Vegetable Chow Mein made with celery, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts mixed with chow mein noodles in a savory sauce, ready in under 30 minutes!
VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN
Vegetable Chow Mein is an EASY one pot dinner, loaded with veggies and tossed with chow mein noodles in a savory sauce. This recipe is a meatless take on my Classic Chinese Chow Mein, and is my go-to on weeknights because it takes a total time of 30 minutes to make.
CAN YOU FREEZE VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN NOODLES?
Chow mein is a great recipe for making ahead and freezing for up to several months. Defrost the chow mein in the refrigerator, then reheat in a wok or skillet, adding extra sauce as needed if your chow mein noodles dried out at all.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN AND VEGETABLE LO MEIN?
Chow mein and lo mein are both made with egg noodles, but the main difference between the two dishes is the way the egg noodles are prepared. Chow mein noodles are thinner and fried, giving them a crispy texture, while lo mein noodles are are boiled, making them softer. Lo mein is also usually stir fried with the vegetables, while chow mein is tossed with them towards the end.
In a pinch, you can substitute lo mein noodles with spaghetti noodles. Lo mein noodles are usually a little bit thicker than the noodles used for chow mein.
Chow mein also uses less sauce, while lo mein is stir fried in sauce until the noodles are totally coated. You can buy noodles that are specifically labeled for chow mein in the grocery store. If you can’t find them, you can substitute yakisoba noodles (minus the rest of the packet) in place of chow mein noodles, but I wouldn’t use these for lo mein.
WHAT OTHER VEGGIES CAN I ADD TO VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN?
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Bok choy
- Snow peas
- Green onions
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CAN YOU MAKE CHOW MEIN AHEAD?
You can prep this chow mein ahead of time by cooking the dish as usual, then letting it cool completely and storing in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If you are going to store this, I would also store extra sauce, because the noodles may dry out when reheated.
TIPS FOR MAKING VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN
- You can swap the vegetable oil with sesame oil for a deeper savory flavor in the dish. Sesame oil has a very distinct flavor, so make sure you like it before adding it to the wok. You can also mix a dash of sesame oil with the vegetable oil to add a small amount of sesame oil flavor.
- You can make this recipe in a large skillet or a wok, depending on your cooking preference. Traditionally, this chow mein is made in a wok over high heat. The high heat of the wok makes a big difference in the flavor of the dish!
- If you decide to make your chow mein in a wok, be ready to stir the food constantly so it doesn’t burn or overcook. You can find woks in plain or electric varieties.
- Make this chow mein low carb by using tofu noodles. I recommend soaking the tofu noodles in water for 10-15 minutes first, to freshen them.
- You can use low sodium soy sauce to make a reduced sodium chow mein.
- Add minced fresh ginger or a dash of ginger powder for extra flavor.
- This is a vegetarian chow mein if you use the vegetarian-friendly version of oyster sauce.
- Prep the ingredients early, including cutting up all of the vegetables, because they will cook quickly once in the skillet and you don’t want anything to overcook while you’re chopping the next ingredient.
- When prepping this ahead, you can whisk all of your sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, so you just have to pour it in. Use some cayenne pepper to add heat.
- You can add boneless skinless chicken for chicken chow mein, or shrimp, beef, or tofu to add more protein to this recipe.
- Stay away from dark soy sauce for chow mein. I like to use light or regular soy sauce because it has a better flavor with the noodles.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1 carrot thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce aka Kecap Manis*
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 cup water
- 12 ounces chow mein noodles cooked a minute shy of the directions*
- 6 ounces bean sprouts optional
- sesame seeds for garnish optional
- Heat a large pan or wok on medium heat with the oil add in the cabbage, broccoli, celery and carrots.
- Cook 2-3 minutes until wilted, add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce and water and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
- Add in the pasta, bean sprouts and toss to coat.