Friday, February 20, 2015

Crunchy bok choy salad

Crunchy bok choy salad, with a clever ramen noodle topping and a sweet-and-spicy peanut dressing: an easy, healthy weeknight meal.

crunchy bok choy salad

This is one of those recipes that I've been making for years -- one of my go-to, healthy and easy weeknight meals that I really should have shared with you long ago.

Maybe it's fate. Maybe the universe wanted me to be ready to photograph it really, really well so that you'll be convinced to try it and spread the good news of the bok choy salad. And its three secret weapons.

Secret Weapon #1: Ramen noodles.

Yes, ramen freaking noodles. Yes, the kind that you buy in the little cellophane packages for 22 cents or some ridiculous pittance like that. But just the noodles, mind you, not the nasty little packet of "flavor."

And you don't even need to cook the noodles. Just put the package on a hard surface, smash it all up with your fist, then open the bag and throw out the flavor package.

Voila: Instant crunchy salad topper.

(I know, right?)

But wait: There's more.

Secret Weapon #2: Peanut butter.

Yes, peanut butter. In the dressing. The dressing is is simple honey-soy mixture with curry powder and some spicy red pepper, but it's the addition of a dollop of creamy peanut butter that really gives it that Thai-style flavor oomph.

But I promised you a third secret weapon, didn't I?

crunchy bok choy salad

Secret Weapon #3: Slow cooker soy and citrus chicken.

Yes, the very same slow cooker soy and citrus chicken that I presented to you earlier this week. So it's nearly a totally healthy twofer: easy, flavorful slow cooker chicken dinner one night, followed by this super-quick, crunchy bok choy salad, using chicken leftovers on the next night.

Now, this is really an optional secret weapon, as you can enjoy this bok choy salad without any meat at all or with the addition of chickpeas, white beans or cubes of tofu if you're looking to get your protein in a non-meaty way.

Regardless of Secret Weapon #3, this crunchy bok choy salad is simple and quick to prepare, with lots of satisfying crunchiness not only from the ramen and peanut topping but also from the crisp bell pepper and bok choy stalks.

Who doesn't love a crunchy salad?

Are you a bok choy fan? Do you prefer it raw in a salad like this one or cooked into a dish like my Vietnamese slow cooker chicken? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

crunchy bok choy salad

Crunchy Bok Choy Salad

(adapted from Cooking Light)

2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups thinly sliced bok choy leaves and chopped stalks
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup sliced green onion
1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1 3-ounce package ramen noodle soup mix (smash the noodles into small bits while in the package, then open and discard flavor packet)
1 cup leftover soy and citrus chicken or other protein (optional)

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients (honey through red pepper flakes) until blended into a dressing. Add all the remaining ingredients and toss to coat with the dressing.
-- print recipe --


  1. You have no idea how much I love this. Quick healthy weekend meals get pinned to my fridge. Plus I love a good secret :)

    1. Pin away, Emma! Plus, this is one secret you don't have to keep.

  2. I had a great bok choy salad that was similar to this many years ago and I love love loved it, but the dressing had a ton of sugar in it. I can't wait to try this version!!

  3. What a great bowl of food! I've eaten bok choy MANY times at restaurants, but never cooked with it. And, it's one of my favorite things, so I need to try it at home!

    1. I hope you do, Kristi -- I love it, especially when it's raw or only lightly cooked so the crunchiness really shines through.

  4. LOVE this! What a legit looking salad!! And so funny b/c I was just watching David Chang on Mind of a Chef and he was talking about how he loved to eat the ramen noodles straight up out of the package like this when he was a kid!