Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer and summer turns into autumn, it’s time to start your winter garden. Consider adding some Asian vegetables this year for variety on your dinner table. Many are similar to vegetables you’re already likely to be growing. Here are a few of our favourites:

Instead of: Green Cabbage
Grow this: Napa (Chinese) Cabbage

Sweeter and softer than it its green cousin, Napa, or Chinese, Cabbage is oblong in shape with thick crispy steams and yellow-green leaves. Napa cabbage grows well during cooler months, but it can grow year round in milder climates. It can be harvested 50 – 80 days after planting.

Napa cabbage can be used anywhere you would normally use regular cabbage. It does well in salads and soups, and you can even use it in cabbage roll recipes.

Warm Cabbage | Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn | FineChoiceFoods.com

Stir fried cabbage with chilies. | Photo: John

Recipes for Inspiration:

Napa Cabbage and Tofu Salad – The cabbage is the star in this crunchy salad.
Simple Miso Soup with Salmon, Tofu, Mushrooms and Napa Cabbage – Warm and filling. Easy to put together.
Kung Pao Pork with Napa Cabbage Edamame Salad – Skip the take out and try this instead.
Napa Cabbage Rolls – Take this European favorite and spin it on its head by using napa cabbage instead.
Napa Cabbage Brown Rice Salad & Pan Seared Wild Salmon – The perfect side dish.

Instead of: Swiss Chard
Grow this: Bok Choy

bok choy & mustard salad | Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn | FineChoiceFoods.com

Photo: Jules

Bok choy is a cool weather vegetable and grows well in the spring and autumn. Planting from seed, bok choy grows quickly between 40 – 50 days. The plant requires consistent watering. Thin baby bok choy when they reach about 2 inches tall, pulling the smallest and leaving the larger ones to develop. Allow 6 inches between the remaining plants so they’re able to flourish. Bok choy can be eaten at every stage of the growing process from baby greens to mature leaves so you can enjoy them as you thin out your plants.

Preparing bok choy can be as simple as stir frying them with some garlic and ginger or a little more complex like adding them to a savory tart. Bok choy is versatile and makes a great alternative for your vegetable side dish.

Chengdu Impression | Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn | FineChoiceFoods.com

Garlic stir fried bok choy | Photo: Bing

Recipes for Inspiration:

Stir Fried Bok Choy – The easiest way to cook up bok choy to serve with your meal.
Bok Choy and Mushroom Soba Bowl – Bok choy works well as your vegetable component for your noodle dishes.
Bok Choy Chicken – A simple, but delicious dish. Serve with rice.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken Legs with Bok Choy – Substitute bok choy for your regular greens with your favorite roast chicken.
Bok Choy and Mushroom Tart – Try something new by adding bok choy to your savory tarts.

Instead of: Broccoli
Grow this: Chinese Broccoli aka Gai Lan

chinese broccoli | Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn | FineChoiceFoods.com

Photo: Jules

Due to its similar appearance and taste to broccoli, gai lan is sometimes referred to as Chinese Broccoli. It is known for its broad leaves and thick, crunchy steams. Gai lan is both sweet and bitter at the same time. Gai lan is usually started from seed directly in the garden in the early autumn. Each plant can be harvested several times. Consistent watering is needed in order to keep the soil moist. Gai lan prefers to grow in the damp environment. Like bok choy, gai lan can be eaten throughout it’s growing process, reaching full maturity in 60 – 70 days.

The simplest way to cook gai lan is by steaming it until the stalks are tender, but have a slight crunch, and the leaves are glossy green. It’s topped with a drizzle of oyster sauce. Otherwise, gai lan is great for stir fries but can also be substituted for kale, broccoli and collard greens in other recipes.

Gai lan | Asian Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden This Autumn | FineChoiceFoods.com

Stir fried gai lan in garlic. | Photo: Suzi Edwards-Alexander

Recipes for Inspiration:

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce – A simple classic. Easy to throw together and tasty.
Stir Fried Gai Lan with Fish Cake and Chinese Sausage – For something a little more Asian.
Honey Soy Pork with Gai Lan – Chop the gai lan into smaller pieces for a different experience.
Gai Lan Egg Cups – East meets west in this gai lan appetizer.
Miso Gai Lan Egg Soup – Warm and satisfying on a cold day.

What is going into your garden this year?

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