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Kale vs Cabbage: Comparison


Kale

Both kale and cabbage are members of the Brassica family of vegetables, and therefore, it is not surprising that they have many things in common. However, they are also quite different in some ways. In this article, we look at how kale compares against cabbage in terms of various attributes such as taste, nutrition facts, health benefits, uses, ideal storage conditions, price, and availability.


Taste

Kale typically tastes milder than regular cabbage, and young kale leaves and black kale (aka cavolo nero) have a milder flavor than mature leaves of curly kale. That is also why it is best to use baby kale or black kale if you want to whip up a kale smoothie that tastes good.

Similarly, the type of cabbage plays a role in determining how strong the cabbage-flavor of your dish will be, with Savoy cabbage being one of the mildest varieties despite its rough-looking exterior.


Nutrition Facts

Loaded with a wide range of vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotene, it is not surprising that kale has been touted as a superfood. The nutritional profile of cabbage is not as impressive as that of kale, but cabbage is still an excellent source of a number of nutrients. Whether you go for red or white cabbage, you will be providing your body with tons of vitamin C and vitamin K.

What's more, red cabbage contains anthocyanins, the same red and purple flavonoid pigments that are responsible for many of the famous health benefits of dark-colored berries such as blueberries and aronia berries.

The following Kale vs Cabbage comparison chart highlights the key differences in the nutrient content of these two related vegetables in their raw state. A value in bold means that a 100-gram serving the food covers at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient in question.

Nutrient (per 100 g)KaleCabbage
Protein4.28 g1.28 g
Fat0.93 g0.1 g
Carbohydrates8.75 g5.8 g
Fiber3.6 g2.5 g
Calcium150 mg40 mg
Iron1.47 mg0.47 mg
Magnesium47 mg12 mg
Potassium491 mg170 mg
Vitamin A9990 IU98 mg
Vitamin C120 mg36.6 mg
Vitamin K704.8 mcg76 mcg
Thiamin0.11 mg0.061 mg
Riboflavin0.13 mg0.040 mg
Niacin1.00 mg0.234 mg
Vitamin B60.27 mg0.124 mg
Folate141 mcg43 mcg

Sources: USDA, HealWithFood.org


Health Benefits

Low in calories and supercharged with nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals, both kale and cabbage have been associated with a number of potential health benefits. Kale, for example, may help slow the progression of certain age-related diseases and aging in general because of its exceptionally strong antioxidant properties.

The concentration of antioxidants in regular green or white cabbage much lower, but also cabbage has its health benefits. For example, cabbage juice has been shown to promote the healing of stomach ulcers in studies, and thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties, it may help fight conditions characterized by chronic inflammation.

What's more, both kale and cabbage contain glucosinolates which can be converted into isothiocyanates in the body. Isothiocyanates derived from Brassica vegetables such as kale and cabbage have been shown to inhibit proliferation of cancer cells and to promote their self-destruction.


Culinary Uses

Both kale and cabbage are versatile ingredients that can be used to boost the flavor and nutritional value of a wide range of dishes, both cooked and raw. Some of the most exciting ways to cook and use kale include topping a pizza with kale leaves, using it as a substitute for basil in pesto, incorporating it into green smoothies, eating it on top of pizza, in the form of kale pesto, and sneaking it into omelets and frittatas and muffins. Also making a batch of homemade kale chips seasoned with nutritional yeast is a great way to use this versatile vegetable.

With its relatively mild flavor and tender leaves, Savoy cabbage can be used much in the same way as kale. Regular red, green and white cabbage heads, however, are best used for dishes like slaws, soups, stews, casseroles and sauerkraut.


Storage

Both kale and cabbage are best stored in the fridge. Kale generally loses its freshness faster than cabbage, and if you have a lot of kale and you think you might not be able to use it all up before it goes limp, you might want to freeze it for later use. Also cabbage can be frozen for later use in cooked dishes like soups, stews and casseroles.

Note, though, that whether you are freezing kale or cabbage, you will need to blanch your produce first. Blanching vegetables like kale and cabbage before freezing helps destroy enzymes and bacteria that could otherwise cause the vegetable to lose its nutrients and change its color and flavor during frozen storage.


Price and Availability

Cabbage is inexpensive and available year round, but it is at its best from late fall through the winter. Certified organic cabbage is generally more expensive than conventionally-grown cabbage.

Kale is usually more expensive than cabbage on a weight for weight, and it is also more difficult to find year round. If you have trouble finding fresh kale in the grocery stores and farmers' markets, look for frozen kale in the frozen food section of your grocery store. If you want to a dd a bit of kale goodness to a smoothie or soup, you can also use kale powder which is available year round.