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Lightly charred and drizzled with a spicy sauce bursting with Asian flavors, Grilled Bok Choy is a quick and easy side dish that just might steal the show at your dinner table this summer.
Bok choy may be a vegetable that you've never considered grilling. But I promise that if you try it once, you'll make it often. An excellent side dish for summer get-togethers and backyard BBQs, it's delicious hot or at room temperature, easy to make, and so elegant on the platter.
Ingredients You Need to Make Grilled Bok Choy
- Bok Choy: Ideally baby bok choy, but the mature version will also work.
- Sesame Oil / Toasted Sesame Oil: You'll need both plain sesame oil for brushing and toasted sesame oil for the finishing sauce.
- Garlic: look for a plump head of garlic with smooth, silvery skin
- Ginger: fresh ginger, dried ginger isn't a good substitute here
- Sriracha Sauce: or red chili paste such as sambal oelek
- Soy Sauce: or tamari or liquid aminos for a gluten free version
- Sesame Seeds: toasted sesame seeds, white, black or a mix of the two
Cooks Notes and FAQ
Bok choy is a leafy green that's a type of Chinese cabbage. It's a member of the mustards or cabbage family that's related to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Although several species go by the same name, they typically show the same traits — long dark or bright green leaves held together by a thick, juicy stem ranging in color from light green to bright white.
When buying bok choy for grilling, look for baby bok choy, which is more tender than its mature version (though you can use either for this recipe). Make sure the leaves are not withered and that the stem is firm and free of blemishes.
Both bok choy leaves and stems are edible, so you just need to trim the bottom end. And although the leaves might seem like the most desirable part, you’ll find the snappy stem to be equally delicious.
Keep in mind that the stem takes a bit longer to cook than the leaves, so you should monitor them both while cooking. The most common mistakes when cooking bok choy are overcooking the leaves and undercooking the stems.
To prepare bok choy for an outdoor grill, cut it in half lengthwise and rinse it carefully, particularly near the base of the stem where dirt and grit like to hide. Then pat it dry and brush the cut side generously with with oil. You'll want clean grill grates and enough heat to get those coveted grill marks.
For some recipes, like stir-fries, you’re better off separating the leaves from the stems to cook for different lengths of time. But when grilling bok choy, you'll keep the leaves and stem intact. The leaves take on a light char while the stems become tender, but retain some of their crunch. A warm spicy sesame-ginger dressing and shower of toasted sesame seeds spooned on at the end rounds out and enhances both the smoky and bright flavors of the dish.
If you can’t find baby bok choy at the farmers market or Asian supermarket, use mature bok choy instead; cut it into quarters lengthwise and grill it for a bit longer.
Yes, you can eat bok choy raw. Carefully rinse it as you would any other green. Chopped up, it makes a crunchy and delicious addition to all kinds of salads and slaws.
More Delicious Grilled Vegetables to Try
Grilled Bok Choy
- 4 large heads baby bok choy cut in half lengthwise and rinsed carefully to remove all dirt and grit
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Preheat a gas grill to medium (350˚F).
- Drizzle cut side of bok choy with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and rub all over to coat. Place cut side down on grill and close cover. Cook 6 minutes; turn and cook 6-8 minutes more until crisp-tender with lightly charred areas. Arrange on serving platter cut side up.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of sesame oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in chili paste, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Drizzle evenly over grilled bok choy. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired and serve.
- If you want to avoid the char on the tender leaves, you can place a strip of foil on your grill under just the leaves, leaving the remainder of the bok choy over direct heat.