An easy vegetable lo mein that’s better than takeout? Yes. This combination of long, steaming noodles; tender, yet crunchy vegetables; and a salty, slightly sweet, and spicy sauce is the ultimate comfort food. Why order take-out when you can whip up an easy vegetable lo mein right in your own kitchen?
WHY MAKE EASY VEGETABLE LO MEIN AT HOME
Back in the day when I would order Chinese takeout, it was often with the understanding that it was going to be a heavy, greasy, salty, and indulgent meal that left me feeling heavy and bloated. I enjoyed the flavor but did not enjoy the way that I felt after eating it.
On a trip to China, I discovered lo mein the way it was meant to be eaten. I watched in fascination as food truck chefs stretched the dough between both hands, folded, and stretched the noodles again until long, perfectly formed noodles were made.
I was intrigued with how they pulled and stretched the noodles, then slammed them onto the flour-coated table and repeated the stretching and pulling.
The long noodles were then stir-fried with fresh vegetables and tossed with a rich, flavorful sauce that wasn’t greasy or heavy. The sauce wasn’t too salty and yet had complex flavors. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I went back to that little food truck during my trip.
WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE AT HOME?
- This recipe is versatile. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Toss in some chicken or seafood.
- Tailor the ingredients to suit your family’s preferences.
- Control the level of spice by adding in some chiles or hot sauce.
- It can be made using a skillet or a wok.
- Dinner can be made in less than 30 minutes.
Grab your chopsticks and dig into this steaming bowl of comfort.
HISTORY OF LO MEIN
Lo Mein means ‘stirred noodles’ in Cantonese. The long, uncut noodles symbolize a long and prosperous life.
The Chinese have been eating Lo Mein for over 2000 years. It is still a popular dish in China today. They are almost always served long and uncut to symbolize longevity and wealth. Lo Mein is often part of celebrations like holidays, birthdays, and weddings. A bowl of lo mein is often left on gravesites as an offering for good luck.
These folks know a good thing when they taste it.
SHORTCUTS FOR MAKING EASY VEGETABLE LO MEIN
- Use bottled, minced garlic. 1 to 1½ teaspoons equals one clove of garlic.
- Try the prepared ginger that can be found in squeeze tubes located with the fresh herbs in your grocery store. This product is a game-changer and nothing is better than the taste of fresh ginger.
- Grab some prepackaged, bagged vegetables such as broccoli slaw mix, coleslaw mix, matchstick carrots.
- Grab a rotisserie chicken from your grocer. Or use the leftover proteins from last night’s dinner. Shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef are all delicious additions. Simply chop or shred your meat, add to the noodles, and toss together until warmed through.
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR EASY VEGETABLE LO MEIN
- Use Tamari sauce as a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.
- Bragg’s Amino Acid is a healthy substitute for soy sauce as well.
- Light or dark brown sugar can be used. You can also omit the sugar altogether for a very savory sauce.
- Use white wine or even broth in place of the Mirin.
- Hot sauce or Sriracha can replace the Thai Sweet Chili sauce for heat. You may want to increase the brown sugar by a teaspoon to keep that sweet taste.
- Ramen noodles or spaghetti can be used instead of the lo mein noodles.
- Add additional crunch by tossing in some chopped peanuts.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH EASY VEGETABLE LO MEIN
- Cool Lychee Martini
- Green Tea Glazed Chicken Wings
- Spicy Garlic Bok Choy
- Asian Style Slaw
- Creamy Matcha Lychee Ice Cream
This Easy Vegetable Lo Mein will have you tossing out those paper take-out menus. It has all of the Asian flavors you crave, but you can make it at home. It makes a tasty side dish and also a light lunch or dinner.
8 ounces lo mein noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups julienned vegetables (I like to use scallions, celery, bok choy or cabbage, and green pepper)
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine (Mirin)
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Thai Sweet Chili sauce
Cook the noodles, per the package directions, to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
While the noodles cook, prep your vegetables, cutting into similar sized julienned pieces.
In a small bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients until the sugar dissolves completely. Set the sauce aside.
In a skillet or wok, over high heat, saute the garlic and ginger in the vegetable oil. When fragrant but not browned, stir-fry the vegetables, stirring often, until just barely tender.
Stir in the rinsed noodles, tossing to combine with the vegetables. Add the sauce mixture and continue tossing and cooking for a minute or two to fully coat each noodle with the sauce.
Serve your noodles in bowls and top with chopped peanuts or cilantro, if desired.
This is excellent served steaming hot but is equally delicious served at room temperature or even cold.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stir-fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Calories: 342 Calories
- Sugar: 8.5 grams
- Fat: 8.3 grams
- Saturated Fat: 1.4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 57 grams
- Fiber: 4.4 grams
- Protein: 10.4 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: easy vegetable lo mein, better than take-out, Chinese recipes, noodles, lo mein, side dish recipes, vegetable lo mein