I love any kind of stir-fried noodle dish, and vegetable chow mein is no exception. Easy and adaptable, you can make it a little different each time, according to what vegetables are in your fridge. For this vegan rendition of chow mein, you can incorporate your favorite plant protein — tofu, baked tofu, tempeh, seitan, soy curls, or a packaged plant “chick’n” product. Or, you can leave it out and serve a vegan protein dish on the side.
The last time I made it, I wondered what “chow mein” actually means; according to Wikipedia: “The words chow mein mean ‘stir-fried noodles’, chow meaning ‘stir-fried’ (or “sautéed”) and mein meaning ‘noodles’. The pronunciation chow mein is an English corruption of the Taishanese pronunciation chāu-mèing.” Interesting!
Make sure to see the notes section in the recipe box for a few vegetable variations that work well in this dish. And though I call for yakisoba, a long, thin noodle variety that gives the dish an authentic touch, you can use any kind of long noodle.
- 1/4 cup hoisin or teriyaki sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 medium broccoli crown, chopped into small pieces
- 8 ounces fresh slender (trimmed) or thawed frozen green beans
- 3 large celery or bok choy stalks, sliced on a diagonal
- 4 to 5 ounces shiitake or other brown mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 8-ounce package yakisoba noodles (see note)
- 2 tablespoons safflower or other high-heat oil
- 8 ounces plant protein (baked tofu, tempeh, vegan chick’n, or seitan), cut into strips
- 8 ounces fresh mung bean sprouts
- Sliced toasted almonds for topping, optional
- Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and stir together. Set aside.
- Prepare the broccoli, green beans, celery, mushrooms, and scallions as directed.
- Begin cooking the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain when done. These noodles are very long, so reach into the colander and cut here and there with kitchen shears to shorten.
- While the noodles are cooking, heat the oil in a stir-fry pan. Add the protein and stir-fry until starting to turn golden brown on most sides.
- Add the broccoli, green beans, celery, and mushrooms, and stir-fry over high heat until just tender-crisp. Err on the side of less rather than more cooked, as these veggies will continue to cook as the rest of the ingredients are added.
- Add the scallions, cooked noodles, sauce, and bean sprouts and mix together with a large fork as the mixture cooks for a final minute or so. Remove from the heat.
- Taste to see if you’d like to add any more of the sauce ingredients; or, you can pass around extra soy sauce and hot sauce. Pass around toasted almonds for topping individual portions if you’d like as well.
You’ll find yakisoba in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets. You can substituted an equivalent amount of other long thin noodles, including thin spaghetti.
Variation: Use any other vegetables you have on hand in place of those suggested here. Other good veggies to use are bell pepper, cut into narrow strips; frozen peas and/or corn (thawed), and pre-grated carrot.