This crispy, crunchy bok choy salad is served with an Asian inspired sesame dressing and topped with sliced almonds and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy it as is or pair with some grilled steak or chicken.
*This recipe was originally published in April 2012. The pictures and content have been updated.
I’ve mentioned in many Januarys before, I don’t make resolutions. And I certainly don’t make resolutions around food.
Not for the New Year and not for ever really.
But, come every January I do always find myself gravitating towards and craving a few more green things than before.
I think that’s pretty inevitable though after the bombardment of holiday treats.
So, we’re starting 2021 with this bok choy salad.
It’s actually an old recipe that I resurrected because I thought it was good enough to deserve a few new pics and an updated send off into internet land.
I hadn’t made this bok choy salad in quite a bit but when the baby bok choy looked as good as it did at the grocery store the other day, it came to mind as I added it to my cart and here we are.
While many choose to cook bok choy when they eat it (me included most of the time), it’s actually pretty delicious raw as well.
It’s a spectacularly crunchy vegetable that’s perfect when thinly sliced in a salad like this.
Similar sort of to a shaved brussels sprouts salad in the effect but more closely related to something like celery in texture and taste.
WHAT IS BOK CHOY?
Firstly, bok choy goes by a few names. You might hear it called pak choi or Chinese cabbage.
Don’t get it confused with tatsoi. They’re both Asian greens but a bit different.
There’s also regular bok choy and baby bok choy (which is what we’re using in this salad).
Baby bok choy is technically a different variety, sometimes called Shanghai bok choy and in addition to being smaller in size from regular bok choy, its leaves are a lighter green and stalks a paler white.
In appearance, bok choy looks like lettuce or spinach on the top and celery on the bottom. Granted, in taste, it’s really quite unique.
It can have a very slight bitter taste when raw (that’s why this salad is tossed in a delicious sesame soy dressing) but definitely not nearly as much as something like mustard greens or dandelion greens.
It’s technically a cruciferous veggie, even though it doesn’t look the part. Because of this, it stands up great to grilling (like in this grilled baby bok choy recipe).
If anything, it’s most similar to cabbage but a bit more delicate in nature.
It’s an all around pretty versatile vegetable.
Check out how to cut bok choy in this post to make sure you get rid of the dirt the stems tend to collect.
CAN YOU EAT BOK CHOY RAW?
Yes, you can!
We’re using baby bok choy in this salad recipe and it’s perfect for this.
You can eat regular bok choy raw too I just prefer the tenderness of the baby bok choy.
Bok choy is versatile whether it’s the regular or the baby variety. It can be enjoyed sautéed, grilled, in stir frys or raw in salads.
HOW TO PREPARE BOK CHOY
This is another way bok choy is similar to celery.
To prepare it, you can treat it just like a heart of celery.
First, chop off the bottom.
Then, separate the stalks/stems and give them a good rinse. Bok choy tends to hold its dirt and sand at the base of the vegetable.
From there, you can chop it up for cooking or, for this bok choy salad, thinly slice it into shreds.
One of the reasons I love this vegetable so much is that the entirety of bok choy is edible!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS RAW BOK CHOY SALAD
This is a simple salad and while you’ll obviously need the baby bok choy as the base, the other ingredients are pretty customizable to what you like or have on hand.
You’ll need the following:
- baby bok choy – thinly sliced/shredded
- celery – cut into matchsticks
- carrots – either shredded or thinly sliced on the diagonal
- red bell pepper – thinly sliced
- sliced almonds – toast them if you like!
- toasted sesame seeds – these are more of a garnish but really bring the salad and dressing together
As you can see, there’s lots of crunch going on in this recipe and one of the reasons I love it so much. Be prepared to chew a lot!
HOW TO MAKE THE SESAME SOY DRESSING
What really brings the life to this simple bok choy salad is the sesame soy dressing.
It lends a bit of salty sweetness with Asian undertones and ties all the ingredients together.
To make it you’ll need the following:
- extra virgin olive oil – substitute avocado oil if you prefer
- sesame oil – toasted sesame oil is even better if you have it!
- rice wine vingear
- soy sauce – use Tamari or coconut aminos for paleo/gluten-free
- honey – or maple syrup for vegans
- salt and pepper – to taste but be generous as this salad can take a good dose of both
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl or jar and the dressing can then be used on the salad when ready.
You can make the dressing ahead of time and store it in the fridge if needed.
This is a great versatile dressing for any salad so feel free to double or triple the recipe and keep it on hand for more uses!
Of course, you can also use your favorite bottled Asian dressing. Primal Kitchen makes a sesame ginger one we love and use often that would be great on this.
The flavors of this dressing pair perfectly with the ginger garlic sesame sauce on these air fryer frozen shrimp too if you’re looking for a great way to make this a full meal!
HOW TO MAKE THE BOK CHOY SALAD
Once all the ingredients are prepped, combine everything except the toasted sesame seeds in a large bowl.
Undressed, this salad can be prepped ahead of time and sit for quite some time in the fridge unlike leaf lettuce salads that might wilt.
When ready to serve, toss the salad and dressing together until well coated.
Garnish with the sesame seeds and enjoy!
STORING LEFTOVER BOK CHOY SALAD
Much like this salad can be made ahead of time, it also stores well too.
Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an air-tight container and you can easily enjoy this baby bok choy salad recipe for 2-3 days.
RAMEN BOK CHOY SALAD
If you want to really amp up the Asian flair of this salad and make it more of a meal than a side dish or light lunch – add some cooked and cooled ramen noodles!
Bok choy is often used in ramen noodle bowls or soup and just like it’s delicious in that way, adding ramen to a bok choy salad is just as great!
I love a cold noodle salad and absolutely love using ramen in salads and stir frys. This ramen stir fry recipe is actually one of my favorite easy 20 minute meals.
For a gluten-free option, choose a rice noodle instead.
If you want a hot noodle bok choy option, these garlic noodles with bok choy and shiitake mushrooms look amazing.
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO ADD
Besides ramen, you can make this bok choy salad more of a meal by adding some grilled chicken, steak, pork or even tofu.
This air fryer tofu recipe is one of my absolute favorites for pairing with this salad. So crispy and delicious!
I also enjoy this with shelled edamame for a bit of protein or any cooked bean.
Thinly sliced scallions are another fun addition if you don’t mind the lingering effects of raw onion (it’s a love/hate ingredient for me).
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BOK CHOY?
Well for starters, it’s a vegetable and I’ve never met one of those that aren’t good for you!
Bok choy is high in vitamins C, A and K and also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Some consider it a green leaf superfood.
Whether you sauté it, grill it or make a raw bok choy salad like this, it’s a vegetable worth adding to your routine!
Love this baby bok choy salad recipe?
Try another fresh and easy salad recipe like Lemony Shaved Asparagus Tomato Salad, Radicchio Endive Fennel Salad with Tangy Dijon Herb Dressing or, Pickled Fennel Citrus Salad.
Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Soy Sauce
- 1 pound baby bok choy washed and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 stalks of celery thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce *see note for GF
- 1 tablespoon honey **see note for vegan
- salt & pepper to taste
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- sliced almonds for garnish
- Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl or glass jar.
- Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well until combined.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced almonds.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.