What're your favorite vegan recipes?
March 5, 2009 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Vegans: Your favorite recipes? Entrees and desserts, more inside.

I am cooking for 8 regular folks and one vegan tomorrow. Many, many years ago I was a vegetarian myself, but I was also unmarried and young and broke, so the majority of my meat-free catalog is "Veggieburger" or "Meat dish minus meat plus fake meat".

I'd like to be modestly more ambitious than that- A lentil dish I had planned contains a good deal of yogurt and so I am out of ideas. Rather than plumb the depths of vegan eating forums, I figured I'd check in with the Hive mind to see what Vegan or veggie loving MeFites could vouch for.

To that end, I'm looking to conjure an entree and a small dessert, but I'm willing to take a listen on anything. I'm ready to be adventurous, but I'm also short on time. I'm just looking to avoid recipes that are little more than "substitution" recipes. (i.e. Vegan Cake! Take regular cake, minus butter, plus soybutter!)

(I hope this makes sense. My brain is fried. I worked like a 16 hour day yesterday and then got up at 5AM and I am onyl now catching up on my life. Save me!)
posted by GilloD to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
lots of tips here
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:06 PM on March 5, 2009

Not a vegan but have been experimenting with vegan cooking. I'm a big fan of the Veganomicon, but if you have no time to get a copy, I just made this stew...it is awesome, especially over couscous:


1 sprays cooking spray
1 small onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup carrot(s), baby
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp table salt


Coat a small skillet with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes.

Place squash in a 3-quart or larger slow cooker (crockpot). Add sauteed onion and garlic, carrots, tomatoes, broth, cinnamon, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cover and turn on to low heat; simmer for 6 hours.

Add chickpeas and salt. Stir, cover and heat for an additional 5 minutes. Yields about 1 1/3 cups per serving.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I suppose it is a substitution recipe, but soft tofu can stand in for ricotta in any lasagna recipe with no flavor change and little texture. If you mix spinach in with the tofu, oh man, that is some goodness right there.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:12 PM on March 5, 2009

This tomato soup takes about 30 minutes, is simple but a little unusual, and it is shockingly delicious. It would be a nice dish to pair with a lentil entree or something else that needs some color next to it.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2009

Sweet potato enchiladas.
posted by yeti at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2009

If you don't want to run out and buy a cookbook (like Veganomicon, which is an excellent cookbook even if you're not vegan), I'd look into Asian or Mediterranean food, a lot of which is incidentally vegan. I don't know if you're looking to make one dish for everyone (I'm assuming yes), so this might be the way to go. Non-vegetarians/vegans get kind of iffy about tofu or fake meat stand-ins.

But as for actual recipes, this is my mom's for enchiladas. You won't miss the cheese or meat. We love these.

Vegan Mushroom Spinach Enchiladas

All ingredients are approximate. It's hard to say with the mushrooms and spinach, since they cook down so much. Use more than you think, rather than less. With the sauce, you can always add more water if it's too thick or you think you need more!

Make or buy enchilada sauce. Two cans of bought about equals the recipe below:


Saute 1 minced clove of garlic in 1 T of oil. Add in and dissolve a bullion cube, if you've got one, and 1 tsp salt. In a container you can shake, mix together 3 T of flour and 1 cup of water. Add to garlic mixture, blend well, then add 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. It will thicken nicely. Add chili powder to taste: start with 1 T. Add in a small can of chopped green chilis.


Saute 1 chopped onion in 2 T of oil. Add in 2-3 cups chopped mushrooms and cook until they've reduced a bit. Add in 4 cups of fresh chopped spinach. Continue cooking mushroom/spinach mixture until most of the water is gone. Add in a small can of sliced black olives.

Soften corn tortillas one at a time (you'll need 10 -12) in the sauce and roll around a spoonful of the filling. Line them up in baking dish, spread on remaining sauce and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let sit out of oven for 5 minutes before serving. Top with garnish of chopped lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole.
posted by darksong at 2:18 PM on March 5, 2009

Surf 101 Cookbooks; Heidi doesn't put up any meat recipes, though she isn't *vegan*. She does have a vegan category with 88 recipes. Most of her stuff is quick, simple and outstandingly good!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 2:30 PM on March 5, 2009

This vegan chocolate mousse is staggeringly delicious. You can substitute strong coffee for the amaretto if you like; or serve it with fruit, or walnuts, or cacao nibs, or whatever really.

