Turn the ramen in your pantry into Baby Bok Choy Salad, a crunchy, good-for-you recipe loaded with vegetables, almonds, toasted noodles, and a killer sesame soy dressing. Faster to make than a bok choy stir fry, this salad is hands-down fantastic for parties or just lunch for the week.

Baby bok choy salad with sesame dressing in a wooden bowl.

The great part about bok choy slaw or salad is that it stays crisp longer than any lettuce, so it’s perfect for big gatherings and lots of grazing. It has a mild flavor, too, which highlights any bold, Asian-style vinaigrette.

And in case you find yourself overstocked on grocery store ramen noodles, well, this might be the perfect recipe for using them up.Like all the best recipes, you can add and subtract what you see fit. If you can’t find baby bok choy, use finely chopped cabbage, Napa cabbage, or even a bagged coleslaw mix. The sesame dressing will prevail, bringing all the flavors and textures together!

What is bok choy?

Also known as pak choi, pot choi, or Chinese cabbage, Bok Choy is a cruciferous vegetable in the mustard family–just like broccoli, turnips, kale, and cabbage!

True bok choy has firm white stalks and deep dark green leaves, and can grow to a pretty large size. Baby bok choy is technically a different variety–Shanghai bok choy–that has light green stalks, spoon-shaped soft leaves, and stays small.

Just like its cruciferous family members, the whole plant is edible. You can eat any type of bok choy raw in salads, or cooked, in stir frys.

How to Clean and Store Baby Bok Choy:

The easiest way to clean Baby Bok Choy is to treat it like a bunch of celery. Trim off and discard the end of the bulb and separate the stalks. Then rinse the stalks in cool water, carefully brushing away any sand or dirt on the leaves.

Then use it right away, or wrap in paper towels and store for up to a week in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Slice the stalks in the same manner as you would slice celery, using the entire stalk– including the leaves at the top.

What you need to make bok choy salad:

Don’t worry–there are lots of good substitutions for ingredients in this salad, if you don’t have exactly what the recipe calls for.

  • Baby bok choy. Usually found sold in big bags at Asian markets. Use mature bok choy (Chinese cabbage) or Nappa cabbage instead.
  • Ramen noodles. Curly, raw ramen noodles, right out of the package. And no, you don’t need the seasoning packet for this recipe.
  • Sliced almonds. I like the blanched, sliced kind (without skins), but skin-on almonds or slivered almonds are fine, too.
  • Scallions.
  • Olive oil. Just a little for pan-toasting the noodles and almonds.  You can also oven bake the noodles/nuts/seeds, too. There’s an option below.
    Baby bok choy salad with sesame dressing ingredients in various bowls.

Other fun ingredients:

  • Sliced red bell pepper.
  • Celery, chopped on the bias.
  • Chow mein noodles. 
  • Mandarin orange segments.
  • Shredded carrots.

For the sesame dressing:

  • Light brown sugar. As always, if you’re watching your sugar intake, feel free to use less.
  • Olive oil. Some readers switch out a little of the olive oil for toasted sesame oil, which boosts the nutty flavor.
  • Red wine vinegar. If you don’t have it, don’t worry. Use lemon juice, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or white vinegar instead.
  • Sesame seeds. Raw sesame seeds, or toasted. See the notes below for toasting your own!
  • Soy sauce. Going gluten free? Use GF soy sauce, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos instead.
    Sesame dressing ingredients in various bowls.

Making the Bok Choy Salad dressing:

This homemade sesame soy dressing is almost drinkable it’s so good, but if you need a salad NOW, go ahead and use your favorite bottled brand. I’ve heard good things about Kewpie Roasted Sesame dressing, Costco’s Sesame dressing, and Paul Newman’s Sesame Thai dressing. But really, anything with a sesame, soy, or ginger component will taste great.

The homemade dressing can be made in advance and stored in a jar in the refrigerator.

To make the sesame dressing, add the brown sugar, oil (olive oil, or a toasted sesame oil), vinegar, sesame seeds, and soy sauce to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid and give the jar a little shake to mix. Keep out at room temperature while making the salad, so the flavors have a chance to blend together.

How to make Baby Bok Choy Salad:

  1. First, pan toast the crushed ramen noodles and almonds with a small amount of olive oil in a skillet on the stove until toasted and brown. This step keeps the noodles crispier, longer.
    Alternatively, you can spread out the almonds, ramen, and even the sesame seeds (if raw) on a baking sheet–no oil needed– and toast in the oven at 350 degrees. Give the ingredients a stir every 5 to 10 minutes until toasty. This technique is hands-free so you can prep your veggies, too!
    Baby bok choy salad ingredients being toasted in a black skillet.
  2. After cooking, let the crunchy mixture cool to room temperature before mixing with the cold vegetables.
  3. Meanwhile, chop up the bok choy and scallions (as well as any other fun, fresh ingredients) and add them to a big bowl. Then add the ramen noodles and almonds. Drizzle the dressing of your choice over the salad, and toss to combine.
    Baby bok choy salad with sesame dressing in a wooden bowl.
  4. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Make ahead Bok Choy Salad:

  • Make the salad dressing several days in advance.
  • After you toast the noodles and nuts, let them cool and store them in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 6 months, or a zippered freezer bag in the freezer for up to a year.
  • Chop the vegetables the night before you need them, but store them in separate containers and combine them just before the final toss.

Gluten-free bok choy salad:

To make the salad completely gluten-free, switch out the soy sauce for your favorite substitute, such as coconut aminos or GF soy sauce. Then make the salad without the ramen noodles, and be sure to add some extra vegetables!

