What is the difference between vegan lo mein and vegan chow mein? Not only is vegan lo mein cooked differently than chow mein, but it’s also all about the sauce. Those of you who follow my blog know I’m all about the sauce! In fact, the sauce can make or break a meal. Vegan lo mein, for instance, requires very little sauce but packs a ton of flavor.
WHAT NOODLES TO USE TO MAKE LO MEIN VEGAN
Both chow mein and lo mein are typically made with egg noodles. Of course, to make vegan lo mein, vegan, we need to make some changes. Instead of using egg noodles, I prefer wheat noodles, soba noodles, or linguine works as well.
Now, let’s talk about preparation. I love Asian food, but regardless of how many times I order take out, I can always make it healthier at home. The word Mein, for example, means noodles, but chow mein is fried, while lo mein is stirred or tossed in sauce. So, my vegan lo mein recipe is not only oil-free, it is definitely tossed not fried.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NEEDED FOR VEGAN LO MEIN?
Although any vegetables can be used to make vegan lo mein, I chose some of my favorites, as well my Grilled Asian Sesame Tofu recipe. Tofu, although a bonus to the dish, is completely optional. But, I think the tofu gives vegan lo mein an added level of texture and flavor.
Even though I chose the following vegetables, a variety of combinations work well, so be creative and choose your favorites.
- Green Onions
- Purple Cabbage
HELPFUL HINT FOR GETTING YOUR VEGGIES AND EATING YOUR PASTA TOO!
Whenever I eat a pasta dish, I always eat a small number of noodles and a lot of vegetables. So, I strike a balance between my love of pasta and my nutrient-dense vegetables. As a result, I eat a ton of veggies and the pasta I crave without the guilt.
Another suggestion is to stir fry the vegetables in a wok without any sauce! Instead, I saute my vegetables in the wok, in a particular order, so not to overcook the vegetables, but to also keep them crunchy and not soggy with sauce.
Furthermore, the vegetables taste better stir-fried and then added to the noodles with the sauce.
A hot wok, for instance, is essential in stir-frying vegetables. First, make sure the wok is hot, then cook the vegetables in order to prevent overcooking. Also, skip the oil; use water or vegetable broth to keep it clean and healthy.
Next, add the vegetables in the following order, and keep adding and stirring until the tofu (if using) is added at the end.
- Garlic, onions, and mushrooms (5 minutes)
- Carrots and broccoli(5 minutes)
- Purple cabbage and green onions (5 minutes)
- Add the pre-cooked tofu last to reheat (5 minutes)
In order to make sure the purple cabbage and green onions do not overcook, add them in the last five minutes before adding the tofu (if using).
Once the noodles are cooked and drained, and the vegetables are stir-fried, it’s time to bring it all together. As mentioned earlier, I prefer to mix the sauce with the noodles and add the stir-fried vegetables and tofu on top.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VEGAN LO MEIN SAUCE?
When comparing a lo mein sauce to a chow mein sauce, another difference is in the sauce. In contrast, chow mein sauce is thicker and loaded with sugar. However, the secret to vegan lo mein sauce is liquid smoke. Even though it only has a tiny amount of liquid smoke, the smoky flavor brings the rest of the ingredients together.
Also note, the amount of sauce is minimal. Because the sauce is absorbed into the noodles, a little goes a long way.
SO, WHAT’S IN THAT VEGAN LO MEIN SAUCE?
- Soy or Tamari
- Fresh ginger
- Maple syrup
- Rice Vinegar
- Liquid smoke (I sued Hickory flavor)
For this recipe, I also chose to top my dish with roasted salted cashews for a nutty flavor. Similar to the addition of Grilled Asian Sesame Tofu, the roasted cashews are a suggestion, but the dish is fabulous without either.
If you are looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, vegan lo mein is ready in 20 minutes from start to finish. Loaded with vegetables in a light sauce, vegan lo mein is a delicious way to get in all your veggies and enjoy a little pasta at the same time.
IF YOU RE LOOKING FOR QUICK AND EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS…
- Enchilada Pasta
- Grilled Asian Sesame Tofu with Vegetable Slaw
- Vegan Poke Bowl Recipe
- Vegan Pasta Primavera
- Vegan Cajun Pasta
- One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Recipe
- Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Sandwich
- Spicy Thai Vegan Drunken Noodles with Seared Tofu
- Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing