My daughter, Emily, sends me Pinterest links in the middle of the night so I wake up to the most interesting food ideas! When she sent a link to this chow mein I gasped. I am SUCH a fan of spaghetti squash! It amazes me that nature can make a bunch of semi crunchy noodles inside a squash skin. Plus they can become part of so many kinds of dishes!
Making chow mein out of the noodles was my quest. When the squash season started and the prices dropped to their brief lows, we bought several spaghetti squash and I was excited to begin. First step: find a recipe. The recipe Emily had sent me contained a few things I don’t stock such as coconut sugar and tamari. I’m sure they’re great ingredients but I dislike buying pricey items I use once. So I found a recipe I could complete from my pantry ingredients and was pleased.
Of course I adapted the recipe just a little. We’d bought a great deal of ground beef on sale the previous day and it was going into the freezer in portions. I decided to make a beef chow mein instead of thawing chicken. While my spaghetti squash was roasting in the oven I ran to the store for a few items for another meal and also picked up ramen noodles. I had angel hair pasta but I thought the squiggly looking ramen noodles would look way cuter in this chow mein dish.
My squash was fork tender when I returned home and I scooped out the noodles and placed them in containers. I wasn’t sure if I’d use the whole squash for the one dish, hence two containers.
I also boiled the ramen noodles in salted water so they would be ready to stir fry when the rest of the dish came together. I didn’t use the seasoning packets because of the msg sensitivity factor I’ve previously discussed. We just like to avoid that particular problem we have; you’re free to use the packets if you like.
I’d also picked up a packet of cole slaw mix at the store. The cabbage and carrots were already so nicely shredded, and I’m lazy, so there! Ready to roll with those! I quickly sliced a couple stalks of celery nice and thin. I also opened a can of sliced water chestnuts. Chow mein isn’t chow mein without my favorite ingredient: water chestnuts! Crunch!
I started with a large nonstick skillet. Yes, I have a wok but it’s down in the basement in storage and as I said, I’m lazy. My skillet is usually my wok. I heated it to medium high and added the ground beef. I let it fry for 4-5 minutes, until it was nice and browned on one side. Not grey. Brown. I crumbled it up and fried the beef until it was completely cooked and set it aside in a bowl.
Returning the skillet to the heat, I added a drizzle of oil and the sliced celery. I let it fry for 3-4 minutes.
While the vegetables fried I whisked together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a bowl. I set it aside. Next I added the slaw mix, the water chestnuts, green onions and ginger to the skillet. I let the chow mein fry for 4-5 more minutes, until the carrot were beginning to become tender.
The final minute I added the ground beef and minced garlic, stirring well to blend.
I added the ramen noodles and the soy sauce mixture to the skillet, tossed to coat and heated them for a minute or two.
I was pleased with my medley of vegetables and noodles for this very vegetable chow mein. Next time I might add mushrooms for a bit more flavor. You could add many things. As Jaclyn said, it’s a versatile recipe and you could add and subtract your ingredients of choice!
As it was, we loved it! Beware of overcooking, you do want some crunch still in the cabbage and carrots for texture. I loved the seasonings as is. You could serve it with soy sauce for those who want a stronger presence.
Spaghetti Squash Beef Chow Mein
1 spaghetti squash; roasted and scooped out into a bowl
1 lb ground beef
1 cup celery; thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
3 cups cole slaw mix
1 small can water chestnuts; sliced
2 small packages ramen noodles; cooked and drained
4 green onions; chopped
5 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or more to taste) (I substituted fish sauce)
Prepare noodles according to package direstions in salted water. Drain and set aside. Whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and brown ground beef on one side. Separate into smaller pieces and cook through. Set aside in a bowl.
Return large skillet to heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add celery and cook for 4 minutes. Add cole slaw mix, green onions, ginger and water chestnuts and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and garlic during the last minute of cooking.
Toss in past and pour soy sauce mixture over ingredients. Stir to coat and serve warm.
Adapted from Cooking Classy