Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable in the cruciferous veggie family and has been a staple in Chinese cooking for thousands of years. This versatile vegetable has long, crisp stalks and dark green leaves that resemble spinach, yet it has more vitamin A and vitamin C than spinach.
You can buy Bok choy at most supermarkets, consisting of bunches or heads with several stalks attached at one end. The stalks are firm and crunchy while the leaves are tender and delicate. It belongs to the cabbage family. You might wonder where its strange name comes from. Bok choy means “white vegetable” in Cantonese.
Why would you want to eat Bok Choy? It’s a nutritional powerhouse.
Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins C and beta carotene as well as calcium, and vitamin K. A single serving of Bok choy also provides a healthy dose of folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium to. It also contains phytochemicals and compounds called glucosinolates with anti-cancer properties. These are the same compounds that give broccoli its potential anti-cancer benefits. However, it’s unclear whether these benefits apply to humans. It’s an area of research.
Now that you know how nutritious Bok choy is, you might wonder how to enjoy its health and nutritional benefits. It’s a veggie you can eat raw or cooked and there are several ways to prepare it .
Raw Bok Choy
When you eat Bok choy raw, you retain more of its vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that supports immune health. You also need vitamin C to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin and joints health.
One of the best ways to eat Bok choy raw (and retain more of its vitamin C) is to add it to a salad with a healthy salad dressing. Prep a big salad using a variety of health veggies in many shades such as spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers, and add Bok choy. Add fruit, nuts, and a source of protein. Then, top it off with a tasty salad dressing. Here’s a recipe for a healthy salad dressing:
- In a small bowl or jar, stir together 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and sea salt & pepper (to taste). Whisk until well combined.
- Add your salad ingredients to a large bowl and pour the dressing mixture over it until well coated.
- Toss gently to combine all ingredients.
- Serve immediately for maximum freshness.
You can also use whole Bok choy leaves as a wrap for fillings like hummus or tuna salad for an easy lunchtime option that doesn’t take long to prepare. Do you enjoy lettuce wraps? Try swapping lettuce leaves for raw baby Bok choy instead. Dip Bok choy stalks into hummus and other healthy dips or use one as a holder for almond or peanut butter. You can also add Bok choy to sandwiches and wraps. Chop or slice your desired amount of bok choy into small pieces so they will fit inside your wrap easily when folded in half.
Sauteed Bok Choy
You can also saute Bok choy with other vegetables such as kale or broccoli. To prep Bok choy for sauteing, remove the bruised outer leaves and rinse well with cold water. Slice off the top two inches of the Bok choy and discard. Then, separate the stalks by gently pulling them apart. Peel away wilted or discolored outer leaves as you go. The inner stalks should be white with a light green tint and about 4 inches long. Then cut Bok choy into 2-inch segments for sauteing. Add your favorite seasoning (sesame oil and soy sauce) for flavor enhancement. Sauteed Bok choy tastes delicious sauteed with fresh ginger and garlic and served over brown rice or quinoa.
Roasted Bok Choy
Roasting Bok choy enhances its flavor in a way no other cooking method can and it’s easy to do.
How to Roast Bok Choy
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Cut the Bok choy in half lengthwise, keeping the root intact. Wash thoroughly with cold water and shake dry or pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the Bok choy cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil or melted coconut oil. Season with salt, pepper and other desired herbs or spices such as cumin, lemon zest or garlic powder. Transfer to oven and roast until tender but not mushy, 7 to 9 minutes depending on size of Bok choy halves.
- Remove from the oven when tender but not mushy and serve immediately alongside other roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots for a complete meal!
Grilled Bok Choy
Grilling Bok choy is a flavorful way to prepare this vegetable, because it’s not only tasty but helps to preserve its color and texture. The key to grilling Bok choy is to cook it just long enough for it to become tender but still retain its color.
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat.
- Brush the Bok choy on both sides with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the Bok choy on the grill grate directly over the flames or coals. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the Bok choy once or twice until the leaves and crisp and the stalks have grill marks.
The secret to success with grilling Bok choy is to use high heat, so the Bok choy cooks fast.
The next time you’re in the grocery store and see this colorful vegetable, pick some up! Bok choy offers a variety of health and nutritional benefits, and you can enjoy it raw or cooked. Enjoy!
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