Given the fact that seafood is a big component of Asian cuisine, you might think it would be challenging to come up with a list of Asian vegetarian recipes.
I thought so too, at first, and was expecting to do a lot of research!
I was so pleasantly surprised to see the number of amazing Asian recipes that aren’t just meat-free but are also vegan-approved.
Full disclosure: you might need to visit your local Asian supermarket for some specialty ingredients.
The more you experiment in the kitchen, the better your dinner menu will become!
I found so many fabulous options for this list of Asian vegetarian recipes that I couldn’t just stop at 20 or 30.
So, I hope you’re comfortable because I have 50 terrific recipes here that you’ll just have to try!
Asian Vegetarian Breakfast Recipes
Yes, you will need to purchase a Japanese Taiyaki fish-shaped waffle maker for this recipe.
Though that might seem a little extra, I can’t tell you how much kids love these little fish-shaped waffles!
Trust me; it’s so worth it!
If the sweet red bean paste is too hard to find or you don’t like the texture, you can always fill these babies with Nutella, peanut butter, or chocolate chips.
If you’re originally from the UK or have visited in the past, you’ll know that milk and tea go hand in hand.
It’s how I drink my (black) tea and how it should be done!
Where this recipe differs from our cousins across the pond is in the amount of milk.
A true Brit will tell you that tea should only be served with a dash of milk, whereas this recipe is almost like a tea latte.
But if you find black tea too strong, this is a great option to mellow it out.
Congee is usually made with a combination of pork and chicken bones along with some form of dried fish.
It’ super popular in Asian countries and adds intense flavor to your food.
This recipe, being vegan, uses mushrooms to get that earthy and meaty taste. Plus, since this is made with rice, it’s naturally gluten-free. Win-win!
If you’re not too concerned about it being vegan – and just being meat-free – try topping this with either a sliced boiled egg or a runny-yolk fried egg for added protein.
If you’re a French toast enthusiast, then you need this recipe in your life.
It’s super fluffy, ultra-thick, and wickedly creamy.
Ideally, you’ll want to start with authentic milk bread for this. If you can’t find it anywhere, make your own. It’s worth it.
The bread then needs to be completely saturated in the custard mix, giving it plenty of time to soak in as much moisture and flavor as possible.
I recommend starting this the night before and letting it sit in the fridge, ready for the morning.
Fruit sandwiches (aka fruit sandos) are hugely popular in Japan, and you’ll find them all over the place.
They’re soft, sweet, fresh, and super colorful, making them perfect for kids!
The trick to making them look so perfect is to place your fruit in the whipped cream symmetrically and mark on the plastic wrap where to cut before you pop them in the fridge.
Asian Vegetarian Dinner Recipes
This dish is so crispy and flavorful, you won’t believe the main ingredient is cauliflower.
I highly recommend giving these a double-fry since you’ll want the coating to be as crunchy as possible. But it’s still delicious with just one fry.
Since this is a lovely mix of sweet, savory, and spicy, it works great when paired with noodles or rice.
In fact, it would be perfect with a side of pineapple rice which is the next recipe on this list.
The key to making the best fried rice is to use cold, leftover rice.
If you want to start incorporating for Asian dishes into your diet, I suggest you make up a batch of rice and just keep it in the fridge, ready to go.
Once you have your cold rice, this recipe comes together pretty fast.
Since you’re not cooking any meat, it’s just a matter of frying off the veggie and warming everything through.
If you’re not a pineapple lover, feel free to swap it out for some mango!
Given how many fresh veggies you can throw into a stir-fry, there’s really no need to be spending money on meat.
The sauce here is a simple mix of soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, red pepper flakes, and dry mustard.
It will thicken when you add it to the pan with the veggies, coating everything just right.
If you’re looking for some added texture and protein, try frying up some extra-firm tofu and adding that right at the end.
This creamy, perfectly spiced red curry is such a delight, and it will brighten up any old weeknight in a flash.
When purchasing your Thai curry paste, be sure to go to a local Asian supermarket and get something high quality.
