Is Lo Mein Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Lo Mein

Learn the swaps you can make to create vegan lo mein.

Chicken Lo Mein
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Lo mein is one of the most popular meals at Chinese restaurants. The noodles offer a dense texture that, when combined with a variety of stir-fried proteins and vegetables, create a hearty, comforting dish. However, lo mein noodles are not vegan because they are made with eggs.

Fortunately, other plant-based noodles can take the place of lo mein. Here, we explore why lo mein is usually not vegan and what alternatives are available.

Why Is Lo Mein Usually Not Vegan?

Lo mein is not vegan because eggs are the base ingredient. The eggs give the noodles their color and texture. Also, the traditional sauce in lo mein dishes consists of sesame oil, garlic, ginger, oyster or fish sauce, and soy sauce. The inclusion of oyster or fish sauce means it is not safe for vegans, even if the rest of the dish can be ordered with vegetables and tofu.

When Is Lo Mein Vegan?

Fortunately, more vegan lo mein dishes are available at restaurants today. You can also swap lo mein noodles out with different plant-based noodles. Stir-fry them in a sauce that keeps the garlic and ginger and omits oyster sauce and any other animal-sourced ingredients.

Spaghetti and other plant-based Italian pastas made with durum wheat are good substitutes for lo mein noodles. Durum wheat provides a comparable texture and elasticity to lo mein noodles without eggs. Other vegan noodles can be swapped in, as well.

Vegan Substitutes for Lo Mein

In addition to Italian pasta, there are many types of plant-based noodles from all over the world that can substitute for lo mein noodles. While the textures and flavors of some noodles won't duplicate lo mein, they impart their own unique flavor that, we think, makes them just as tasty.

  • Capellini: This extra-thin durum wheat pasta gives a lo mein-style dish a more delicate texture and sensibility.
  • Spaghetti: Similar in size to lo mein noodles, the Italian staple can be readily stir-fried into a tasty plant-based version of the traditional dish.
  • Soba: These buckwheat-based Japanese noodles bring a rich, nutty character to a variety of stir-fried noodle dish recipes.
  • Udon: This hearty, thicker noodle is regarded as "comfort food” in Japan. While it is commonly used in soups, it can be stir-fried and served in a similar fashion to lo mein with vegan toppings and sauce.
  • Ramen: When prepared without the broth as a soup, the wheat-based ramen noodles are a quick and easy base for a lo mein-type dish.
  • Vermicelli: These thin, rice-based noodles found in Southeast Asian cuisine are very delicate and have a slightly chewy texture, but will mix well with a Chinese-style vegan sauce, vegetables, and tofu.
  • Pad Thai rice noodles: These rice-based noodles are wider and flatter than lo mein noodles, but have a good elastic texture and hold up nicely under sauce and vegetables.
  • Miracle Noodle Pasta Angel Hair Style: These noodles, made with a natural fiber called glucomannan, absorb the flavors of the other ingredients they're prepared with.
  • Simply Nature Edamame Spaghetti: This high-fiber, edamame-based protein pasta is a great companion for vegetables and sauce.
  • Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti: This black bean-based pasta brings a mild nutty flavor to a lo mein-style dish. It is as easy to cook as traditional spaghetti, as well.
  • Better than Noodles Organic Konnyaku Noodles: Made with konnyaku, a Japanese cousin to the sweet potato, these noodles cook up similarly to Miracle Noodle Pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is lo mein plant-based?

    No, the noodles are made from eggs. Also, most Chinese restaurants top the noodles with animal proteins and a sauce that may contain seafood, chicken stock, or other animal-sourced ingredients.

  • Is there dairy in lo mein?

    No, the noodles are typically made with egg and flour. While traditional sauces topping the noodles may have animal-based ingredients, there's usually no dairy.