This simple bok choy soup is a light, delicately flavored soup made with ginger, garlic, bok choy, mushrooms and rice noodles. Ready in less than an hour, it's perfect on a chilly day or anytime you're feeling under the weather! Add cubed tofu, beans, or lentils for a light meal.
Why You'll Love It
With a hint of warm star anise, plus ginger, garlic, and umami-rich mushrooms, this nourishing bok choy soup is delightful in its simplicity. But we also love how versatile it is!
You can add a spicy kick with hot peppers, chili flakes, cayenne, or your favorite hot sauce.
It's also fantastic with ramen noodles, or really any type of noodle or pasta you happen to have in the pantry.
Bonus: it's easier and faster than making pho, but with some of the same, familiar flavors.
As written, the recipe is vegan and gluten-free, but you can certainly customize it however you like. We're big fans of tofu, and frequently add cubed smoked tofu for a light meal.
About Bok Choy
A type of Chinese cabbage, bok choy is easily recognizable for its leafy green blades and long white stalks that come together in a bulbous base.
Here in the U.S. you may frequently see both full-size and baby bok choy in the grocery produce section. For many recipes, this soup included, you can use either variety.
They're essentially the same vegetable, with baby bok choy being a younger, smaller version of regular bok choy. Baby bok choy tends to be sweeter and more mild than the full-grown version, making it especially nice for salads.
Bok choy can be eaten raw or cooked and is great for stir fries and soups like this one.
- bok choy - You can use either full-size or baby bok choy for this soup. But since baby bok choy is more delicate, I tend to reserve it for raw uses or quick stir fries.
- shallots - Feel free to sub regular onion.
- green onions
- mushrooms - the soup is especially nice with the smoky flavor of shiitakes. Otherwise, look for baby bella (cremini) mushrooms. They have a bit more flavor than white button mushrooms. If using shiitakes, plus out the woody stems before slicing.
- ginger - freshly grated ginger adds great flavor to the broth.
- garlic - I used 5 medium/large cloves. Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your tastes.
- soy sauce - or certified gluten-free tamari
- noodles - I used pad thai rice noodles for the soup because that's what I had on hand, but other varieties are good, too.
See the recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How To Make Bok Choy Soup
Begin by washing and chopping all of the fresh produce. Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat, and add a teaspoon of oil. Cook the bok choy undisturbed for about 30 seconds. Stir and cook for another minute or so, until dark green and wilted. Season with a pinch of salt, and transfer the bok choy to a plate.
Next, you'll add the remaining oil to the pot, and cook the shallots, mushrooms, and half of the green onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic to the pot, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add the water, broth, soy sauce, and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
Finally, add the dry noodles to the pot and cook according to package directions. When the noodles are nearly tender, return the bok choy to the pot to let it heat through.
The hint of licorice from star anise is mild, but if it's a flavor you don't particularly enjoy, feel free to skip it. In its place you can experiment with a few dashes of ground turmeric or Chinese 5 spice.
If you find yourself in the mood for soup and don't have bok choy, Napa cabbage is a good substitute.
Add protein: For a more filling soup, simply add tofu or cooked beans or lentils. Try adzuki, chickpeas, or black eyed peas.
Different varieties of tofu work perfectly in this soup. Cubed soft or silken tofu is a nice contrast to the textures of the bok choy and mushrooms. Or try firm, extra-firm, or super-firm tofu.
Add the tofu while the soup is simmering. If desired, marinate the tofu first in a bit of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil for added flavor.
Make it spicy: To the saute, add diced hot chiles or a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flake.
Both the white and leafy green parts of bok choy are edible. After trimming off the base of the bulb, separate the leaves, and rinse well to remove dirt. Then chop the bok choy for salads, sautes, soups, and stir fries.
Since bok choy is safe to eat raw, many people prefer to only cook it briefly in order to maintain its crunch and crispness.
To prepare bok choy, first trim off the bottom of the bulb and separate the leaves. Rinse the leaves and stalks very well to remove dirt. You can also soak the leaves in cold water and give them a good swish to make sure they're clean and ready to be cooked.
You Might Like:
I hope you enjoy this light and easy bok choy soup as much as we do. If you try the recipe, be sure to leave a comment below to let us know!
Simple Bok Choy Soup With Noodles
- 1 bunch bok choy, ends trimmed, chopped
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil, optional - Sub broth for oil-free diets
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced, divided
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-size piece ginger root, peeled and grated
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (for gluten-free)
- 1 star anise
- 8 ounces rice noodles, or noodle of choice
- salt and pepper
- optional sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat, and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Cook the bok choy undisturbed for about 1 minute. Stir and cook for another minute or so, until dark green and wilted. Season with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Transfer bok choy to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pot. Saute the shallots, mushrooms, and half of the green onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic to the pot, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the water, broth, soy sauce, and star anise, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the noodles to the pot and cook according to package directions (increase heat to maintain a simmer). When the noodles are almost done, return the bok choy to the pot so it can heat through. Remove the star anise before serving. Garnish with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.