Alternatively, try making your own so you can better control the spice levels.
Since this curry is chock-full of vegetables, you can go ahead and have a second serving – you’ll want it, I promise!
This fantastic Korean dish is usually served with a generous helping of white rice, plenty of vegetables, beef, and a whole, fried egg.
It’s all brought together with a spicy sauce made using Gochujang, which is essential for this! Just buy the box, because you’ll definitely use it!
If you’re looking to make this vegan and are worried that taking the egg away will leave this lacking, you can always add in extra veggies or some tofu instead.
Asian Vegetarian Noodle Recipes
Why are you still paying for takeout when you can make this sensational lo mein recipe in just 15 minutes?
It’s perfect for dinner, or a snack, or as a side to some of that General Tso’s cauliflower!
This recipe uses Sriracha, but you can use some of that Gochujang if you want it a little bolder.
Not feeling that spicy sauce from above? Then how about this dreamy peanut sauce instead?
It’s wonderfully sweet and savory, and if you add in enough Sriracha, it can be spicy too.
Though that can easily be left out, and it’s still super tasty.
One of the key things about many of these dishes is the sauces, which are all made from scratch.
I know that might seem like a lot of work, but many of them center around a lot of the same ingredients – soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, and brown sugar.
If you get all those ingredients once, they’ll last you a solid few months.
When you’re ready to cook, it’s just a matter of whisking it all together and adjusting to your liking.
It’s so much better than overly salted, pre-made sauces.
The major difference between lo mein and chow mein is that the former tends to be cooked in a sauce.
Chow mein isn’t dry, per se, but there’s no big bowl of dressing to pour over and thicken up.
Instead, it relies on a small amount of sauce to coat everything, and then the veggies add all the moisture it needs.
Pad Thai is one of those things that looks like it would take a while to prepare but is actually crazy easy.
Once you have the sauce whisked together, the noodles will cook in a matter of minutes.
From there, you’ll just need to fry your veggies until they’re warm and tender.
Pronounced “fuh,” this broth-based soup has become very popular in recent years.
Though I usually have mine with shredded beef, this vegan version is to die for.
You can easily drink the broth for a nutrient-packed, warm coffee alternative, but there’s something super satisfying about slurping up those noodles.
Asian Vegetarian Side Dishes
Bok choy is a Chinese white cabbage with a slightly bitter, spinach-like flavor.
Not only is it extremely low in calories, but it’s also loaded with protein, fiber, and a whole slew of vitamins and nutrients.
Since it’s pretty mild, it will go with almost anything.
When it comes to Asian side dishes, the greener, the better if you ask me!
This flowering cabbage is something extra special.
Though similar to bok choy, this has a slightly sweeter taste, and you can even eat the flowers, too!
There’s a reason you see scallions in so many Asian dishes. They’re mild, wonderfully easy to prep, and look stunning on the plate.
Being so mild, they can be used as the star of the dish without worrying about being too overpowering.
These fantastic pancakes are perfect for a savory mid-afternoon snack or as a side to your meal.
Hands up if you struggle to cook rice? It can be a bit of an art form.
Getting it to just the right texture isn’t easy, especially if you like it fluffy.
The trick is to let it cook without stirring. I know it’s hard to leave it, but that’s just how it’s done.
Of course, you can always buy a rice cooker, which will take away the stress!
Sesame tofu is insanely crispy and bursting with flavor thanks to the little seeds on the outside.
If you’re like me, you think texture is hugely important in food.
Since tofu is notoriously soft, I think this is the perfect way to add much-needed crunch to a dish!
Speaking of crunch – you can never go wrong with some tasty tempura!
How do they get it so light and crisp? They add sparkling water to the batter. The bubbles will make such a difference.
If you want added flavor, try adding flavored seltzer or lemon-lime soda instead.
Asian Vegetarian Salads
Bean sprouts are pretty mild in flavor, with a subtle nuttiness that pairs well with many Asian-inspired meals.