Here is a demonstration of how delicious this mousse is:

I used to have a housemate who was a vegan, but he was no ordinary vegan: he was a very healthy vegan. He spent most of his time practicing a complicated assortment of martial arts and washing his hair in kangaroo paw flowers and linseed oil; in the gaps between, he ate raw mushrooms, raw spinach, tofu fried with pumpkin seeds, and bean sprout sandwiches. On particularly indulgent days, and if someone else had cooked, he might venture a potato and broccoli curry.

Every time I made this mousse, he would look horrified. While it was setting, he'd peer into the fridge and look horrified again. Once it was set, he'd put a spoonful in a bowl, eat it in a series of tiny nibbles, immediately get a horrible headache as a result of the unaccustomed sugar and caffeine, and retreat to his room. An hour later, he'd emerge and ask for more mousse.
"You realise it's going to give you another headache?"
"And you still want some more?"
After this had happened a couple of times he would stop bothering with the intermediary of the bowl, and start eating the mousse straight off the serving spoon, stopping for an hour each time to look at me reproachfully and retreat to his room with a headache.

It's a very nice mousse, is my point. It does take a couple of hours to set, though, so you'd need to be able to make it a little bit in advance.
posted by severalbees at 2:41 PM on March 5, 2009 [7 favorites]

Substitution recipes are the best for normal baking. Seriously. "Vegan recipes" for, e.g. cake, one finds on the internet and even in most vegan cookbooks are shit compared to tried-and-tested baking recipes. Your prejudice here is unjustified. If you want a totally boring, normal dessert, I would just grab something out of the Joy of Cooking (a chocolate cake, e.g.) and substitute out butter-margarine, eggs-eggreplacer, milk-soymilk. If you can make a good non-vegan cake, you can make a good vegan one. This is as easy as... pie. (which is also simple to make vegan)

For an entree, I say do a few simple things to serve together: good mashed/roasted potatoes OR risotto (optional cheese for your non-vegan friends), some steamed/boiled cooked asparagus, with sesame or balsamic vinegar, and something else filling and earthy, maybe like this (vegan) beet salad with garlic-walnut sauce.
posted by beerbajay at 2:41 PM on March 5, 2009

Oh, I'm a vegan with high standards for baked goods, so I know what I'm talking about.
posted by beerbajay at 2:42 PM on March 5, 2009

OH! If you're up for soup, make a tomato-lentil-garlic soup. Go really heavy on the garlic and pretty heavy on lemon juice at the end. Or make a black bean soup, heavy on the cumin and corriander. Pretty easy to find recipes online or to make up. It's soup. Buy some nice bread.
posted by beerbajay at 2:44 PM on March 5, 2009

Eggplant is a wonderful basis for vegan entrées. A quick search turned up this eggplant "parmesan" which I would so totally eat.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:04 PM on March 5, 2009

Most sorbets are vegan and very easy to make. All you need is a blender. There are tons of recipes on the internet.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:27 PM on March 5, 2009

If you want to stay with the lentil idea, I really like a recipe for lentils braised in red wine from the Zuni cafe cookbook (there's a version of the recipe here, scroll down). It's not inherently vegan but could be made so by using vegetable stock or water (or liquid from reconstituting dried porcini - that would be good) and olive oil. It's great using french lentils, served over rice, garnished with flat parsley. Meat eating friends could also get crumbled bacon as a garnish if you think that'd go over well.
posted by yarrow at 3:31 PM on March 5, 2009

Applemeat's (eponysterical) favorite vegan dish: Orecchiette pasta and steamed (but still slightly crisp) broccoli tossed with a handful of raisons in chili oil (find it in the Asian aisle of your supermarket) ....plus a light touch of fresh garlic, and salt to taste). Just boil the pasta, and stir fry the rest in a wok or big pan and then toss it all together and serve.

