This Chowmein Casserole is a healthier, updated version of a classic favorite with an easy, homemade sauce rather than cream soup plus extra veggies. It’s a comforting meal that’s perfect for weeknights.
This is an updated version of a favorite dish of mine when I was a child. My mom never really enjoyed cooking, but she did have a few recipes that I feel she was known for and her chowmein casserole was definitely one of them. I was never sad when this hot dish was for dinner.
The original recipe, like many casseroles back in the day, used cream of mushroom and chicken rice soups to make the sauce, which made it very high in sodium. So I set out to make this recipe a little bit healthier, but still keep the original flavor that I remembered as a kid.
The first thing I did was eliminate those canned soups. By thickening low-sodium chicken stock with flour to create the sauce, the sodium content stays down and you eliminate the processed food. I also added more vegetables to my version, including fresh mushrooms and used brown rice instead of white.
The result is a fresher tasting take on the classic casserole and other than the chowmein noodles, which really are a must, it’s pretty healthy.
If you need to get this on the table really fast, you have a couple of options. You can skip the baking, just simmer it on the stove until the sauce gets thicker and serve it over the rice and top with some chow mein noodles. Your other option would be to make the casserole ahead of time to the point where you would assemble it, then refrigerate and bake later.
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups chowmein noodles
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Coat a 2.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
Add ground beef and start breaking up with a spoon.
Add celery, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms.
Continue breaking up meat and cook until meat is no longer pink and onion are soft.
Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle flour over pan and stir to combine for about 1 minute.
Continue stirring and add soy sauce and chicken stock.
Bring mixture to a boil and continue cooking until sauce starts to thicken.
Stir in rice.
Pour mixture into prepared dish.
Top with chow mein noodles and bake in preheated oven for one hour.
Serve immediately, with more soy sauce for drizzling, if desired.