Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe

By : | 69 Comments | On : November 18, 2013 | Category : Recipe Ditties


Fresh chow mein at home is delicious and easy. Well, technically this is Lo Mein, but most people will consider it Chow Mein. I make this all the time for my family, and sometimes (like today), it’s what we are eating for lunch. This recipe is made without meat, so it can go easily with any other stir fry dishes.

Vegetable Chow Mein

Serves 4-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 17 minutes
By Dish Ditty
Fresh chow mein at home is delicious and easy. Well, technically this is Lo Mein, but most people will consider it Chow Mein. Delicious!


  • 1  tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 4  cups Nappa Cabbage (shredded, more to taste)
  • 1  cup Carrots (shredded)
  • 1/2  bunch Green Onions (sliced in long thin strips)
  • 1  lb Fresh Steamed Thin Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1  cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4  cup Soy Sauce (Light)
  • 1/8 - 1/4  cup Pure Sesame Oil (To taste)
  • 1/4  cup Panda Brand Lo Mein Sauce
  • 2  cups Bean Sprouts (cleaned and trimmed)


  • 2  cups Baby Bok Choy (sliced thin)


Fresh steamed chow mein is only partially cooked and can be found in the refrigerated section at most Asian markets. If you can't find fresh chow mein noodles, then use the dried noodles by cooking them first and remove about 1 minute before the package directions. Drain them and rinse with cold water. If using fully cooked noodles, reduce the chicken broth to 1/4 cup.

Is this Vegetarian? Not as is since the Lo Mein sauce I use has chicken base in it and it uses chicken broth. To make it vegetarian, use a vegetarian Oyster Sauce, like this one from the same maker Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Flavored Sauce, and mix 1/2 tsp of sugar with it and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Or, try using Miso base mixed with water as a substitution for the chicken broth. I just did this and it was amazing. I think it would be way better than made with vegetable broth.

Make it Vegan? That is much harder as the noodles are egg noodles.  You will need to find a vegan noodle that is thin like this one and that will hold up to a stir fry. You can try substituting rice or soy bean noodles.  It will be good, but not chow mein like.

Can't find the Panda Brand Sauce? No problem, just use a standard oyster sauce, 1 tsp Better than Bouillon Chicken base, and 1/2 tsp sugar.



In a large colander, run hot water through the steamed chow mein for about 30 seconds, separating the noodles and removing the excess flour. Set aside.

* If you don't have chinese steamed chow mein, use Angel Hair pasta and cook the pasta for 2 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

2. Cook the Vegetables

In large wok or pan, heat oil on medium-high and add green onions, cabbage and carrots. Stir fry for about 2-4 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted.

3. Add the noodles and broth

Increase the temperature to high and dd the chow mein noodles and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Cook stirring and tossing constantly for about 45 seconds and then add the remaining chicken broth. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or so or until all the liquid is dissolved.

4. Add remaining ingredients

Add the remaining ingredients, soy sauce, sesame oil and lo mein sauce, and continue to cook for another 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.


Variation: You can also choose at this point to crisp the bottom by spreading the noodles on the pan and cooking on high for about 1-2 minutes without moving or stirring the noodles. Flip over onto a plate and serve.


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Comments (69)

  1. posted by Carolyn on January 18, 2014

    I just made this and we couldn’t even eat it. It was horrible. I don’t think you meant to put 1/4 cup of sesame oil. It was so strong. Is that right?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on January 20, 2014

      Hi Carolyn,
      Did you make any other substitutions? Yes, it should be 1/4 cup of Sesame oil, but some people might find that strong. I would suggest if you are not a fan of that flavor, to just use 1 Tablespoon of Sesame oil and if you need more oil, to substitute with Olive oil to soften the flavor.

      • posted by laury arabi on July 31, 2014

        This is absolutely the best chow mein I’ve ever made. Closest recipe to the chinese restaurant. My family and I love it. I think what truly makes it so tasty is the sesame oil. plus you can add more veggies, meat, chicken, shrimp to make a complete meat. Thank you Dish Ditty

        • posted by Dish Ditty on July 31, 2014

          Thank you Laury for your amazing feedback. I love hearing from everyone about their experiences with my recipes, good or bad, but I definitely like the good best. Have you tried my Beef with Bok Choy or my Ginger Beef with Asparagus? I also have lots of other Chinese style noodle dishes. Let me know if you try other recipes and how they worked for you. Chinese Recipes at Dish Ditty

  2. posted by Laura Gillings on January 28, 2014

    I just made this for my family yesterday. I scrambled 5 eggs and cut up pan seared a couple chicken breasts to add to the chow mien. I thought it was fabuolas! Everyone loved the recipe. My husband took it to work the next day and the kids and I had it for lunch after swimming lessons. Yum!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on January 28, 2014

      I’m so glad your family loved it! Your additions sound great. Thanks for sharing.

  3. posted by joan on February 2, 2014

    This looks nothing like chow mein, it does howerver look like lo main. Coming from the north east our chow mein from China Town is comprised of nothing but bean sprouts and other vegetables.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on February 3, 2014

      Hi Joan,
      Please read the description, I did state that this is technically lo mein in the description. However, most people will look at this and say “Chow Mein”, hence the title. Also, Chow Mein directly translated is “Fried Noodles”, so you should see noodles in your chow mein wherever you go. I’m not a huge fan of Bean Sprouts, so you won’t find them in most of my recipes, although they can be added to this one and it will be delicious.

  4. posted by Rebecca B on February 2, 2014

    Can you leave the soy sauce out? I am allergic to soy or can I substitute something else??

    • posted by Dish Ditty on February 3, 2014

      Hi Rebecca,
      You would need a substitute, I don’t know of any commercial soy free soy sauce options (lots of gluten free options). But there are some recipes on the internet. I searched for “soy free soy sauce substitute recipe” and got these:

      Might be worth trying. Let me know how it works for you.

      • posted by tami on January 10, 2015

        could try Braggs aminos… tastes similar to soy sauce, but I don’t think it is.

        • posted by Dish Ditty on January 10, 2015

          Thanks Tami. I’ve never tried that as a soy sauce substitute, so let me know how it works if you try it.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 4, 2014

      Hi Rebecca, a friend of mine just told me she’s been using Coconut Aminos as a substitute for Soy Sauce. I’m not sure how that would taste, but maybe it’s worth giving it a try. Let me know if you do try it soy sauce free and how it goes.

  5. posted by Brittany on February 16, 2014

    This looks so amazing! I want to make it so badly but I have been unsuccessful finding fresh lo mein noodles. I’ve checked Marc’s, Giant Eagle, and Acme so far with no luck. Still need to try Heinens and Super Walmart. Someone else suggested trying Trader Joes or Earth Fare, but those stores are not very close. I know I could get some uncooked, but if I can find them fresh I’d love to. Where do you find yours? Did you have a hard time initially? Any advice is appreciated!!!!!!! Thanks!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on February 16, 2014

      Hi Brittany,
      I buy these at my local Asian Market and I don’t think you can buy those online, at least I haven’t had any success.

      I’m going to try this recipe with regular noodles, I know others have done that with success. I’d suggest a thin noodle, like Angel Hair. When cooking your noodles, reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes. For example, if it says 5 minutes to boil, cook only for 3. Then rinse with cool water to stop the noodles from cooking (you don’t want them overcooked or soggy). You may also want to use only 1/2 the sesame oil in the recipe if using Angel Hair as it might overpower the dish.

      Good luck! Let me know how it works for you.

      • posted by nancy frank on March 5, 2014

        I use thin spaghetti noodles and rinse them angel hair would be too thin

        • posted by Dish Ditty on March 5, 2014

          Thanks Nancy!