This simple salad is a terrific way to add crunch and spice to your food, and it’s ready to go in just 5 minutes.
This crisp and cool salad is the best thing to add to your summer menu.
Of course, you don’t have to smash the cucumber, but it does allow it to soak up more of the pickling juices, making it even tastier.
This is best made with fresh spinach so you can wilt it down in big leaves.
The frozen kind is too full of moisture and will break apart in the pan.
I love the texture of this dressing, so be sure to leave some of the seeds whole, but toasting them is mandatory!
Not only will this Asian slaw go perfectly on your next BBQ table, but it will brighten it up so well.
Just look at that picture!!
If you want to make this last-minute, go ahead and grab a bag of pre-sliced veggies.
My favorite is the kind with lots of broccoli and red cabbage.
One thing you might notice about many of these Thai-inspired dishes is that they use peanut butter a lot.
Though it’s creamy and slightly sweet, these sauces and dressings are also wonderfully savory and even spicy.
If you’re not a huge peanut butter lover (or allergic), why not try out almond butter instead?
Wood ear mushrooms are black and look a lot like ears, hence the name. They’re also super popular in many vegetarian Chinese recipes.
You’ll usually find them dried, and they do need a thorough cleaning before you cook them.
Alternatively, try out a variety of dried mushrooms, which might be easier to find.
These are awesome for parties since they’re finger-friendly and just the right size for a couple of bites.
You can pretty much find wonton wrappers in most supermarkets these days, and they will fit into your cupcake tin just right.
These would be great with some of that slaw from above!
Asian Vegetarian Appetizer Recipes
I know you’re probably used to those delicious, crispy, deep-fried spring rolls you get with your takeout.
But if you’re looking for something fresh and healthy, these are great for make-ahead snacks or appetizers.
These veggie fritters are super easy to make and can be made with anything from onions and cabbage to potatoes and peas.
When making the batter, it’s important to not make it too wet.
You’ll want just enough moisture so it all holds together and will crisp up in the hot oil.
Edamame is a trendy snack in Japan that can be boiled or steamed.
They’re absolutely loaded with vitamins and minerals and have a lovely buttery flavor to them.
They’re best blanched in saltwater and enjoyed right away.
Just don’t forget to snip off the tips!
You won’t believe what this simple blend of soy sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, basil, and garlic can do!
I’m sure you’ve tried chicken satay in the past, but if you’re looking for a vegetarian option, this tofu dish is the next best thing.
You’ll need extra firm tofu for this – so it holds its shape – and don’t forget to press it first!
You don’t need any excess moisture in here, or it won’t crisp up.
I don’t think I’ve ever had samosas that aren’t vegetarian, though I’m sure they exist.
Still, when you’ve got potatoes, peas, onion, and all those incredible spices, you really don’t need anything else.
This dish is pretty simple but oh so effective. I mean, what doesn’t taste better deep-fried?
I mentioned before that when using extra-firm tofu, you need to press it.
That’s true in most cases, but especially here, since it’s going into hot oil.
To press your tofu, just pop it on a plate with paper towels and add something heavy on top, like a skillet.
Asian Vegetarian Dessert Recipes
Black sesame cookies have such a unique, nutty flavor, but you’ve probably only ever seen them on bagels and burger buns.
If you’re looking to switch things up this year for the holidays, you really need to give these cookies a go!
If you’re not a huge fan of overly sweet cookies, these are the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
This is a recipe you’ll just have to try and make with the kids!
They’ll have so much fun coming up with fortunes to go inside.
The process is a little involved, but they will make the cutest little party favors!
Red bean paste isn’t naturally sweet, but when cooked, it has a taste that’s kind of similar to sweet potatoes – so, mildly sweet and savory.
It’s used in so many recipes, but this ice cream might be my favorite. I just can’t get enough of the color!
It’s also pretty easy to whip up. You’ll just need milk, sugar, and red bean paste.
This might be classed as a dessert, but I almost always have it for breakfast when I make it!
