This super fast 15 Minute Vegan Lo Mein is the perfect meal when you need dinner ready in a flash but you still need it to be healthy and taste good. Simple & easy to find ingredients and it tastes just like takeout, you may just make this meal part of your weekly staples!
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Hey Internet, these are some of my favorite noodles. They’re savory, flavorful, and loaded with veggies.
If you’re new here then you should know I LOVE veganizing takeout dishes I used to order from before I went vegan. I’ve made dishes like vegan chicken teriyaki, vegan general tso’s, sweet and sour tofu, vegan beef and broccoli, vegan orange chicken, etc.
This is a vegan lo mein, and it’s really just veggies. But you could add panko tofu, puffed tofu, crispy tofu... or other vegan proteins that aren’t tofu like soy curls, seitan, or even throw in a store-bought option for a super charged shortcut.
Lo mein is a stir-fried Chinese street food dish with a sweet+savory sauce that is traditionally made with meat, and even when it doesn’t, it’s often made with non-vegan ingredients like fish sauce.
Today’s recipe is super duper flavorful, takes just 15 minutes to make, and can be made with any veggies -- think about the ones about to go bad in your fridge, or even use a bag of frozen veg!
This is veggie lo mein is a great way to pack in tons of healthy produce but still feel like you’re eating an indulgent meal.
Why This Recipe Works
This dish works so well because the sauce is flavorful and sticks to the noodles, allowing you to pack in tons of veggies.
The vegetables get stir fried in a large pan (no worries if you don’t own a wok, though they are very useful!), the cooked noodles get added, and then everything gets tossed with this magical sauce.
And the sauce? Made so easily in a small bowl or measuring cup (a family habit I can’t break!) with a few ingredients you may already have. These are simple versatile sauce ingredients that I try to always keep on hand. Especially because we really like stir fries!
Most of the vegetables in this recipe take about the same amount of cook time, which makes the veggie part work better.
Have a tough vegetable like a carrot? Slice it super thin. A delicate vegetable like leafy greens? Add them near the end.
Even the noodles themselves are forgiving. Traditional lo mein noodles have egg so we can’t use those.
But, I was able to find vegan lo mein noodles that work super well for this recipe! If you can’t get those, any long pasta like spaghetti noodles will work. If you are gluten-free, feel free to use your favorite GF pasta.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Noodles: While you can use any noodles/pasta you like, I recommend either these vegan lo mein noodles or something like spaghetti or linguine. Use gluten-free pasta if needed.
- Garlic and ginger: The fresh aromatics really boost the flavors in this recipe. If you don’t have either, you can substitute the granulated / powdered version and put it in the sauce. But fresh is worth it! I recommend using a microplane for quick grating for both garlic and ginger.
- Fresh vegetables: You can use any veggies you like. I chose red bell peppers, matchstick cut carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, green onions, and choy sum which is a leafy green vegetable (substitute bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, etc.).
- Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce: I used reduced sodium soy sauce here but regular sodium should work fine. If you’re worried about it being too salty, use half the amount of regular soy sauce and dilute it with a little water. If you can’t have gluten, try a gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.
- Dark soy sauce: This is a special ingredient that adds a lot of umami and depth for a very small amount. It’s not a big deal if you can’t find it. Feel free to omit or substitute something else with a lot of flavor like mushroom sauce or vegan oyster sauce, hoisin, or a little more reduced sodium soy sauce. If gluten-free, omit and just use a little more gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.
- Toasted Sesame oil: Nutty, rich, and nuanced, I highly recommend just a little bit of (preferably toasted or roasted--look for sesame oil with this label) sesame oil. If you’re avoiding oil, double up on the tahini.
- Tahini: This is not at all a standard addition, however I feel that it gives the sauce more body so I like to add it. Feel free to omit or double the sesame oil.
- Rice vinegar: I like the bit of tartness this provides. Other vinegar like apple cider vinegar will work in its place.
- Coconut sugar: Any type of sugar is fine here. The closest substitute is brown sugar which will give you a warmer flavor than regular cane sugar.
- Ground ginger, optional: I like to add a pinch of ground ginger into the sauce because I really love the ginger flavor in this recipe. You could also just grate a bit more ginger and add some to the sauce, or feel free to omit.
How to Make Vegan Veggie Lo Mein
- So the first thing we're going to do is the thing that takes the longest -- boil the noodles. Start a large pot of water going and cook the noodles according to package directions. If the noodles are done before you’re done cooking the veggies, you can rinse them in warm water and leave them in the strainer.
- While water boils, start cooking the veggies.
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook the garlic and ginger over medium high heat. I like to use a splash of avocado oil (or another high heat neutral cooking oil) to keep them from sticking, but you can use water or broth if you’re oil-free. Cook the aromatics for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the bell peppers and carrots. Stir and let saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Then add the snow peas and mushrooms. Note if using kale or chard, those can take longer to break down so you might want to add them now. Stir and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- When the mushrooms have lightly browned, add the green onions and the leafy greens. Stir and cook until the greens have just wilted, about 1-2 minutes.
- Make the vegan lo mein sauce by whisking together the soy sauces, sesame oil, tahini, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, and ground ginger in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour half of the sauce into the veggies when they are done.
- Add the noodles to the veggies, toss with tongs, and add the remainder of the sauce. Toss gently (or fold with a spatula) until everything is well mixed and coated.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and/or red pepper flakes and enjoy.
- Refrigerate leftover veggie lo mein in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep in mind that gluten-free pasta may not hold up as well and you can use your discretion with that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Expert Tips for Success
- Don’t be tempted to add all your veggies at once. They have different cook times--so layering is important. Pay attention to how the veggies are cooking. If they are cooking too fast, lower the heat or speed along the process. Don’t overcook them.
- If your noodles are done before the veggies, rinse it in warm water in a strainer to keep it from sticking together. You might lose a tiny bit of flavor this way, but it’s better than sticky clumps of noodles.
- Feel free to customize the sauce. It’s your dish! A lot of veggie lo mein recipes feature mirin, so you could add that in place of a bit of the sugar or the rice vinegar and it would be delicious.
- Definitely go for toasted sesame oil as opposed to plain. It has a deeper, more nutty flavor perfect for this dish and many other Asian-inspired dishes and cuisines.
- For a sped-up but somewhat less flavorful edition, try a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, regular old spaghetti, and a simplified sauce made from soy sauce and a sweetener like coconut sugar, brown sugar, or agave. It’s a little less developed but man does it come together quickly.
More Recipes Like This
The following are some of my favorite dishes that feature some of the same flavors and influences as this dish, but it might also read as dishes that GO WELL with this dish. Pair my vegan lo mein with:
- Vegan Pepper Steak
- Vegan Orange Chicken
- Sticky Tofu
- Vegan Beef and Broccoli
- Vegan Honey Garlic Tofu
- Sweet and Sour Tofu
- Vegan Chicken Teriyaki
- Vegan General Tso’s
Let me know in the comments below if you make these onions, tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
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