When it comes to eating Chinese food, it often seems easier to just order takeout because all the recipes seem a little too complicated (or you feel like you'll have to buy 10 new ingredients at the grocery store). But we beg to differ—some easy chow mein recipes are so simple to make you can get them on the table in under 30 minutes flat. If you're not sure the difference between chow mein and lo mein, it all lies in how the noodles are prepared (by the way, "mein" means "noodles"). Although you boil the noodles to start in both dishes, chow mein requires you to fry them as well, which you can do in a noodle pancake or a stir-fry with veggies or your protein of choice.
Now that you know the difference, it's time to make your own homemade chow mein. Below, find three of our favourite recipes for the dish.
VEGGIE-LOADED CHOW MEIN
The Hero Ingredient: Shredded purple cabbage adds some serious texture and crunch to this dish (just don't cook the veggie for too long).
The Recipe: We know fried noodles aren't the healthiest thing, which is why this chow mein recipe is packed with broccoli, mushrooms, scallions, and carrots.
The Clincher: Yakisoba noodles last longer than other pasta in the fridge, so always keep a package on hand for when you need a last-minute meal.
CHICKEN CHOW MEIN ZOODLES
The Hero Ingredient: Spiralized zucchini noodles take the place of soba noodles in this modern take on the classic Chinese dish.
The Recipe: Chicken breast, red and yellow bell peppers, snow peas, bok choy, and sliced carrots are fried with zoodles and topped with a homemade sesame oil and garlic sauce sweetened with a bit of honey.
The Clincher: It's a mere 200 calories per serving, so there's basically zero guilt. Go back for seconds (or thirds for that matter).
SPICY SESAME BASIL NOODLES
The Hero Ingredient: Roasted peanuts offset the hot chili oil in this recipe for homemade chow mein.
The Recipe: The meal begins by making a sauce from sesame oil, tahini, soy sauce, chili oil, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar. Carrots, bean sprouts, and mushrooms are tossed in a wok until crisp. Last, top off with peanuts and a drizzle of chili oil.
The Clincher: This dish makes the ultimate leftovers; it's even good cold for lunch the next day.
Which chow mein recipe looks best to you? Up next: weeknight recipes to make when you're tired.