10 Best Chinese Cabbage Substitutes: Which One Is The Best For You?

Chinese cabbage is an indispensable part of nabe.

Its gentle sweetness is irresistible, and it has many uses other than nabe, making it a vegetable that can be used in all kinds of recipes.

However, the price of Chinese cabbage can skyrocket quite dramatically depending on the time of year, so sometimes you hesitate to buy it. This can be a problem when you want to have a hot pot.

Chinese cabbage is expensive. I don’t know what to do…😫😫😫

In such a situation, it is very helpful to know what vegetables can be substituted for Chinese cabbage.

This time, I’m going to introduce you to some “Chinese cabbage substitutes” that can help you when you’re in trouble, so please take a look!

What are the characteristics of Chinese cabbage? What kind of nutrition does it have?

Chinese cabbage is a biennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, in season from November to February.

It has a slight, gentle sweetness and an unctuous flavor, making it a versatile vegetable that can be used as both a star and a side dish.

It can be cooked, stir-fried, or pickled, which makes it a versatile vegetable.

Also, Chinese cabbage is food that cools the body when left as is, but when cooked in a pot or stew, it becomes food that warms the body, making it a great food to have during the cold season.

More than 90% of Chinese cabbage is made up of water, and although it is not particularly rich in nutrients, it contains a relatively large amount of potassium and calcium.

Potassium is an important nutrient for controlling salt intake because it helps to remove sodium.

Calcium is an important nutrient for healthy bones and teeth, so you’ll want to consume plenty of it!

10 substitutes for Chinese cabbage

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 1: Cabbage


Cabbage, a popular leafy vegetable along with Chinese cabbage, is a perfect substitute for Chinese cabbage.

Some people even dare to use cabbage instead of Chinese cabbage, especially in hot pot dishes.

The core of the cabbage is hard, so it takes a while to cook, but the sweetness is concentrated and very delicious.

When it comes to nabe (hot pot), Chinese cabbage is the most popular choice, but for nabe with a strong flavor, cabbage is more suitable than Chinese cabbage.

However, be aware that the price of cabbage, like that of Chinese cabbage, can be very expensive.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 2: Lettuce


Lettuce looks similar to cabbage and is often used in salads due to its crispy texture.

You may not think of it as something that can be heated and eaten, but lettuce can also be eaten in a pot as a substitute for Chinese cabbage.

If you cook it too much, it will become tacky, so it is recommended to eat it quickly after it is lightly cooked.

It is perfect for lightly flavored nabe such as salt-based nabe.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 3: Onions


Onions, a versatile and very useful vegetable, can also be added to a hot pot as a substitute for Chinese cabbage.

It has a pungent taste when raw, but when cooked, it becomes sweeter and can be used in any type of hot pot.

Onions also have the advantage of being relatively stable in price except during the summer.

Use lots of onions when they’re inexpensive, and you’ll have a delicious hot pot!

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 4: Bean sprouts

Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts, sometimes called the family’s best friend, is pinch hitter when the price of Chinese cabbage is too high to afford.

The price of bean sprouts is stable at an astonishingly low price, ranging from 20 yen to 50 yen, and can be bought cheaply at any time of the year, regardless of the season.

Moreover, bean sprouts can be substituted for any flavor of hot pot without any problem.

Since they have no peculiar taste, they do not interfere with other ingredients or seasonings.

If you are concerned about the unique aroma of bean sprouts, you can reduce it by lightly boiling them or exposing them to running water.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 5: Pea sprouts

Pea Sprouts

Pea sprouts, a young green pea, are very tasty not only in stir-fries and salads but also in hot pots.

They have a crunchy texture and a sweet taste that comes out when you chew them.

Such bean sprouts can also be used as a substitute for Chinese cabbage in hot pots.

Like bean sprouts, their price is stable all year round, making them a lifesaver when the price of Chinese cabbage is skyrocketing.

Also, pea sprouts are rich in vitamins and folic acid, and cannot be underestimated in terms of nutrition.

If you don’t have Chinese cabbage, by all means, try adding some pea sprouts!

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 6: Potherb mustard

Potherb Mustard

Potherb mustard, which can be used in salads and stir-fries, can also be added to a hot pot instead of Chinese cabbage.

It has no peculiar flavors or aromas, so it blends in well with any nabe, and its crunchy texture makes it easy to eat.

Even if you eat a lot of it, it is low in calories, and its crunchiness gives you a sense of satisfaction, so it is a good substitute for dieters.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 7: bok choy

Bok Choy

Although bok choy is often used in Chinese cuisine, it is a surprisingly versatile vegetable because it has no peculiar taste.

Such bok choy can also be added to the hot pot as a substitute for Chinese cabbage.

The texture and taste of bok choy are different between the part near the root and the leaves, so you can enjoy the pot without getting bored until the end!

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 8: Komatsuna


Komatsuna is a vegetable that can be used in Japanese recipes in general, and many people probably use it in stir-fries, soups, and boiled vegetables.

Of course, it can be used as a substitute for Chinese cabbage, as it matches well with Japanese-style nabe.

Also, komatsuna is very nutritious, containing more calcium and vitamin C than spinach.

From a health perspective, it is superior to Chinese cabbage, so if you are concerned about your health, you can substitute komatsuna.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 9: Salad greens

Salad Greens

As the name suggests, salad greens are used in salads.

Salad greens, a member of the lettuce family with thick leaves, can be eaten in a pot instead of Chinese cabbage.

The taste is different from that of salad, but it is very easy to eat, so you will probably eat as much as you want.

Substitute for Chinese cabbage 10: Chinese cabbage kimchi

Chinese Cabbage Kimchi

There are various kinds of kimchi such as radish kimchi and cucumber kimchi, but the mainstream kimchi is Chinese cabbage kimchi.

Kimchi with Chinese cabbage can be used as a substitute for Chinese cabbage only in kimchi nabe.

Since Chinese cabbage kimchi is naturally made from Chinese cabbage, it can be used just as it is in the pot.

The bok choy that has been firmly soaked in kimchi flavor will stimulate your appetite.


  • Chinese cabbage is a biennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, winter is the season’s vegetable. It is characterized by its unctuous flavor and gentle sweetness, making it versatile in cooking methods.
  • Chinese cabbage is made up of more than 90% water, and the other ingredients are potassium and calcium.
  • The following ten substitutes for Chinese cabbage are recommended. [cabbage, lettuce, onion, bean sprouts, bean sprouts, potherb mustard, bok choy, komatsuna, salad greens, Chinese cabbage kimchi].