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If you love a good Chinese takeout recipe, promise me you'll add this one to your list.
We developed this easy chicken lo mein recipe for our incredibly popular Super Fast meal plans. So, as you can guess, it comes together FAST!
It's also full of veggies, has a great depth of flavor due to the homemade lo mein sauce, and is easily customizable based on your family's preferences. Mix up the veggies, use a different protein or even try a different type of noodle if you need gluten free or can't find lo mein noodles at your local store.
If you're one of the many people who enjoy Chinese food for New Year's Eve, this would be a great homemade alternative to takeout.
Easy Chicken Lo Mein
For the Lo Mein Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp tamari
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 cloves minced garlic
For the Lo Mein:
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 carrots
- 1-2 cups snow peas
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 # boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 bunch green onions
- 8 oz lo mein egg noodles
For the Lo Mein Sauce:
- Mince 2 cloves garlic.
- Combine tamari, sesame oil, honey, ground ginger and minced garlic.
For the Lo Mein:
- Slice 1 red bell pepper and cut 3 carrots into matchstick size.
- Chop green onions (whites and greens).
- Cut 1# chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large wok or saute pan over medium heat.
- Add cut chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a bowl.
- Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.
- While noodles cook, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 8 oz mushrooms, 1 sliced pepper and sliced carrots to your wok. Cook, stirring, until tender.
- Stir in snow peas and cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn heat to low.
- Toss together noodles in wok with vegetables, cooked chicken and lo mein sauce.
- Serve w/ chopped green onions over the top.
What makes this a healthy lo mein recipe?
Both taste and nutrition are big priorities for me, so what makes this a healthy lo mein recipe?
A few things! First of all, it's a very balanced bowl. Sure the base is noodles, but it's also packed with protein and so much veggie goodness. This is always my goal with pasta or noodle recipes because they leave me feeling so much better and more energized this way.
Second, the homemade lo mein sauce definitely takes the nutrition up a notch! If you want to do just one thing to make your meals healthier, making homemade sauces and dressings is one of the most impactful things you can do. The bottled kind tends to have so much excess sugar, salt and chemicals that are just plain weird. My homemade lo mein sauce is totally delicious, the perfect mix of sweet and savory, but with just 5 ingredients you quite likely already have in your kitchen.
Lastly, all of the veggies in this easy chicken lo mein recipe add lots of vitamins and nutrients. Here's the rundown of what each ingredient contributes:
Tamari imparts all of the wonderful umami flavor of soy sauce, without the gluten. Like other soy sauces, tamari is made by fermenting soybeans. However, while most soy sauce in the US contains wheat, tamari is generally wheat and gluten free, though you should of course look for the gluten free label to be sure if you have an intolerance!
Garlic (Beneficial Sulfur Compounds, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium)
Garlic has been used in homeopathic remedies for thousands of years and is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and some types of cancer. Eating garlic may also help prevent colds and other minor illnesses. Scientists believe these substantial health benefits may stem primarily from garlic's sulfur compounds such as allicin, diallyl disulfide and sallyl cysteine.
Bell Pepper (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folic Acid, Fiber)
Bell peppers are loaded with vitamins. They have the added benefit of being sweet and crunchy and thus highly palatable to kids and adults alike.
Want a pro tip? Choose red! Red bell peppers offer even more nutrients and can have 1.5 times as much vitamin C and 11 times as much beta-carotene as green bell peppers.
Carrots (Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Potassium, Fiber)
Both budget and kid-friendly, carrots are full of fiber and vitamins. Carrots also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant. As a result, they’re great for eye health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing cancer risk. Cooking carrots can help your body absorb more of the carrots' beta carotene. Beta carotene can then be converted into vitamin A.
Snow Peas (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium)
One serving of snow peas (3.5 ounces) has 100% of the recommended daily vitamin C needs. In addition to the well known immune boosting properties of Vitamin C, it also lowers the risk for heart disease and may help improve blood pressure. Snow peas are also a great source of vitamin K, which helps strengthen bones.
Mushrooms (B Vitamins, Selenium, Copper, Potassium)
There are of course many kinds of edible mushrooms but the ones you most commonly find in the grocery store are either white button mushrooms or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms. Eating mushrooms may help support heart health and healthy red blood cells.
Chicken (Protein, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, B Vitamins)
Chicken breast is a great choice for anyone wanting to increase the protein in their diet without substantially increasing fat intake. However, while dark meat is higher in fat, it also contains more vitamins and so has nutritional benefits of its own.
Green Onions (Fiber, Allicin)
Also known as scallions, green onions are a good source of fiber. They also contain allicin, which scientists think may help prevent cancer growth. Like other onions, green onions are also full of antioxidants.
What Kind of noodles are in lo mein? Are they gluten free?
Lo mein noodles are made of wheat flour and eggs, among other things. If you can't find them at your local grocery store, you can buy them online. Alternatively, you can sub ramen noodles or even whole wheat spaghetti in a pinch.
As they're made with wheat, traditional lo mein noodles are clearly not gluten free. For a gluten free option though, try using rice noodles. The texture will be a bit different but it will still be totally delicious!
Is this a good recipe for quick meal prep?
Yes! While this recipe doesn't involve too much prep, a few minutes of quick meal prep make chicken lo mein accessible even on a busy weeknight.
To prep ahead, chop all veggies and make the homemade lo mein sauce ahead of time. Chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces and store separately. Then all you have to do on the day you wish to serve is cook your prepped ingredients for a short time and combine everything with the sauce.
If you want to save even more time, you can buy shredded carrots instead of cutting them yourself.
Variations on Homemade Chicken Lo Mein
Homemade chicken lo mein is so easy to vary based on your preferences or what you have on hand.
The two easiest ways to mix it up are of course varying the protein and veggies.
Try shrimp, extra firm tofu, thinly sliced pork or beef in place of the chicken.
If you're looking to change up the veggies, try broccoli florets, shredded cabbage, edamame, sugar snap peas, eggplant or bok choy.
You can basically create a completely new dish. As long as you have the noodles and that perfect sauce, you can be confident it will turn out delicious.
I want more takeout-inspired recipes
I hear ya! Even apart from the nutritional considerations, we live way outside of Austin in a rural area where solid takeout isn't much of a thing. So when the craving strikes, I head to the kitchen rather than the phone.
Here are a few of my favorite takeout-inspired recipes I've come up with over the years:
Quick and Easy Cashew Chicken: If you want to stick with the Chinese-inspired takeout theme, my cashew chicken is another great one!
Gluten Free Enchiladas: More in the mood for Mexican? My gluten free enchiladas will totally satisfy that craving without the heavy feeling that can come from enjoying a Mexican restaurant.
Pecan Crusted Chicken Strips: Satisfy your kids' takeout dreams with these super crunchy gluten free chicken strips!