Easy Vegetable Chow Mein | 30-minute, simple stir-fried noodles with lots of flavor and healthy vegetables. Packed with savory slivers of cabbage, mixed vegetables and a 4 ingredient sauce, this takeout at home dish will make its way into your weekly dinner menu.
If you're reading my blog, you probably have a few things in common with me. We probably both:
- like easy to prepare food
- don't want to go to 7 different grocery stores for one dish
- want to eat a fairly healthy, balanced diet with some treats here and there
- like to try new things, new foods, new dishes
- love bold flavor from simple, fresh ingredients
How many of those did you agree with?
There's one more thing I love about food - a good recipe for a "takeout at home" dish. I spend a lot of my time (a disturbing amount?) figuring out how to recreate dishes from other cultures that I've enjoyed (and immediately become obsessed with) at restaurants.
As I spoke about in this post about my travel to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, I love learning about other cultures, their customs, and their food - the recipes, the ingredients, and the techniques. I've also been to London and Greece but I plan to see so many more places and meet more people and learn about their lives and recipes.
Make Takeout at Home
For today, let's tackle this Easy Vegetable Chow Mein. You've probably had chow mein at your local Chinese restaurant. It's a simple stir-fried noodle dish with vegetables. It sometimes has a protein in it like chicken or tofu. I skipped it for this recipe to simplify things. But you can easily add in your choice of protein. Add it in pre-cooked and at the end, or add it in at the beginning, cooking it before everything else.
To read more of my takes on dishes from other cultures, read these posts:
- Thai Green Curry Coconut Soup with Shrimp
- Thai Chicken Pizza
- Greek Fries with Tzatziki Sauce
- Mexican Street Corn (Elote)
- Indian Palak Paneer Loaded Fries
How to Make Easy Vegetable Chow Mein
To make this dish, as with most dishes, the best way to start is to have everything ready. Chop everything, portion it out and make the sauce. This makes the cooking process easier. See Photo 1 for the noodles I use. They are already cooked and I find them in the frozen section of my local Asian Grocery Store. You can use any noodles, including linguine, spaghettini or spaghetti noodles, or rice noodles.
Heat a very large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the onions. Photo 2 Cook them for a minute or two until they start to brown. This will take a minute or two. Add the cabbage and let it cook, making sure to keep stirring. Photo 3 It'll decrease in size as it cooks. It'll get a bit of color too - this is what you want. Photo 4
Add the frozen vegetables Photo 5 (or fresh if that's what you're using) and cook for about 5 minutes, until cooked and fully heated through. Photo 6 Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic and the green onions. Photo 7 Let sit for 10 seconds, then stir around for a few seconds before finally stirring them throughout the dish.
Add the noodles Photo 8 and the sauce Photo 9. The noodles will seem to overflow, probably. It's fine, they lose volume as they cook. Once they've shrunk down a bit, cook for a few more minutes, letting them sit and get brown and crispy for a minute two between each stir.
Serve hot with more chopped green onions and sriracha sauce if you like it.
Questions About Making Easy Vegetable Chow Mein
What is Vegetable Chow Mein made of?
Noodles, vegetables and a sauce made of oyster sauce and soy sauce.
What's the difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein?
Chow Mein has fried noodles and Lo Mein has boiled noodles.
Is Chow Mein healthy?
Yes, I think it's part of a healthy diet when made at home. You can control the salt at home, make sure there are no weird additives and pack it with healthy vegetables like cabbage!
Easy Vegetable Chow Mein
For the Noodles:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ onion (thinly sliced)
- ½ head of cabbage (thinly sliced)
- 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables (fresh or frozen)
- 5 green onions (sliced)
- 16 oz noodles (see notes)
For the Sauce
- ½ cup cold water
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until softened and browned. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring for 4 minutes or until browned and shrinking in volume. Add the frozen vegetables and cook, stirring until warmed through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the garlic and green onions. Let sit about 10-15 seconds, then stir around for another 10 seconds. Stir to incorporate into the rest of the dish.
- Add the noodles and the sauce. The noodles will seem too big for the pan. Use tongs to cook toss them as they cook, mixing them in with the cooked vegetables and they will soften up and mix in after about 4 minutes or so. Allow them to get crispy in places. Serve with more fresh green onions and sriracha sauce if you like.
- Use whatever noodles you prefer. I use ones that are already cooked and in the frozen section at my local Asian grocery store. You can also use, linguine, spaghetti, spaghettini, or rice noodles.