Make this easy lo mein at home with low carb Asian noodles in just 15 minutes! It’s better than takeout and totally customizable!
Whether you use a fork or want to go more traditional with chopsticks, get ready for a totally slurp-worthy meal. You’re going to LOVE this super easy 15 Minute Low Carb Lo Mein. You can use pretty much any vegetables you have in your fridge. It’s simple to keep it keto and low-FODMAP, so grab a skillet and let’s go!
I think every time we’d get Chinese take out we would order some kind of noodle dish. Stir fried noodles have always been one of my favorites and I have such fond childhood memories of piling my plate high with savory, chewy, salty Asian noodles every chance I got.
Since following a ketogenic diet, I’ve been feeling a little deprived of noodles and have finally found some FABULOUS noodles to satisfy that craving.
If you’re only familiar with Chow Mein, read on, my friends – it’s time to get some silky noodles into your life. For real. Are you following a keto, AIP or low-FODMAP diet? This recipe is for you, too!!
What is lo mein?
Traditionally, lo mein is a Chinese noodle dish, with thick, fresh egg noodles and crisp vegetables. It is typically served with a protein – beef, chicken, seafood, tofu, or with veggies only.
An authentic recipe consists of chewy egg noodles and toppings with the sauce served on the side. You’re meant to mix the sauce into the noodles yourself. “Lo” means “to mix or stir” and “mein” means noodles.
An American-Chinese bowl of lo mein is often what you find at Panda Buffet (yum – totally not hating here) or quick Chinese take out restaurants. Unlike the classic recipe, you’ll find a stir-fried noodle dish with thick, spaghetti-style noodles and toppings like pork, chicken, beef or vegetables. And don’t forget the stack of soy-sauce packets!
What’s the difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein?
There are some very subtle differences between the two, but the main difference is the kind of noodles that are used. Generally, ‘lo mein’ is made from egg noodles that are boiled and then tossed with sautéed vegetables and meat. The noodles are tossed, rather than fried, like chow mein, so they stay soft. Chow mein typically consists of crispier, fried noodles. And, chow mein noodles tend to be a bit thinner and drier in consistency.
This recipe is not only a snap to make, but it’s super healthy (think no MSG!) AND made with low carb noodles. In fact it’s the probably the best lo mein just this side of your favorite Chinese restaurant. No more cold take out noodles! You can enjoy this easy, 15 minute recipe at home in just a few simple steps:
- Make the sauce.
- Warm the noodles
- Cook the mix-ins – I like to keep it simple with a few different pan fried vegetables and a protein, but here we’ve made this recipe vegetarian.
- Toss. Add the noodles and sauce to the pan until everything is evenly coated.
- Slurp and enjoy!
Lo mein sauce
The sauce is what is so addictive about this dish. Well, that and the noodle part… It’s is an umami rich combination of tamari (or soy) sauce, toasted sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger (fresh or powdered, or ginger juice!) and a little bit of monkfruit sweetener.
I know – did I actually say ginger juice? Yuuuppp – this is one of the best things invented since chocolate – trust me! It keeps for a long time in the fridge and can be easily added to anyyyyyything. If you need that ginger flavor in a recipe – or drink – you need this. I’m crazy about it and always have a bottle in my fridge.
What is fish sauce?
Just one of the best things ever. It’s a simple ingredient is made from fermenting fish or krill. You’ll find it as a staple seasoning in many Asian dishes and it provides an umami explosion in this recipe. If you don’t have fish sauce, you can substitute for more soy sauce, but I highly recommend using it because it adds a ton of flavor.
The best soy sauce to use
I’m a big fan of tamari and coconut aminos. I know, these aren’t technically soy sauce, but I use them often and they work just as well in this recipe. Here are a few options:
Tamari – is so very much like regular soy sauce, it’s just gluten-free. It’s made only with soybeans (no wheat). Can you substitute tamari for soy sauce? Yes – absolutely! Most people won’t notice any difference between the two. I’m with most people on this one.
Coconut aminos – What exactly is coconut aminos, anyway? This is a dark colored sauce that is very similar to soy sauce and tamari. Instead of being made from soy, it is made from the sap of the coconut plant – not the coconuts. The sap is fermented, producing a savory, allergy-free alternative to soy.
Dark soy sauce – Is slightly darker and thicker than regular soy sauce. It has a richer, sweeter taste and is often used to add a deeper ‘soy sauce’ taste and darker color to dishes. If you have this in your pantry, now is the time to use it! For this recipe, substitute half it for half of the regular soy sauce. It is very strong and cannot be used in place of regular soy sauce. It will completely overpower your dish.
Light soy sauce – Where dark soy sauce is mainly used for giving color to dishes, light soy sauce is mainly added for flavor. If you don’t want your noodles to be stained from a darker soy sauce, this is a good option. It can also be used interchangeably with regular soy sauce.
Regular soy sauce – this is your ‘all purpose soy sauce’. It provides a robust soy flavor without staining the noodles. This is perfect for pretty much everything – dipping (think sushi), salad dressings, noodles, vegetables, stir frys, etc.
Toasted sesame oil
This is one ingredient you don’t want to skip. The toasty, aromatic nutty, umami-ness (is that a word?) of toasted sesame oil is a must. Don’t get this confused with regular sesame oil. The toasting process builds a completely different flavor and color. The untoasted variety is used as a neutral oil, like avocado or grapeseed. Try this in stir frys, dressings or just a drizzle over vegetables any time. I’ve fried my eggs in it – heavenly.
The best low carb pasta
There are a good handful of keto friendly pastas on the market to bring noodle heaven to your plate. My favorite low carb noodles are shirataki noodles made from konjac and hearts of palm pasta. These carb free pasta options are all plant based noodles that make great Chinese noodle recipes, easy stir fries and are perfect to serve with any sauce.
You can also use spiralized zucchini, rice noodles or other wheat-free noodles if you like.
Only have spaghetti, fettuccini or ramen noodles? Toss ’em in! The rules for this dish are pretty flexible. No judgement! You can use any type of noodle your heart desires.
AIP and low-FODMAP Lo Mein FAQ
Most definitely! Use vegetables that are low in FODMAPs, such as bok choy, carrots, green beans, oyster mushrooms, spinach and bell peppers. There are a great many pastas that are also low-FODMAP, such as rice and quinoa pasta. To keep this dish low carb and low-FODMAP, opt for low-FODMAP noodles such as shirataki pasta, hearts of palm pasta or spiralized veggies.
Yes, yes, you bet! While shirataki noodles aren’t AIP compliant, hearts of palm, spiralized veggies and spaghetti squash are. Instead of using soy sauce or tamari, coconut aminos and fish sauce add plenty of flavor on their own. Since sesame oil is not AIP friendly, coconut oil would add a wonderful, complementary flavor. For more umami flavor, adding some seaweed would be deeeelicious.
You can use almost any vegetables or protein. The versatility of this dish is one of the reasons I love it so much.
Here are some ideas to make this your own homemade masterpiece:
Vegetables – Red pepper, carrots, mushrooms (think oyster, shiitake or maitake), bok choy, green onions, broccolini, asparagus, zucchini, shredded cabbage (see easy instructions in How to Shred Cabbage), spinach, lotus root, peas, snap peas, green beans… you get the idea! Crisp, caramelized, pan-fried veggies are a party in a pan.
Take some joy in clearing out your fridge. You know what I mean… we all have that lonely zucchini or bell pepper in there somewhere.
Protein – Most people tend to make chicken lo mein, but all proteins are welcome. You can use either shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu (firm), tempeh or pork. I like to cook whatever protein I’m using in sesame oil with a splash of tamari. Let cool and thinly slice or shred. Except for shrimp – leave those whole.
Spicy lo mein
Some folks gotta have their spice. I get it. There are a few ways to do this. To make your noodles spicy:
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce to the lo mein sauce
- Sprinkle with some red chili flakes
- Add some hot chilies in with your vegetables.
Alrighty! Off you go, noodle masters. Go forth and slurp!
Other recipes you might like
- Keto Bibimbap Bowl
- Asian Cabbage Rolls
- Herb Roasted Carrots with Curry Leaves and Fenugreek
- Quick and Easy Cucumber Avocado Gazpacho
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Keto Lo Mein With Low Carb Asian Noodles
For the Lo Mein
Protein (if using)
- ½ pound chicken (or other protein. If not preparing vegetarian, cooked and thinly sliced. shrimp can be whole.)
Low carb stir fry sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds (for garnish)
- Add the vegetables, and about 2 teaspoons of sauce and stir fry on medium-high heat until just fork tender (about 5 minutes).
- While the vegetables are sautéing, rinse the shirataki noodles - if using (see Notes) and let drain/dry as much as possible.
- Add the rinsed noodles, cooked protein (if using), and sauce to the pan. Toss until everything is coated.
- Add more tamari or fish sauce to taste and garnish with slices of green onion and sesame seeds.
Vegetables to addI used oyster mushrooms, carrots, red pepper, baby bok choy and broccolini
*About Shirataki NoodlesThe instructions on the Miracle Noodle Shirataki Noodles say to boil them and let dry before adding to a dish. Feel free to follow these instructions - however, I just rinsed them, drained them well and added them directly to the pan. They had a nice firm chew and absorbed the sauce perfectly! I like to use Miracle Noodle spaghetti or angel hair style noodles. They have the perfect texture for stir fry. Nutrition facts: Please note that nutrition values will vary depending on the vegetables and protein you add.
*Net carbs = carbohydrates - fiber
Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools and does not include optional ingredients unless otherwise indicated.