Food & Nutrition

Three-Speed Dinners: Bok Choy

Spring vegetables are rolling in! These three Asian-inspired recipes – a stir-fry, tacos, and a soup – make the most of a versatile favorite.
Published May 12, 2016

Spring vegetables are here! Bok choy is a favorite, and fast becoming new staple in the U.S. There are dozens of varietals. (To see an astounding array, check out an Asian market.) But for these recipes, we’re using so-called “baby bok choy” (small, compact heads 4 to 6 inches in length) and larger, full, heads with white stalks and forest green, white-veined leaves. If you’re lucky enough to find true baby bok choy, with tiny little heads about 2 inches long, consider shredding those and using them in a raw salad along with chopped cucumber, carrots, and radishes, all in a light sesame dressing.

What we’ve got on tap this month are straightforward recipes: a light, Asian stir-fry/salad hybrid; tasty tacos with a fresh, raw slaw; and a hearty Asian-inspired soup, best over rice noodles. But all that said, our main problem this month is the sand. Bok choy grows in it. And the sand ends up between the leaves, no matter what. You’ll need to wash them carefully and thoroughly to avoid getting grit in your finished dish. Once you wash the leaves, use them quickly, within an hour, for the freshest flavor.

If you find bok choy at the market and want to keep it for a week or so until you’re ready to try one of these recipes, don’t wash the heads. Instead, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.

We’re so glad that vegetables are now booming in our markets again. What a great way to celebrate spring!

About the 20-Minute Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Shrimp

Precooked cocktail shrimp make this dish a snap! It’s really more like a warm salad, rather than a traditional stir-fry. The hardest part is separating the bok choy leaves and cleaning them. Fill a cleaned, stoppered sink about halfway with cool water, add the leaves, agitate well, leave them alone for a few minutes to let the sand settle out, and scoop them off the top of the water before draining the sink. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the 40-Minute Chicken Tacos with Bok Choy Slaw

To make these tasty tacos, look for what’s often called “thin sliced chicken breasts.” These are not chicken strips for stir-fry. Rather, they are boneless skinless chicken breasts that have been sliced horizontally into flat cutlets. If you can’t find these, you’ll need to season boneless skinless chicken breasts with chile powder and cook them much longer, perhaps 10 minutes, turning once. In either case, they’ll go great with this lime-laced slaw, a crunchy addition to the taco. It’s a knife-and-fork affair! Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the All-Day (Slow Cooker) Beef and Bok Choy Noodle Soup

Here’s a gingery, Asian-inspired soup that’s great for one of the last chilly nights of the year. Without the noodles, the soup freezes well in individual servings for lunches on-the-go. If desired, drizzle a little Chinese chili oil over each serving. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.