Delicately refreshing, this Pak Choy Salad is super easy to make. Toss together crunchy raw pak choy, apple and cucumber with Asian herbs for a delectable texture. Then finish with a punchy coriander lime dressing to deliver a healthy salad full of flavour and deliciousness.
Why You’ll Love This Salad
I am a big fan of Asian slaws, especially one that has a bit of a kick. For me, it is the quickest way to add a delicious and refreshing salad to your meal. You literally can throw most raw crunchy vegetables and Asian herbs into the salad, and it will work.
Raw pak choy is one ingredient I don’t often use in my spicy Asian slaws. My instinct is to cook pak choy. However, after receiving some wonderfully fresh bunches from Butler Market Gardens, I decided to try a raw pak choy recipe.
The flavours and textures of raw pak choy pleasantly surprised me. In contrast to regular cabbage, pak choy has a more tender crunch and sweet taste. Similar to wombok, pak choy has higher water content than other cabbages, so it adds a sweeter and milder flavour to salads and readily absorbs the dressing well.
Together with red apple, cucumber and snow pea sprouts, the base of my new crunchy pak choy salad was formed. I love to throw in everyday ingredients at home to see if they work.
And no Asian slaw would be complete without Asian herbs.
For this recipe, I added coriander and spring onion. I love coriander’s leaf texture and slightly aniseed flavours, and spring onions bring a little extra heat and crunch throughout.
Finally, to tie everything together, I revert to one of my favourite combinations for Southeast Asian style salad dressings, fish sauce and lime juice. Quintessential in Thai salad dressings, we balance the salt, sweet, sour, and hot in one bowl. This coriander lime dressing is easy and versatile that you will be making it again and again.
Easily made in 15 minutes, our Pak Choy Salad With Coriander Lime Dressing is a great recipe to add to your salad repertoire.
Pak Choy vs Bok Choy
Not sure if I have ever come across one vegetable that has so many naming variations!
What we call pak choy in this recipe is also known as bok choy, baby bok choy, buk choy, Shanghai bok choy, pak choi and pichay. The main reason for the variations is how it is pronounced in different Chinese dialects and how Western markets have translated this name.
Pak choy comes from the Cantonese way of pronunciation of “white vegetable 白菜”. It is also spelt bok choy or pak choi in different parts of the world.
Baby bok choy is to distinguish it from a larger bok choy. And when you hear Shanghai bok choy, it also refers to the same vegetable but smaller in size and more tender to eat.
Essentially there is no significant difference between pak choy vs bok choy.
How to Use Pak Choy
Pak choy is a form of Chinese cabbage that belongs in the mustard family, like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and wombok. Although it is readily available all year round, the peak of pak choy is during the middle of winter through to spring.
Pak choy has firm pale green stalks and deep dark green leaves. The whole plant is edible, and you can use pak choy in a variety of recipes, including salads, stir fries, noodle soups, grilled or even braised.
Try our Grilled Pak Choy with Balsamic Soy Dressing recipe for a super easy Asian side dish.
Can You Eat Pak Choy Raw?
Yes, you can definitely eat pak choy raw. Pak choy is a highly porous vegetable; therefore, I find raw pak choy very tender and light.
The best way to eat raw pak choy is to thinly slice it into salads.
Flavour/Texture: There is a lot of texture going on with this Pak Choy salad, but they go well together. There is a delicate crunch to pak choy, cucumber, apple and snow pea sprouts that I love.
Pak choy is very mild in taste; therefore, it carries other flavours very well. Together with the zesty and aromatic coriander lime dressing, this Pak Choy salad is deliciously refreshing.
Ease: This pak choy recipe belongs in the easy category. No cooking involved, just chopping and stirring up a punchy Thai salad dressing.
Time: In under 15 minutes, your Pak Choy Salad is ready to be served. You can easily prepare this pak choy recipe whilst having other items cooking on the grill or oven.
These are the ingredients you need in Pak Choy Salad.
Pak choy: You will need two medium sized bunches for this recipe. Choose ones that have firm stems and deep green leaves. Avoid ones that are bruised, or the leaves are starting to wilt.
Red apple: I generally prefer green apples in Asian slaws as I like tart flavours. However, in this pak choy recipe, there is a lot of green, so I decided to add touches of red to break it up. I went with pink lady apple, which has a slightly more tart flavour compared to other red apple varieties, but you can choose your preferred type.
Cucumber: I have a preference for Lebanese cucumbers as they are smaller than continental cucumbers, and I don’t feel like I have to use it all up. Choose cucumbers that are firm with no soft spots.
Snow pea sprouts/Pea shoots: Tender new shoots of the snow pea plant, snow pea sprouts, also known as pea shoots, and are great for salads or quick stir fries.
Coriander/ Cilantro: A popular Asian herb, we will be using coriander in both the Pak Choy Salad and the salad dressing. Never waste your coriander stems as they provide additional fragrant herb flavour in marinades, sauces or curries.
Spring onion: I love mixing spring onion in Asian slaws as it adds a little spicy heat and texture.
Crushed peanuts: Store bought crushed peanuts work fine for this Pak Choy Salad recipe. You can toast and crush your own peanuts if you have time.
Red chilli: Depending on how much heat you like, you can choose to use a long red chilli as I did in this recipe or choose bird’s eye chilli, which is spicier.
Fish sauce: I always have good quality fish sauce in the pantry. The better quality fish sauce will have less added salt as it draws flavour from dried anchovy.
Lime: I love the combination of lime and fish sauce. The sharp contrasting flavours are a match made in heaven.
