Growing up in Queens it was a big deal when we went out to eat Chinese food. Most of the time we ate simple meals at home. Since my mother owned a beauty salon she didn’t have a lot of time to cook. She grew up on a farm in Ohio and believed in fresh food, cooked plainly without a lot of spices. I was lucky we never ate TV dinners. The food my mother made was good but going to the Chinese restaurant was fun and exotic.
I loved the unusual spices, colorful presentations and fascinating textures of the dishes. My brother, sister and I each got to pick a dish which we ate family style. My favorite was Chow Mein. The stir fried noodles and vegetables with a garlicy, ginger sauce was totally different than anything we ate a home.
I still love Chow Mein but the heavy noodles and MSG served in many Chinese restaurants doesn’t fit into my eating program. Now I make it at home using kelp noodles instead of the traditional wheat noodles. Kelp noodles have a crunchy texture and pick up flavors from the sauce they are cooked in. They are easy to prepare; pour boiling water over them, let sit 2 minutes, rinse and dry on a kitchen towel to remove the moisture.
Classic Chow Mein is made with cabbage and celery. I add in carrots and sweet red pepper. It’s a simple dish with only a few ingredients. I make the sauce with gluten free tamari, coconut sugar, ginger, garlic, and white pepper.
Shredded chicken breast or shrimp can be added in for protein. You can experiment with different fish, meat, or vegetables.
If you are vegan the recipe is great with tempeh.
This Paleo Chow Mein is the perfect comfort food dish with a modern twist, lighter and healthier. I make it regularly using the chicken left over from a roast chicken.
I also make it plain with only vegetables. However you make it this dish is easy and versatile enough to become a regular on your menu.
This is a Chinese comfort food dish with a modern twist, lighter and healthier.
- 4 cups kelp noodles* 12 ounces
- 3 tablespoons gluten free tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, diced (1 medium)
- 1 ½ cups celery, sliced diagonally (2–3 stalks)
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots, julienned
- 1 cup cooked chicken, fish, tofu or tempeh (optional)
- 2 scallions thinly sliced, for garnish
- Put kelp noodles in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over them. Let sit 2 minutes. Drain and rinse.
- Dry the kelp noodles on a kitchen towel. Cut into noodle size pieces about 3-4” long.
- In a small bowl, whisk together tamari, coconut sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
- Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add onion, celery and red pepper. Cook, stirring often until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, cabbage and carrots. Sauté until cabbage begins to wilt 1-2 minutes.
- Move vegetables to the border of the pan, making a hole in the middle. Add sauce mixture and cook, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Stir in kelp noodles and chicken, fish or tempeh (if using). Mix until well combined,
- Cook while stirring about 2 minutes.
- Serve topped with scallions
If you can’t get the kelp noodles the dish can be made with spaghetti squash.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Category: Healthy, Paleo, Vegan (optional)
- Cuisine: Asian