Healthy Chinese Food Recipes for Weeknights
Slow-Cooker Char Siu Pork
While cooking pork in the slow cooker may not yield the crusty ends you'd get making a traditional Chinese roast pork recipe, the flavor more than makes up for it. It's worth heading to your local Asian market for dark soy sauce for this recipe (or order it online)--it's thicker than regular and less salty, with a touch of sweetness. You can make a substitute by combining regular soy sauce with a bit of molasses.
General Tso's Chicken
In this healthy version of a General Tso's Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.
Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli
In this Asian stir-fried vegetable recipe, a touch of sugar is added to balance the bitterness of Chinese broccoli. Serve with Asian-marinated meat and brown rice for a healthy weeknight dinner.
Potsticker & Vegetable Stir-Fry
Turning frozen potstickers into a complete meal is easy when you add them to a vegetable stir-fry in this healthy dinner recipe. Customize based on what's in your fridge--carrots, broccoli and mushrooms are all great choices. Keep it vegetarian with vegetable potstickers or try shrimp or chicken for some additional protein.
Spicy Vegetable Lo Mein
Skip takeout and make a healthier Chinese lo mein at home that's packed with vegetables. Make sure you drain your noodles well before adding them, as wet noodles will turn your stir-fry into a soggy mess. For a less spicy option, omit the sriracha hot sauce.
Dan Dan Noodles with Shrimp
Skip takeout and make these delicious, healthy dan dan noodles with a sesame-soy sauce, shrimp and peanuts in just 30 minutes. The Sichuan preserved vegetables add a bright pop of tangy, slightly fermented flavor. Look for them at an Asian market if you want the most authentic flavor or use more commonly available kimchi.
Stir-Fried Snow Pea Shoots with Pancetta
Pancetta and the bite of white pepper flavor this healthy Asian vegetable stir-fry in lieu of a sauce. If your pancetta is particularly salty, adjust the salt to taste.
Cantonese Chicken & Bok Choy Fried Rice
In this healthy fried rice recipe, chicken, bok choy and carrots are tossed with Cantonese oyster sauce for a delicious one-bowl dinner. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
Baked Tofu Stir-Fry with Cabbage & Shiitakes
This healthy vegetarian tofu stir-fry recipe is made with less oil by cooking the ingredients on two large sheet pans in the oven instead of in a wok. Flavored with savory black bean-garlic sauce, toasted sesame oil and Chinese rice wine, this quick stir-fry recipe makes a delicious, low-fuss weeknight dinner.
Pork & Snap Pea Lo Mein
Lo mein is a Chinese restaurant takeout favorite that's easy to make at home. This lo mein recipe features lean pork loin chops and snap peas, but snow peas or asparagus work well too. Serve with shredded radish and cabbage tossed with rice vinegar.
Shiitake & Noodle Hot & Sour Soup
This vegetarian hot-&-sour-inspired soup is chock-full of tofu and vegetables, plus noodles to make it hearty enough for dinner.
Dan Dan Noodles with Spinach & Walnuts
In this riff on Asian dan dan noodles, spinach and red bell peppers are tossed with a sesame-chile-soy sauce and topped with walnuts. If you want to bump up the protein, add tofu, seitan or even chopped egg.
Beef Chow Fun
Brown sugar added to black bean-garlic sauce is what gives this stir-fry its unmistakable Chinese takeout flavor. The recipe for beef chow fun works equally well with tofu for a vegetarian meal or boneless, skinless chicken breast. Serve with sliced cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt.
Stir-Fried Carrots, Corn & Peppers
This eclectic stir-fry is a colorful combination of carrot, red bell pepper, corn and romaine lettuce. This recipe exemplifies how to stir-fry vegetables with different textures. The carrots, which are a “hard vegetable,” should be stir-fried for a minute before adding “medium-hard” vegetables like peppers or corn, which require slightly less cooking. Finally, add “soft or leafy vegetables” in the last 30 seconds to ensure all the vegetables achieve the same level of doneness. Make sure the lettuce is dry--if it's wet when added to the pan, it will turn the stir-fry into a braise.
Pork Chop Suey
Chop suey is often made with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts--add them to this recipe if you wish. Serve with: Udon noodles.
Szechuan Tofu & Green Bean Stir-Fry
This spicy vegetarian stir-fry is a great way to use green beans when they're bountiful and inexpensive at the supermarket. You can also try it with other vegetables, such as broccoli or peppers, just make sure to cut them into small pieces so that they cook quickly. Coating the tofu in cornstarch before you cook it gives it a light crust.
Moo Shu Vegetables
This vegetarian version of the classic Chinese stir-fry, Moo Shu, uses already-shredded vegetables to cut down on the prep time. Serve with warm whole-wheat tortillas, Asian hot sauce and extra hoisin if desired.
Pocket Eggs with Soy-Sesame Sauce
In Wuhan, this is a common way of cooking eggs, which were hard to come by during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, when food was tightly rationed. Serve warm over rice or noodles.
Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice
In about the time it takes to order and pick up Chinese takeout, you can make this much healthier version of sweet & sour chicken. Our version loses all the saturated fat that comes from deep-frying, along with the extra sugar and salt. If you prefer, use tofu instead of chicken, and use your favorite vegetables; just be sure to cut them into similar-size pieces so they all cook at about the same rate.
Easy Fried Rice
Mixed frozen vegetables make this healthy fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.
Farmers' Market Fried Rice
This fried rice recipe features a fall mixture of sliced Brussels sprouts and parsnips, but feel free to use whatever is fresh and in season. This recipe works best in a wok-- a skillet is too small for the volume of food and requires more oil to prevent sticking. Always use cold cooked rice otherwise the fried rice will be gummy and sticky.
Cauliflower Chicken Fried "Rice"
Get an extra serving of vegetables and cut back on carbs by replacing rice with riced cauliflower in this healthy chicken fried rice recipe.
Spaghetti Squash Lo Mein
Swap regular noodles for veggie "noodles" in this low-calorie, healthy spaghetti squash recipe. For a fun presentation, serve the lo mein in the hollowed-out spaghetti squash boat. If you like it hot, serve with extra Sriracha.