Slideshow: The Vegan Experience: 85 Great Vegan Recipes

Vegan Sweet Potato and Two Bean Chili With Hominy
Vegan Sweet Potato and Two Bean Chili With Hominy

Who needs beef when you've got sweet potatoes and hominy bringing the flavor and texture? They're both natural additions to this chili that has three different kinds of peppers and both kidney and black beans.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup With Crispy Shiitake Chips
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup With Crispy Shiitake Chips

We eased into The Vegan Experience by starting off with a dairy-free version of one of our favorites, creamy mushroom soup. The crunchy and flavor-packed shiitake chips that finish it off were so addictive that we had to revisit them later in the month.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Triple Garlic Pasta With Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Bread Crumbs
Triple Garlic Pasta With Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Bread Crumbs

Building up a strong vegan pasta dish isn't all that different from building a non-vegan pasta dish. What it comes down to, regardless of whether or not it contains meat or dairy, is getting the balance of flavors and textures just right. This dish is a mix of tender, chewy, and crunchy, with intense and complex flavors all coming through distinctly.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Carrot and Rye Berry Salad with Celery, Cilantro, and Marcona Almonds
Carrot and Rye Berry Salad with Celery, Cilantro, and Marcona Almonds

With all the excitement surrounding our vegan-cheesy junk foods, we momentarily forgot to eat our vegetables and whole grains. Luckily, this hearty salad got us back on track.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

This hearty salad just might break the conception that vegetables can't be a main. Plenty of fresh and flavorful herbs make sure that it stays the center of attention.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Roasted Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole
Roasted Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole

Warm carrots meet warm spices in this salad that balances sweet, savory, spicy, tart, and nutty flavors. Radishes and greens also add a bit of crunch while a simple mole poblano ties it all together.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Panini With Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise
Vegan Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Panini With Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

Great sandwiches need to be moist in order to be delicious, and this one has three ingredients that do the trick: sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomato mayo. When crisped on the panini press, the combo takes on a certain pizza-like quality that will satiate any cravings for a box of Totino's.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Crispy Kung Pao Tofu
Crispy Kung Pao Tofu

With celery, peanuts, and coated tofu, this dish is all crisp-on-crisp-on-crisp, with a heat that doesn't knock you out but slowly smolders.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Crispy Stir-Fried Tofu With Broccoli
Vegan Crispy Stir-Fried Tofu With Broccoli

Tender-crisp crowns of broccoli and crunchy bites of tofu get tossed and coated in a sauce packed with sweet and savory seasonings in this major upgrade from run-of-the-mill Chinese takeout.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Best Baba Ganoush
The Best Baba Ganoush

A really good baba ganoush can convert even the most staunch of eggplant haters. This version is light, creamy, and intense, with a savory, smoky aroma, bright acidity, a hint of garlicky heat, and plenty of good olive oil flavor.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Korean Fried Cauliflower
Korean Fried Cauliflower

Cauliflower under an ultra-crisp cornstarch crust tossed in a sweet-and-spicy Korean-style chili sauce.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan Mayonnaise

This eggless mayo relies on silken tofu for its creamy, spreadable texture.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Cheesy Baked Potatoes With Broccoli
Vegan Cheesy Baked Potatoes With Broccoli

While we wouldn't have any difficulty eating our Vegan Nacho Sauce straight from the blender, it does make a great condiment for drizzling dousing. Tender baked potatoes are one solid option, but the fun doesn't stop there…

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

 The Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos
The Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

Vegan Nacho Sauce also cries out to be ladled onto, well, a gloriously messy pile nachos. Why not go all out with our boundary-pushing ultimate nachos, which call for a whopping 13 toppings?

