Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein | #lomein #vegan #recipe

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein | #lomein #vegan #recipe

After a year on the road, we’ve come full circle and are back at our home in Boston. It. feels. good. And yet, it also feels a tiny bit sad and a little strange. Sad because this part of our adventure is over, and strange that we came back to the same space with the same furnishings, but we’re not fully the same people. I mean, we are the same people in a lot of fundamental ways; it’s more that our values have shifted and our eyes are more open to what’s possible (and so much is possible). Aaron and I owe you a travel post from the last leg of our trip and I really want to do a separate summary of the entire year (expect all the photos in that one). For now though, I’ll just say that if you’ve ever considered taking a year to explore, or even a few months, MAKE IT HAPPEN. Traveling and meeting different kinds of people, being outside in nature and feeling small—it will make your world about a million times bigger and more meaningful.

One thing I’m really excited about now that we’re home is having a full kitchen again! We brought a small storage container on the road with us with the basics—chef’s knife, baking sheet, cutting board, measuring cups, etc—so I could keep us (mostly) healthy and do the occasional recipe development from sparse rentals and tiny hotel rooms. What I brought with us was enough, but then we started unpacking our kitchen and I was reunited with my baking pans and stand mixer and food processor and cookbooks! I’m rediscovering all of the little things I’ve curated over the years and it’s pretty wonderful.

Because moving and starting a new business is exhausting, I’ve been doing something that’s a little odd for me: I’ve been cooking from my cookbooks. What a revelation, right? Instead of simply reading them like good novels, I’m actually using them for their intended purpose. Sometimes it’s nice to follow someone else’s recipe word-for-word and give your mind a breather. This week, I’ve been letting Katie and her Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking book do the heavy lifting.

Katie’s cookbook is inspired by her life in rural Alaska and if you’re like me and are jonesing to visit there, it’ll simultaneously calm and stoke that desire. Her recipes are vibrant, comforting, and very approachable. I’m most looking forward to making the vanilla french toast with maple roasted strawberries (for Aaron because he loves french toast), healthier yakisoba, and broccoli and tofu pad thai. I love Asian-inspired flavors, which is why I started with an old favorite that I hadn’t enjoyed in years: vegetable lo mein.

Katie created the recipe after being inspired by some awesome lo mein from an Asian market in Anchorage, but unlike take-out, her vegetable lo mein is much less greasy and in my opinion, much more tasty. I love that it’s loaded with cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and noodles, all tossed in a sweet-salty sauce that’ll make you debate going back for seconds and thirds.

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, Katie! I think we’ve found our new go-to vegetable lo mein.


Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein | #lomein #vegan #recipe

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein


Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 25 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

This is one of my most beloved meals. These wonderfully textured lo mein noodles are infused with a homemade, umami-rich Asian sauce and tangled with sautéed Napa cabbage, tender carrots and meaty shiitake mushrooms.

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein | #lomein #vegan #recipe

Better-Than-Takeout Vegetable Lo Mein



  • 1 oz (28 g) dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (or 8 oz [226 g] fresh, sliced)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
  • 2 large (10 g) garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large (200 g) carrots, julienned
  • 1 medium (925 g) Napa or Chinese cabbage, core removed and chopped

For the sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) reconstituted mushroom water (or plain water if using fresh mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp (25 g) vegan granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) sesame oil
  • 1–2 tbsp (15–20 ml) sweet chili sauce
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • 2 (6 oz [340 g]) packages of tangled chow mein noodles, dry (not the fried variety, see note)
  • 1 bunch (90 g) of green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Cuisine: Vegan Servings: 6-8

Prep Time: 25 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 45 mins

This is one of my most beloved meals. These wonderfully textured lo mein noodles are infused with a homemade, umami-rich Asian sauce and tangled with sautéed Napa cabbage, tender carrots and meaty shiitake mushrooms.


  • In a medium bowl, add the dried mushrooms and cover with a substantial amount of boiling water. Allow to rest until ready to use, at least 20 minutes. If using fresh mushrooms, simply slice and set aside.
  • In a very large rimmed frying pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-low. Add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium and add the carrots; sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, while preparing the cabbage.
  • Add the cabbage and sauté until almost tender and wilted. This can be done in batches if the pan can’t accommodate all the cabbage at once. Its volume will lessen considerably once wilted.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. While the water is coming to a boil, remove the mushrooms from their water with a slotted spoon. Slice and add to the veggies, stirring occasionally. Whisk together the sauce ingredients, including the ¾ cup (180 ml) of mushroom water, in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  • Add the noodles when the pasta water comes to a boil and cook for only 3 minutes. They need to be undercooked. Drain and add to the veggies along with the green onions. Stir well to combine.
  • Pour the sauce into the noodle/veggie mixture and continuously stir over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the liquid is almost completely gone. It will be ready when the noodles start to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit.
  • Remove from heat and serve hot, garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Notes [1]

It’s important to use the right noodles. Use the non-fried chow mein noodles that are tangled, as opposed to straight. If you can’t find chow mein noodles, you can use regular linguine. The noodles should still be undercooked. There will seem to be an excess of sauce, but never fear, the undercooked noodles will soak it all up!

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen Henry for Pure & Beautiful Vegan Cooking: Recipes Inspired by Rural Life in Alaska by arrangement with Page Street Publishing.

Leave a Comment

  1. I was one of her recipe testers!!!!! *happy dances*

    Aka I can attest that basically all her recipes are DELISH. Basically because our tastes vary a bit so I didn’t try them all. haha Also: great portion sizes. We always had enough leftovers for both the beau and I to have lunch the next day. You’re in such good hands with her recipes!


    1. So fun that you were a recipe tester! I bet you ate really well during that time. Also, I LOVE when recipes make enough for leftovers. *happy dance* for that! 😉

  2. We moved to Portland, OR for the year and left 90% of our belongings in our basement back in Somerville – so I totally hear you on the how it must be weird/sad to be back home, haha. But I totally agree – doing something like this, and what you guys did, is SO necessary, if people can swing it. Our time out here (so far) has been eye-opening and so freeing!

    1. Oh man, do I feel you on leaving a bunch of stuff in the basement. Everything that wasn’t furniture or clothes got stored in ours for the last year (and triple wrapped in stretch wrap because our basement is super old). I’m jealous that you’re living in Portland for the year. 🙂 We loved that city so much—the people, the energy, the landscape, the FOOD!! We keep saying we need to figure out a way to live there for the sunny months.

      1. YES! I highly recommend doing it. The sunny months are JUST starting for us (we got here in October), so I’m really looking forward to the summer.

  3. Welcome back! As wonderful as your trip was, I can imagine it must be soo nice to have a full kitchen again! I don’t know what I would do without my kitchen 😉

    1. Thank you! It definitely feels like a luxury to have my kitchen again. Being on the road forced me to get really creative at times! 😉

  4. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to make some x

    1. I think you’re going to love this veggie lo mein, Jodie! It’s really simple too!

  5. Erin says

    What a delicious, easy recipe, guys! I made it last night to use up some chow mein noodles that were languishing in the pantry, and the whole fam was happy I did. I was dubious about using such a big-ass cabbage, but it was exactly the right amount. Next time I’m going to try adding some smoked tofu, though the flavor doesn’t need to be improved on. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. So happy to hear that, Erin! The cabbage cooks down a ton—I always wonder the same same thing about using too much (but the more veggies, the better, right? 😉 ). I think smoked tofu would be a great addition!


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