What can I use instead of bok choy in ramen and soup? Napa cabbage is the best replacement for bok choy, offering a similar flavor and texture to ramen and soup. You can also use other cabbage varieties, like green and savoy cabbage, to replace bok choy. Other suitable alternatives include Swiss chard, Yu choy, mustard greens, kale, spinach, or nan ling.
Bok choy is a crisp, succulent vegetable with spoon-shaped stems and dark green leaves. Belonging to the Brassica genus, bok choy tastes like mild cabbage with slight celery, peppery, and bitter mineral notes. Bok choy is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially ramen and soups. Fortunately, many viable bok choy substitutes can be used when making ramen and soups.
The Best Bok Choy Substitutes
Napa cabbage and bok choy are like two peas in a pod – you can substitute one for the other in most recipes.
Napa cabbage is large and oblong with crinkly, tightly knit green leaves compared to the white stalks and billowy green leaves of bok choy.
Napa is highly versatile. You can eat it raw, cooked, pickled, or fermented. Napa cabbage is a delicious, slightly sweeter replacement for bok choy in ramen and soup.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded napa cabbage.
The humble green cabbage is one of the most ubiquitous vegetables. It is highly versatile, affordable, and a nutritious powerhouse.
Green cabbage grows in tight, spherical heads (hence the nickname “cannonball cabbage”). The crunchy, waxy, pale green leaves with a vegetal, slightly bitter flavor are perfect for replacing bok choy.
Green cabbage is highly versatile; you can eat it raw, cooked, pickled, or fermented. Remove the core, cut the leaves into ribbons, and add it to ramen and soup when you’re out of bok choy.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded green cabbage.
Savoy cabbage is perhaps the prettiest variety, boasting loose, ruffled, lacy leaves with deep ridges.
Similar to green cabbage, savoy cabbage is a versatile vegetable that you can use as a replacement for bok choy. However, savoy cabbage has a milder and sweeter taste than green cabbage.
Savoy cabbage is delicious in ramen and soup. However, you can also add it to salads, stir-fried, or as a single side roasted or braised in butter.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded savoy cabbage.
Swiss chard is an eye-catching vegetable that belongs to the beet family. It flaunts dark green leaves and contrasting vibrant red, orange, or bright yellow stalks.
This leafy green transforms from a bitter taste when raw into a mild, sweet flavor once cooked.
Separate the Swiss chard leaves from their thick stems and cut the greens into ribbons before adding them to ramen and soup as a bok choy replacement.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded Swiss chard.
Yu choy, or Chinese oil vegetable, is a sweet Chinese green with dark green leaves and thin, pale stems. It has a similar texture to dwarf bok choy and Chinese broccoli.
Yu choy is a suitable replacement if you prefer a less bitter and more subtle flavor than bok choy.
Add yu choy to ramen and soup for a sweeter, milder flavor than bok choy. Alternatively, serve yu choy as a side with garlic or oyster sauce.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded yu choy.
Mustard greens are a staple in Asian and Southern cuisines. They are the leaves of the brown mustard plant, a hybrid of Brassica nigra and Brassica rapa. Mustard greens have a peppery and bitter flavor.
Various mustard green cultivars, including curly, gai choy, mizuna, red mustard, and swollen-stem mustard, can be added to ramen and soup instead of bok choy.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded yu choy. Mustard greens can be very bitter. So, you can use less mustard green when replacing bok choy.
Alternatively, use young mustard green leaves for a milder flavor.
Kale is a leafy green closely related to cabbage. Kale is a star superfood often incorporated into modern-day dishes thanks to its hearty flavor and widely touted benefits.
You can use curly, Tuscan, baby, or purple kale to replace bok choy.
Separate the Kale leaves from their stems and cut them into ribbons before adding them to ramen and soup as a bok choy replacement.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded kale.
Spinach is a healthy leafy green vegetable that’s versatile, affordable, and readily available. Spinach has a mild flavor with a subtle sweetness or bitter, metallic taste.
You can use whole-leaf spinach with large leaves and thick stems or baby spinach with smaller, delicate leaves and stems to replace bok choy in recipes.
Spinach is exceptionally versatile. You can serve raw, steamed, sautéed, and boiled with sweet or savory ingredients. Spinach is a delicious mild alternative to bok choy in ramen and soup.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded spinach.
Nan Ling (Chinese Celery)
Nan Ling, also known as Chinese celery, is a smaller, tougher celery variety with a more intense flavor than Western celery. You can use nan ling to replace bok choy when you’re in a pinch.
Nan ling is commonly used in stir-fries and soups. You can add shredded Chinese celery to ramen and soup instead of bok choy.
Substitute 1 cup sliced or shredded bok choy with 1 cup sliced or shredded nan ling.