Vegans looking for mealtime inspiration can find an endless supply in China, where chefs have been coming up with delicious and innovative ways to enjoy plant foods for thousands of years. Throughout the country’s myriad cuisines, you’ll find plenty of vegetable-forward dishes that are either already vegetarian by default or can easily be made so with a few minor adjustments. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite vegan recipes that adapt Chinese dishes for a whole-food, plant-based diet. From simple veggie sides to hearty stir-fries, you’ll find plenty to love in this lineup.
Set your taste buds all a’tingle with this flavorful soup. Shiitake mushrooms bring umami undertones, which play nicely off sweet notes from maple syrup and the spicy kick of Sichuan pepper flakes. If you prefer less heat, you can omit the pepper.
This whole-food, plant-based riff on a takeout favorite uses the water-sauté technique in place of oil and opts for farro instead of white rice. The fiber-rich whole grains will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
This spicy stir-fry packs in a medley of colors and textures, with fork-tender eggplant, crunchy water chestnuts, and just-cooked broccoli rabe. You’ll want to add this one to your 30-minute meal arsenal.
Congee is a rice porridge often eaten for breakfast, but we love digging into a bowl of this comforting goodness any time of day. This whole-food, plant-based version uses brown rice instead of white; the added fiber content will help you feel full longer.
This colorful cabbage salad will make a memorable side dish for your next vegan Chinese feast. Writes one fan, “It was amazing—delicious, yet light. A new favorite.” Be sure to chop all the ingredients finely so that you get a little bit of everything with every bite.
Brown rice noodles get coated in a whole-food, plant-based version of Chinese brown sauce. Crunchy snow pea pods and carrot strips add a delightful contrast of textures. Writes one fan, “Awesomely good! It definitely has rich flavor.”
These potsticker-style dumplings take some time to make, but they are well worth the effort. A succulent filling of mushroom and sweet potato gets tucked into a delicate homemade dough. Make extras and freeze them for an easy, healthy weeknight meal or appetizer.
Three different kinds of leafy Chinese greens come together in this vibrant dish, which features mushrooms for added flavor and heartiness. “Awesome! Nutritious and full of taste!” writes one reviewer.
Courtney Davison is Forks Over Knives’ managing editor. A writer and editor on a wide range of subjects, she co-wrote a nationally syndicated advice column from 2016 to 2018 and co-authored the 2018 book Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie. She is a longtime vegan and in her free time enjoys trying new recipes and spending quality time with her cats. Find her on LinkedIn.