You’ll make the rice with coconut milk and brown sugar, so it’s beautifully sweet, and then all you’ll need is to top it with some chunks of mango.
If you can’t find nice mangoes in the store, just use canned! I like to open the can and add that sweet syrup right into the rice.
Steamed sponge cakes are often pretty dense, though tasty! But this recipe is incredibly light and fluffy!
How does it get so light? You’ll whip up the eggs and sugar until it almost triples in volume.
All that added air will keep this tender and moist.
Rolled ice cream is such a fun little snack, but it’s not that easy to make at home
I don’t know anyone with a freezer flat-top, do you?
With a little trickery, you can recreate this right at home.
All you’ll need to do is make up your ice cream base – cream, condensed milk, and whatever extra flavor you want – and spread it out on a sheet tray.
After a few hours in the freezer, grab a spatula (or clean paint scraper) and start rolling!
Other Fun Asian Vegetarian Recipes
Vietnamese coffee is pretty strong but extra sweet since it’s mixed with condensed milk (which also adds a lovely texture).
You can get a set of Vietnamese coffee filters online, and they’ll be the talk of your next dinner party.
With these filters, the coffee drips right into the cup and sits on top of the milk for a beautiful contrast.
Be prepared for lots of Instagram mentions!
I know you’ve seen this all over social media, but have you tried it yet?
Fads come and go, but I hope this unique coffee is here to stay!
It’s frothy, creamy, and makes for the perfect afternoon drink on a hot day.
Plus, you’ll need instant coffee for this, which makes it a lot cheaper than those over-the-top frappes at Starbucks.
You wouldn’t know it, but this dark dish is actually sweet.
It’s made using ground black sesame seeds along with rice flour and glutinous rice flour. That’s how it gets that goopy texture.
If you’re a fan of mochi, you’ll love this.
Looking for an alternative to that big bag of chips? How about a bowl of sweet and spicy almonds?
Roasted almonds are already a pretty tasty snack (roasting nuts will help to bring out the natural oils and flavors).
When you toss them in a mix of sugar, Chinese five-spice powder, sea salt, and cayenne pepper, they become insanely addictive!
Here’s another sweet and spicy alternative to a boring old bag of popcorn.
You’ll make a faux caramel of sorts using brown sugar, sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, and lime zest.
Once this is poured over the popcorn and baked, it will crisp up, just like your favorite caramel corn.
Only with this recipe, you get an explosion of sweet-sour-zesty-spice flavor in each bite.
Yes, you read that right. Move over mozzarella sticks: there’s a new deep-fried favorite in town!
So, what is deep fried milk?
It’s a creamy blend of coconut milk, milk, cornstarch, and sugar.
Once this has been gently heated to the point it’s nice and thick, you’ll pour it into a dish to set.
When set, it’s a lovely creamy, soft texture that you can pick up and eat as is.
When you coat and deep fry it, it becomes something super special!
Green tea can be sweet, floral, earthy, and sometimes bitter.
It’s been popular in China for centuries and is loved for its flavor and health benefits, such as its many antioxidants.
The key to keeping green tea from tasting bitter is to make it with hot – not boiling – water.
Pour the water into the glass first, and then add the leaves. This will keep them from burning and turning bitter.
Did you know you can buy tapioca pearls ready to go?
All you’ll need to do is boil them until tender, and then you can make your own boba at home!
I love this with vegan creamer, because I like that thicker texture. If you can’t find it in the stores – or find it’s too expensive – try making your own!
Of course, you can use any milk you prefer here, and if you aren’t worried about it being vegan, maybe try out some flavored creamers instead?
Matcha is bigger than ever, and when you get the good stuff, it’s crazy delicious but not overly sweet.
As much as I love sweet things, I adore the earthy notes you get from matcha.
Of course, this is ice cream, so it will be sweeter than your average matcha tea.
Did I mention you won’t need an ice cream maker for this?
Just whip up some cream, vanilla, matcha, and condensed milk, and then let it freeze. So easy!
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