15 Delicious Vegan Dinners
Tofu Bánh Mì
The vegan bánh mì at Tiger!Tiger!, a San Diego pub specializing in sandwiches, is every bit as hearty as its meaty cousins. The original recipe is complicated, but you can create a delicious version fairly quickly with a few shortcuts. Toss shredded daikon and carrots with seasoned rice vinegar; season mayo with minced chipotle chile; and season hoisin with minced ginger and lemongrass. Layer into a baguette with sprigs of cilantro and this super-flavorful tofu. Short skewers help hold the sandwich together.
Barbecue Slawpy Jacks
This hearty vegan entrée is essentially a cross between a sloppy Joe and a barbecue sandwich and a creative way for vegans this traditional classic.
The Best "Beefy" Vegan Burgers
This umami-rich burger unabashedly attempts to imitate a beef burger in flavor, texture, and appearance.
Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
This flavorful fiesta-on-a-plate involves an unlikely main ingredient: fruit! Jackfruit is an extremely versatile ingredient because it absorbs and takes on the flavors of spices and other ingredients incredibly well, which helps lend these tacos their authentic flair. The fruit itself is pale in color and has a flaky, meaty texture, which makes it the perfect meat substitute for a vegetarian or vegan dinner option so everyone can enjoy it.
Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
Eataly's vegetable counter specializes in vegan dishes—specifically, vegan dishes that people might not suspect are vegan. One is this thick, hearty soup made with a colorful mix of carrots, peas, leek and onion. Mario Batali also adds borlotti beans and farro, which make the soup hearty enough to be a main course. The crunchy grissini on the side aren't vegan; they're sweetened with honey.
This spin on the bistro staple steak frites offers plenty of umami satisfaction in the form of juicy, meaty portobello mushrooms and a savory wine sauce. Finishing the sauce with a touch of vegan butter gives it luxurious and velvety consistency.
White Bean and Jackfruit Chili
The jackfruit brings a great texture while the supporting flavors lend an unforgettable quality that simply proves that a meatless chili can be very satisfying.
Steamed Jackfruit Buns
These vegan buns are just like Char Siu Pork Bao (barbecue pork-filled buns) that you find at dim sum.
This recipe is a completely satisfying chili that cooks in a fraction of the time it takes to make traditional meat chili.
Eggplant Involtini with Grilled Ratatouille
Faux cheeses made with nuts are key to vegan cooking. To stuff these involtini, chef Sean Baker of Gather in Berkeley re-creates the flavor of ricotta by combining pureed raw cashews with nutritional yeast, which has a very savory, almost cheese-like flavor and is available at well-stocked specialty and natural food stores.
Chilled Corn Soup
This recipe for chilled corn soup yields an incredibly sumptuous, velvety concoction—but it’s vegan—and nearly fat-free—and uses one of summer's best and cheapest vegetables. Use corn at the peak of freshness as this simple preparation will highlight corn’s natural sweetness.
Vegan Buffalo Tofu Tot Skillet
This fantastic tater tot dish is slathered in some delicious meatless toppings making this one vegan dish that packs a powerful flavor punch.
Quinoa and Brown Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Tahini
"While in Los Angeles filming the second season of Top Chef Just Desserts last year, I discovered Café Gratitude, a vegan café with a cult following," Gail Simmons says. "For me, its fresh, simple food was the perfect antidote to all that sugar. I became addicted to aptly named dishes like I Am Fortified—a bowl of whole grains with lots of cooked vegetables. When I got back to New York, I developed my own version."
Spinach Fettuccine with Tangy Grilled Summer Squash
At her restaurant, Amanda Cohen tosses herb fettuccine with pickled squash blossoms and grilled zucchini. This simplified recipe features squash that's pickled and then grilled, plus freshly sautéed squash.
Grilled Broccoli and Bread Salad with Pickled Shallots
"Grilling over an open flame is my favorite way of cooking," says Charlie Parker. "It gives food so much flavor without the need for butter." Here, he serves lightly charred broccoli and ciabatta cubes in a twist on an Italian bread-and-tomato salad.