Sheet pan chow mein is made to order and faster than takeout

Hetty McKinnon's crunch, chewy and comforting dinner idea deserves your heavy rotation

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published August 5, 2021 3:00PM (EDT)
Sheet Pan Chow Mein (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Sheet Pan Chow Mein (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

My preferred way of getting dinner on the table is twofold: Cook something on a big sheet pan and serve it on a big plate. I like meals that are forgiving in their timing, assertive in their flavors, and don't leave behind a kitchen full of dirty dishes. And Hetty McKinnon's sheet pan chow mein checks all the boxes.

I was first won over to McKinnon's gorgeous, inventive "To Asia, with Love" by her soy sauce brownies — a dense, fudgy, gluten-free dessert with an addictively savory kick. But even the most dedicated among us cannot live by chocolate alone, especially not when there's the weeknight dinner of your dreams waiting. This is the kind of meal that you make once and put immediately into your heavy rotation.

The genius of this recipe is in its contrast and customization. It's also effortlessly vegetarian, and easily veganized. McKinnon's version uses baby corn, an item I routinely pick out of my Chinese food orders, so I omit it here. You can load yours up with whatever vegetables you like, and leave out what's a hard sell in your household. McKinnon recipe also uses stir fry sauce, but as she notes in "To Asia, with Love," it's fine to omit. Regardless of your choices, the end result is comforting, crunchy, chewy and can be in front of your face way faster than a takeout order tonight.

* * *

Recipe: Sheet Pan Chow Mein
Inspired by Hetty McKinnon's To Asia, With Love
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper (or pepper of your choice)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • 9 ounces dried thin egg noodles (or ramen noodles)
  • A few scallion stalks sliced
  • Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sea salt

Soy seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, if you have it on hand

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Roughly chop the vegetables you're using.
  3. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment. (Note, if you're using any delicate vegetables like snow peas, don't add yet.)
  4. Drizzle with the sesame oil, a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle sea salt. Toss to coat, then bake for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add noodles, and cook about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Drain noodles and run under cool water, then pat with a clean tea towel to get rid of the dampness. It doesn't need to be bone dry so don't stress about it.
  7. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and push the vegetables to one side, flipping them to cook evenly. Add the noodles and any delicate vegetables to the other side.
  8. Drizzle the noodles with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and toss well to coat. Return the tray to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the noodles are crispy to your liking.
  9. Meanwhile, combine the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
  10. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Add the sauce and stir well. Top with scallion, cilantro and sesame seeds.

Veganize it! Just use wheat noodles instead of egg.

More Quick & Dirty: 

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Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

MORE FROM Mary Elizabeth Williams


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Chinese Food Chow Mein Hetty Mckinnon Quick & Dirty Sheet Pan