        • posted by Dish Ditty on March 12, 2014

          I just tried it with angel hair and here are my thoughts:
          – Use 1/2 pound of angel hair, not 1 pound.
          – Lighter for sure on the sesame oil as it doesn’t get absorbed by the noodles as much and just coats it. I would go with 1 tablespoon sesame oil
          – I liked the thinness of the noodles using angel hair
          – Cooking the noodles for 2 minutes was perfect (box said 4). Then rinse in cold water.

          I’ll redo this again sometime in the future with the angel hair, take pictures, and make sure the measurements work. Once I do that, I’ll post a new recipe and link it to this one. Thanks!

  6. posted by breea on February 19, 2014

    could you use a chow main seasoning mix packet in place of lo main sauce? i could not find the lo mein sauce. And not a fan of oyster sauce…

    • posted by Dish Ditty on February 19, 2014

      Hi Breea,
      Yes, you could choose to change the type of sauce. Once person chose to use Hoisin sauce instead for the same reason and liked the results. To me the hoisin sauce might be a little sweet. I’m not sure what is in chow mein seasoning mix, so you may want to be careful with the soy sauce and sesame oil and add that as needed. Let me know how it works for you. Thanks!

  7. posted by Nettie on March 5, 2014

    I just made this and I was so disappointed. It looked so good, but the flavor was terrible! I do think that 1/4 cup of sesame was too much. I don’t think i will try this again.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 5, 2014

      Hi Nettie,
      You’re the second person to say the sesame oil was too overpowering. I’ll adjust it down to 1/8 cup, but I’m curious, what kind of noodles did you use? Did you make any other adjustments (used regular oyster sauce instead of lo mein, etc)? I think the type of noodles makes a difference as to how the oil is absorbed. Thanks! I’m going to try it this week with regular noodles to see how it turns out.

      • posted by Nettie on March 5, 2014

        I don’t remember the name of the noodles I used. I went to the Chinese supermarket and asked for the type of noodles. They were dry and she told me not to let it sit in the water long. I did not make any adjustments. The sesame seed oil I used was pure and not blended. The flavor did not taste at all like any lomein/chow mein. Unfortunately I was unable to eat it and had to throw it away. I will say that your pictures are really nice and it does help to quickly view your pictures when cooking.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 5, 2014

      Also, what type of Sesame Oil did you use? Did you use Pure or Blended? That will make a huge difference in taste, needs to be pure.

  8. posted by Trish on March 8, 2014

    I have a question, based on the concerns about the sesame oil. Are you using plain sesame oil (basically the same color as vegetable oil, used as an oil) or toasted sesame oil (deep dark brown, used as a seasoning)? I have both in my kitchen.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 9, 2014

      Plain pure sesame oil. Light in color, not dark.

  9. posted by Alyssa on March 9, 2014

    It says 1 tablespoon Vegetable…. What vegetable? Any one?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 9, 2014

      thanks, fixed. it’s supposed to be vegetable oil.

  10. posted by Audrey on March 18, 2014

    Hi. I don’t have any lo mein sauce, nor oyster sauce. Can I make it without this ingredient?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 18, 2014

      Hi Audrey,
      Someone commented that they used Hoisin sauce and liked it. Hoisin, however, is a bit sweet for my tastes. Here’s a link to a page that gives some ideas for substituting oyster sauce:

      The one that sounds most promising would be soy sauce, sugar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

      • posted by Audrey on March 18, 2014

        Great, thank you!!! Do you have any recommendations on amount? And which sugar? White or Brown?
        Thanks for the advice…I’m new to this genre of cooking, so I don’t know how to tweak it.

        • posted by Dish Ditty on March 18, 2014

          I would just add 1 tsp sugar. You don’t need a lot. Also, if you can’t find the steamed Chinese style noodles and plan on using dry noodles, be sure to undercook them by about 2 minutes since you will be adding liquid while cooking which will finish cooking the noodles. I also found that using american style noodles doesn’t give the same result. So, if you only have american noodles, reduce the sesame oil to 1 tbl and use only 1/2 pound of angel hair pasta. One of these days I’ll do a version with american ingredients so that it is easier for those who don’t have access to a Chinese supermarket.

