Enjoy this vegetable chop suey which combines mixed veggies with a savory, slightly spiced starch-thickened sauce served over rice or noodles with optional tofu. Perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally vegan, and ready in about 25 minutes!
Flavorful, Hearty, Wholesome Veggie Chop Suey
This vegetable chop suey recipe is everything I love, with tons of veggies and a super delicious savory brown sauce for a healthy but hearty meal. I’ve already shared recipes for Hibachi-style Japanese fried rice, spicy sriracha noodles, and vegetable lo mein not too long ago.
This dish combines lots of fresh veggies with a thick, savory, sauce made of simple pantry staples. Even better, you can have this dish from kitchen to table in around 20 minutes. It’s perfect for a last-minute mid-week meal and for using up all the veggies sitting in your crisper drawer/pantry.
I’ll often use bits and pieces of what is lying around and swap out rice, noodles, and crispy noodles based on what’s available. Guess what?! It tastes delicious every single time! Since you can use the side of your choice, this veggie chop suey recipe is easily gluten-free, versatile, and is a wholesome, comforting dish your entire family will love! I love to rotate this alongside sticky teriyaki tofu, garlic broccoli stir-fry, and kung pao cauliflower.
What is Chop Suey?
Chop Suey is an American Chinese dish (named after the fact that it is filled with bits and pieces/ miscellaneous leftovers) that is usually made up of meat (usually chicken, beef, pork, fish, or shrimp) and eggs combined with vegetables in a thick starch-thickened sauce that often contains stock, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Once cooked, it is then served up with either rice or noodles.
However, for this vegan version, I’ve combined mixed vegetables with a flavorful sauce and served the chop suey with rice.
The Ingredients and Substitutions
Chop Suey Sauce
- Vegetable broth: Feel free to use the broth of your choice; homemade, reduced-soy, etc.
- Soy sauce: If you’re gluten-free, then you can use tamari or coconut aminos
- Rice vinegar: Just a little is needed to add depth to the sauce. You could alternatively add a little Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine).
- Cornstarch: This is important for thickening the sauce. You could also potentially use arrowroot or potato starch.
- Seasonings: I used a combination of smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Adjust each to taste.
- Red bell pepper – orange, yellow, and green would all work.
- Snow Peas
- White cabbage – or other types of cabbage
- Bean sprouts
- Oil: Use the neutral cooking oil of your choice. You may add a drop or two of sesame oil, but I don’t recommend only using that as it has a strong flavor that can impact the balance of flavors.
- Protein: Fried tofu or tempeh can be added to serve (optional). Alternatively, you could add the vegan meat-alternative of your choice, for example, chicken stir-fry pieces, etc.
- Carbs: Serve the vegetable chop suey alongside cooked rice or noodles
Optional Add-ins and Recipe Variations
- Experiment with other veggies: This dish is perfect for using up the leftover veggies; pak choi, bell peppers, mushrooms, edamame, water chestnuts, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, zucchini, collard greens, eggplant, etc.
- Add nuts: For extra flavor and texture, feel free to add a handful of lightly toasted cashews.
- Add a pinch of sugar: This is entirely optional, but if you prefer your chop suey sauce with a slight sweetness, then just a pinch or two of sugar (or a sugar-free sweetener) can help to balance against the salty soy sauce.
- For a thinner sauce: For a thinner sauce, similar to chow mein, you can reduce the amount of cornstarch used. I recommend halving it.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, please read the recipe card below.
How to Make Vegetable Chop Suey
- First, cook rice or noodles (or the side of your choice) and optionally the protein of your choice (e.g., pan-fried tofu or tempeh) as per the package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Once heated (make sure it’s hot!), add the onion and carrot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then add the pepper, snow peas, and celery. Stir, then add the cabbage and fry the veggies for about 3-5 minutes to soften them slightly.
- Then, add the garlic, ginger, and bean sprouts, and stir-fry for a further one minute.
- Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the sauce into the frying pan, stir, and bring it to a simmer. Cook for about one minute, then turn off the heat. Serve the chop suey over cooked rice or noodles and optionally some green onions- enjoy!
How to Store
Fridge: Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for between 3-4 days.
Freezer: Allow the veg chopsuey to cool before transferring to a freezer-safe container or bags and freeze for up to three months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Reheat: You can reheat it on the stovetop until warmed through. This should only take a few minutes at most. You may need to add in a couple of splashes of water or veg stock to help revive the sauce and flavors.
Just note that the vegetables will lose some of their crispness upon thawing and reheating. If reheating in the microwave, they can become quite soggy, though.
What is the difference between chop suey and chow mein/lo mein?
The main difference is that chow mein/lo mein are primarily noodle dishes, where the dish is prepared with the vegetables, protein, and noodles combined in the sauce as a complete meal. In comparison, this vegan chop suey focuses on cooking the vegetables and protein (optional) – which are then served over pre-cooked rice and noodles.
Can I substitute the vegetables?
Yes, since this is a perfect ‘clear-out-the-fridge’ dish, there are tons of different variations you could make to this dish, so feel free to adapt the recipe based on what you have available in your kitchen.
Is chop suey healthy?
Yes – when making homemade vegetable chop suey, it is a healthy dish. Not only is the dish packed with vegetables, but it is usually paired with extra protein and carbs for a complete meal filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more. More so, unlike takeaway and restaurant versions, this healthier chop suey is MSG-free and contains a minimal amount of oil.
- Don’t overcook the veggies: This chop suey, when cooked correctly, should contain veggies that are tender yet slightly crisp still, not soggy or overcooked. That’s why it’s good to cook them in stages based on what takes the longest to cook.
- Toss with noodles: If you want this dish to become more of a ‘lo mein’ style meal, you can also toss the noodles into the pan with the vegetable mixture.
- For a low-carb option: Feel free to serve the vegan chop suey alone or over a bed of zucchini or other vegetable ‘noodles’ or cauliflower rice.
- Serve leftovers with salad: This might sound a bit odd if you’re used to eating these dishes with carbs, but you can also serve it up with a big bowl of leafy greens.
Other Healthy Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Vegan Cabbage Rolls
- Tantanmen Ramen With Bok Choy
- Vegan Dumplings
- Creamy Vegan Ramen
- Peanut Butter Noodles
If you try this recipe for vegetable chop suey, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegetable Chop Suey
- 1 medium (120 g) onion sliced
- 1 medium (120 g) carrot sliced
- 1 (150 g) red bell pepper sliced (I used half red, half green)
- 1 handful of (100 g) snow peas
- 1 (50 g) stalk of celery sliced
- 2 cups (130 g) white cabbage chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 handful of (50 g) bean sprouts
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil
- Cooked rice or noodles to serve
- Fried tofu or tempeh, to serve (optional)
- First, cook rice or noodles (or a side of choice) and optionally the protein of your choice (e.g. pan-fried tofu or tempeh) as per package instructions.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and once it's hot add the onion and carrot. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the pepper, snow peas, and celery. Stir, then add the cabbage and fry the veggies for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and bean sprouts and stir for a further one minute.
- Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir with a whisk.
- Pour the sauce into the frying pan, stir, and bring it to a simmer. Cook for about one minute, then turn off the heat.
- Serve over cooked rice or noodles (optionally with tofu or tempeh) and enjoy!
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically