Asian-Style Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy


*This recipe is vegan and Paleo-friendly*

It’s been such a sad time for me lately. Last week, I heard of a former school mate who passed away suddenly because of a heart attack. Heart attack at the age of 40!!! His third child was only one-week old when it happened.

Then, I also received news from the Philippines that one of our family friends that I grew up with, was diagnosed with liver cancer and he is in terminal condition. He’s just 38.

I don’t want to put a damper to your day with all these bad news, but this really “woke me up” to how fragile our lives are. Nevermind that I walked away from my job recently, but I am grateful that I still have my health and my wits about me. A job is a job and if I don’t have one, I can always search for one. But if I ever lost my ability to work to support my family because of illness…that is so scary to me!

So, I keep reminding my family that we need to make a major overhaul in our diet: to focus more on whole foods – make it more plant-based. (I truly believe that bad diet contributes to cancer). And if we do eat meat and seafood, we choose grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild-caught or sustainably fished seafood. We try to keep meat as the “supporting act” to the “star” (which are the veggies).

One of my favourite vegetarian / vegan dishes is this Asian-style Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy. If I gave up meat, I would have to eat mushrooms everyday because of their meatiness and earthiness that reminds me of meat! I’m crazy about this dish but – I’m not going to lie – it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to eat this. Oh well, I just keep offering to them, even if they will only eat one forkful in disgust. I subscribe to the theory that if you expose new foods to kids consistently, they will eventually surrender. So, hopefully, in 20 years…LOL!

So, here’s the Cliff Notes version of shiitake’s and bok choy’s nutritional profile.

Mushrooms were once thought to be a nutritional zero, not a hero. We all thought that they were only really good for fibre and not much else. Wrong! Mushrooms – especially shiitake, maitake, and reishi – have powerful effects on the immune system. They’ve got enzymes and vitamins, and an essential amino acid known as linoleic acid. Shiitake mushrooms also contain a very important chemical – lentinan – that Japanese use as an injectable drug to prolong survival of patients in cancer therapy. Read about it here. Japanese researchers are zoning in on an active compound in shiitakes called eritadenine. So far, they have been found to lower cholesterol in rats. Read abstract here.

As for the bok choy – baby or not – it is a member of the famed brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, chard. Do you know what this means? I’ve written about the cancer-fighting properties of cabbages here.

Follow me to the kitchen and we’ll celebrate life with this dish. What are you thankful for today? I am thankful that I have my health and my family. I am taking control of my life the best way I can. As for a new job, I know good things will come to those who work hard!

4.8 from 9 reviews
Asian-Style Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe Type: Vegan
Serves: 4
  • 8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • a small bag of baby bok choy, cut vertically in half
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut amino or organic soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • black and white sesame seeds
  1. Brush away the dirt of shiitake mushrooms, remove the stems and slice the caps.
  2. Rinse the baby bok choy completely to remove the grit and dirt stuck in between leaves. Slice the baby bok choy vertically in half. Dry leaves with a towel.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, coconut amino or soy sauce, water, and coconut sugar or maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the shallots, cooking until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Then, add the baby bok choy and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add the reserved sauce into the pan and cook, stirring continuously until the vegetables are coated. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  8. Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.



  • Reply June 27, 2013


    I am so sorry about your friend and your job loss, that is quite scary considering the young age and you were very unfortunate :(
    But your positivity is still inspiring, our health is definitely so important! And this beautiful dish is the perfect way to enjoy good health 😀


  • Reply June 27, 2013

    Beth lacy

    I wish you had pinterest on your page, most people are now saving recipes on pinterest

  • Reply June 27, 2013

    La Torontoise

    Love this recipe, I did it for lunch! Fortunately I have a Chinese canadian friend visiting me and we had all ingredients easy to aquire!!
    Was incredibly tasty and so much fun to make it.

    I’ve been reading your blong for 6-7 months now, but only because of hectic work life, only now could write.
    I love your pictures and I learn a lot!
    Thank you so much!

  • Reply June 27, 2013

    La Torontoise

    P.S. I’m living in Europe right now, that’s why you see a different time zone.

    • Reply July 2, 2013


      Thanks for dropping me a note :) I’m always very happy to hear from people who read my blog. By any chance are you from Toronto? I ask just because of the name “La Torontoise” :) Hope you liked this recipe.

  • Yes, life if too short to be wasted on small things and I’ve been waking up for the last 6 years, where in those past years I lost 3 of my uncles and an aunt due to cancer, and all different kinds. I am really sorry for the loss of your friends!
    I believe that balanced diet is necessary, but also including more whole food and greens will not hurts us, it can only help us not only to feel better but look great and be healthier too.
    Your dish today is very delicious, Jen–and I do have everything in the ingredients even baby bok choy that I got few days ago, this might be my lunch today.

  • Reply June 27, 2013

    Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    So sorry to hear about your hard week, Jen! Life is precious and truly worth celebrating; thanks for the reminder to approach each day with thankfulness! I love shiitake mushrooms and bok choy, I know I’d inhale this!

  • I am so so sorry for all the damper that’s going on in your life, Jen. But I’m thankful that in all of these you’ve been so positive.

    Hugs!! And thank you for the reminder about taking control of our health and life.

  • Reply June 27, 2013


    ‘Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive’: old song and saying! I am certain that with your talents you will find something soon as far as work is concermed . . . . as for the rest: c’est la vie which sadly is oft understood too late . . . I’m so sorry it has come at such a cost to your friends and yourself . . . at the same time perchance it is a socalled ‘wakeup’ call – been there, done that, a long, long time ago: and yes, changes in lifestyle make a huge difference! And what joy at the ‘other end’ :) ! LOVE your recipe of my two favourite ingredients in tandem and may share tomorrow when a wee bit more time available . . . .

