Red Vs. Green Cabbage: 5 Key Differences To Know About Them
Image Credit: iStock

First and foremost, there is a colour difference between red and green cabbage. Green cabbage is green, while red cabbage has a purple-reddish colour. But these cruciferous vegetables also have different flavours in addition to their vivid colours. They also have special nutritional and culinary uses of their own.

The two unique types of cabbage, red and green, are both members of the Brassicaceae plant family. Red cabbage, scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. capitata rubra, is distinguished by its intensely coloured leaves, which turn a brilliant purple or crimson colour when cooked. The scientific name for green cabbage is Brassica oleracea var. capitata alba, and it has a traditional round form with closely spaced leaves that have a light green colour.

How Are Red And Green Cabbage Used In Cooking?

Red and green cabbage are incredibly versatile vegetables that can be incorporated into a diverse array of dishes. Coleslaw, a classic side dish, often features both red and green cabbage, adding a colourful and crunchy element to the creamy dressing.

Stir-fries benefit from their crisp texture and mild cabbage flavour, enhancing the medley of vegetables and proteins, and they pair wonderfully with ingredients like carrots and bell peppers. When it comes to salads, shredded red and green cabbage add both texture and a hint of sweetness, elevating mixed green salads, Asian-inspired creations, or hearty salads enriched with ingredients like bacon, nuts, and cheese.

For comfort food enthusiasts, cabbage rolls are a go-to choice. These involve wrapping a filling, often a mixture of ground meat and rice, in cabbage leaves before baking them in a tomato-based sauce. While green cabbage is more commonly used, both red and green cabbage leaves can be employed for this hearty dish.

Braised cabbage offers a simple yet delectable side dish option, with either variety simmered in butter, broth, and seasonings until tender and sweet. Cabbage also takes centre stage in hearty soups and stews, with examples like borscht featuring red cabbage. Additionally, it plays a prominent role in Korean cuisine as the basis for kimchi, a spicy and tangy fermented side dish.

Pickled cabbage, whether red or green, adds a zesty crunch to sandwiches, tacos, and hot dogs. Lastly, cabbage and sausage skillet dishes are quick, flavorful, and satisfying, with cabbage sautéed alongside sliced sausage and onions in a convenient one-pan meal.

With their remarkable versatility and delightful crunch, red and green cabbage elevate a wide range of culinary creations, from vibrant salads to comforting stews, making them indispensable ingredients in the kitchen.

The 5 Differences That Set These Veggies Apart:


Green cabbage is the bigger of the two varieties of cabbage. They are not much different in size, but it is enough to be pointed out when looking at the two varieties simultaneously.

Culinary Uses:

Many claim that red and green cabbage can be used interchangeably in cooking and recipe writing. Given their similarity in flavour, this is primarily the case. However, compared to the typical head of green cabbage, red cabbage tastes more floral and less sweet. This results in a minor variation in their widely used cooking techniques.

For instance, green cabbage is popular in raw form or lightly steamed, and red cabbage is popular when pickled or roasted. Though it's crucial to remember that red cabbage will bleed its colour into whatever you prepare it with, both options are wonderful in any form. In addition, whereas red cabbage is rarely prepared this way, green cabbage is frequently wrapped or stuffed.

Flavour Profile:

Red cabbage is renowned for its distinctive flavour and texture, which give any dish a delicious crunch. Red cabbage has a flavour that is slightly earthy and sweet, with a trace of pepper.

Green cabbage has a flavour that is slightly earthy and faintly sweet. Compared to red cabbage, its sweetness is more prominent, making it a useful element in both savoury and sweet meals.


Green cabbage is more frequently found all year long in grocers and farmers' markets in terms of availability. It has a longer growing season and has different maturation stages that can be harvested. Red cabbage, on the other hand, is a little harder to find and might be more seasonal in availability.

Both varieties of cabbage can be grown in backyard gardens, but commercial production of the vegetable is very common; the top four producers are China, India, Russia, and the United States. Because red and green cabbage are readily available, they can be used in a variety of dishes all year.

Nutritional Value:

In general, red cabbage is more nutrient-dense than green cabbage. As you may already be aware, colourful fruits and vegetables are frequently great sources of vitamin A. The same is true for red cabbage. It contains a lot of vitamin A. Red cabbage provides 33% of your required daily intake of the vitamin in only one cup. On the other hand, a cup of green cabbage only has 3%.

Additionally, red cabbage has more iron and vitamin C. Although it doesn't have as much as red cabbage, green cabbage is still a fairly decent source of vitamin C. Anthocyanins are also abundant in red cabbage. They work wonders for cognitive enhancement, weight loss, and cancer prevention.