Chow Mein

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Easy 30-minute vegetarian Chow Mein, better than takeout, brimming with a loads of veggies and coated in an irresistibly delicious sauce.

If you’re not a vegetarian and want to add meat to your Chow Mein, then try this Beef Chow Mein or Chicken Chow Mein instead.

Chow Mein with tongs, ready to be served, filled with veggies and coated in a delicious sauce.

What Is Chow Mein?

Chow Mein is a popular Chinese dish that consists of stir-fried noodles with vegetables, meat (such as chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork), and a savory sauce. The term means “stir-fried noodles” in Chinese.

This vegetarian version is packed with veggies and makes for the perfect “clear out the fridge” kind of meal! While I’m not vegetarian, I love packing meals full of veggies, like these Thai Chicken Wraps, and this is one of my favorites. It’s also one of the best ways I know to get my kids to eat veggies — add them to noodles and a sauce and they’ll eat every last bite. 

A bowl of freshly chopped vegetables ready to be used in the meal.


  • Veggies (cabbage, carrots, celery, red pepper, mushrooms, green onions): Add a nice crunch and nutrition.
  • Fresh ginger and garlic: Bring spicy flavor and make the dish smell amazing.
  • Vegetable oil: Use to sauté the ingredients in your Chow Mein.
  • Noodles: Main part, absorb flavors and makes the dish filling.
  • Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce.
  • Soy sauce and Oyster Sauce: Add saltiness and a delicious flavor.
  • Veggie stock or broth: Makes the sauce savory.
  • Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and balances out the salt.
  • Sesame oil: Gives a nutty taste to the sauce.
  • Freshly cracked pepper and optional toasted sesame seeds: For seasoning and garnish.


What’s the difference between this dish and chop suey? One of the big distinctions is that chow mein is served with some type of noodle, whereas chop suey is served with rice.

Adding noodles to the skillet filled with vegetables.

How To Make Chow Mein

  1. Prep the Vegetables: Thinly slice or chop all the vegetables.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.
  3. Cook the Noodles: Follow the package directions to prepare the noodles.
  4. Stir-Fry the Vegetables: With everything prepped, it’s time to cook! Begin with the onions, garlic, and ginger. Then, cook the vegetables before adding the noodles and sauce.
  5. Toss, Garnish, and Enjoy!: Combine everything well, garnish Chow Mein as desired, and serve.

The delicious homemade sauce prepared to go over the recipe.

Adding Protein And Different Veggies

If you’re looking to add more protein while keeping this Chow Mein vegetarian, consider adding some tofu. I highly recommend this guide for cooking tofu.

If you’re not vegetarian, feel free to include cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp. Alternatively, you could serve this dish as a side dish alongside Grilled Chicken or Grilled Steak.

Vegetable Variations:

This vegetarian Chow Mein is highly customizable. You can use various veggies, just keep the amount similar and slice them thin for quick cooking. Options include bean sprouts, green bell pepper, snow or sugar snap peas, yellow onion, red cabbage, broccoli, water chestnuts, and zucchini or yellow squash.

Finished chow mein noodles coated in delicious sauce with vegetables mixed throughout.

More Delicious Vegetarian Recipes

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Vegetarian Chow Mein

5 from 21 votes
Easy 30-minute vegetarian Chow Mein, better than takeout, brimming with a loads of veggies and coated in an irresistibly delicious sauce.
Chow Mein with tongs, ready to be served, filled with veggies and coated in a delicious sauce.
Print Recipe

Vegetarian Chow Mein

Chow Mein with tongs, ready to be served, filled with veggies and coated in a delicious sauce.
5 from 21 votes
Easy 30-minute vegetarian Chow Mein, better than takeout, brimming with a loads of veggies and coated in an irresistibly delicious sauce.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine Chinese, Vegetarian
Keyword beef chow mein, vegetarian chow mein
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings (large; 4 small servings)
Chelsea Lords
Calories 242kcal
Cost $5.12


  • 3 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced in small shreds
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (~1 inch piece)
  • ½ tablespoon fresh garlic, minced (~2 large cloves)
  • ¾ cup julienned carrots (~1 large carrot)
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced celery (~2 stalks)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced red pepper (~1 large pepper)
  • cups thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • ¼ cup green onions (~3 onions)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 package (6 ounces) chow mein noodles
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce (or regular oyster sauce)
  • cup veggie stock or veggie broth (chicken stock/broth works if not vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar lightly measured--do not pack!
  • ½ teaspoon toasted (or plain) sesame oil
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds


