Dinner for Two: Veggie Lo Mein

Dinner for Two

Quick recipes for you and your dinner mate.


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

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I'm the first to admit that veggie lo mein, in the traditional take-out sense, doesn't exactly equate to good health. It's one of those greasy foods you order-in the day after you stay up too late, and pinch at with chopsticks curled up on the couch watching bad TV. But there was potential to make it more virtuous.

Start off with a ton of vegetables: carrots, shitake mushrooms, Napa cabbage, snow peas, and green onions. You can add, subtract, or substitute all you want. And I devoted a few minutes to cutting them to their advantage: carrots shaved into paper thin planks, snow peas into matchsticks, along with shredded mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions. If you're not good with a knife, you really don't have to do this, but I find it makes the vegetables really tender, and allows them to get happily tangled up in the noodles. Plus, I happen to enjoy ten minutes of chopping after work.

Toss the veggies into a big nonstick skillet with a bit of oil (you could use any vegetable oil you have on hand) and some grated garlic and ginger, and lo mein noodles, which you can buy already cooked at some supermarkets. Add some soy sauce, sesame seeds and cilantro (you can leave out the last two if you want to keep it simple--they mostly just gild the lily). I keep the vegetable-to-noodle ratio extremely high, to maximize this meal's virtue score. In ten minutes you have a perfect heap of light, but extremely flavorful veggies and noodles.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we did eat it curled on the couch, with chopsticks, watching bad TV. But we were virtuous on the inside.