Baby bok choy salad with sesame dressing in a wooden bowl.

Baby Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Dressing

Turn the ramen in your pantry into Baby Bok Choy Salad, a crunchy, good-for-you recipe loaded with vegetables, almonds, toasted noodles, and a killer sesame soy dressing. Faster to make than a bok choy stir fry, this salad is hands-down fantastic for parties or just lunch for the week. 
4.93 from 26 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Asian
Calories 222

Ingredients 

For the sesame dressing:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package ramen noodles crumbled, seasoning packet discarded (see notes for vegan information)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 bunch baby bok choy sliced (5 – 6 bulbs)
  • 5 scallions chopped

Instructions 

To make the dressing:

  • In a small bowl or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Allow flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the rest of the salad.

To make the salad:

  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to low. Add ramen noodles and almonds; sauté until toasted, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.
  • In a large bowl, combine baby bok choy, scallions, and crunchy mix. Drizzle salad dressing over the top and toss until uniformly combined. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Video

Notes

You may purchase toasted sesame seeds or toast regular sesame seeds yourself.
To toast sesame seeds (for oven and microwave methods, click here):
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a plate to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for 6 months or freezer storage bag in the freezer for up to 1 year.
To make ahead:
  • Mix Sesame Dressing and store covered in the refrigerator.
  • The baby bok choy and scallions may be chopped and store separately in containers in the refrigerator.
  • The crunchy mix may be toasted ahead of time, cooled, and stored at room temperature.
  • I recommend that you prep the ingredients no more than 1 day ahead of time.
To make the salad gluten free:
  • Leave out the ramen noodles
  • Substitute GF soy sauce
To make the salad vegan:
  • Choose Top Ramen brand ramen noodles which are 100% vegan.

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 346mgPotassium: 115mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 75IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I was looking for something to do with three heads of petite baby bok choi, and came upon this recipe. I used half a package of noodles, three scallions, and adjusted the dressing for a smaller portion.

    What a super great easy recipe!

    I’m having it again tonite, and I’m using what leftover dressing I had (it won’t be enough – it IS drinkable!). This salad is definitely a keeper, and one I’ll look forward to bringing to ANY potluck I attend. I used to make a similar salad, with the sauteed ramen noodles, and when I take to a picnic or other event, I’ll definitely prepare the noodles & almonds in advance, and add that with the dressing just before serving. I like that it’s different than the usual salad, and with no mayo, will be safe to leave out for awhile.

    YUM!5 stars

  2. I did it exactly the first time– great, and then went to the store on Monday and there was no bokchoy.

    So I used Napa cabbage, much bigger and cheaper!
    I have used both pistachios and toasted almonds.
    This is a great way to get kids to eat veggies. I can put anything in the ‘bok choy” part– grated carrots, broccoli– and they’ll eat it because the vinaigrette is so good. I really increased the sesame oil because I loved the taste, went with rice vinegar as that’s all I had, and used light brown sugar (and not much). It was so good. The fried ramen noodles are just wonderful texture.5 stars

  3. The recipe is lovely. I added rice wine vinegar instead of red, added a smidge of sesame oil to the dressing recipe. Added pears to the salad with cilantro and mint, and did veggie dumplings on the side5 stars

    1. I added just a bit of sesame oil too! A little bit adds a whole lot of flavor, and really enhances the dressing.5 stars

  4. This was delicious! I didn’t have any sesame seeds on hand, so I added just under 1 tsp of sesame oil into the dressing and turned out well and tasted great.5 stars

  5. I really was interested in your recipe. However, I was not able to get to the recipe. All the ads that continued to come up on the site, plus your video, kept interfering with me getting to the recipe at the end of this segment. I would scroll down and something would pop up. That would put me right back at the beginning of this recipe. I must have repeated that procedure for at least 3 min. Trying to get down to the recipe or even reading what you had to say about it. So it is hard to rate something when you can not get to it. I looked for a place where I could email your Institute to let you know. I am giving you a four with out making your salad. Hoping that it deserves it.

    1. Hi Karen, are you using the Firefox browser by any chance? There is some kind of glitch that happens with that, it has nothing to do with the ads or the videos, just that browser is conflicting with the social sharing buttons on my site. You scroll down and it pops you back up to the top. I might have to disable those buttons so that doesn’t keep happening. I’m really sorry about that. Thanks for letting me know! -Meggan

  6. I don’t want your readers to make the mistake I did. The ramen noodles required are the ones which are instant- they’re actually par-boiled. Once when we ran out, my husband ran to the store & brought back regular, RAW ramen. It was like using uncooked spaghetti- BIG difference!! I practically shredded my hands trying to break it, & chewing it was dangerous! The other thing I wanted to mention, is a variation I tried from another recipe: instead of the brown sugar, use the juice of 1 orange- the orange doesn’t dominate, & we actually prefer this variation.4 stars

    1. Raw noodles are uncooked and ready to eat as is. They are not what you want to use! You actually DO need to use the hard ones that come in a little block, which you would normally boil for a minute to soften,

      The key to using the hard ones without shredding your hands is to put the block into a plastic bag and use a mallet or hammer or the hard handle of some utensil to beat the heck out of them. It only takes a few minutes, but you end up with a whole bunch of crushed noodles which brown nicely with the almonds.

      It sounds like your way worked out fine, but try the hard crunchy ones, and I think you’ll like this recipe even more!5 stars

View all comments