  • VEGGIE PREP: Prepare the ingredients in advance, because the cooking goes fast! Finely shred the cabbage, coarsely mince the ginger and garlic (don't want too fine of a mince or they burn; don't use jarred/tube ginger or garlic). Peel the carrot and then julienne into very small/thin pieces. (I cut into rounds and then cut into matchsticks) Very thinly slice the celery. Thinly slice the red pepper and halve those thin slices if they're long. Thinly slice mushrooms. Thinly slice the green onions to separate the white root from the green. You should get about 1/4 cup thinly sliced white roots. Reserve the thinly sliced green parts for later.
  • SAUCE PREP: Add the cornstarch and soy sauce to a small bowl and whisk with a fork until completely smooth. Stir in the oyster sauce, stock, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Add pepper to taste (I add about 1/2 teaspoon). Whisk until smooth. Reserve for later.
  • NOODLES: Follow package directions to prepare the chow mein noodles. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  • COOK: Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet pan on high heat. Add the white roots of the onion for a minute or two and then add in the garlic and ginger. Be very careful to make sure neither burns -- only cook for about 20 seconds. Add red pepper, carrots, and celery. Stir fry, stirring nearly constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  • COOK CONT.: Add in the shredded cabbage and mushrooms. Stir constantly until veggies are crisp-tender and cabbage is wilted, about another 2-3 minutes. (You don't want the veggies to be mushy/soggy; they should be crisp-tender). Stir in the cooked noodles and the sauce mixture. Toss with tongs for 1 minute until thickened and ingredients are incorporated. Add in the thinly sliced tops of the green onions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy immediately.


Recipe Notes

If want to add additional protein, you can add in some tofu
If you aren't vegetarian, add in some cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp. You could also serve this chow mein as a side dish to grilled chicken or grilled steak.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1376mg | Potassium: 962mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 8914IU | Vitamin C: 135mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This sounds delicious! I’ve never tried making chow mein before, but now I’m intrigued! And I love that you can switch it up depending on your tastes. Pinned!

  2. You’re the best at fast, easy yet super delicious dinners. This looks great, and my favorite part is how you can use whatever veggies and protein you want. Sometimes it’s hard when you have a recipe that has a laundry list of specific ingredients…and you never end up making it because you never have them on hand. Know what I mean?

  3. This is such a great dish! So many great things about it! Love all the colors and veggies that are packed in there. And I really love how easy and quick all of your dishes are. They make me actually want to make things other than cake, haha.

  4. I love chow mien and have never made it at home. We love it, and it’s high time I made some homemade take-out! This looks delicious, Chelsea! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight. If I could click my heals and and wish for something to appear before me this is what I would choose! DELISH!

  6. 5 stars
    Saw this on Buzzfeed yesterday and had to try it. Oh man am I glad I did. This was one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I’ve had in a long time! Now I can’t wait to try out all of your other recipes. Thank you!

    1. SO good to hear! Thanks so much for your comment and review Krystle! So glad you liked it and hope you enjoy the next recipe you try 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  7. 5 stars
    Okay first of all, WOW! I’ve been a vegan for almost 4 years now and every time I drive past Panda Express my mouth still waters for the chow mein. I happened to come across some chuka soba noodles from Sprouts and did a quick google search for vegan chow mein at the store and came across this recipe. This recipe was simple enough and had many ingredients I already owned. I came home and made it and YUM! Both me and my non-vegan husband were floored. Such a simple recipe but seriously this recipe is a home run. This definitely does it for me, it tastes just like chinese takeout. I omitted the sugar, and subbed teriyaki for oyster sauce and it was fabulous. Thank you for this delicious recipe!!

    1. This comment made my day!! So thrilled it was a home run and you both enjoyed it 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and review Rachel!

  8. Hello,
    I am a tidy bit miffed that the recipe was tagged as vegetarian, but uses several meat ingredients: beef and oyster sauce. It might be delicious, but it’s a waste of time for me. Please use honest tags.

  9. 5 stars
    this was great! Made the recipe completely vegan and just used amino acids in place of soy sauce and oyster sauce. Made it a little salty, but was quickly looked past for it was absolutely delicious! Threw some baked sesame tofu in it at the end and even the babies ate it up!
    Will be saving this for future cooking and find me a good vegan “oyster” sauce recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    I love making this for supper. I have made it about 10 times so far. Fresh, delicious, easy and nutritious. It’s a winner!

  11. This recipe was delicious! Even with incorrect proportions of veggies, subbing flour for cornstarch, and no oyster sauce, it was incredible. I made a way smaller portion than the recipe calls for but used the same amount of sauce and could not stop eating! The sauce is like magic.

  12. 5 stars
    Wow this dish is delicious!! First time trying it and will definitely make again!!! Thanks for sharing such great recipes!

  13. 5 stars
    Just tried this recipe today and it tasted amazing. I appreciate recipes that also come along with a video, it really helps. Thank you for this! I tried other peoples recipes but this one ended up being my favorite. Will continue to refer back to this 😊

  14. I’m not understanding where all the sugar is from? I only see a small amount of brown sugar in the recipe, yet the nutrition info says there’s 23gr of sugar per serving???

  15. 5 stars
    Great recipe, family enjoyed very much. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I use what I had.
    Thank you

  16. 5 stars
    This recipe was easy to prepare and downright delicious! I added chicken since I’m not vegetarian but kept the rest of the recipe the same. It will be a regular in my rotation now.

    1. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this. Did you change anything? Right quantity of noodles?

  17. 5 stars
    My picky 6 year old liked it! I had to double the recipe and everyone loved it. Was a lot of chopping but was well worth it. Thanks!

  18. 5 stars
    Made this with veggies I had at home (broccoli, carrots, celery, red onions, red peppers) and added mock chicken. It was delicious and the kids loved it.
    Will be adding this recipe to the rotation 🙂

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