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Stovetop-Style Macaroni and Cheese
Vegan Stovetop-Style Macaroni and Cheese

With a few tweaks, our vegan nacho sauce also can be made into a winning, dairy-free base for mac 'n cheese. It's just as comfortingly gooey as anything that's ever come out of a blue box.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan
Vegan "B.L.A.T."s: Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, and Crispy Smoked Mushroom Sandwiches

While you probably won't be making any tofu sausage stuffed bacon mats with your new mushroom "bacon", you can certainly give this vegan take on the B.L.T. (and A.) a try.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Crispy Buffalo Fried Cauliflower
Crispy Buffalo Fried Cauliflower

Fried Cauliflower, buffalo style! Crisply fried in a cornstarch crust and tossed in traditional buffalo sauce, it's every bit as satisfying as a real wing.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Udon with Mushroom-Soy Broth with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Cabbage
Udon with Mushroom-Soy Broth with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Cabbage

Dried Asian and western mushrooms along with sea kelp form the base for this ultra-savory and deeply satisfying broth, the perfect start to a complex and satisfying bowl of Japanese-style noodles.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Pasta with Snap Peas, Garlic, Lemon Zest, and Black Pepper
Pasta with Snap Peas, Garlic, Lemon Zest, and Black Pepper

Although olive oil won't emulsify into a pasta-coating sauce like butter will, by adding a little cornstarch to the base, you create a sauce that clings to the pasta as well as any butter-based sauce, and with all the bright, vibrant, complex flavor of olive oil.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Grilled Hearts of Palm Tacos
Grilled Hearts of Palm Tacos

Once grilled, hearts of palm take on a deeply nutty, sweet flavor that's almost like charred corn; marinate them beforehand and you add an herbaceous flavor note to the filling. Alongside a crunchy, spicy cabbage slaw and salsa verde, this is a dish that will satisfy whenever the taco craving strikes.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Sopes with Refried Beans and Salsa Verde
Sopes with Refried Beans and Salsa Verde

Crispy fried sope shells, followed by a rich and creamy layer of refried beans, a drizzle of hot and tangy salsa verde, crunchy toasted pepitas, and a fresh sprinkle of onions, jalapeños, and cilantro make for a filling meal with a whole slew of textures.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Zucchini and Squash Pan Pizza with Red Onion and Pistachios
Zucchini and Squash Pan Pizza with Red Onion and Pistachios

Zucchini and squash cover the surface of this pan pizza, while red onions crisp and caramelize as it bakes. Pistachios and olive oil add richness and complexity.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Easy Pan Pizza With Potato, Onion, and Rosemary
Easy Pan Pizza With Potato, Onion, and Rosemary

Maybe it's not the best everyday fare, but there's no denying that the carb-on-carb deliciousness of layered sliced potatoes and mashed potatoes on top of a great pizza crust is irresistible.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Easy Pan Pizza With Sun-dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Olives, and Breadcrumbs
Easy Pan Pizza With Sun-dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Olives, and Breadcrumbs

With an olive salad, caramelized onions, and breadcrumbs, this square pie pizza is so rich and intensely flavored that you'll never even realize it has no cheese.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Mexican Mushroom and Spinach Sandwich
Mexican Mushroom and Spinach Sandwich

Sauteed spinach and mushrooms stuffed into grilled Mexican-style sandwiches.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Sweet Potato Banh Mi
Sweet Potato Banh Mi

Crisp, tender, crunchy, rich, creamy, sweet, sour, spicy, this sandwich has got it all (and with no meat, to boot!).

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Hearty Vegetable Stock
Hearty Vegetable Stock

A great vegan stick should be complex and rich—the perfect base for a soup or stew. The good news? It can be done, and in less than half the time of a meat-based stock.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Lentil Soup
Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is one bowl of brown sludge that I can really get behind. It hits that sweet spot of being not so unappetizing that you wouldn't even try it, but being just unappetizing enough that the mental shock of how good it tastes compared to how it looks is enough to send an endorphin jolt running through your system.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

White Bean and Spinach Soup with Rosemary and Garlic
White Bean and Spinach Soup with Rosemary and Garlic

This hearty white bean soup with spinach flavored with garlic and rosemary is a great winter warmer, perfect for those evenings when you've just come home from a day on the slopes or from romping with the dogs in the park or taking photos of majestic snowy owls, or whatever it is that active winter folks do in this day and age. The real magic of the recipe is the way the starch released from the beans helps the extra-virgin olive oil (and do use your best extra virgin for this) to emulsify with the liquid, creating a rich, spoon-coating texture in no time at all.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Creamy Fingerling Potato Salad
Creamy Fingerling Potato Salad

The problem with potato salads is, most of them rely on mayonnaise for richness, an ingredient that unfortunately vegans can't consume. With this recipe, you get all the delicious creaminess of a traditional potato salad, without all the trouble of making a vegan mayonnasie.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Toast With Refried Beans and Avocado
Toast With Refried Beans and Avocado

This has become my go-to breakfast as a vegan. Refried beans spread on toast with some sliced avocado, coarse sea salt, and a few slivers of onion.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Steamed Buns with Tempura King Oyster Mushrooms
Steamed Buns with Tempura King Oyster Mushrooms

Fried-things-in-sandwiches has been a recurring theme throughout Vegan Month, and for good reason; they're delicious! Here is sandwich #3: tempura-battered oyster mushrooms with simmered daikon root. The two play off each other to make a crunchy, savory, chewy filling, and are perfectly complemented by a miso-agave mayonnaise.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Steamed Buns with Simmered Daikon and Shiitake, Pickled Bean Sprouts, and Spicy Mayonnaise
Steamed Buns with Simmered Daikon and Shiitake, Pickled Bean Sprouts, and Spicy Mayonnaise

Steamed buns stuffed with spicy vegan mayo, braised daikon radish and shiitake mushroom, and pickled mung bean sprouts.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Miso-Marinated Portobello Carpaccio
Miso-Marinated Portobello Carpaccio

These 'shrooms are marinated in a miso-based sauce that adds a rich, meaty flavor to the already umami-filled mushroom. They're then roasted and sliced thin, served carpaccio-style: sprinkled with coarse salt, black pepper, lemon zest, greens, and really good olive oil. Crushed pistachios add their nutty sweetness.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Real Deal Dan Dan Noodles
Real Deal Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan noodles are an ultra-simple dish of cold or warm noodles placed in a bowl with a ladleful of highly seasoned sauce poured on top. In this vegan version, starch-laden noodle water is used in place of chicken stock to bind the sauce to the noodles, and dry-fried mushrooms are used to give the meatiness and texture usually imparted by pork. It's finished off with fermented chili bean paste, black vinegar, pickled mustard root, and plenty of hot chili oil. Gentlemen, start your slurpring.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Spicy Vegan Refried Beans
Spicy Vegan Refried Beans

Spicy, rich, and creamy refried beans flavored with a touch of chipotle.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Charred Corn, Radish, Jicama, and Green Bean Salad with Lime Dressing
Charred Corn, Radish, Jicama, and Green Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

In this salad, you get the vegetal snap of green beans along with the faint, pear-like sweetness of crisp jicama, the crunch of radish, and sweet roasted corn. A lime, olive oil, and honey dressing ties it all together (you can substitute agave to keep it vegan).

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Easy Gazpacho
Easy Gazpacho

Great gazpacho doesn't have to be complicated. All it really needs is the freshest, ripest produce you can find and a healthy glug of good olive oil.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Catalan-Style Ash-Roasted Vegetables (Escalivada)
Catalan-Style Ash-Roasted Vegetables (Escalivada)

The flavors provided here by eggplant, bell pepper, and onion make this dish almost ratatouille-esque, though the texture is far creamier and more luxurious than any ratatouille I've ever had.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Green Risotto with Mushrooms
Green Risotto with Mushrooms

Risotto is an ideal dish for vegans because the starch released by the grains creates that hard to get creaminess. It's especially greg with the fresh flavors of spinach and herbs and topped with deeply browned mushrooms.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Cannelloni with Braised Escarole and Butter Beans
Sweet Potato and Mushroom Cannelloni with Braised Escarole and Butter Beans

Sweet potatoes mingle with intensely savory wild mushrooms in these cannelloni, which sit in a saucy mix of braised escarole and fava beans.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Ultra-Crispy New Potatoes With Garlic, Herbs, and Lemon
Ultra-Crispy New Potatoes With Garlic, Herbs, and Lemon

We're not lying—these potatoes have skins that are actually crispy (and not just dry and papery). They're also coated in extra-virgin olive oil, chopped herbs, lemon zest, and garlic for plenty of flavor.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are unique creatures. When cooked poorly, they can give off a strongly sulfurous aroma that many find unpleasant. But if you can crack through that aroma and release the natural sweetness hiding underneath, then you're rewarded with one of the most delicious vegetables around.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nut, Raisin, and Caper Vinaigrette
Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nut, Raisin, and Caper Vinaigrette

Roasted cauliflower is great on its own with just a drizzle of really good olive oil or lemon, but I like to turn mine into a warm salad with a more elaborate vinaigrette.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Toasted Oatmeal with Maple Syrup, Cranberries, and Raspberries
Toasted Oatmeal with Maple Syrup, Cranberries, and Raspberries

Toasted steel-cut oats cooked with berries and drizzled with maple syrup makes a killer breakfast, even for non-vegans.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Crispy Potato, Onion, and Mushroom Rösti
Crispy Potato, Onion, and Mushroom Rösti

Potatoes, onions, and mushrooms are crispy and golden brown on the outside, creamy and tender in the middle.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Lentil and Coconut Soup with Cilantro-Habañero Gremolata
Lentil and Coconut Soup with Cilantro-Habañero Gremolata

This recipe is a true hybrid. It starts with a traditional French mirepoix base of onions, carrots, and celery cooked down in extra virgin olive oil, but then gets a bare hint of flavors with a curry bent—ginger, garlic, hot chili, a touch of coriander and cumin and a jar of coconut milk. An unconventional gremolata topping turns a run-of-the-mill wacky lentil soup into something downright fancy tasting.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Smoky Charred Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Kale
Smoky Charred Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Kale

The Portuguese soup of caldo verde (literally "green broth") is about as simple as it gets when it comes to vegetable soups, yet its simplicity is the key to its comforting success. At its most basic, starchy potatoes are simply simmered with onions and kale until the kale is tender and flavorful, the onions have melted into the broth, and the potatoes completely disintegrate, thickening the soup into a rich, thick stew. Some really good olive oil drizzled over the top, and you've got a great, filling lunch or dinner. Here, the cauliflower gets charred, taking on a meaty taste, and the addition of chipotle chiles echoes that smokiness.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Roasted Squash and Raw Carrot Soup
Roasted Squash and Raw Carrot Soup

Squash and carrots go very well together. They're both orange (duh), both have a great sweet-and-savory flavor profile, and both take well to conversion into creamy soup form. This soup, which calls for roasting the squash and juicing the raw carrot, is a little deeper, a little more complex.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Garbanzos con Espinacas y Jengibre (Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with Ginger)
Garbanzos con Espinacas y Jengibre (Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew with Ginger)

Garbanzos con espinacas, the Spanish stew upon which this stew is based, usually relies on smoky chorizo or rich morcilla (blood sausage) for its flavor. This vegan version keeps those bold flavors by simmering the chickpeas and their liquid with aromatics like garlic, onion, bay leaf, ginger, and smoked paprika.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili
The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili

All of the deep chili flavor, textural contrast, and rib-sticking richness you'd ever want in a chili.

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Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad With Sumac Onions
Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad With Sumac Onions

If you've never tried a marinated kale salad, it might just rock your world. Here's how it works. Take your raw kale, dress it with a standard vinaigrette, let it sit overnight in the fridge, and boom—what was once a tough, leafy green is now tender and crisp. The greatest part about it is that after marinating, the salad will last for days and days without losing its crispness. This salad also calls for chickpeas and onions, making it a hearty side or light lunch.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Braised Kale and Chickpea Sandwich with Sumac Onions
Braised Kale and Chickpea Sandwich with Sumac Onions

Braised greens are one of my favorite sandwich fillings. A messy sandwich of braised kale and chickpeas topped with sumac onions is a hearty, filling, and delicious combo.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Fried Eggplant Sandwich with Eggplant Mayo
Fried Eggplant Sandwich with Eggplant Mayo

An eggplant parmesan sandwich without the cheese, this recipe uses (vegan!) eggplant mayonnaise to contribute the richness that mozzarella ordinarily would.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan Frito Pie
Vegan Frito Pie

Tailgating staple, vegan-style, with Vegetarian Bean Chili served on top of fritos with Pickled Red Onions, jalapeños, and avocado. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro, a scattering of sliced scallions, and a squeeze of lime all add freshness.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Chilaquiles with Pepitas, Charred Corn, and Black Beans
Chilaquiles with Pepitas, Charred Corn, and Black Beans

Chilaquiles are a classic Mexican breakfast dish that can be pretty aptly described as a fried tortilla casserole. Crisp chips are soaked in salsa (in this case a bright and tangy salsa verde made from tomatillos) until just barely softened but still mildly crunchy. This recipe combines black beans with charred corn, along with a few slices of avocado and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds for a meal that's not only balanced in carbs, protein, and high in good green vegetables, but is crazy delicious to boot.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower
Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower

Two hearty crucifers team up with rice in this filling vegan main dish.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Bok Choy with Chives, Black Bean Sauce, and Chow Fun
Bok Choy with Chives, Black Bean Sauce, and Chow Fun

Want to make your pasta and stir-fried healthier? Just reverse the ratios, packing in more vegetables and sauce, using noodles and grain-based foods as a garnish. This version uses bok choy and chives in a fermented black bean sauce with just a few chow fun noodles.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad with Cucumbers, Red Peppers, and Basil
Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad with Cucumbers, Red Peppers, and Basil

A little spicy, a little sweet, a little salty, chewy Chinese noodles with cucumbers, peppers, and scallions coated in a chunky peanut sauce is a tasty, filling meal that's hard to get tired of. This version is made with far fewer noodles and many more vegetables. Indeed, it's now more of a vegetable salad with a few noodles added in for textural contrast.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Braised Eggplant with Tofu in Garlic Sauce
Braised Eggplant with Tofu in Garlic Sauce

Braised eggplant with garlic sauce is a classic Sichuan dish that combines soft simmered eggplant, fermented soy beans, and a sweet, garlicky sauce. This version adds a few tablespoons of preserved mustard root and incorporates the garlic in a couple of ways. You can go with 100% eggplant if you'd like, or you can add cubes of firm silken tofu to transform this into a one-pot-meal.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Bean-Stuffed Deep Fried Jalapeños with Salsa Roja
Bean-Stuffed Deep Fried Jalapeños with Salsa Roja

Yes, these are derivative of jalapeño poppers, but jalapeños are great, refried beans are great, and golden brown and crunchy is great, so why not stick them all together? Crisp on the outside and creamy in the middle, they come out of the fryer super hot, so make sure you've got plenty of cold beer on-hand.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Crispy Bánh Mì Spring Rolls With Creamy Chili Mayo
Crispy Bánh Mì Spring Rolls With Creamy Chili Mayo

Spring rolls are great, as are the flavors of bánh mì, so why not stick 'em together? These rolls are stuffed with pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro. The sauce is made with a mixture of homemade vegan mayonnaise and spicy chili-garlic sauce. Creamy, spicy, crispy, tangy, and a little greasy, they hit all the notes you want in a game time snack.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Fried Plantains with Black Beans, Roasted Poblanos, Avocado, and Pickled Red Onion
Fried Plantains with Black Beans, Roasted Poblanos, Avocado, and Pickled Red Onion

Patacones are the Colombian equivalent of Caribbean tostones—double-fried green plantains. Just like cooking a french fry, you start with a starchy chunk of green plantain, cook it once at a low temperature, then cook it a second time at a higher temperature to crisp it up. The difference is that with patacones, you smash them into a flat disk in between. This shape makes them ideal for loading up with toppings. This version calls for black beans (canned are fine), roasted poblano peppers, slices of creamy avocado, and a few pickled red onions.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Kimchi
Kimchi

This version is totally vegan-friendly, and so authentic-tasting that even a Korean grandmother would approve.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]