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Here at Heinen's we love introducing you to new items, and we're excited to introduce two brand-new Asian vegetables from Melissa's in select Heinen's stores: Gai Lan and Choy Sum.

These exceptional veggies are grown in California by Tom Lan, who came to American with only a few dollars and a lot of determination. Tom says, “I landed in Los Angeles at midnight and by 6:00 a.m. the same morning I was picking cucumbers.” His wit and hard work helped him rise through the ranks at produce companies, and by 1986 he was able to purchase a plot of his own. Since then, Tom has been responsible for many innovations in the produce industry, including creating the popular broccoli crown.

Gai Lan and Choy Sum are exclusive to Heinen's and are picked and packed right in the fields.

Gai Lan
Also known as Chinese Broccoli, Gai Lan is one of the most popular vegetables used in Asian restaurants around the world.  The stalks, leaves and clusters of tightly packed buds have a wonderful balance of sweet and peppery flavors.  One cup of Gai Lan weighs in at only 19 calories and contains vitamins A, C and K.  It also provides folate, fiber and a good dose of needed minerals including potassium, manganese, iron and calcium. Gai Lan is also a good plant source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Choy Sum
Choy Sum, also referred to as flowering pak choy or cabbage, is a member of the mustard family and is best described as midway between cabbage and spinach with a distinct sweet mustard flavor.  Its green leaves are juicy and tender, and the stalks are juicy and crisp. The flowering shoots and younger leaves are used in salads, stir-fried, lightly boiled or steamed and added to meat.  Rich in carotene, calcium and dietary fiber, Choy Sum also provides potassium and folic acid.

Click here to find out when you can give these veggies a try at our Shaker Heights, University Heights, Rocky River, Avon and Hudson stores.

Gai Lan Salad with Baby Greens and Dried Mango
1 1/4 lb. Gai Lan, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic glove, minced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried mango
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
5 to 6 cups mixed baby lettuces
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring 3 to 4 cups water to a boil on high heat. Add the Gai Lan and cook until it is tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water and drain again. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil and garlic. Stir in the onion, mango and cilantro; set aside for 15 minutes. Add the Gai Lan to the dressing and toss. Add the lettuce and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add walnuts if desired.

Download recipe .pdf

Sautéed Gai Lan with Lemon and Mushrooms
4 bunches Gai Lan, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 pound fresh button mushrooms, quartered
1 Melissa’s Meyer lemon, juiced
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the Gai Lan and cook until just tender, but still crisp. When done, drop immediately in ice water to cool. Remove from the water and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and heat the oil. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent. Next add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Gai Lan and cook until heated through. Add the lemon and cheese and toss. Serve hot.

Note: Don't add the salt to the water until it is boiling. This way it won't sink to the bottom and stain your pot.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe by Melissa’s Chef Tom Fraker

Download recipe .pdf

Simple Choy Sum Stir Fry
1 head Choy Sum washed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves Elephant garlic, minced
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

Rinse Choy Sum and dice or keep whole. In a wok or pan, heat olive oil until just smoking. Add garlic and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss to coat well with oil. Add Choy Sum and celery, stir frying several more minutes. Serve alone or over hot noodles with soy sauce.

Download recipe .pdf

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy and Choy Sum with Lemon and Garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Melissa's Baby Bok Choy, ends trimmed
1 pound Melissa's Choy Sum
4 cloves Melissa's peeled garlic, sliced thin
2 8 oz. packages Soba Noodles
2 lemons, juiced
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a wok pan, melt the butter and heat the olive oil. Stirring constantly, add the Baby Bok Choy and Choy Sum, garlic and noodles. Stir fry until Bok Choy and Choy Sum are tender but still crisp and the noodles begin to crisp up. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Note: If you like spice, try adding a sliced serrano chile to the batch.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe by Melissa's Chef Tom Fraker

Download recipe .pdf

Information and recipes provided by Melissa's.

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We're Heinen's Grocery Stores, a Cleveland, OH based family-owned grocery store established in 1929. Focused on quality meats, fresh market produce and superior customer service, we make grocery shopping something to smile about.