32 Healthy Recipes to Recreate Your Favorite Chinese Takeout at Home
Try recreating your favorite Chinese takeout dishes with these recipes. These easy and delicious recipes put a healthy spin on some standby favorites, cutting down on the excess calories and sodium often found in restaurant food. In the time it takes to get takeout, you can make authentic Chinese dishes as well as recipes inspired by Chinese cuisine and Chinese-American takeout, including Dan Dan Noodles with Shrimp, Chinese Ginger Beef Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy and Mapo Tofu.
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.
Kung Pao Broccoli
Broccoli florets soak up the flavors from Chinese five-spice powder--a combination of sweet spices including anise, cinnamon, cloves and subtly spicy Szechuan peppercorns. Serve over black rice. Source: EatingWell.com, November 2017
Tofu Cucumber Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Making tofu tastier can be as simple as tossing it in a knockout sauce like this Sichuan-inspired peanut dressing. To make this cucumber salad recipe a meal, add rice noodles and double the dressing. Serve with an extra drizzle of sesame oil and sliced scallions. Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2017
Brothy Chinese Noodles
This dish was inspired by Chinese Dan Dan noodles--ground pork and noodles in a spicy broth. We use ground turkey and omit the traditional Sichuan peppercorns for convenience, but add hot sesame oil. Use toasted sesame oil instead if you want mild noodles.
Chinese Crispy Noodles with Tofu & Peanut Sauce
This peanut-tofu noodles dish is inspired by chow mein, a Chinese-American dish featuring fried noodles. Pan-crisping the noodles here mimics the crunch of the traditional dish, but limits the saturated fat. Look for Chinese noodles or lo mein noodles in the Asian or international aisle of major grocery stores. Source: Diabetic Living Magazine, Summer 2020
Chinese Pork & Vegetable Hot Pot
The richly flavored red braises characteristic of Chinese cooking make warming winter meals that can be adapted to a slow cooker. Typically, seasonings of anise, cinnamon and ginger distinguish these dishes. Pork shoulder becomes meltingly tender during the slow braise. Serve over noodles or brown rice, with stir-fried napa cabbage.
Red-Cooked Tofu with Mushrooms
“Red-cooking” is a traditional Chinese braising technique, using soy sauce, that turns the food a gorgeous reddish brown color. A quick version of the technique is used here to transform mushrooms and tofu into a rich, earthy, saucy dish. Serve over steamed brown rice or as a soup. To make this stir-fry vegetarian, see Vegetarian Variation below.
Turkey Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu is a traditional Chinese recipe usually made with ground pork. This delicious, healthy version uses ground turkey to cut saturated fat and calories and adds mushrooms for extra veggies. Serve with brown rice and make it extra special with a drizzle of sesame oil just before serving.
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.
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.
Classic Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Classic sesame noodles become a healthy meal with lean chicken and tons of veggies in this quick recipe for Asian noodles. Be sure to rinse the spaghetti until it's cold, then give it a good shake in the colander until it's well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie “noodles” for the cooked pasta.
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.
Chinese Ginger Beef Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy
All of the ingredients for this easy beef stir-fry recipe are cooked in one wok (or skillet), so not only is the meal-prep fast for this healthy dinner, cleanup is quick too. Look for Lee Kum Kee Premium oyster-flavored sauce in the Asian-foods aisle of your grocery store. It has the most concentrated oyster flavor.
Zha Jiang Noodles
The name of this flavor-drenched dish aptly translates to "fried sauce noodles." A pork- and tofu-flecked sauce gets its savory powers from three layers of distinctive soy condiments. Tossed with thick wheat noodles, the result is satisfying and quite comforting.
Vegan Cauliflower Fried Rice
Substituting riced cauliflower for rice trims calories and carbs in this veggie-packed dish. Use the vibrant flavors of traditional fried rice—ginger, scallions and tamari—to create a low-carb fried rice version of the classic take-out meal.
Long-Life Noodles with Beef & Chinese Broccoli
Noodles are a key part of Chinese New Year celebrations because they symbolize long life. We love this recipe for the tradition because it's super-customizable based on your tastes. Try swapping in chicken for the steak. Can't find Chinese broccoli? Use broccolini instead. Or swap out the mushrooms and broccoli altogether for snow peas and carrots.
