Vegan Chow Mein with Tofu

IMG_7779.jpg

If you're like me and grew up eating copious amounts of Panda Express chow mein, you will love this recipe. This is a healthier vegan alternative filled with lots of amazing vegetables and plant based proteins, without any compromise on the flavor or texture of traditional chow mein noodles. 

Like many of the sauces I post on this blog, this stir fry sauce is very versatile and would be delicious on a variety of different dishes, from roasted vegetables to a Chinese chick'n salad. So feel free to double the recipe and save some of it for later in the week. Like always, if you recreate this recipe, I'd love to see it and hear what you think! If you snap a pic, don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@meatlessinnewyork).

 

This recipe is perfect to take on the go for school or lunch.  I got this bento box from MonBento! You can use my code 'meatlessinnewyork' for 10% your own bento box.

IMG_7813-2.jpg

Prep time: 20 minutes, cook time: 20 minutes. Serves 4-5.

Ingredients

sauce (see notes)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tsp sesame oil

  • 4 tsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice) 
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger 
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp chili flakes 

Noodles

  • 1 16oz package chow mein noodles  (see notes)
  • 1 16oz pack  extra firm tofu 
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 a green cabbage 
  • 2 carrots, julienned (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts 
  • 1 cup broccoli (optional) 

for serving

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Black and white sesame seeds 

instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil in and prepare noodles according to box instructions. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the sauce by adding the soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, chili flakes and cornstarch to a bowl and mix well. Crush and mince garlic, and peel and finely chop ginger and add it to the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Finely chop the cabbage, rinse and set aside. Peel and slice the carrots into matchsticks, and cut broccoli into florets. Set vegetables aside and prepare tofu.
  4. Start by pressing the tofu a clean cloth or paper towels to remove excess water. Cut the block in half lengthwise, then cut 1/2 inch slices. 
  5. Transfer the tofu to a large frying pan or wok, and fry over medium heat with 1 tbs of olive oil until crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes. Once the tofu is nearly finished lower the heat, add half the sauce, ensuring all the tofu is well coated, and taking care not to break up the pieces. Continue cooking for an additional few minutes, remove from heat and transfer to a plate. 
  6. In the same pan or wok over medium high heat, add an additional 2 tbs of olive oil, and add the cabbage, stirring often. Once the cabbage is cooked down and reduced to about half its original size add the carrots and broccoli.  Lower the heat, add the cooked noodles and the rest of the sauce, and use tongs or a spatula to continuously rotate the noodles and vegetables to evenly disperse the sauce and ensure that the bottom doesn't burn. Add the bean sprouts and cooked tofu and continue stir frying until the noodles are slightly browned in some parts and the sauce is caramelized.
  7.  Remove from heat and serve immediately and garnish with sliced green onions and black and white sesame seeds. 

Notes

  • I've used two types of asian noodles for this recipe, and I prefer the texture of the thicker noodles rather than the thinner, vermicelli-esque ones. Here is an Amazon link to the noodles I got for reference, but I got them at Whole Foods. Also, some packages recommend you rinse the noodles after cooking. I do not.
  • If you don't know how to julienne carrots (like me before I made this recipe), here's a quick Youtube tutorial that will show you how. 
  • I've received some feedback that the noodles are a little too dry with the amount of sauce I recommend. As an alternative option, you can double the recipe and add the sauce as you see fit, and store the remanding dressing in the fridge in an airtight container. It's a great marinade for tofu and other veggies and good to have on hand. I would just be aware that by adding more sauce you will likely go over the recommended daily intake of sodium.