I love this easy bok choy recipe! See how to make sautéed bok choy with fresh lemon and garlic in under 10 minutes. Make this as a side dish or add your favorite protein for a full meal.
Watch the Video
Related: We love this sautéed cabbage recipe.
What is Bok Choy
If you are wondering what bok choy is, let’s get that out of the way first. More recently, we have been noticing bok choy show up in our local grocery store. It’s in the same family of veggies as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. It’s light, crisp, and crunchy on the bottom and has dark green leaves on top. It tastes mild and we absolutely love it — especially when we quickly stir-fry or sauté it. The leaves wilt a little and the white bottoms stay light and crisp.
Our Favorite Way to Cook Bok Choy
This recipe was actually the result of a mistake — I was throwing together a quick lunch while using up as much of what was left in the fridge as I could.
I threw bok choy into the skillet intending to toss and flip it often so that it cooked slightly, but didn’t brown. Instead, I became distracted and realized that I had left it in the skillet, without moving it for a couple of minutes. (Thanks, Instagram)
This left the underside of the bok choy browned and caramelized. The garlic in the pan was also toasted pretty dark. Thinking that I’d ruined it, we had a taste.
After a generous squeeze of lemon and a tiny drizzle of olive oil, we realized it was one of our favorite veggie dishes we’ve made in a while. So that’s why we are sharing it with you.
That mistake has quickly turned into one of our favorite ways to cook bok choy! Here are the easy steps:
How We Cook Bok Choy, Step-By-Step
Prep the bok choy. Remove any discolored outer stalks of the bok choy and discard them (or save for stock later). Place the bok choy into a colander and rinse with cool water, rubbing any grit or dirt from between the leaves. Trim the ends then slice each bok choy in half lengthwise. Or if they are large, cut into quarters. Pat dry.
Combine oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a cold skillet, and then place over medium heat. The cold skillet prevents over-browning the garlic.
Cook the bok choy in one layer in the skillet. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt then cook, without stirring, until the bottom is starting to turn brown. Flip then cook until the green leaves have wilted and the white bottoms are beginning to soften, but still have some crunch.
Serve with lemon juice and a little olive oil drizzled on top.
The whole dish comes together in under 10 minutes and it’s great as a bed for this baked salmon or served as a light side with roasted chicken. I’ve also spooned canned albacore tuna on top and drizzled everything with a little more olive oil and loved it.
Here’s another idea, try swapping fresh garlic for roasted garlic! Roasted garlic is one of the best things you can make in your oven. Here’s how we roast garlic as well as lots of ways to use it.
More Easy Vegetable Recipes
- Here’s another way to cook bok choy: Add it to soups. We add regular green cabbage to our cabbage soup with ham, but bok choy would be excellent.
- This creamy asparagus soup is guilt-free. It’s low in calories, tastes great, and cleverly reduces ingredient waste.
- Quick and easy sauteed green beans with butter and fresh ginger.
- Sauteed zucchini is a quick, easy, and healthy side. It’s delicious, too. Try our version with zucchini cooked in garlic and butter.
- Try our spicy garlic ginger edamame recipe! It’s so quick to make and tastes amazing.
- Our whole family loves these garlic butter sautéed green beans.
Lemon Garlic Sauteed Bok Choy
Boy choy is a nutritious vegetable and an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. It tastes mild and when cooked correctly has a light crunch at the bottom with wilted greens on top. When making the recipe below, it’s important not to burn the garlic. I love this when the garlic is well toasted, but if the garlic turns very dark brown, it will taste bitter.
Another thing to note is that even when you have removed the bok choy from the pan, it continues to wilt and soften. So if you notice the garlic browning too much, it’s okay to transfer everything out of the pan a minute early.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 pound baby bok choy
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Half of a lemon, cut into wedges
1Remove any discolored outer stalks of the bok choy and discard them (or save for stock later). Place the bok choy into a colander and rinse with cool water, rubbing any grit or dirt from between the leaves. Trim the ends then slice each bok choy in half lengthwise. Or if they are large, cut into quarters. Pat dry.
2Add the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes to a wide room-temperature skillet. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to bubble around the garlic, but before the garlic starts to turn light brown.
3Toss in the boy choy and spread into one layer. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt then cook, without stirring, until the bottom is starting to turn brown, about 2 minutes.
4Flip then cook another 2 minutes or until the green leaves have wilted and the white bottoms are beginning to soften, but still have some crunch.
5Transfer to a platter then squeeze 2 lemon wedges on top. A teaspoon or so of olive oil is nice, too. Serve with more lemon wedges on the side.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Add Your Favorite Protein: To turn this into a main dish, add cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu. Season the protein with salt and pepper then cook until almost cooked through. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and the bok choy then cook until the green tops have wilted and the bottoms are crisp-tender. Finish with the lemon and olive oil.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We omitted salt from the calculations since you will need to add to your tastes.