With these vegetarian Chinese recipes, you don’t have to rely on anyone but yourself when you’re craving delicious takeout-quality Chinese food.
Today, most fast-food and takeout places have become better about offering low-carb, gluten-free, and vegetarian-friendly options.
However, it’s much easier and cheaper to just make your favorite dishes at home.
It doesn’t matter if your favorite dish is the traditional General Tso’s, a hot bowl of soup, or a delicious stir-fry.
This list has a little something for everyone. I even threw in a few desserts near the end!
So sit back and get ready to add a few new recipes to your “favorites” pile!
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, counting carbs, or on the ketogenic or paleo diet, this dish is one that anyone can enjoy.
It takes only 20 minutes to pull together and requires just six ingredients, two of which are just garnishes!
It’s a great way to add more leafy greens into your diet.
This simple appetizer mainly consists of cucumbers.
However, it contains enough sauce, seasonings, and herbs to give it a unique, bold flavor that’s slightly sweet but also sour and full of garlic flavor.
It’s light, refreshing, and tastes great alone or mixed with stir-fry.
Most people like the recipe just as it is, but I enjoy chopping up a sweet onion and adding it to mine.
Although it may not be the case in American Chinese restaurants, real Chinese chefs – those living in China – use a lot of tofu in their cooking.
It’s just as much a staple of their cuisine as rice, dumplings, or any meat product.
Sometimes recipes calling for tofu are hit or miss with me, but this one falls firmly into the “hit” category.
The secret is the marinade.
Tofu is relatively bland, but it takes on a rich, complex flavor that’s just as good as any meat when you marinate it in the soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar mixture.
You can make this healthy, tasty main course in less than 30 minutes, but I suggest giving the tofu a little more time to marinate before cooking it.
Garlic. Noodles. With. Scallions.
Those four words say everything that needs to be said about this absolutely phenomenal dish.
Word to the wise, though: However much you think you’ll need to feed your family or guests, make more because you will not want to share.
5. Lo Mein
Veggie lo mein is one of my favorite things to order when we go out to eat.
When I discovered I could make it at home, I was over the moon.
Now I probably make it way more often than I should.
However, when something requires fewer than 10 ingredients, is ready in 15 minutes, and tastes as good as this does, it’s hard not to overdo it.
If you’re like me, you may not like chow mein as much as you do lo mein, but this recipe for chow mein is pretty amazing.
It takes only 20 minutes to cook, and it’s full of healthy veggies like bean sprouts, peppers, cabbage, carrots, and more.
If you have kids at home, it’s also an excellent way to get them to eat more veggies.
These green beans are spicy, herby, and super crispy.
They have a similar texture to deep-fried foods, but they don’t have all the grease and fat that comes with using a deep fryer.
You can, of course, adjust the amount of red pepper flakes and chili garlic paste you add to suit your own needs concerning heat and spice.
If you’re looking for a dense, filling vegetarian meal but aren’t crazy about tofu, consider Chinese eggplant instead.
It’s low-fat and low-calorie but has a decent amount of protein.
It has a wonderful texture, and it absorbs all the sauce and seasonings you add to it for an entirely delicious, bold-flavored meal.
Plus, you can make the whole thing in less than an hour.
Chinese cabbage salad is a lot like coleslaw, but you’ll use a few ingredients more traditionally associated with Asian fare, such as sesame seeds, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.
You’ll also throw some crushed ramen in for added texture and density.
General Tso’s tofu is another good tofu recipe with plenty of flavor and a good, although not-quite-meat-like, texture.
Plus, it only takes 30 minutes to cook, making it an excellent option for lunch or dinner on days when you’re too rushed to invest much time in the kitchen.
If tofu isn’t your thing, another option for General Tso’s is cauliflower.
It doesn’t have exactly the same texture that a meat dish would have, but the taste is excellent.
Furthermore, the texture isn’t nearly as “off” as you might expect.
Before you add the sauce, onions, and sesame seeds, you’ll batter and bake the cauliflower.
The result is remarkably close to the same texture you’ll get with chicken.
Low-fat, low-carb, and low-calorie: This Chinese okra salad is low in everything except deliciousness!
It takes 15 minutes to make, and most of that goes into mixing the sauce.
It’s a tangy okra dish that’s perfect for the long, hot summer months.
Requiring five ingredients, 5 minutes of prep, and 5 minutes to cook, bok choy is so easy to work with.
It’s both tender and crispy and features a fantastic, garlic-y taste.
It’s a tasty way to add a little more green to the table, and it pairs perfectly with heavier, meatier dishes.
No list of Chinese recipes would be complete without at least one reference to hot and sour soup.
This particular variety uses tofu instead of chicken, but it has the same sweet, tangy, and full-of-heat flavor we love.
It’s also low-fat and relatively low-carb, and all those veggies and garlic are nothing if not good for you.
This salad may not be the most beautiful thing you’ll ever eat, but despite its odd appearance, it’s pretty tasty.
It has a very earthy, herby flavor and a totally unique texture.
It’s also extremely easy to fix, taking no longer than 10 minutes.
If the super soft texture turns you off, don’t soak the mushrooms for quite so long.
The less time they spend soaking and then frying, the less soft they get.
Crispy sesame tofu is another 10-minute recipe that I really love.
These spicy, crunchy tofu squares are a real treat, especially when served with homemade dipping sauce.
They work well as appetizers before a larger meal.
I also bring them to potlucks and other finger food-type parties, and they’re always a huge hit.
People like them because of their crunch and flavor, but I think they’re so popular since they’re unique.
17. Szechuan Noodles
Most people love Szechuan noodles, and this recipe is one of the best I’ve found if you want to make your own.
They include all kinds of delicious things for added flavor.
You can add more veggies and double down on the ginger and hot chili oil for more heat if you like.
Although China isn’t famous for its desserts, sesame seed balls are an exceptional dessert that everyone should try.
Their outsides are crispy and crunchy, while their insides are partially hollow and chewy (kind of like a Ferrero Rocher candy).
They aren’t overly sweet. Instead, they have a somewhat nutty taste, but they’re delicious.
Chinese mango pudding is another exception to the “China isn’t well-known for its desserts” rule.
It may only require four ingredients – water, coconut milk, agar agar powder, and mango.
But it has a wonderfully sweet taste that’ll make you think you’re eating dessert at a five-star restaurant.
It’s soft, rich, and incredibly creamy. Its texture will remind you a little of flan or a creamier Jello pudding mold.
It isn’t made with gelatin but gets its texture from the agar agar powder.
Its flavor is only mildly sweet, thanks to the mango.
However, if you like your desserts super sweet, you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to make it sweeter.
20. Fortune Cookies
Is any Chinese meal complete without fortune cookies?
I feel like I haven’t finished my meal if I don’t have a fortune cookie at the end of it.
Of course, the easiest way to enjoy fortune cookies is to buy them because they do take some time and work to make correctly.
However, making your own is a rewarding experience, especially if you add personalized notes to them and give them to friends and loved ones.
The ingredients are simple and commonplace, but crimping them takes time.
You can only do it while they’re hot, so you can’t make large batches at once.
Still, the whole process is more than worth it in the end.
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