Bok choy (also known as pak choi or Brassica chinensis) is a relative of cabbage and kale, and belongs to cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds.
It is a common ingredient in many Asian-inspired recipes. You should have no trouble finding bok choy at the market as it is available almost year-round. Look for a plant with firm stalks that is free of brown spots.
Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are 20+ different varieties of bok choy – the two most often found in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy. If you take a trip to your local Asian market, you may find some other varieties.
Bok Choy Health Benefits
Bok choy is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, providing lots of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate, calcium, and other nutrients.
It is highly beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.
Bok Choy Recipes
Bok choy has a distinctive, slightly bitter flavor. It’s less bitter than kale, and certainly a lot less bitter than dandelion or watercress. It can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes.
In a green smoothie, its taste is easily masked by just about any fruit you add to it. You can substitute bok choy in any recipe that includes spinach. Be sure to use the entire white stalk too!
Baby Bok Choy Smoothie Recipe
- 2 apples, cored
- 2 oranges or tangerines, peeled and deseeded
- 2 heads of baby bok choy (about two cups)
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 or 2 cups of water
Blend well in your blender and enjoy!
Baby Bok Choy in Tangy-Sweet Vinaigrette Dressing
If you’ve only had these babies sauteed, fried, or cooked in some other way, try them raw in this salad recipe.
Salad Ingredients (serves 2-4, depending on your portion size :-))
- 6 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, thinly shredded
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine dressing ingredients and mix together until well combined.
In a mixing bowl, pour the vinaigrette over bok choy and carrot, and toss together well to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!
Braised Bok Choy
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- Toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently.
- Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy cut into pieces.
- Drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cover and cook until bok choy is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.
- Simmer until reduced to a glaze, pour over bok choy and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Serve with a side of whole grains, quinoa, or basmati rice.
For all my blending recipes I use Vitamix. If you don’t already own a VitaMix, I strongly encourage you to check out what this machine is capable of! For more information about VitaMix you can go directly to the VitaMix website. You may also want to read my post about the Best Blender.
I LOVE my VitaMix and highly recommend investing in one if you are ready to make serious changes to your diet. I have had mine for almost 5 years and use it daily!
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Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!