Palm sugar: Popular choice to be used as a sweetener for Thai salad dressings, but you can substitute for brown sugar if you don’t have any at hand.
Water: To balance the dressing.
Follow these instructions on how to make Pak Choy Salad.
Give pak choy a good rinse under water to remove any dirt sitting in between the leaves.
Cut pak choy in half where the leaves and stalk meet.
Thinly slice pak choy stem.
Then roll up the pak choy leaves and slice into fine ribbon strips.
Cut the cucumber in half across the middle and then cut into thin matchsticks.
Repeat with the red apple. Cut into thin matchsticks. Place apple matchsticks into a bowl of lightly salted water to stop it from turning brown.
Wash snow pea shoots and roughly chop them so they are a similar length to apple and cucumber matchsticks.
Roughly chop coriander leaves for salad.
Remove spring onion roots and then chop into thin rounds.
Cut ¾ of chilli into small rounds.
How to Make the Coriander Lime Dressing
Wash coriander stems well and then finely chop.
Finely dice the remainder of chilli.
In a small mixing bowl, add palm sugar and warm water. Mix together until palm sugar dissolves.
Add fish sauce and lime juice to the palm sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
Finely stir in chopped coriander stems and chilli.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add chopped pak choy, apple, cucumber and snow pea sprouts together.
Add ½ of dressing and toss salad together.
Drop in chopped coriander leaves and spring onion to the salad mix.
Tumble salad onto a serving plate.
Drizzle with remainder of salad dressing.
Top with crushed peanuts and chopped chilli to serve.
Variations and Substitutions
Vegan option: Substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce in the coriander lime dressing to make a vegan salad dressing. The salad itself is vegan friendly.
Nut-free option: Omit the crushed peanuts for a nut free option. You can add pepitas instead or crunchy ramen noodles for extra crunch but ok to leave out as well.
Snow pea sprouts substitute: Snow pea sprouts are not always readily available. If you can’t find it at your local greengrocer, you can substitute with bean sprouts.
Palm sugar replacement: Can substitute for brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar at hand.
Other Asian herbs: You can mix up the Asian herbs in the pak choy salad if you don’t have coriander or spring onion available or if you find coriander tastes like soap. Change it up with other Asian herbs like mint, Thai basil or Vietnamese mint.
Frequently Asked Questions
When selecting pak choy, choose bunches with hardy stems and bright green leaves without any soft spots. Avoid any wilting leaves. Store pak choy in the vegetable crisper section in a plastic bag. They will keep up to a week.
When ready to use, make sure you wash pak choy well. I tend to find there is a fair bit of dirt hiding at the bottom.
Depending on how you are using pak choy, you can trim the base and then separate the leaves and wash individually. Alternatively, slice in half through the middle and wash it well near the heart.
Yes, most definitely! Pak choy is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, manganese and zinc. It provides a range of core antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also known to help reduce the risk of certain cancers if consumed regularly.
Full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients make pak choy a beneficial addition to your diet.
This is a salad where you can prep the ingredients ahead of time, but I would not dress it until you are ready to serve. Pak choy absorbs liquid well; therefore would soften too quickly if dressed ahead of time.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and consumed the next day. It does lose its crunch a bit but is still fine to eat.
I am always finding different ways to create easy, simple and super delicious salads. You will often find me throwing together everyday ingredients at home just to see if they work with various types of dressings.
I want to make salads accessible and easy to make. So when you don’t have enough time but just feel like something refreshing for dinner or lunch, this Pak Choy Salad with Coriander Lime Dressing is the way to go.
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Pak Choy Salad with Coriander Lime Dressing
- 2 bunches pak choy
- 1 red apple
- 1 cucumber, Lebanese
- 20 g snow pea sprouts
- ½ cup coriander, (cilantro) leaves
- 2 sprigs spring onion, (scallion)
- 1 tbsp peanuts, crushed
- 1 red chilli, long, divided
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Give pak choy a good rinse under water to remove any dirt sitting in between the leaves. Cut pak choy in half where the leaves and stalk meet. Thinly slice pak choy stem. Then roll up pak choy leaves tightly and slice into fine ribbon strips.
- Cut cucumber into thin matchsticks.
- Repeat with the red apple. Cut into thin matchsticks. Then place apple matchsticks into a bowl of lightly salted water to stop it from turning brown.
- Wash snow pea shoots and roughly chop them so they are a similar length to apple and cucumber matchsticks.
- Roughly chop coriander leaves for salad.
- Chop spring onion into thin rounds.
- Thinly slice ¾ of chilli into small rounds.
- Wash coriander stems well and then finely chop.
- Finely dice the remainder of chilli.
- In a small mixing bowl, add palm sugar and warm water. Mix together until palm sugar dissolves.
- Add fish sauce and lime juice to the palm sugar mixture. Stir to combine.
- Finally, stir in chopped coriander stems and chilli.
- In a large mixing bowl, add chopped pak choy, apple, cucumber, snow pea sprouts, coriander leaves, and spring onion.
- Add ¾ of salad dressing and toss salad together.
- Tumble salad onto a serving plate.
- Top with crushed peanuts, pak choy ribbons and sliced chilli.
- Drizzle with remainder of coriander lime dressing to serve.
- Substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce in the coriander lime dressing to make a vegan salad dressing.
- Omit the crushed peanuts for a nut free option. You can add pepitas instead or crunchy ramen noodles for extra crunch, but ok to leave out.
- Replace snow pea sprouts with bean sprouts if not available.
- Can substitute for brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar at hand.
- You can prep salad ingredients ahead of time but only dress salad when ready to serve.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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