Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok Choy

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Category : Condiments, Recipes, Side Dishes

Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok ChoyI love Broadleaf Farms’ napa cabbage–have I mentioned that yet today? Probably. It’s so perfectly crisp and delicate at the same time. Simply marvelous!

This week’s menu was based on a cheese fondue with bread chunks for dipping. As I tried to decide what to use for a side dish, it occurred to me that a cheese fondue has ingredients similar to a cheese sandwich. What do you have with a cheese sandwich? Pickles!

Most Americans think of traditional cucumber pickles, but of course many other kinds of vegetables can be pickled. We also tend to think, perhaps, of the canned (jarred) pickles our grandmothers made, but vegetables can also be pickled in less than a day. Pickles made the latter way are often called “refrigerator pickles.”

For this recipe, I used the lower 1/3 of a head of napa cabbage as the basis. The lower third is mostly the large stems of the leaves, so has a nice crunch. There are several locally available vegetables that would have made a nice pairing in the pickles–radishes (either regular or daikon), sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), etc. I chose to use some bok choy, also grown by Broadleaf Farms (Everson). Again I used the lower third which included mostly the large stems. I included just enough of the dark bok choy leaves to add a little color to the dish.

The resulting pickles were mild and tasty–a nice chilled and crunchy contrast to the warm and gooey cheese fondue.


  • Prep Time:
    15 min
  • Cook Time:
    4-6 hrs
  • Ready In:
    half a day
Servings: 4 servings
  • Bottom 1/3 of Napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into 1/2″ pieces (Broadleaf Farm, Everson)
  • Bottom third of bok choy, sliced crosswise into 1/2″ pieces (Broadleaf Farm, Everson)
  • 1 tsp salt (see Exceptions)
  • 1/2 tsp dried jalapeno flakes, crushed in mortar with pestle (homemade*)
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)

* Note: I didn’t have homemade jalapeno flakes this time, but I’ve planted some in my garden and will dry them for next year. And thanks to my friend Rio for letting me know that BelleWood Acres is now producing apple cider vinegar! I found it at the Community Food Co-op, but it’s also carried at Terra Organica.


Wash and dry cabbage well and place in a large bowl. Add bok choy stems to cabbage, and toss mixture gently with salt and jalapeno flakes.

Refrigerate, covered, for 4-6 hours, tossing every 30 minutes.

Drain thoroughly, pressing out the liquid, and toss with vinegar. Serve chilled.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with Smoked Gouda Fondue as a side dish, or use as a condiment, just as you would pickle relish. Try it on sandwiches, for example.

Food Sources:

Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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