  • Who’d miss meat with a dish like this? It looks amazing and I’d love to have your kids share!

    So sorry to hear about your friends, yes life is very fragile and we take way too much for granted, especially our families who seem to be a staple and yet we just never know. I lost my dad when I was 9 and it taught me to respect and cherish relationships.

  • Reply June 29, 2013


    This dish looks so good-and being healthy well- that’s even better! I grew bok choy in my back yard garden last year and I thought it was so cute that I couldn’t bear to harvest it so it just went to seed which means it shoots out a beautiful yellow flower right our of the top of it’s perfect little ‘bok choy’..I will have to try again and not be so attached to it’s beauty… Have a wonderful weekend Jen 😉

  • I agree – I think the more plant-based + “whole” our diet, the better. And this dish looks SO good, as well as so good for you. Love it!

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    This is a really nice vegetable dish, definitely will make some soon, I am in the lookout for vegetable only recipes

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    I’m sorry to hear about your childhood friends – somehow I think that we’re still immune to “bad” things in our thirties…at least you’re here to remind everyone about the importance of healthy eating. This dish looks delightful! I adore shiitake mushrooms.

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    I am so sorry to hear about all the sadness in your life as of recent- but it reads as if you are doing okay :) I absolutely love bok choi and mushrooms- I made a dish so similar to this just the other night, great minds think alike! I agree 100%, a plant based diet is so beneficial, I love all the mushroom facts too!

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    Mushrooms are so healthy in under rated ways. GREG

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    This looks really good. It is so scary, that illness can strike at any time and even that young. Eating healthy is always helpful. Beautiful photos.

    • Reply July 2, 2013


      Thanks, Shauna! Indeed, eating healthy is always helpful.

  • Oh no.. your school mate child was 1 week old…that’s so sad. :( I often worry a lot about my family, what if something happens to my husband, or me… not having family around in the US, what would happen to my kids… I really need to get more sleep and do more exercise. And try my best to feed nutritious food. These kinds of events always make us realize what’s important in life. I’m sorry to hear about your job loss. :( You will find a job again, and I’m sure it’s better one, so hang in there!

  • So sorry to hear about about your family member and friend. I can’t imagine having a 1 week old and losing your wife in the blink of an eye. Scary, and such a necessary reminder to us all!
    Love this salad. I too would eat mushrooms every day if I went vegetarian!

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends and you job. I remember when I was in highschool, one of the guys in my class who was 16 got a heart attack. He was extremely athletic, but he still got a heart attack at such a young age. He didn’t die, but it shocked me that even when you’re young, you really need to take care of yourself.
    This looks great! I would love to eat this everyday if I could

    • Reply July 2, 2013


      I know…you never really know what can happen. I guess it’s reasonable to say to live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. Corny as it sounds, I try to live this way (try, being the operative word) and live with no regrets! Thanks for stopping by here.

  • So very sorry for all your bad news. The loss of your job combined with a death and a serious illness is hard but especially in one week. Healthy eating is very important and your mushrooms and bok choy is a delicious and healthy meal.

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Coffee and Crumpets

    Sorry to hear about your terrible week and heartfelt condolences too. It is scary what we are feeding our families without realising. I have gone crazy and thrown out all bad stuff and stock only organic and gmo free foods. Thus means that I cook ALOT, but if it keeps them safe and healthy, I must be the bad mom (thats what they think because I took away the Hot Cheetos)

    Two of my favourite Asian vegetables here and lucky for me, my children love them too, so this dish is a winner. I will be popping over to my Asian store now to pick up some ‘shrooms and bok choy.

    Thanks Jen and good luck with job hunting. Something better is on the horizon for you.
    Nazneen xx

  • Reply July 3, 2013


    Jen, so sorry to hear of friends dying so young that is a tragedy. Life is fragile and should be handled with care. I had to laugh when you said that it’s like pulling teeth to get your kids to eat this dish, and I see why…to a kid it looks like mushy vegetables :) Kids palates are do funny and can’t handle as many textures and flavors as we do. I agree with you to keep introducing them to the food and maybe someday they will like them, it happen to me I like a lot of foods I hated as a kid. I hope you find the job your looking for. I am so thankful for the good health I have and the family I have, I feel really blessed.

  • I was already teared up by the end of the first paragraph. I kept reading and just lost it.

    I am so sorry for the loss and diagnosis of your childhood friends and about the job situation. But like you said, it’s a job, and you will find one because you are talented and hard-working and a lot of other things I’m sure I’m not even aware of!

    The food looks nice too but all I can think of is how thankful I am that you and me and our families are in good health. :)

  • I am so sorry to hear about your friends and being so incredibly young. It certainly reminds us how fragile life is and that we need to enjoy each and every day. Sending many positive thoughts and prayers your way and for your friends family. Your dish sounds simply delicious and stunning photos!!!!

  • Reply July 7, 2013


    I doesn’t serve 4 :(

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  • Reply April 11, 2014


    thanks for the story & recipe – I added sweet red peppers & fresh ginger because I had them in the fridge.

  • Reply August 28, 2014


    I have made this twice now and it is delicious! Pretty sure I could box it up and sell it as take away food 😉

    I used pak choi and cut the stems almost entirely off because they can be quite tough and stringy.

    Great recipe!

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