This Baby Bok Choy Salad is full of crunchy almonds, ramen noodles, and a sweet Sesame Dressing. It's like Chinese takeout in salad form!
If you love crunchy things in your salad, try my Crunchy Broccoli Slaw (with ramen and walnuts), Strawberry Spinach Salad (with pecans), or Israeli Couscous Salad (with walnuts). See more homemade salad dressing recipes here and lots of salad ideas here.
The first time I tried Baby Bok Choy Salad, I was at my friend Melissa's house. I watched her make it (somewhat skeptically because I was just a Foodie-in-Training back then), but one bite and I was a full-blown bok-choy convert.
Once you start eating this Baby Bok Choy Salad, you might do a double-take and wonder if you're eating Chinese takeout. I'm kind of exaggerating, but not really. The flavor profiles are similar and this salad is just as addictive!
The original recipe was her came from Melissa's grandma and was prepared with regular bok choy. I started using baby bok choy because it was easier to find.
And it's fun to say: Baby Bok Choy.
If you can't find Baby Bok Choy, substitute the full-size version. It's the same species but harvested later. For either variety of bok choy, look for plants that have firm stalks and are free of brown discolorations.
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. Wash the stalks in cool water, carefully brushing away any sand or dirt that remains.
Wrap in paper towels and store for up to a week in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer or use immediately. Slice the stalks in the same manner as you would slice celery, using the entire stalk including the leaves at the top.
This salad gets some extra crunch from ramen noodles and almonds. You don't need the ramen seasoning packet, so discard or save for another use.
To ensure even browning of the ramen, crumble it as much as possible. Once you add it to the pan, you'll quickly see any large pieces that remain. I usually take them out and mash them separately until they are uniform in size with the rest.
You have options on almonds. I use the blanched, sliced kind (without skins), but skin-on almonds or slivered almonds are fine.
To make this salad gluten-free, leave out the ramen and sub GF soy sauce. You could also add more vegetables inspired by your favorite local Buddha's Feast such as shredded carrots, cabbage, or bell peppers.
In previous iterations of this recipe, the quantity of salad dressing is double. But, that's entirely unnecessary. NO ONE needs that much salad dressing unless you are pouring it into a glass and making a cocktail. Which I do not recommend.
But with summer just around the corner, I DO recommend serving this salad at all the parties, everywhere! Check the recipe notes for tips on making it ahead (always a good idea!).
Baby Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Dressing Recipe
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
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.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leave out the ramen noodles
- Substitute GF soy sauce
- Choose Top Ramen brand ramen noodles which are 100% vegan.