Do you have 15 minutes free right now? Then you have plenty of options at your disposal. You could run a quick vacuum through the house, give your friend a call, organize a few dresser drawers, or whip up a batch of delicious vegetable lo mein, a dish so tangy, tasty, and lightly spiced that you could probably eat it three or four times a week without getting tired of it. Forget the cleaning or calling — you’re going to cook, right? Good choice.
"I would recommend eating this with a side of a protein like tofu or chicken," says chef, recipe developer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. But you can by all means enjoy this dish just as it is for a lighter lunch or dinner. And while Carli’s recipe is a great take on the dish, you can also try different veggies in there. Got celery in the fridge? Chop it up and put it in. Got a leek? In that goes, too. All "lo mein" means is a tossed noodle dish, so you can go ahead and toss in a variety of different ingredients and still end up with a meal you’ll love.
Gather your ingredients for vegetable lo mein
Keeping in mind that there’s plenty of latitude with the ingredients here, also note that this recipe as is makes a classic veggie lo mein, so sticking with it closely is a good move. To do that, you’ll need soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, crushed ginger, diced red onion, sliced scallions, sliced carrots, diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, and lo mein noodles.
If you want to add more heat, you can use plenty of the sriracha or even add some red pepper flakes or cayenne, and to dial the spice down, you can leave the sriracha out.
Mix the sauce and boil the noodles
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, the sriracha, and the rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine all of these ingredients well, then set them aside.
In the meantime, boil a large pot of water. Once it’s at a rolling boil, add the lo mein noodles and stir them into the water. Let the noodles cook for 4 minutes, then remove them from the water and set aside. "When you remove the noodles from the boiling water, be sure to mix with a bit of oil or water in order to keep the noodles from sticking together," says Carli.
Sauté the veggies in a large skillet
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, and once it’s warmed up, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté until the garlic grows fragrant, which will take about 3 minutes, stirring now and then.
Now add the carrots, bell peppers, half of the sliced scallions (the rest need to be saved for use at the end of the recipe), and the red onion. Sauté until the onion begins to turn translucent, which will take around 5 minutes. (If you have a wok, by the way, go ahead and use it here!)
Add the noodles and sauce and finish the dish
Add the sauce and the noodles to the pan with all the vegetables and stir to combine everything together. Allow the combined dish to cook for 3 minutes, then top the lo mein with remaining scallions and serve out portions.
Assuming you made a large batch intentionally or you just end up with leftovers, Carli says: "This will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container [and] will reheat well in the microwave." So making a batch that serves as tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch? Not a bad idea.