Chow Mien without “Noodles”

Truthfully, I don’t really know what actual Chow Mien tastes like. I’ve never been really into Chinese food. And now knowing everything I know about health and nutrition I avoid MSG like the plague.  But I can say that this version is delicious!

Chow Mein without noodles

What are coconut aminos you ask? It is the sap from a coconut tree that is then fermented.  It is packed with amino acids.  It is a soy and gluten free substitute for soy sauce.  The only ingredients on the label should be raw coconut sap and sea salt. Nothing else.  No “natural flavour”, no seasonings.  You can find coconut aminos in your health food store.

Why I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce:

  1. Soy is one of the top three genetically modified crops in the world.
  2. Soy sauce usually has gluten in it.
  3. Soy can negatively impact your thyroid.
  4. Salt content is usually crazy high in soy sauce and depending on the brand it’s highly processed salt, not less refined sea salt.

There is nothing really fancy about coconut aminos, but it is the closest substitute to soy in flavour, although less salty.   Just add an anchovy or two and it’s amazing. Trust me – it won’t taste super fishy. I bet you eat anchovies in your pre-made Caesar salad dressing all the time.  If you don’t have anchovies laying around (shame on you…I kid) you can use fish sauce found in the Asian or Thai food section of your grocery store.  I just don’t love that fish sauce has added sugar.  In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a great deal of it called for in this recipe, but I always have anchovies in my fridge.  If you’re new to the anchovy game, make sure that there is no weirdness on the label.  Fish, oil and salt. That should be it!


  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼  turkey broth or stock plus a little more if needed
  • 2 anchovy filets (trust me here) or 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


  • 1 small Spaghetti squash – cut in half and seeds removed
  • drizzle of Avocado oil (or other high heat cooking oil)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 3 stock celery diced
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded


  • 2 green onions chopped, or equivalent quantity of chives
  • 2-3 tbsp of black sesame seeds

Prepare Squash:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle a small amount of avocado oil onto your halved and seeded spaghetti squash. Season with salt and pepper. Place oiled side up or skin side down on a cookie sheet and cook for 35 – 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash. No need to flip it half way through.  You will know it is done when you can scrape the insides out with a fork.   When squash is cooled, scrape the innards out and separate into noodles.  The first time I did this, I was in awe! How cool? Just make sure your “noodles” are separated and not held together with the roasted outer skin. These noodles can be made in advance and thrown in and warmed before serving.  You can make a double batch and serve one squash as a pasta and one in this chow mien recipe.

Spaghetti squash - now "noodles"

Make your sauce in advance so it’s ready to go when things are cooking.
Mix the coconut aminos and stock and very finely chopped anchovies together. If you are trying to hide anchovies from people who are not as brave as you are, you can use a blender for these three ingredients. Don’t add the sesame oil at this point.  You will add that at the end, because you never want to cook sesame oil, as the smoke point is very low and you don’t want burned rancid oil in your food.

Grated Ginger

Make sure all your veggies are prepared and ready to go. I usually do this while my squash is cooling. Grate your fresh ginger with a microplane, it’s the best way to get really fine ginger.  Since the microplane already is dirty, I use it to grate the garlic as well.

Add the ghee to a large sauce pan.

When the pan reaches medium heat add the ginger and garlic to flavour the ghee, about a minute.

Add the onion and sauté for a minute and then add the celery and red pepper.

Sauté for a couple minutes and add the shredded cabbage.

Add the sauce and mix everything together.   Cover the pan, and the cabbage should take about 5-10 minutes to cook, stirring occasionally.  You just want it to be cooked through but not mushy.

Your dish will look a little saucy, but we are going to add the squash now, so this will help. On an opposite note, if your dish looks like it will burn because the pan is too dry, add some more stock.

Once everything is warmed through we turn off the heat and add the sesame oil.

Garnish with black sesame seed and chive garnish

Chow Mein without noodles

OPTIONS: You can also add sliced carrots or broccoli to this dish if you want even more veggie goodness.  If you can tolerate snap peas, those would go nicely here as well.