Vegetable Chow Mein is a flavorful Asian side dish or dinner. This easy chow mein recipe is completely vegan and made with tender chow mein noodles, plenty of colorful veggies and an irresistible sauce coating it all. A quick, easy-to-follow homemade version of the take out classic that’s even better than what you would get at a restaurant!

vegetable Chow Mein made with broccoli and red bell pepper

Whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, I have to order the vegetable chow mein. That combination of tender noodles, colorful veggies and savory sauce just can’t be beat. This recipe gives you the same great restaurant flavors, but in the comfort of your own home. How great is that?!

You’re going to want to make this dinner recipe on repeat! It’s so easy and inexpensive to make, yet it tastes absolutely incredible! I don’t know about you, but I love diving into a big bowl of noodles.

Chow mein vs. Lo mein:

“Chow mein” translates to stir-fried noodles while “lo mein” means tossed noodles. While they are rather similar, there are some technical differences which lie largely in the way that they are prepared.

One of the main differences is that chow mein is a bit of a drier noodle dish that has a simple sauce to it while lo mein is covered in a thicker sauce that is truly the hero of the dish. 

Both are delicious and definitely worth a try!

vegan Chow Mein in a small white bowl

Ingredients needed for vegetable chow mein:

This vegetable chow mein recipe is very versatile! It’s what I like to call a “clean out the fridge” recipe. I’m giving suggestions for veggies to use, but feel free to swap them out as desired. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vegetables. I typically use carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, cabbage, green onion and garlic for this recipe. These veggies work great together, but feel free to use about 3 cups of whatever veggies you want, plus another 2-3 cups of cabbage. I love the crunch of the cabbage and while this recipe could be made without it, I do not recommend it!
  • Chow mein noodles. You have several options for the noodles. Fresh chow mein noodles are usually only found at Asian markets. If you can’t find chow mein noodles, refrigerated yakisoba noodles are a great substitute and most grocery stores carry these. Dry chow mein noodles are another option and are usually found in the non-refrigerated Asian aisles of the grocery store. Dry spaghetti is another alternative that works.
  • Sauce. We’re using a mix of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and sesame oil for an incredibly flavorful sauce that you’re sure to love!
vegetable Chow Mein cooked in a large skillet

How to make this vegan chow mein recipe:

Making vegetable chow mein is super simple! Here’s a quick rundown of what’s involved, but you can find the complete recipe at the bottom of the post.

2 stitched images: left image labeled "1" is hands holding up uncooked chow mein noodles. Right image: labeled "2" is a bowl with hands whisking brown liquid
  1. Cook the noodles. Prepare noodles according to directions on package.
  2. Make the sauce. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce.
2 stitched images: left is labaled "3" and is a large skillet with raw veggies inside including carrots and cabbage. Right image: labeled "4" is the sauteed veggies with cooked noodles added in

3. Cook vegetables. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Sauté carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, and cabbage for about 5 minutes. Then, add in the green onion and garlic and sauté for 2 additional minutes.

2 stitched together images: left image is labeled "5" and is sauce being poured over a skillet with noodles and sauteed veggies in it. right image is labeled "6" a d is everything all mixed together in the skillet

4.Add sauce and noodles. Combine the sauce and noodles with the vegetables and cook for about 2-3 minutes and until the noodles are reheated and the sauce is thickened and beginning to coat the veggies and noodles.

Enjoy! Remove from heat and serve.

using tongs to serve Chow Mein noodles

Tips for making vegetable chow mein:

  • Chow mein noodles. Be sure that you buy actual chow mein noodles and not the chow mein crispy pieces. They confusingly have the same name. You can also sub with thin spaghetti or soba noodles.
  • Vegetables. Other vegetable options that work well in this dish are bean sprouts, mushrooms, celery, bok choy, snow peas, zucchini, and/or water chestnuts.
  • Protein. If you’re looking to add additional protein while keeping this dish vegan, you can add in some tofu. Learn all about cooking tofu in my tofu guide.
  • Rice Vinegar. Chow mein is most traditionally made with Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing wine), but I have a hard time finding it so I sub with rice vinegar. Feel free to use shaoxing wine in place of the vinegar.
vegetable Chow Mein served in a small white bowl

More vegan Asian inspired recipes to try:

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you make this chow mein recipe and let me know how you like it! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

See how to make this Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe:

 
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vegetable Chow Mein made with broccoli and red bell pepper

Vegetable Chow Mein


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegetable Chow Mein is a flavorful Asian side dish or dinner. This easy recipe is vegan and made with tender chow mein noodles, plenty of colorful veggies and an irresistible sauce coating it all. A quick, easy-to-follow homemade version of the take out classic!


Ingredients

Scale

For the sauce

  • ½ cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of rice wine vinegar*
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (can sub in coconut sugar or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Black pepper to taste

For the chow mein

  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cup of julienned carrots, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup of finely chopped broccoli
  • ½ of a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 23 cups of  Napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz chow mein noodles*

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce.
  3. Meanwhile in a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, and cabbage. Saute for 5 minutes. Add in the green onion and garlic and saute for 2 additional minutes.
  4. Add the sauce and noodles into the skillet and toss to combine. Continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes until the noodles are reheated and the sauce is thickened and beginning to coat the veggies and noodles.
  5. Remove from heat and ENJOY!

Notes

Rice Vinegar– this is most traditionally made with Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing wine) but I have a hard time finding that in my area. Feel free to use that in place of the vinegar if you have it.

Noodles- Check that the noodles you’re using are vegan, if that’s desired. When buying chow mein noodles, be sure that you’re getting noodles and not the chow mein crispy pieces that are confusingly called the same thing.

If you don’t see something labeled “chow mein” noodles, you can also look for/ use thin spaghetti or soba noodles.

 

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: chow mein, vegetable chow mein, vegan chow mein