Monday, April 29, 2013

Vegetable Chow Mein- vegan and gluten free

chou mein

Simple yet soothing, vegetable chow mien is a tasty low calorie and healthy side dish that goes great with almost any meal. Toss it with a protein and rice and it becomes the meal.

Rice, Dish, Food, Asian, Rice, Rice

The first time I tasted vegetable chow mien was when I was ten years old. That was many years ago, long before most people in the town of Trenton, NJ had ever seen a Chinese restaurant (1960).

New York, Chinatown, Manhattan, Labels

My mother, being a New Yorker, was familiar with such restaurants from China Town in NYC. Back in the 1960's, our little city had only one rundown little Chinese restaurant. It was tucked away on a dark side street, off the beaten path, not far from an area where we shopped for clothes and shoes, called "downtown" Trenton- a bus ride (mom did not drive) away from our home.  

The Trenton Chinese restaurant was a fun place that my mom and I frequented whenever we took the bus to shop "downtown". I thought the Chinese restaurant was unusual and somewhat fascinating- It proudly displayed live lobsters caged in tanks (never could deal with that), bright red decorations with words in a foreign alphabet, grouchy impatient waiters who spoke a language I couldn't understand, chop sticks to scoop up our food instead of forks, prolific pots of hot jasmine tea, cookies that told our fortunes, and really good chou mein.  

Traditional, Green, Tea, Kettle, Glazed

My mother always ordered sum gum chow mien; I ordered vegetable chow mien. 

My order was one of the the simpler choices on the menu, but I found it soothing and filling. It must have been the combination of slowly sauteed and well cooked sweet sliced onions, celery, cabbage, and bean sprouts in the gooey Chinese white sauce that was so delicious.

Japanese Meal, Japanese Food, Ramen
I loved Vegetable Chou Mien then,  and I still enjoy it now!

 I add sliced mushrooms to my recipe and sometimes vary the vegetables with cauliflower, red pepper, or broccoli. It can be made in a skillet or a wok if you have one.

Cooking, Wok, Chinese, Asian, Food

I can make a batch rather quickly, and it adds some variety of nutrients to my vegetable side dishes. If I prefer to eat the chow mein as a meal, I eat it with rice and a protein. YUM!!

All vegetables add important nutrients to the diet. As you may have noticed,  this dish is mostly white vegetables. I was surprised to find out that despite their lack of color, white veggies don't fall short on providing protective nutrients. White veggies, such as mushrooms, sprouts, cabbage and onions provide powerful immune boosting activity to the body and are very important for a strong immune system.

China Red, Lantern, Festive, China Red

This is my homemade version of Chinese vegetable chow mein

Chow Mein
2 large yellow onions, sliced in 1/2 moons
2 cups of celery chopped
1 package of fresh sprouted bean sprouts
1/2 carrot grated
1 package of white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small head of Chinese cabbage shredded
1 cup of chopped bok choy
1/4 cup  of vegetable broth 
for sautéing (oil can be substituted)
3/4 cup of water 
1 tablespoon of non-GMO corn starch
Optional: 1 tablespoon of Tamari sauce  
Seasoning: salt and; pepper to taste.

Heat a large skillet and then add the 1/4 of vegetable broth. When hot quickly add the onions, celery, carrots, shredded cabbage and cook on medium slowly for about 4 minutes. Mix 3/4 cup of water with the corn starch and stir well. Pour over the vegetables and continue to cook mixing well . Reduce to medium /low heat and saute slowly until vegetables are tender but not overcooked. 

vegetable chou mein

For the greatest variety of nutritional benefits, vary the colors of your veggies. Each color group provides unique properties. My rainbow salad provides nutrients from almost every color group.

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  1. That looks really good! I have made anything like that in awhile.

  2. This looks really good. It makes me want to go out and buy the ingredients. I'll definitely put them on my shopping list.

  3. Nice recipe have a nice collection of recipes..happy to follow you back :)
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