  11. posted by Theresa on March 23, 2014

    I like the recipe and plan to make it- it provides the basics and with all recopies, you can play around with the “extras”. Not every recipe is designed for each persons individual tastes- but this gives me , anyway, the foundation and I have cooked enough to be able to alter what goes into it to suit my needs- Thanks for the recipe and the tips

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 24, 2014

      Thanks Theresa! I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to post your changes to the recipe to give others ideas.

  12. posted by Melissa on March 24, 2014

    I tried this recipe and it was good but the sesame oil flavor did overpower the dish. Don’t get me wrong, I like sesame but I would have liked to have had all the flavors make an appearance. I will try this again with only a tiny bit of sesame oil.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on March 27, 2014

      Thanks Melissa, how much did you put in? 1/8 or 1/4 cup? I found that if not using the steamed chow mein the sesame oil is very overpowering. 1/2-1 Tbl is what I would use.

  13. posted by Geena on March 30, 2014

    What brand Miso base did you use? (is it easy to find?)
    And how much of it did you use in how much water?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on April 3, 2014

      White Miso base. I added 2 tablespoons to 1 cup of hot water to mix it together. Worked great.

  14. posted by Julie on April 10, 2014

    Hey! I tried your recipe in parts( mainly cause I didn’t have all the ingredients needed for yours) and It turned out good but I don’t think mine could be called chow mein or lo mein XD used only broth, soy sauce and sesame oil. I prefer toasted sesame oil in general so I just put a lot less and I used rice noodles instead. over all I’m not disappointed but I’m, sure if I had all the ingredients it’d be smashing! People you should also remember that it’s allowed to taste as you’re following a recipe. saves a lot of food XD

  15. posted by Erin on June 18, 2014

    Thank you for this recipe! I was looking for something similar to my husbands favorite restaurant chow mein for his birthday and came upon this recipe. I’ve never even attempted an Asian dish, so I was a little nervous. After reading the reviews I was easy on the sesame oil (used about 1 1/2 TBSP). I also added 1lb of thinly sliced chicken. Since I couldn’t find the Panda Brand Lo Mein sauce, I also used the substitute you mentioned (a life saver for me). It turned out excellent! My husband loved it and we will be making this again and again!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on June 19, 2014

      I’m so glad you and your husband liked it! Thank you so much for your feedback.

  16. posted by Lizy on July 31, 2014

    I made it. I added bigger pieces of veggies. I loved it.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on July 31, 2014

      Thanks Lizy! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  17. posted by joan on September 2, 2014

    This dish IS Lo Mein, Chow Mein is all vegetables.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on September 2, 2014

      This is lo mein as I stated in my description, most people would consider it chow mein. However, “mein” means noodles… chow mein is fried noodles. It isn’t just all vegetables.

  18. posted by Val on September 29, 2014

    I wonder if you could use those instant noodles instead of the chow mein noodles

    • posted by Dish Ditty on September 29, 2014

      My father in law used to use cup-o-noodles. :) It won’t be the same and you’ll want to be careful with the liquids as the noodles in both the instant ramen and instant noodles tend to be more ‘mushy’. So, if adjusting this recipe to use instant noodles, cook them first, and don’t add the extra chicken broth. Also, adjust the oils and sauces since you may not need as much.

  19. posted by Cathy Cyr on November 12, 2014

    in the veg chow mein recipe I searched everywhere for lo mein sauce and couldn’t find it. In comments I discovered that maybe it’s oyster sauce? Now, after searching everywhere, I’m home and don’t have oyster sauce but I do have thai kitchen brand fish sauce. Could I use this as a substitute?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on November 12, 2014

      Hi Cathy. I wouldn’t do fish sauce. That will alter the flavor roo much. Oyster sauce is the replacement but if you don’t have that any other soy based stir fry sauce might work. Or just omit it and add a little.more soy and 1 teaspoon sugar.

      • posted by TamTam on April 9, 2015

        I have made this a couple of times with Kikoman brand “stir fry sauce” in place of the lo mein sauce. Not sure if it’s anywhere close to the same thing, but I like the way it tastes! I also leave out the bean sprouts and add extra cabbage and usually some kind of stir fried meat to make it a complete meal.

        • posted by Dish Ditty on April 9, 2015

          Sounds delicious! I rarely make my recipes like this 100% the same every time, I adjust it to what I have or want to add like you did. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. :)

  20. posted by Amy on November 13, 2014

    Hi there I am very anxious to try this but my husband is allergic to oysters, is there an alternative the make it your self sauce? I am having a hard time finding the lo mein sauce. Thanks!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on November 13, 2014

      Hi Amy,
      There are some recipes for oyster sauce substitute, but I find that you an choose a Mushroom Flavor Stir Fry sauce or Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce and just add a 1/2-1 tsp sugar. Maybe add teaspoon of ‘Better than Bouillon Chicken’ as well. The oyster sauce does add to the flavor, but you can do without if there is an allergy. Some have reported that they substituted with hoisin sauce. I find that a bit too sweet, so I’d make a mix of 1/2 hoisin and 1/2 soy sauce if you want to try that.

  21. posted by G Thomas Boston on November 19, 2014

    Quite yummy. Not easy to prepare though. I commented to my wife on making it that it was a “brutal recipe”. Actually, it wasn’t that bad but there was a great deal of clean-up afterward. Having said that, the work was well worth the end result. Thank you for the recipe!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on November 19, 2014

      You are Welcome G Thomas Boston! I know, sometimes I use a few too many dishes. There are shortcuts you can probably do, but I find this process provides the best results. I hope you try out more of our recipes. Thanks!

  22. posted by Jen Hatton on December 7, 2014

    Made this today and it was really good! Instead of sesame oil I used 1/4 C tahini (ground sesame seeds) and coconut amino instead of soy sauce. I didn’t have the Lo Mein sauce but used your recommendation of 1/8C Soy and 1/8C Hoisin. Everyone loved it except for my 6yr old (oh well). Thanks for the recipe!

  23. posted by Hannah on December 13, 2014

    How much oyster sauce are you supposed to use? Also 1/4 cup?

    • posted by Dish Ditty on December 15, 2014

      Yes, if substituting, keep the oyster sauce at 1/4 cup

  24. posted by Kathy on December 20, 2014

    I make this with leftover Xmas turkey every boxing day. I’ve never used Napa cabbage though. I always used a bag of shredded coleslaw mix. This year I’ll try with Napa. Try adding some lea & Perrins and red peppers.
    I usually soak the leftover turkey in the oyster sauce while prepping everything else

  25. posted by Ashley on January 15, 2015

    I couldn’t find any lo mein sauce, and before I read the bottom about the substitute, bought and used stir fry sauce. It worked out pretty well, but I would not use as much soy sauce, as the stir fry sauce is also very salty!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on January 15, 2015

      Yes I agree. That would be too salty. I’m glad it worked for you albeit a little salty.

  26. posted by chris gilliatt on February 12, 2015

    I make this all the time for my family. My son requests when we go away to leave for him to eat. We have an oriental grocer where I buy fresh beansprouts (not in a plastic bag), fresh noodles, etc. I use baby bok choy not cabbage normally but any veggie good. For sauce I mix a large spoon of Laoganma (it says chili sauce on label, everything else chinese), a spoon of sweet soya, some oyster sauce and maybe some sweet chili sauce. I’ll put a dash of sesame oil (pure), for me even a tablespoon would be too much. I add chicken breast, shrimp and sometimes bbq pork from grocer.

  27. posted by Jill on March 23, 2015

    Yum, yum, yum!!!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on April 4, 2015

      I’m so glad you liked it Jill! :)

  28. posted by Diane weaver on September 18, 2015

    if you want to make this vegan or vegetarian just use spaghetti squash instead of noodles. Spaghetti squash and cauliflower rice are my go to’s.

    • posted by Dish Ditty on September 18, 2015

      Thanks Diane. That’s great.


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