Homemade vegan tofu chow mein with spaghetti squash is better than takeout! This easy vegan chow mein recipe is packed full of veggies and flavor for a healthier version of your favorite Chinese restaurant dish.
I have been more into squash this year than ever before. I have been making butternut mac and cheese, wild rice stuffed acorn squash, and simply roasting it and putting it on salads. With the variety of squash out there I never run out of things to make. One of my very favorite squash though is spaghetti squash. I mean, the squash turns into noodles. This is some sort of wizardry certainly!
The first time I made this spaghetti squash chow mein, my husband exclaimed “this is better than takeout!” and I knew I had a winner on my hands. We don’t eat out very often because 1. money, and 2. I am often left disappointed because I could have made the same thing at home for a fraction of the price. The one thing we do more than anything for takeout though is Asian food. I can’t profess to be a skilled chef when it comes to Asian food, and often I find my dishes lacking something. Until now.
Is Chow Mein Vegan?
This is not a traditional chow mein recipe, obviously, but my own version inspired by That Clean Life, spaghetti squash and veganism. Traditional chow mein recipes contain oyster sauce, which is not vegan. In this version I use tamari (or coconut aminos for a soy free version) rice vinegar and optional sesame oil, to create a rich sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Spaghetti Squash – This replaces noodles and is a great low carb, low calorie substitute for noodles. You can sub regular chow mein noodles, pasta or zucchini noodles if desired.
- Tamari – This is a gluten free soy sauce and can be substituted with coconut aminos for a soy free chow mein.
- Coleslaw mix – I use coleslaw mix here for ease, but you can also use thinly sliced green or purple cabbage.
- Tofu – For a soy free version substitute chickpeas. Don’t roast the chickpeas with the squash, but add them to the pan with the spaghetti squash to heat through before serving.
- Sesame Oil – This is optional, but adds a nominal amount of fat and lots of flavor.
How to Make Vegan Tofu Chow Mein
This gluten free vegan tofu chow mein recipe is easy to make and comes together fairly quickly. The bulk of the time required for the recipe occurs in roasting the squash. Start by preheating your oven to 400F (200C) and lining a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut the tofu into 1/2″ cubes. In a bowl large enough to hold the tofu, combine 2 tablespoons tamari, 2 tablespoons water, and vinegar. Toss the tofu in the vinegar mixture and set aside for 10 minutes. Next, slice the spaghetti squash in half. Place cut-side down on one half of the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Drain marinade from tofu and add to the other half of the sheet pan. Bake another 25 minutes, tossing tofu halfway through. Squash is done when easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, turn squash over and let cool slightly.
While the squash and tofu are cooling, heat a few tablespoons of water over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, coleslaw mix, garlic and ginger, stirring to combine. Cover and cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery is crisp tender.
Once the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, carefully scoop the flesh out and add it along with the tofu to the pan with the sautéed veggies.
Pour the remaining tamari and sesame oil over everything and mix well. Heat over medium heat until mixture is warmed through. Enjoy!!
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
You can make this spaghetti squash chow mein ahead of time for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Roast the squash and tofu as directed and store in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to eat, cook the veggies as directed and add the spaghetti squash and tofu to heat through.
You can also make the dish in its entirety and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. The spaghetti squash noodles will start to get a bit mushy after the second day.
I hope you enjoy this unique vegan chow mein with tofu recipe. If you’re looking for more easy tofu recipes checkout this jerk baked tofu and add it to this peppers and mango recipe. If you’ve made this recipe please leave a rating and comment below. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!