Chop sticks picking up some noodles from a bowl of vegetable chow mein

Vegetable Chow Mein

Easy 20 minute Vegan Chow Mein with plenty of vegetables and tasty Chinese flavours. This recipe will show you how to make Chow Mein, healthier and tastier than the takeaway.

If you are not vegetarian and prefer meat in your Chow Mein, why not try this Chicken Chow Mein.

Chopsticks grabbing some noodles out of a bowl

What Type of Noodles Should I Use?

You should use a typical wheat dry noodle. You will find them in most supermarkets. They are normally in an aisle with the Asian ingredients or near the dry pasta.

There are many types of Asian noodles, the best ones to use for this recipe are normally called ‘Chow Mein Noodles’ or ‘Shanghai Noodles’.

You can find them in a package like this below. Typically one nest of noodles will feed one person.

A open package of Shanghai Noodles with four portions
Two portions of dry wheat noodles

How to Cook Asian Noodles

Cooking noodles is similar to cooking pasta. You want to use a lot of water with a generous amount of sea salt and mix every few minutes until cooked. Unlike pasta, noodles aren’t typically cooked to al dente, just make sure to give the package a good read.

  1. Heat a large pot of water until it starts to boil. Add a generous amount of sea salt.
  2. Check the recommended package cooking time, this will vary brand by brand, for me, it was 5 minutes.
  3. Add noodles to the boiling water, wait 30 seconds then mix. Continue to boil the noodles, stirring every 2-3 minutes until cooked.
Large pot cooking dry wheat noodles
Mixing a large pot of cooking noodles

What if I Don’t Have a Wok?

If you don’t have a wok, the best replacement is a large deep sauté pan or skillet. Unfortunately, you will be missing out on the ‘wok hay’ flavour the wok adds to the dish.

If you are a lover of a stir fry, it is a great investment to get a wok! I have had mine for years now and the flavour gets better and better over time. If you are unsure of which type to buy here is a good quality Wok I recommend getting.

Is this Vegan Chow Mein Healthy?

Yes, this recipe is healthy, it has low saturated fat and is packed with vitamins and fibre from the veggies and bean sprouts.

Can I Meal Prep this Recipe?

I love meal prepping this recipe because I can make 4 meals in 30 minutes. It also reheats in the microwave great, just don’t over microwave it or the noodles might get tough.

Place in a microwave-safe container with cling film and heat for around 90 – 120 seconds, maybe a little longer for weaker microwaves. If it isn’t hot enough, mix and return to the microwave for an additional 30 seconds and check.

Ingredient Substitutes

If you can’t find all the ingredients but still want to make the recipe, here are the best substitutes for you to swap.

Peanut oil – it’s sometimes named under groundnut oil. This can be substituted for regular cooking oil like vegetable oil.

Dark soy sauce – adds a real nice colour, flavour and sweetness to the dish. The best alternative for this would be 2tbsps of Light Soy Sauce & 1/2 tsp of sugar.

How to add Tofu to this Recipe

Tofu is a great vegan / vegetarian addition to this recipe. Especially if it’s for your main course. It adds additional protein and iron! Plus it’s really easy to add.

Tofu Method

  1. Open the package and drain any excess liquid. Pat with kitchen roll until dry. Cut into fairly big cubes.
  2. Heat a tbsp of peanut oil in the wok. Add the tofu and fry, use a pair of chopsticks to turn the pieces of tofu as it cooks. Brown each side of the tofu, this will take around 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add to a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain any excess oil. Then place to the side and add right at the end of the stir fry.

Step By Step Recipe

1) Prepare all the ingredients and place them close to the wok. Cook the noodles according to the package instruction, and place them to the side.

Prepped onion, garlic, ginger, cabbage, spring onions and carrots on a chopping board
All the ingredients portioned for the vegetable chow mein recipes

2) Heat 2tbsp of peanut oil and fry the onions, carrots and cabbage for 3-4 minutes. You want to slightly char the vegetables, so don’t move them around too much.

carrots, cabbage and onions in a large wok
Stir fried vegetables in a wok

3) Push the vegetables to the side of the wok, add the garlic & ginger in the middle then add beansprouts, sea salt and white pepper around the sides. Fry the garlic & ginger in the middle for 30 seconds before mixing, stir fry for another 30-45 seconds.

Adding garlic, ginger and bean sprouts into the stir fry veggies
Stir fried veggies and bean sprouts

5) Add the noodles, sugar and half the spring onions and stir fry for 2 minutes, keeping the ingredients moving.
6) Mix through the soy sauce and sesame oil and turn off the heat. Garnish with the rest of the spring onions and serve.

Adding soy sauce to the chow mein
A wok full of vegetable chow mein with soy sauce and spring onions on the side

Difference Between Chow Mein vs Lo Mein

It’s easy to get confused between Chow Mein and Lo Mein because a lot of takeaways cook them very similar. Chow Mein in Chinese (炒面) translates to Fried Noodles and Lo Mein (撈麵) translates to stirred noodles.

Meaning Chow Mein noodles are stir-fried in the wok whilst the Lo Mein noodles are just mixed in and taken off the heat.

Typically Lo Mein noodles are fresh, whilst Chow Mein noodles are dry. Lo Mein noodles are normally tossed into a recipe that is sauce heavy whilst Chow Mein noodles are used in a stir fry.

More Vegan Recipes You May Like

Chop sticks picking up some noodles from a bowl of vegetable chow mein

Vegan Vegetable Chow Mein

Jack Slobodian
Easy 20 minute Vegan Chow Mein with plenty of vegetables and tasty Chinese flavours. This recipe will show you how to make Chow Mein, healthier and tastier than the takeaway.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 people
Calories 430 kcal



  • 2 tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 125 g Dried Wheat Noodles
  • 80 g Bean Sprouts
  • 2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 pinch White Pepper
  • 1 pinch Sugar
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt


  • 1 Carrot julienne
  • 1 Small Onion finely sliced
  • 1 handful White Cabbage finely sliced
  • 1 Garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger minced
  • Spring Onions halved and sliced lengthways


  • Cook the noodles in a large pot of generously salted boiling water.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of peanut oil in a large wok. Fry the onions, carrots and cabbage over a medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
  • Add garlic, ginger, beansprouts, white pepper and sea salt then stir fry for 1 minute.
  • Add noodles, sugar and half the spring onions then mix thoroughly. Stir fry for 2 minutes, making sure to keep the ingredients moving.
  • Mix through soy sauce and sesame oil and turn off the heat. Garnish with the remaining spring onions and serve.


Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 10gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 1145mgPotassium: 367mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5105IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Vegan Chow Mein, Vegetable Chow Mein, Vegetarian Chow Mein
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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