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I’ve highlighted (and photographed) the bok choy version of this dish because it’s so pretty, but this same recipe made with cabbage and leeks is just as delicious and worthy of equal attention. Christopher and I absolutely lived off cabbage and leeks for years. I beg you to try both versions. There’s something about the combination of the flaxseed oil, the sour of the vinegar, the freshness of the green and the seeds. . . . Oh my God.

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  • 1-2 small heads bok choy (left intact) or ½large head bok choy (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil (if you can’t get flaxseed oil, substitute extravirgin olive oil, but the flaxseed oil is way yummier)
  • 1 teaspoon Gomashio (optional)


Bring water to a boil in the bottom of a steamer or a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the bok choy and steam for 1 to 2 minutes until the vegetable is just starting to wilt. Transfer to a serving platter.

Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl, and drizzle over the steamed bok choy. (You may not need it all.) Serve sprinkled with the gomashio.


You can serve lightly steamed leeks and cabbage the same way. Be sure to steam the leek and cabbage separately, as it’s nice to keep their flavors pristine and their cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the vegetables. Top with toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds seasoned with a few drops of shoyu.


People tend to throw greens in a steamer and just walk away, so it’s alarmingly easy to overcook bok choy. I recommend you always err on the side of undercooking it, since it’s so water-dense that it continues to cook a little after being removed from the steam. What you’re aiming for is crunchiness without bitterness.

After you get familiar with this recipe, you may decide you want to use less vinegar. Find the oil to vinegar ratio that works best for you.