How to stir-fry Asian greens

The recipes in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook, and were taste-tested in the Nutrition Action Test Kitchen. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at healthycook@cspinet.org.

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This stir-fry works for most tender Asian greens. Look for yu choy, amaranth, gai lan, or tatsoi at farmers markets or Asian supermarkets. Or use bok choy. No Asian greens around? Try spinach, kale, chard, or broccolini.

Store the greens in the fridge in a drawer or a large container with a damp towel at the bottom. Your greens looking lackluster? Trim off any brown areas and perk them up with a soak in ice water.

Here’s our step-by-step recipe for basic Stir-Fried Asian Greens. Scroll down for Sesame Ginger Baby Bok Choy.


Stir-Fried Asian Greens

Tip: You can swap minced ginger for the garlic. Or try a combination of the two.

Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4.

1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 lb. Asian cooking greens with their stems, separated and chopped
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. minced garlic (see Tip)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch with ¼ cup of water.

2. In a large pan or wok, bring another ¼ cup of water to a boil over high heat. Add the stems and stir-fry until hot, about 1 minute.

3. Add the greens a few handfuls at a time. Toss with tongs to help them wilt. Once all the greens are in the pan, stir-fry until the water has cooked off, 1-2 minutes.

4. Push the greens to one side of the pan. Add the oil to the other side and tilt it over the burner. Add the garlic to the oil and cook for 30 seconds.

5. Return the pan to level on the burner.

6. Add the soy sauce mixture to the oil and garlic.

7. Cook until the liquid thickens, 30-60 seconds.

8. Mix with the greens.

Per serving (1/2 cup):

  • Calories: 50
  • Total fat: 3.5 g
  • Sat fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbs: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugar: 2 g
  • Added sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 210 mg

Sesame Ginger Baby Bok Choy

Time: 10 minutes
Serves 4.

1 Tbs. miso paste
1 Tbs. minced ginger
½ tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. + 1 tsp. peanut oil
1 lb. baby bok choy, halved or quartered
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, ginger, sugar, and cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water.

2. In a large non-stick pan or wok, bring the miso sauce to a boil over high heat. Cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Scrape back into the bowl with a spatula and set aside.

3. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tsp. of the peanut oil. Swirl the oil around the pan until shimmering. Add half of the bok choy and stir-fry until lightly browned in spots, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining peanut oil and bok choy.

4. Whisk the sesame oil into the miso sauce. Spread the sauce onto plates or a platter. Arrange the bok choy on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Per serving (1 cup):

  • Calories: 60
  • Total fat: 4.5 g
  • Sat fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbs: 5 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Total sugar: 2 g
  • Added sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 230 mg
Photos: Kate Sherwood & Jennifer Urban/CSPI.

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