I hope your family enjoys this Napa cabbage recipe as much as my family does! As usual, if you end up making this recipe, please snap a quick photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from the blog.

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Sautéed Napa cabbage in a large skillet.

Sautéed Napa Cabbage


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Sautéed Napa Cabbage is sliced cabbage cooked with butter, olive oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar and any fresh herbs you’d like. An easy and inexpensive side dish that pairs well with just about any main you’re serving. This Napa cabbage recipe takes just 20 minutes to make, is super tasty and nutrient-rich!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 medium head of napa cabbage
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (vegan as desired)
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Prep the cabbage: to make it easier, I like to cut the head of cabbage in half from top to bottom. Lay each half flat on a large cutting board and slice it into thin strips (see video for reference!).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add in the butter and olive oil. Once hot, add in the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until it’s tender.
  3. Stir in the vinegar and serve. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired!

Notes

Feel free to add in any additional spices or herbs as desired. I love this recipe with fresh thyme or parsley mixed in!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: sautéed cabbage, Napa Cabbage Recipe