Can't Find Lo Mein Noodles? Spaghetti Does The Same Job In A Pinch

There's nothing more frustrating than following a recipe and realizing you have every necessary ingredient but one. But, you don't have to despair when this problem arises, simply get creative. Often, in your kitchen, several substitutes are hiding in plain sight. Tasting Table recipe developer Leah Maroney's roasted pork lo mein recipe comes with an accessible ingredient swap if you find that you don't have traditional lo mein noodles.

"If you can't find fresh lo mein noodles, you can use spaghetti," says Maroney. "This doesn't have the same elastic bite, but it will do just fine when you're in a pinch." Spaghetti is a pantry staple many people probably already have in their kitchen, making it a great go-to ingredient when needed. A benefit of this swap is that spaghetti is usually eaten with a sauce, so it'll take on the savory flavors of the lo mein easily. Maroney points out that a downside to this replacement is that it will slightly change the texture. You can try to make up for this change by cooking your pasta al dente. This gives it a firmer bite with more snap, similar to the elasticity of lo mein noodles.

Pasta swaps for other Asian noodle dishes

Another classic Asian dish that you can use spaghetti for in a pinch is ramen — try this ultimate tonkatsu ramen recipe from Tasting Table. Spaghetti works as a hack for this since the pasta is long and slurpable just like traditional ramen noodles. You can give basic spaghetti the springy ramen texture by boiling the noodles in baking soda, which also gives the noodles that yellow texture that's commonly associated with ramen as well. If you plan on making this swap, you may want to undercook your pasta as it will continue to cook some more when submerged in the broth.

Spaghetti is a simple substitute for a variety of saucy noodle dishes. You can also try experimenting with other pasta to see if you find a shape and texture you like better. Angel hair pasta is thinner than spaghetti and can have a chewy texture that's great for soupy noodle dishes. The flat shape of linguine is similar to some rice noodles, making it a possible substitution for dishes like tofu pad thai. While Italian pasta is not a traditional way of preparing these dishes by any means, it can make these recipes more accessible when the authentic noodle types aren't available.