Unfortunately, there aren't many vegan dishes in typical Chinese cuisine. However, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy Chinese food if you're plant-based! Try these Vegan and Vegetarian Chinese New Year recipes for a delicious 2023 Reunion Dinner!
Chinese New Year cooking- well cooking for any party really- can be a bit stressful, so here's a CNY meal planning guide showing how 1 person can prepare the meal stress free. (Recipe suggestions are, unfortunately, not all vegan.)
Note: If these 30+ vegan and vegetarian dishes are not enough, here's a link to more delicious Vegan Asian recipes to grace your festive table! Or, if you want a different cuisine, try these vegetarian Indian recipes or these vegetarian South East Asian dishes.
🥟 Savoury Snacks
If you are more of a savoury person- like me!- try these recipes instead!
P.S. If you don't have enough spring onions, here are some substitutes!
Singaporean Chinese Curry Puffs
The main ingredients of the filling are potato and onion, but you can also add carrots and peas to bulk it up.
Tip: remember that you need cold water to get a crisp dough!
These soft peanuts are often stewed in soy sauce and sesame oil then served at Chinese restaurants as an appetiser.
This is a super easy vegetarian Chinese starter. We used to make this weekly in my house!
Tip: if served not fried, this is a very healthy Chinese food recipe!
You will need
- spring roll wrappers (can be substituted with filo pastry if baking/ deep-frying)
- If using spring roll wrappers, remember to cover the opened packet with a damp cloth to keep them from hardening (whilst you are wrapping. After wrapping, extras must be put in the fridge or frozen)
- A mix of Napa cabbage, carrots, mung bean vermicelli (soaked in hot water till soft), fresh Shiitake mushrooms (for umami, if replacing with dried ones, they need to be soaked in hot water for a few hours to soften) and green onions
- Add bean sprouts if you want more crunch
- Seasoning: soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce/ mushroom sauce, vegetarian chicken bouillon and salt
How to Make
- Shred or julinenne the vegetables/ mushrooms till they are all in thin slices whilst soaking the bean thread noodles.
- Stir-fry the shredded ingredients then add the seasoning, to taste
- Once cooked, allow the filling to cool slightly.
- Wrap the spring rolls in the wrappers- you will need to dab a bit of water to seal them well, so that they don't burst when frying.
- Deep fry till golden brown and crispy (or air-fry/ bake)
Note: don't forget the dipping sauce, such as this Toyomansi Soy Sauce!
🍜 Soup & Noodles
A noodle dish is a must on the Chinese New Year table.
Just remember not to cut the noodles or you'll achieve the reverse effect! (And annoy all the Asian elders.)
Spicy Sauce Noodles
Note: if you don't have bok choy, you can use replace with Chinese cabbage, green beans or bell peppers.
Vegetable Chow Mein
Hot & Sour Soup
This Sour Soup Recipe (酸辣汤 (Suān là tāng)) is easy and delicious. Best of all, this vegan recipe is done in 30 minutes!
🍞 Bao Buns
Who can say no to fluffy baos? (They're delicious served with soy milk!)
The trend in Chinese communities is to make baos that resemble the zodiac of the year, so for 2023 it should be Rabbit mantou buns!
Vegan Stuffed Baos
Note: these can be made weeks before CNY, frozen and steamed from frozen for Reunion Dinner. Much less hassle! (And all your relatives will be super impressed that you made them from scratch!)
Green Tea Buns
There's more to vegetarian Chinese dishes than just stir-fried leafy greens!
Lo Han Jai
Also known as Buddha's Delight, this is 1 of the best vegetarian Chinese food recipes cooked during the Spring Festival. Delicious with just a bowl of white rice!
Note: it requires a lot of specialty ingredients that you'll need to hit up the local Chinese grocery to find, such as bamboo shoots, dried beancurd and black fungus. You can also add wheat gluten, although it's not specified in this recipe.
Tofu is 1 of the most common vegan and vegetarian ingredients as it takes on flavours very easily and is protein packed.
Chinese people have been making tofu for centuries so we have a LOT of tofu recipes! (I've kept it to just 3 here as many vegans complain about tofu overload.)
Stir Fry Tofu
Vegan Orange "Chicken"
The next time you make this crispy tofu, try using homemade Chinese 5-spice powder mix. It's much more fragrant than shop-bought and makes a ton of difference in the flavor!
The foods we eat represent a better year ahead, and dessert recipes are a must as they represent a sweet year ahead! For more symbolic (sadly not vegan) Chinese New Year foods, try these 12 Golden CNY recipes.
Hup Toh Soh
Papaya Tong Sui
For more Papaya sweet recipes, click here.
Osmanthus Flower Jelly
Red Bean Soup
These days, most Chinese families stock up on soft drinks for Chinese New Year. Why not make these homemade Chinese drinks for healthier yet easy and tasty alternatives?
Dried Longan Tea
Gui Hua Cha
Suan Mei Cha
The Lunar New Year is the season for overeating, so some of this Chinese preserved plum tea would be great as it promotes digestion!
Da Mai Cha
If you make any of these Chinese Vegetarian Recipes, don't forget to tag me on social media! (@greedygirlgourmet) If you've enjoyed them, would you like to subscribe to my Asian recipes newsletter?