Traditionally, Chongqing chicken is made by encasing the meat in crunchy batter, like popcorn chicken but better. To make it at home, we decided to mimic the effect with a simple cornstarch dredge and just a little oil, sparing you both time and the stress of deep-frying. Practiced eaters focus their chopsticks on the meat, avoiding the many chiles and Sichuan peppercorns that give the dish its tongue-tingling character, but we encourage you to risk the lovely agony.
Pineapple Pork Fried Rice
This one dish meal is bursting with texture and taste. Fresh pineapple, crisp-tender carrots and celery, and pungent ginger combine with pork in this homemade fried rice recipe that's ready in 45 minutes, start to finish.
Sesame Noodles with Baked Tofu
Chinese hoisin sauce gives this healthy sesame noodle recipe just a touch of sweetness. Be sure to rinse the noodles until they're cold, then give them a good shake in the colander until they're well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie “noodles” for the cooked pasta.
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.
Dan Dan Noodles with Chicken & Baby Bok Choy
In this Asian dan dan peanut noodle recipe, Chinese black vinegar lends authentic flavor to the creamy sauce. If you can't find baby bok choy, use about 1 pound of mature bok choy sliced into 1- to 2-inch strips. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, such as sriracha, if desired.
Dan Dan Noodles with Seitan, Shiitake Mushrooms & Napa Cabbage
Sichuan peppercorns add a touch of floral heat to this mushroom-and-cabbage-loaded riff on dan dan noodles. Look for protein-rich vegetarian seitan—processed wheat gluten with a meaty texture— near refrigerated tofu in large supermarkets or natural-foods stores. The actual weight of the seitan in a package varies depending on whether water weight is included. Look for the undrained weight on the label.
Dan Dan Noodles with Pork & Snow Peas
In this Asian dan dan noodle recipe, lean pork loin and snow peas are stir-fried and tossed with a chile-soy sauce. Topped with peanuts and sesame seeds, this Chinese noodle recipe is a healthy, homemade alternative to takeout.
Rice Noodles with Butternut Squash & Five-Spice Shrimp
Noodle dishes like this one are often served as part of a Chinese New Year's celebration to symbolize a long, healthy life. In this easy recipe, butternut squash adds another layer of meaning with a golden color evocative of a prosperous year to come.
Kung Pao Chicken with Bell Peppers
Here's an easy chicken recipe you'll definitely want to add to your dinner repertoire. A quick marinade tenderizes the chicken and infuses flavor in this healthy version of a take-out favorite. Adding a little oil to finish the marinade coats the chicken and helps keep it from sticking to the pan.
Sichuan Ramen Cup of Noodles with Cabbage & Tofu
The Sichuan province in the southwestern corner of China is known for its fiery dishes. Here, the richness of tahini tempers the spicy chile paste in this cup-of-noodles-style mason jar soup recipe. You can grind the Sichuan peppercorns in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, or crush them with the bottom of a heavy skillet.
Spicy Tofu Hotpot
Warm up a chilly evening with this light but satisfying one-pot meal. The tofu absorbs the flavors of this fragrant, spicy broth, making it anything but bland. Look for fresh Chinese-style noodles in the refrigerated case of your supermarket alongside wonton wrappers.
Spicy Pork & Green Bean Stir-Fry
This vibrant, lip-tingling Sichuan stir-fry is ready in just 20 minutes. Reddish-brown Sichuan peppercorns--which are technically a dried berry husk--have a tart and slightly woodsy flavor beneath their slow-burning heat. Look for them in Asian markets or the bulk section of natural-foods stores. Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2018
Sweet & Sour Pork with a Sesame Crust
You'll recognize the classic Chinese flavor pairing of sesame, soy and white pepper on these sweet and sour pork chops. White pepper is more mild and earthy than black pepper, but either will work here. Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2020
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. Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2015
Chinese Sweet & Sour Tofu Stir-Fry with Snow Peas
This healthy sweet and sour tofu stir-fry is easy to whip together on weeknights. Just be sure to plan ahead so that you can freeze the tofu in advance. It gives the tofu a meatier texture and helps it absorb the sauce. Source: Diabetic Living Magazine, Fall 2019
Shrimp & Chinese Chive Wonton Soup
This recipe for homemade wontons makes it easy to make a healthy version of the famous Chinese wonton soup at home. Look for wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of your supermarket near the fresh noodles or tofu and go for the square ones (not round). Leftover wrappers can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month. Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook