I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve pretty much ignored Lo Mein most of my life. Of course it’s because I always have a standing order of Kung Pao Chicken, which in my opinion has so much more to offer in the flavor department. But after remaking my long time favorite into a healthier version with this Kung Pao Chicken Zucchini Noodles recipe, I embarked on a Chinese takeout faze where I started experimenting with all sorts of take out, giving them a healthy veggie filled twist!
It was then that I discovered the joys of Lo Mein. It’s subtly flavored, with hints of ginger and sesame, but definitely not bland like many of the versions I’ve had in restaurants. Lo Mein is the perfect candidate for an overhaul, it’s super simple to make, (which is always a bonus in my book) and by replacing the noodles with zucchini noodles, you have a dish of pure veggies that somehow retains it’s comfort food status.
I like to start with making my veggie noodles and getting the rest of the ingredients prepped.
Tip 1: Spiralize all of your veggies and then immediately wash the spiralizer because once the veggie bits dry on, they’re a lot more difficult to remove.
Tip 2: Prep all of your ingredients ahead of time for any stir fry because it goes really fast once you start cooking, and you don’t want the stress of scrambling to measure ingredients while cooking over high heat!
For the mushrooms I sliced them 1/4″ thick, but if they’re really big, cut the slices in half to make sure that everything is bite sized.
I spiralized both the carrot and bell pepper for this recipe, but if your carrots are too small to spiralize, thinly slice them into rounds. To spiralize a bell pepper, cut out the core with a pairing knife and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Then placing the the top of the pepper where you cut out the core onto the blade side of the spiralizer, push the pronged handle side into the base of the pepper, and spiralize it into ‘noodles’.
For the bok choy, I thinly sliced it and then washed it in a salad spinner which I think is easier than washing the stalks 1 by 1.
For any stir fry you always have a little bowl filled with aromatics, in this case it’s the whites of green onions, garlic, and ginger.
Because this stir fry is so big, it’s best to make the stir fry with everything but the zucchini noodles. When it’s done I transfer it into a large bowl and keep it in the oven at a low temperature to keep warm while I sauté the zucchini noodles.
Once the zucchini noodles are barely starting to soften…
…mix them into the stir fry mixture and serve right away. The Lo Mein will start off perfectly sauced and by the time it cools down, the zucchini noodles will start to shed a bit of water, but it still tastes good.
Before I tried vegetables noodles, I would have never been able to imagine a time where I would dive headfirst into a bowl of veggies like this. But times change, and I love zucchini noodles so much I just can’t say enough good about them! We still eat rice noodles and pasta of course, but several times a week you can find us making a veggie noodle meal. It’s the perfect way to pack a lot of veggies into 1 sitting, and still enjoy it!
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil, or olive oil
- 12 crimini mushrooms, 6 ounces, washed and sliced
- 2 baby bok choy, 6 ounces, thinly sliced and thoroughly washed
- 1 large red bell pepper, 8 ounces
- 1 large carrot, 6 ounces, peeled and ends cut off
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons ginger, minced
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 4-8 zucchini, depending on their size, weighing 2 pounds, spiralized into noodles
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
- 3 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon mirin, optional but nice for more authentic flavor
- Make sure all your veggies are prepped before starting the stir fry.
- For the bell pepper, cut out the core and remove as many seeds as you can. Thinly slice it or spiralize it by place the core side on the blade side of the spiralizer and pushing the pronged side into the bottom end of the pepper. Then turn the handle and spiralize it. Spiralize the carrots, or if they're too small, thinly slice them. For the green onions, thinly slice the whole bunch, both the green and the white part. Reserve the green part for the end of the stir fry and keep the white part with the garlic and ginger.
- Preheat a very large skillet (at least 15") over medium high heat. While the skillet heats, make the sauce by mixing together the tapioca starch and soy sauce until the tapioca has completely dissolved, and there are no lumps. Mix in the sesame oil and mirin if you're using it, and set the sauce aside.
- When the pan is hot but not smoking, add 1 Tablespoon of the oil into the pan along with the mushrooms, bok choy, bell pepper, and carrots. If you're comfortable cooking over high heat, increase the heat from medium high to high for a more authentic seared flavor. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies are starting to soften.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and the white part of the green onions and stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until it's fragrant and the green onions have wilted. Transfer the stir fried veggies to a large serving bowl and place the bowl in the oven at a low temperature to keep warm (150ºF) while you finish cooking.
- Place the pan back over high heat, and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and stir fry just until the noodles are barely beginning to soften, 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and the reserved green part of the green onions, and immediately remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the noodles to the veggie mixture in your serving bowl and toss to completely combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings by adding a bit of sea salt if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
- The leftovers keep well for this dish, and I like to eat them cold for lunch the next day. The zucchini noodles will shed water, but you can just pour off the extra liquid, the taste is still great.
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