Low Carb Chicken Lo Mein made with spaghetti squash, tender chicken, and veggies in a delicious soy-based sauce tastes just like takeout Chinese food without all the carbs! Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This Low Carb Lo Mein hits the spot when you are craving Chinese takeout but want a healthier, lower carb version you can make at home. A great low carb Chinese option along with this Cauliflower Fried Rice or Cabbage Fried Rice.
When I was growing up we'd order Chinese food on special occasions like New Year's Eve and birthdays. To say that I loved it is an understatement. Usually, we would each choose one dish we wanted to order and I undoubtedly screamed for Chicken Lo Mein. This then inevitably led to me scowling at everyone shoveling MY lo mein onto their plates, but that's a story for another day.
Today's story is just as sad (if not more so) though if you ask me. Did you know that traditional lo mein sometimes has over 900 calories? That's right — 900! So, my new diet-conscious self knew there had to be a better way to make this at home.
Lately, I have been trying to cut down on my carb intake, especially at night, so I was looking for a pasta alternative. However, while I know there are a few different pasta substitutes out there, I prefer to use ingredients that provide me with additional nutrients, rather than foods that are supposed to mimic other foods but just don't have the nutrition to back them up.
With that in mind, I decided to try a spaghetti squash version pumped up with lots of veggies. If you want, you could use whole wheat spaghetti or other "zoodles" instead. Either way, the end result is delicious.
What Makes This Low Carb Chicken Lo Mein with Spaghetti Squash Healthy?
Other than the mere fact that this dish is loaded down with gobs and gobs of veggies, the truth of it is that every single ingredient in this dish is healthy for you. Let me break it down for you:
- Spaghetti squash is not only an excellent substitute for pasta, but it's also low carb and low calorie, and chock full o' vitamins and minerals your body needs like folate, zinc, vitamin B, iron, and protein.
- Vegetable oil is an oil with a high smoke point, meaning you can heat it up at a high temperature without tasting burnt. Overheating oils also destroys any beneficial nutrients or phytochemicals that the oil might contain.
- Chicken especially those without the skin, make for a leaner source of meat protein that does your heart good, contains vitamins B3 and B6, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin A.
- Carrots and celery provide fiber, vitamin A, C, K, biotin, and antioxidants.
- One cup of broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, can provide the same amount of vitamin C as eating one orange. In addition, it's a good source of B vitamins: 1, 2, 3, and 5, plus beta-carotene and fiber.
- Snow peas are similar to snap peas but are flatter and oblong in shape with tiny peas that you can see through the outside of the pod. They provide fiber, vitamin K, antioxidants, and vitamin B.
- Bean sprouts are the sprout of the mung beans that tastes crunchy and kind of sweet. They are a good source of fiber, protein, folic acid, and vitamin C.
- Oyster and soy sauces, especially low-salt varieties, are low calorie and don't really add any amount of fat that you'd have to worry with. Mostly these sauces are a great way to provide a lot of flavor without a lot of fat and calories.
- Chicken broth is great for reducing inflammation and helps to keep your bones, hair, nails, and joints strong and healthy.
How Do You Store Spaghetti Squash?
You should store spaghetti squash in a cool, dark place (like your pantry) for up to three months (if you can wait that long to eat it). Don't put it in the refrigerator or it will ripen too fast. If you've already cut your squash or purchased it pre-cut, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks in an airtight container. If you've already cooked it and you're just looking to store your leftovers, you can keep it in the fridge for two to three days.
Ideas for Customizing Low Carb Chicken Lo Mein with Spaghetti Squash
Making this dish your own is a cinch.
- Substitute any veggie for ones you don't like. Other veggies that would work well in this recipe include cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and onions.
- You could eat the dish out of the spaghetti squash shells. I like to call these dishes "spaghetti squash boats."
- Skip the chicken and use another protein — flank steak, ground beef or turkey, or even beans such as chickpeas or tofu for a plant-protein source.
- Swap out the chicken broth for veggie broth and use a plant protein instead of chicken and you have yourself a nice, vegetarian dish.
- Use whole wheat spaghetti if you don't like spaghetti squash.
- Use other kinds of "zoodles" instead of, or in addition to, the spaghetti squash.
Low Carb Chicken Lo Mein with Spaghetti Squash
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- 1 U spaghetti squash
- 3 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs)
- 2 U carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 U celery stalks, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups snow peas
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Cook the spaghetti squash using your preferred method. To quickly cook the squash, pierce it all over with a knife as if you were cooking a potato. Then place on a microwave safe plate for ten minutes. Feel it to see if you can squeeze it easily. If not, continue to cook in 30 second increments until it is very tender. Let cool and then cut in half and shred the spaghetti squash. Set aside. You can also roast it.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 2 tsp. oil to a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Set aside.
Add 1 tsp. of oil along with the carrots and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the remaining vegetables. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
Add the chicken, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, and chili paste if using. Cook for 1 minute.
Toss together all the ingredients. Taste and season with extra soy sauce if needed.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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