As with zucchini and yellow squash, for this Difference Between post we’re looking not at the obvious distinction between the two (color), but instead are focusing on nutrition and flavor.
Let’s start with the flavor first, as that is much more simpler than the nutritional content: In short, they taste the same, meaning that you can substitute one for another in recipes. Although, FoodSubs.com points out that if substituting red for green, “this can discolor other foods if combined [in] a salad or cooked with them, but it tastes just like green cabbage.”
When it comes to taste differences, Savoy cabbage, despite it’s rough looking exterior, is actually more delicate and mild flavored than its more well known counterparts. Furthermore, Napa cabbage is even milder still, according to my Vegetables Revised cookbook (which just happens to have Savoy cabbage on the cover).
Below is an image of Savoy cabbage – you can see how the leaves are a lot rougher looking.
So, green and red cabbage taste essentially the same, you might just want to pick one over the other for presentation purposes. Let us now move on to the nutritional differences.
In short, red cabbage is healthier than green, but green does win in one category.
Red cabbage over green cabbage:
- More anthocyanins
- Double the amount of iron
- More potassium
- 10 times more Vitamin A
- More Vitamin C
Green cabbage over red cabbage:
- More Vitamin K
If you want to get more specific, one cup of shredded red cabbage contains 170 miligrams of potassium with green at 114 miligrams. One cup of chopped red cabbage has 51 miligrams of Vitamin C, compared to 37 miligrams of chopped green cabbage – although, it can sometimes contain up to 50% more Vitamin C than green. And, green cabbage consists of 57% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, with red cabbage at 28%.
The anthocyanins in red cabbage come from its beautiful, vibrant color – they act as antioxidants, supporting the immune system among other good things.
Although red does beat out green nutritionally, you really can’t go wrong with either cabbage you choose – they’re both low in calories and high in healthful properties (so is true of Savoy and Napa cabbages).
Unfortunately, long cooked cabbage does lose some nutrients in the cooking process. If you can, try eating raw cabbage! Savoy cabbage in particular works well in salads.