...sounds strange (ok, it kinda sounds like a dare!), but it's delicious! The sweet raisons and spicy chili do wonders for the pasta and crisp broccoli, and provide an alternative to the more typical garlic and cumin distraction (imo) of vegan meals. [For the non-vegan version: Omit salt and add 2-3 anchovy filets to your stir fry.]
posted by applemeat at 3:31 PM on March 5, 2009

My favorite quick and filling vegan meal is a thick carrot-ginger soup, which, as it happens, I'm going to make in a few minutes. It's so easy:

1. sauté a hunk of chopped fresh ginger and an onion in oil over low heat until the onion's transparent (and the kitchen smells like ginger :). I toss a nice spoonful of crushed red pepper flakes in with the onion, too, so the final product has a bit more heat, but that's me.

2. Add a shitload of chopped carrots and water enough just to cover everything. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer until carrots are tender - about 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your carrot slices are. If you let too much water boil off, add a bit more. Don't overcook the carrots since step 3 will take care of them just fine.

3. Pour everything in a blender/processor (in batches if you have to) and blend until smooth. I like to blend a lot, but it's just as delicious with chunks of stuff still floating. Serve with thick slices of toasty fresh bread and a garnish of fresh cilantro in the middle of each bowl.

Seriously, it's a half hour from start to finish, max, and totally worth serving to company.
posted by mediareport at 3:39 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think one mistake that non-vegans make when cooking for vegans is that they forget to include a protein. The same people who did the Vegonomicon run the Post Punk Kitchen website and have lots of great recipes online.
posted by Staggering Jack at 3:50 PM on March 5, 2009

These chickpea cutlets are amazing. They are from the book veganomicon already mentioned. They also have a website with forum and a ton of recipe ideas.
posted by scarello at 5:12 PM on March 5, 2009

Baked Falafel

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4 cup wheat germ, divided use
1/4 cup whole wheat flour

Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until
translucent - about 5 minutes. Drain chickpeas and
reserve ¼ cup liquid (see note).

Place onion, garlic and chickpea liquid in
blender or food processor and puree. Add chickpeas,
parsley, tahini, cumin and coriander and blend until
smooth. Put chickpea mixture in a small bowl and stir
in ½ cup wheat germ. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to
firm mixture (see note).

Form chickpea mixture into 16 balls. Mix remaining
wheat germ with whole wheat flour. Roll balls in
wheat germ mixture, and flatten slightly to form
patties. Spray a baking sheet with cooking-oil spray.
Place falafel patties on baking sheet and spray the
tops lightly with more cooking oil spray. Bake at 375
for 20 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes.

Note: if you are using a food processor, you can omit
the chickpea liquid and skip the refrigeration step.

To serve, halve four pita bread rounds. Put two
falafel patties in each half and top with lettuce,
tomato and lemon-tahini dressing .

Serves 4.

For lemon-tahini dressing, mix some tahini (about 1/4 cup), the juice of one lemon, 1/4 teaspoon each cumin and coriander if you want, and enough water or non-diary milk to thin.
posted by zinfandel at 7:28 PM on March 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by polyester.lumberjack at 11:35 PM on March 5, 2009

I'm surprised no one's already posted a recipe for vegan chocolate cake! I made it once when I had a vegan dinner guest and was really stressed about what to make for dessert. (There are not a ton of good vegan dessert ideas, generally speaking.) I am pretty much always disappointed by substitution-based recipes, so I definitely had my doubts about how good a vegan chocolate cake could be.

The answer is: SO GOOD.

Now it's my standard chocolate cake. People are nuts about it, even Texan carnivores who wouldn't touch the cake if they knew it was vegan. It's great if you slice up some strawberries and put some powdered sugar on it, or serve it with ice cream, but it's fantastic by itself, too. It is so easy to make, and non-vegans won't care/know that it's vegan.
posted by adiabat at 2:46 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

adiabat is RIGHT ON. I make a version of this cake (sans coffee but otherwise virtually identical) that wins plaudits from all comers - in fact, I made it last weekend in my household of omnivores when I had no eggs in the house and I think my kids liked it more than any other cake I've made. My wife tells me the recipe was from one of her sister's Sassy magazines from the '80s.
posted by cheapskatebay at 5:32 AM on March 6, 2009

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