I am a true fan of rainbow dishes. Rainbow dishes contain an array of different colored fruits or vegetables that provide the vitamins and minerals you need. Especially in this blog, you’ll see what I call rainbow fruit salads, vegetable salads, and smoothies. In this same vein, I love lo mein. If you like eating an array of vegetables in your pasta, then you’ll also enjoy vegetable lo mein.
Lo mein is typically ordered as a Chinese take-out dish, but it can be simply prepared in the comfort of your own home with the vegetables you have on hand. I used to put both yellow squash and zucchini in this because they’re some of my favorite vegetables, but lately, because my brother hates squash, I am leaving them out. So, if I have them on hand, broccoli and peas — my fav snow peas, baby corn, and bok choy may also go in here. Even water chestnuts or cabbage may go into a lo mein. Indeed, any assortment of vegetables you choose.
Now, there are lo mein staples, at least this is what I believe. Each veggie lo mein should at least contain carrots and celery. I personally don’t think it tastes right without these two things, but I always throw in some oven-fried tofu as well. You may prepare this ahead of time. Lately, I have also included my chicken meat substitute as well. These add bulk and texture to the dish, as well as a degree of flavor. If you have them, m mung bean sprouts should not be left out, but sometimes I don’t always have them on hand for the dish.
The seasonings for this dish include garlic, onion, fresh ginger, roasted sesame oil, peanut oil, and hoisin sauce (see blog recipe). Sure, ginger is a stimulating spice; so I use it sparingly; but you may substitute cardamom in its place, but I happen to know many people who are not fans of the taste of cardamom, as it could overwhelm a dish. Use a little and that may do it!
So, as they say, “Eat the rainbow!” … this time the rainbow of real food and not candy! Now, wait no further, the recipe is as follows:
Veggie Lo Mein
- 1 box lo mein, linguine, or spaghetti noodles
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil (use more if necessary)
- 2 Tbs. liquid aminos/soy sauce, or to taste
- 1/4 c. hoisin sauce (See recipe)
- 2 Tbs. peanut oil
- 1 Tbs. fresh minced ginger or about 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 tsp. minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1 c. thinly sliced medium onions (red preferred)
- 1 c. julienne carrots or carrot strips (2 thick carrots)
- 1 c. thinly sliced celery (1 large stalk)
- 1-2 c. broccoli florets
- 1-2 baby corn, cut into rounds
- 1 c. snow peas
- 3/4 c. mung bean sprouts, optional
- 2 c. oven-baked tofu or tofu chik’n, cubed, optional
- 1 c. chicken meat substitute, cubed, optional
- sprigs of cilantro, optional
- Green onions, garnish
- In a large pan, cook noodles in boiling salted water until done (see instructions). Drain, Toss lightly with sesame oil to prevent sticking. Cover and set aside.
- Prepare oven-baked tofu according to recipe and/or cube and lightly sauté chicken meat substitute. Set aside.
- Slice and dice vegetables according to the recipe. Set aside.
- Combine the hoisin sauce and liquid aminos in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large skillet heat peanut oil and quickly sauté the ginger (or cardamom), garlic and onions until they release aroma, then add the carrots, celery, and onions and briefly sauté for 5 minutes before adding tofu. You may add the broccoli and other veggies at this step too. Add the snow peas and baby corn during the last two minutes. Bean sprouts should be added last as they will cook off of the steam of the dish.
- Add sautéed ingredients, along with oven-baked tofu and meat substitute (if using), to the noodles in the large pan. Add the liquid aminos-hoisin mixture and stir to coat. Add more liquid aminos/hoisin sauce to taste.
- Serve by topping each plate with freshly chopped cilantro and/or green onions, if desired.