Weeknight CookingWhat to CookOn the CheapChinese CookingDinner, Faster

Not Exactly Chow Mein, But Exactly What You Want for Dinner

14 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

A recipe title appended with “ish” could be interpreted as a signal of inauthenticity and lowered standards.

Or, it could be a promise of everything you hope for in a weeknight dinner—minimal fussing resulting in tasty-enough food.

Vegetable Chow Mein-ish with Asparagus, Shiitakes, and Edamame
Vegetable Chow Mein-ish with Asparagus, Shiitakes, and Edamame

Cal Peternell’s vegetable chow mein-ish from Twelve Recipes is mostly the latter, though it’s much more than a tasty-enough weeknight meal—it is a tangle of saucy noodles and vegetables, and it’s fast becoming a family favorite.

The first time, I made it exactly as prescribed, with broccoli, carrots, and onions, what Peternell refers to as “the commonest vegetables.” My children, all of us, gobbled it up. I’ve since made it with various combinations of vegetables, but this latest with shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and edamame has been my favorite yet.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

What I love about the recipe is this: It works as well with spaghetti as with soba noodles, with asparagus as with broccoli, with or without protein. The dressing is made with 4 ingredients, all of which you likely have on hand: soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and water. Because the vegetables are sliced thinly, they cook in about the same amount of time as the noodles.


Moreover, the adaptations are endless: Peternell suggests using a number of seasonal vegetables—napa or savoy cabbage, snap or snow peas, peppers, spinach, zucchini—as well as adding sesame seeds, tofu, sliced flat omelets, or leftover chopped-up meats.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

He also suggests stirring a spoonful of hoisin or oyster sauce or a splash of Shaoxing wine into the sauce mixture, but I’ve yet to try it—too worried these additions might bump the “ish” off my new favorite dinner.

81a4926d c187 4428 ba9a e783a95ec1c5  vegetablechowmeinish1

Vegetable Chow Mein-ish with Asparagus, Shiitakes, and Edamame

80c8d252 05ad 4f0a 8d87 5bbdefe65aa4  astafford Alexandra Stafford

60 Save Recipe
Serves 4
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 cups loosely packed julienned carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white or yellow onions
  • 1 pound asparagus, end trimmed, sliced on the bias 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups 1/4-inch-thick slices shiitake mushrooms (from about 7 ounces)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinches red pepper flakes or hot sauce, optional
  • 1/3 cup shelled edamame, optional

Tags: noodles, chow mein, asian, chinese, quick, easy, fast, dinner