In just under 30 minutes you can have better-than-take-out Vegetable Lo Mein! Make this quick and easy recipe right in your kitchen, with its savory sauce, veggies, and soft, chewy noodles. It’s a recipe made for two, but you’re going to want to make a double batch once you take a bite!
This is THE veggie lo mein recipe that you must have in your weeknight dinner rotation. You’re going to love how ridiculously easy and quick it is to make. And although it makes two healthy-sized servings (and by healthy I mean substantial), I’m willing to bet you’re going to want to double it.
It’s one of those recipes you want to eat the next day for lunch, or breakfast (cold noodles anyone?!), or forever more.
My lo mein journey starts way back in my junior high days. I lived in a suburb outside of the Twin Cities; it was fairly small at the time but just on the cusp of growing into another metropolitan hot-spot.
In those good old days, we had a tiny hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that we would frequently get take-out from or go to for dinner. And they had a lo mein that was the bee’s knees. It was on my must-have list. It was saucy and noodle-y and veggie-tastic.
And the thing was: it had these skinny egg noodles, opposed to thick fat ones, and I was in love. This is why this recipe features those same skinny noodles. The ones that stole my heart.
What is Lo Mein?
If you’re wondering what lo mein is, or how is it different from chow mein, let’s have a chat!
Lo mein translates to “tossed noodles”, whereas chow mein translates to “fried noodles”. They’re both made from wheat and egg, the difference is just in the preparation of the noodles.
Lo mein noodles are soft egg noodles that are parboiled and then tossed in the sauce along with a variety of vegetables and/or proteins.
The ingredients for this lo mein recipe are very straightforward and simple. With a few basics you’ll want to have on hand for a lot of at-home Chinese food recipes, it’s easy!
- Chinese Noodles – keep reading for more on these!
- Yellow Onion – they get slightly caramelized and the thin slices weave their way through the noodles creating a luscious flavor and texture!
- Red Bell Pepper – a beautiful pop of color and crisp crunch.
- Snow Peas – color, texture, and oh so good for you.
- Carrots – you can julienne the carrots yourself or make it easy and buy them pre-shredded.
- Garlic – I feel like this is a flavor no-brainer.
- The Sauce – lo mein is all about the sauce! This version uses 4 simple ingredients… keep reading for more info!
What kind of noodles are best for making lo mein at home?
I already mentioned these are key to me, from you know, my nostalgic heart that fell in love with lo mein all those years ago in the little restaurant we frequented.
While in general, Chinese egg noodles are what you’re looking for, there are several options to go with. If you’re able to, you can find fresh egg noodles and prepare them according to package directions. These will generally be thicker than the variety I make this recipe with, and you’ll likely want to double the sauce.
These are the noodles I’ve had the best results with, for both their thickness and texture:
- Kame Chinese Noodles (affiliate link) – I find these noodles to have the perfect width and texture. I used to find them at Whole Foods, but no longer can. I have found them at Hy-Vee in the Twin Cities, but you can check on their website to locate the product (not sponsored BTW).
- Other Chinese Noodles (affiliate link) – I’ve also used other products labeled as Chinese noodles with good results, though the thickness can vary slightly. The ones in the link are in the ingredient photo and video; I found them at Whole Foods.
- Ramen Noodles – I find these can be a good substitute.
What is in the Sauce?
This sauce is super easy to make, and uses pantry staples for Asian cooking.
- Oyster Sauce – full of umami flavor! It’s just slightly sweet and salty and adds complex flavor to the lo mein sauce. The addition of oyster sauce means this isn’t a vegetarian recipe, you can find vegetarian (or vegan) friendly oyster sauce, made with mushrooms.
- Soy Sauce – the standard.
- Dark Soy Sauce (affiliate link) – now, this is an ingredient you might not have on hand immediately, but it’s one that you’ll want if you like to make a lot of Asian food at home. Dark soy sauce is used for both flavor and to darken dishes. It has a slightly sweet aspect to it and is rich in flavor.
- Sesame Oil – adds an earthy, nutty flavor to the sauce, ever so slightly.
The Recipe Steps
Are you ready to see how easy this recipe is? How in less than 30 minutes you’ll have a savory, noodle-and-veggie-loaded dinner ready to devour?
First, boil the noodles just under al dente. Because we’re also going to toss the noodles and sauce at the end of the cooking process, we don’t want them to be over-cooked. That’s no good, then they become mushy and soggy. Boiling them just under al dente ensures that they will keep their bite, chewiness, and remain noodle-y (yes, a word in the FITK vocabulary!).
Drain and rinse the noodles to stop the cooking process. They will reheat when they’re added to the vegetables at the end.
Meanwhile, whisk the sauce together. This easy step can be done as the noodles cook, or while the veggies sauté.
Then, the veggies. Use a wok or a large skillet for the veggies.
Start with the onion slices. The onion adds the first layer of flavor, and it is going to become slightly caramelized resulting in a slightly-sweet, rich flavor.
Then the garlic. I’m never one to skimp on the garlic. It’s sliced in this recipe because it’s 100% delicious to get a slice of garlic in a bite. You can also mince or finely chop it, if preferred.
Next, add the red bell pepper, snow peas, and carrots. These veggies are all pretty crunchy, so they need a minute to soften up. They’ll sauté as the flavors meld together.
Then, add the noodles to the wok or skillet, and toss with the sauce, allowing both to heat through as the dish comes together.
Serve with scallions, if desired, and dig in!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add chicken or another protein? Absolutely! Thinly slice a chicken breast and cook it in a little oil in your wok or saucepan. Then remove it from the pan and set aside until ready to add back in at the end. This will also work well with shrimp or cubed pork.
What other vegetables could I add? The options are really endless here, and you can customize the vegetables in this recipe so easily. Mushrooms would be excellent – cook them with the onions and allow the moisture to evaporate out of them before adding the remaining veggies. Bean sprouts would be a great crunchy addition. Bok choy is loaded with nutrients and would be excellent as well (add it with the bell pepper, etc.). Broccoli is another favorite!
Can I use spaghetti noodles? Yes, in a pinch you can substitute spaghetti noodles in this recipe. I personally don’t love this version, but it will work if it’s what you’ve got. I would recommend doubling the sauce in this case, too.
What if I don’t have dark soy sauce? You can use regular soy sauce in its place.
More Quick & Easy Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Cauliflower Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Curried Shrimp Fried Rice
- Cheesy Pepper Jelly Wonton Cups
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Vegetable Lo Mein for Two
- 4 ounces Chinese noodles generally 1/2 package
- 1 TBSP oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 TBSP dark soy sauce
- 1 TBSP regular soy sauce
- 1 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil or another neutral oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion thinly sliced (~ 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots shredded or julienned (2 medium)
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 3-4 ounces snow peas
- Optional: sliced scallions for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook Chinese noodles for 1-2 minutes (see package directions and cook 1-2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time to ensure they don't overcook later). As they boil, stir to unfold the noodles. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the sauce by whisking together the oyster sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauces. Set aside.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion slices and cook for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic, continuing to stir for 1 minute as it becomes fragrant. Add carrots, bell pepper, and snow peas. Cook for 4-5 minutes until tender.
- Add the par-boiled noodles to the wok and pour in the sauce, stirring to coat. Continue to cook for 1-2 additional minutes until noodles are cooked through and sauce is distributed evenly. Serve immediately with scallions as desired.
This post was originally published in March of 2018. The text and photos were updated for clarity in January of 2021; no changes were made to the original recipe.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!