17 Chinese-Inspired Side Dishes That Are Better Than Takeout

Call us basic, but there’s nothing we like better than putting on some cozy sweatpants, firing up our latest Netflix binge and eating Chinese takeout straight from the carton. But we admit that this habit has a few drawbacks—namely related to our wallet and our pants size—which is why we’ve taken to making some of our favorite Chinese dishes at home. Here are 17 of our go-to side dish recipes.

16 Chinese-Inspired Recipes That Are on the Paleo Diet

Easy Stir-fried Rice Cakes With Xo Sauce

There’s nothing quite like Asian rice cakes. (Chewy, sticky, sweet vehicles for more sauce? Count us in.) And surprisingly, they’re actually pretty easy to make at home.

Easy Lo Mein

This dish comes together in 15 minutes, which means it’s officially faster (and easier) than ordering takeout. Please consider our Friday night routine forever altered.

Egg Roll Bowls

OK, we doubt you’re going to see egg roll bowls on a traditional Chinese menu. But this new twist on the classic appetizer pairs fabulously with fried rice, lo mein and sesame chicken. (And did we mention it’s ready in just 20 minutes?)

General Tso’s Cauliflower

A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and totally meat-free. We’re swooning.

Easy Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry With Garlic Sauce

One major perk to making Chinese food at home? You can always make sure it’s on your diet.  This one is vegan, Paleo, Whole30, keto and low-carb.

Takeout Sesame Noodles

Like Coterie member Maria Lichty, we’re suckers for anything with a peanut sauce. We like making them with soba noodles, but udon, ramen or regular old spaghetti also work just fine.

Paleo Crispy Sesame Tofu

The easiest way to make most Asian dishes a lot healthier? Swap the sodium-packed soy sauce for coconut aminos.

Ginger Zucchini Noodle Egg Drop Soup

Add some extra texture and flavor to the O.G. soup and toss in minced ginger, zoodles and mushrooms.

Gluten-free Scallion Pancakes

At first, we were skeptical, but we’re happy to report that subbing chickpea and rice flours for wheat flour yields equally yummy results.

Tofu Stir-fry With Peanut Sauce

Quite possibly the best vegan comfort food in the universe. (If you can find anything more delicious, let us know. We’ll wait.)

Stir-fried Baby Bok Choy

Serve this vitamin-packed side with a simple seared salmon or chicken. Then pat yourself on the back for making such a healthy, balanced meal.

Chinese Mustard Greens

The secret to making these typically bitter greens mild and savory? Blanch them, then coat them in ginger and garlic sauce and stir-fry.

Clean-eating Pork Fried Rice

This is a classic “leftovers” dish, so wait until you have some pork and brown rice in the fridge you want to use up.

Asian Chicken Salad

TBH, we don’t really trust a restaurant if it doesn’t have a crunchy Chinese chicken salad on the menu. This version has everything we love—carrots, almonds, edamame and plenty of peanut dressing.

Better Than Takeout Szechuan Noodles With Sesame Chili Oil

With red pepper flakes and hot chili paste, this noodle dish is packed with plenty of spice and flavor. We love the crunch of onions and bok choy, but feel free to throw in any of your favorite veggies.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Serve these spicy little guys as an appetizer or a side dish. But be warned—the kung pao sauce is dangerously addictive.


Easy Fortune Cookie

What’s a Chinese dinner without a fortune cookie? We love this easy recipe (secret weapon: dumpling wrappers) that lets you personalize your cookies with fun fortunes for everyone at the table.