31 Tasty Vegan Recipes That Are Totally Oil-Free


It’s no secret that oil is not a health food. Yet the struggle to go totally oil-free when transitioning to a healthy, whole-food plant-based diet is real. How do you get more flavor, rich texture, and golden brown deliciousness minus the added fat?

For sure, it takes a little culinary know-how to recreate traditionally oil-laden favorites like pesto, French fries, quesadillas, hash browns, fried rice, tacos, cupcakes, and salad dresses without the added fat. But don’t fret: These 30 tantalizing recipes use easy cooking techniques such as baking, steaming, breading, roasting, pan-toasting, and sautéeing so you can skip the oil without skimping on flavor.

Check out our entire archive of vegan, plant-based recipes. Below are 30 of our hand-picked favorites!

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Replace greasy wings at a Super Bowl party with these spicy-crunchy cauliflower bites. Thanks to a clever combination of hot sauce, salt, and savory spices, these crispy nibbles are packed with flavor—and completely oil-free.

Herb-Crusted Asparagus Spears

Herb Crusted AsparagusDredged in a blend of breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, and paprika, these flavorful asparagus spears get their crispy crust from baking, not oil.

Potato Pancakes

Vegan Potato PancakesWho needs oil-fried potato pancakes that leave you feeling full and heavy? Just wait until you try this zesty, crunchy, whole-food version that is 100 percent oil-free.

Spicy French Fries

Spicy French Fries

How can you have mouthwatering French fries without oil? We start with 10 minutes of steaming to get the insides tender, add light coating of spices including garlic powder and sweet paprika, then roast the fries in the oven to get the outsides golden and crisp.

Pesto Pasta with White Beans
Pesto Pasta with White Beans

Pesto is almost always loaded with oil (and cheese), but our recipe uses garlic, fresh lemon juice, tofu, and nutritional yeast to achieve that rich, zesty flavor.

Caramelized Onion & Pepper QuesadillasCaramelized Onion & Pepper Quesadillas

Traditionally fried in oil, these tasty quesadillas get their crunch from pan-toasted tortillas and their creaminess from a cashew-based cheese sauce spiked with lime and nutritional yeast.

No-Fry Fried Rice
No-Fry Fried Rice

While most restaurants wouldn’t dream of doing fried rice without plenty of oil, we use a water-frying technique and a cornstarch-thickened teriyaki sauce to deliver flavorful, browned goodness without the grease.

Easy Thai Noodles

Easy Thai NoodlesLet this Thai noodle recipe do right by your tastebuds, without all the added fat you’ll find in most restaurant versions. This dish uses low-sodium soy sauce, brown rice syrup, roasted peanuts, and garlic for rich, savory results.

Jordanian Roasted Chickpeas

Jordanian Roasted ChickpeasWho says you can’t crave an afternoon snack that’s good for you too? Oven roasting brings a delicate crunch to these Jordanian-spiced chickpeas.

Lentil, Chard & Sweet Potato Curry

Lentil, Chard & Sweet Potato CurryYou don’t need ghee or even oil to create a rich Indian curry dish. Let the heady aromas of Indian spices fill your whole house as it simmers, then thicken it up with vegan yogurt.

Vegetable White Bean Hash

Vegetable White Bean HashLoaded with potatoes, white beans, and veggies, this easy pan-sautéed recipe is primed to become a family favorite.

Spicy Cilantro Pesto

Spicy Cilantro Pesto

Let jalapeño, silken tofu, and nutritional yeast do the heavy lifting that oil usually does to create this delicious cilantro pesto.

2-Minute Oil-Free Balsamic Dressing

2-Minute Oil-Free Balsamic DressingThanks to the winning combo of Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, and basil, you and your salad can skip the oil without skimping on flavor.

Herbed Fingerling Potatoes

Herbed Fingerling PotatoesRather than slathering potatoes in fat, consider simmering them in a flavorful, herb-infused broth. Your tastebuds won’t know the difference.

Baked French Fries & Ketchup

Baked French Fries & KetchupThis secretly healthy, seven-ingredient recipe for fries and homemade ketchup is a triple threat: oil-free, kid-friendly, and easy to make.

Tacos de Hongo

Tacos de HongoTopped with guacamole, these crunchy tacos with a hearty mushroom filling won’t let you down in the flavor department. Transform your family’s Taco Tuesday with this oil-free entrée.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Double Chocolate CupcakesSay bye-bye to store-bought cupcakes that are packed with oil. These tender baked treats are topped with a fudgy frosting made with dates and cocoa powder.

Garlic Hash Browns with Kale

Garlic Hash Browns with KaleBrowned to perfection and ready in only 25 minutes, this take on a breakfast classic will leave ’em begging for more.

Spinach-Potato Tacos

Spinach-Potato TacosUsually fried in sizzling oil, these hearty, potato- and spinach-filled tacos deliver comfort-food satisfaction without the extra grease.

Mexican Veggie Burger

Mexican Veggie BurgerThis burger’s crispy outer layer and “meaty” center make it a huge hit with families transitioning to a plant-based diet. The nuts add texture and flavor while the beans and rice make it filling and delicious.

Chewy Lemon-Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Lemon-Oatmeal CookiesCompletely free of added fat, these crispy cookies are a sweet, guilt-free treat. Applesauce and apple cider vinegar add tenderness while the oats absorb the cocoa, lemon, and vanilla for a delicious flavor.

“Cheesy” Veggie Pizzettes

“Cheesy” Veggie PizzettesA mouthwatering pizza without oil is more than possible the way we’ve made it. Combine the crispy pita crust, cheesy bean spread, and sautéd vegetables for a hit come dinner time.

Cinnamon-Oat Waffles with Sweet Potato “Butter”

Cinnamon-Oat Waffles with Sweet Potato “Butter”You can throw out that old can of olive oil spray. These crispy vegan waffles will brighten any brunch, no oil required. Try the sweet potato “butter” mixed with fresh fruit.

Loaded Potato Skins

Loaded Potato SkinsWho says you can’t make loaded potato skins without oil? Drizzled with tahini sauce and browned to perfection, these crispy, savory potatoes won’t disappoint.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed PeasInstead of bacon fried in oil, this versatile entrée is flavored with sage, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Serve it with brown rice and wild greens tossed with fresh lemon and pepper.

Crispy Baked Falafels

Crispy Baked FalafelsThese falafels make for a crispy dish that’s as good as the fried variety. Serve them as an appetizer or in a pita with all the fixings.

Curried Millet Cakes with Red Pepper Coriander Sauce

Curried Millet Cakes with Red Pepper Coriander SauceThese little croquettes—a recipe which usually uses butter or oil to get crispy and golden on the outside—are baked to crunchy perfection.

Breakfast Scramble

Breakfast ScrambleEven with the best nonstick skillet, a breakfast scramble begs for a lot of oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. This recipe illustrates the power of sautéeing with water, adding a tablespoon at a time to keep the food from sticking.

Rosemary Potato Bake with Onions and Tomatoes

Rosemary Potato Bake with Onions and TomatoesFlavored with herbs and tamarind, these potatoes get their fluffy interior and crisp skin from baking.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled Portobello MushroomsNormally coated in oil, these browned, grilled mushrooms are marinated in all the dressings you need to make for a delicious barbecued meal or burger.

about the author

Linda Barsi

Linda Barsi is a veggie-loving writer based in Los Angeles. She loves dogs, discovering new vegan restaurants, and mentoring young writers via her YouTube channel. You can follow her on Twitter.

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