This pak choi salad is light and refreshing, and a delicious side salad to enjoy with Asian style dishes. Very easy to make, it comes together in less than 30 minutes and is vegan, gluten free and made without soy.
Side salads used to mean one thing, a green salad or perhaps a bit of grated carrot if you were pushing the boat out! But with so many flavours and textures, they can be full of tasty ingredients and not bland at all. Perhaps you may like to see my pear and fennel salad and my kale apple slaw for more ideas!
This pak choi salad (also known as bok choy or pok choi, amongst other names) uses this tasty Chinese cabbage along with cucumber and celery for a light and refreshing side salad that goes so well with summer picnic food, BBQ food or just your evening meal! It has subtle flavours, but you can easily 'up' the sesame oil and vinegar for something a little punchier.
Why you'll love this recipe
Fresh and light. This bok choy salad is fresh and light, with refreshing greens and cucumber. Perfect for summer!
Healthy. we have all the greens here, alongside healthy olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Quick and easy to make. It's simply a case of a bit of chopping, making a dressing and a bit of a toast of the pistachios. Takes just twenty minutes to come together!
All the ingredients are set out in the recipe card below, but some pointers on a few of them:
- Pak choi - a type of cabbage, it is also known as bok choy, pok choy or pak choi, depending upon where you live. Choose fresh young pak choi that can be eaten raw.
- Toasted sesame oil - this is the main flavour of the dressing. I suggest using as high quality as is affordable for you.
- Olive oil - I suggest using extra virgin olive for its better depth of flavour.
- Pistachios - be sure to use unsalted as salted wouldn't be good on a salad!
Swaps and variations
Swap sesame oil for olive oil. If you are sensitive to sesame (note that it is in the top ten food allergens), then you can use all olive oil instead. I would suggest adding ginger or another herb or spice to the dressing as it may be a little bland otherwise.
Add in coconut aminos. We don't use soy in this recipe, but I know some of my low histamine readers do well with coconut aminos. Only use if you know they work for you though!
Sharp knife - to dice the vegetables.
Small bowl - to make the sesame dressing.
Step by step instructions
A very simple salad, we only have a few steps and all are very easy to do:
Wash the pak choi and snap off the leaves. Wash well, and discard or cut off any tough parts of the stalk or bruised leaves. Finely dice the leaves and stem on a diagonal (image 1).
If the pak choi is older and has tough leaves you may wish to blanch them first. This post on how to store, prepare and cook pak choi by Odd Box is helpful.
Peel the cucumber, then dice along with the celery (image 2).
Recipe tip: this is a delicate salad with fresh and light flavours. I suggest dicing the vegetables quite finely.
Combine all the ingredients for the sesame dressing, then stir well (image 3). Taste test, and adjust with more sesame oil, vinegar or sugar to preference.
Crush the pistachios with the back of a spoon, then add to a skillet. Dry toast the nuts (without any oil) on a low heat for a few minutes (image 4). Set aside to cool.
Combine all the ingredients for the salad, and drizzle on the dressing. Sprinkle on some more sesame seeds and then enjoy!
Additions to the salad
To make the bok choy salad into a main dish for lunch, you can add some cooked rice noodles or ramen noodles.
Adding shredded cooked chicken is another option.
Recipe tips and notes
- Dice the pak choi quite finely. It is best to use young pak choi, but it is still best to dice quite finely, especially the stalks.
- If the pak choi seems a little tough then you can easily blanch the leaves before use.
- Adjust the taste of the sesame dressing to preference with more oil or vinegar.
- Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet, that is, without any oil and just for a few minutes.
Frequently asked questions
If the pak choi is young (sometimes known as baby bok choy) then it can be eaten raw in salads. Dice finely and enjoy your greens!
Wash the leaves, and dice finely, including the stalks. If the stalk is particularly tough this can be removed. Some people prefer to blanch the leaves, which is also an option.
Simply add the pistachios to a dry skillet, without any oil. Cook on a low heat for a few minutes, moving around occasionally.
More salads to enjoy
Pak choi salad
- 2 pak choi (also known as bok choy)
- ⅓ cucumber peeled, finely diced into halves
- 1 celery stick finely diced
- 1 tablespoon pistachios crushed
- 1 green onion finely diced
For the sesame dressing
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Remove the leaves from the pak choi, discarding any bruised leaves or tough parts of the stem. Slice finely on a diagonal.
- Finely slice the celery and cucumber. I suggest peeling the cucumber first, then dice into rounds, then slice into halves.
- Make the sesame dressing by combining all the ingredients and stirring well. Taste test, and adjust to preference.
- Crush the pistachios with the back of a spoon, then heat gently on a low heat in a dry skillet for 2-3 minutes.
- Combine all the ingredients in your serving bowl and sprinkle on some more sesame seeds. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- This is quite a delicate salad, with subtle flavours. Dice the vegetables quite finely, with a sharp knife.
- If the pak choi is older you may need to blanch the leaves beforehand. Younger leaves can be eaten raw.
- Adjust the sesame dressing to taste preference with more sesame oil, vinegar or black pepper.
- Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet, that is, without any oil, on a low heat. Be sure to use unsalted pistachios.
- green onion is not rated. You can swap out for white onion if you prefer.
- sesame (for the oil and seeds), scores 1. Please note that sesame is a potential allergen and should only be consumed if you know you tolerate well. It is unclear whether toasted sesame oil would be higher histamine. Swap put for olive oil if required and add some ginger or herbs for flavour.
- brown sugar is not rated. You could swap for a little agave or maple syrup.
- apple cider vinegar scores 1.
- black pepper scores 2. There is a note, 'Small amounts are tolerated'.