Baked Sweet Potato and Tempeh Empanadas
Tempeh has a long way to go before it becomes as popular as other soy products, but its wonderfully firm texture and versatility make it an excellent protein source. Here, it’s a stand-in for ground meat in a vegan baked empanada.
Veggie Burgers with Pomegranate Ketchup
Eating vegan for a month led Top Chef All-Star winner Richard Blais to examine his pantry more closely. He discovered that ground porcini mushrooms add a meaty flavor to dishes like his veggie burger.
Tangy Red-Pepper-and-Nut Dip
In this take on muhammara, a classic Syrian red pepper-and-nut dip, five kinds of nuts provide rich, toasty flavor and healthful protein and fat.
Quinoa Salad with Grilled Scallions, Favas and Dates
Most vegans are familiar with quinoa, a grain-like seed that is one of the plant world's best sources of complete protein. It forms the base of this salad, sweet with grilled and mashed dates and flavored with green garlic and scallions. Fava beans add even more protein.
Crispy Kale-and-Tofu Salad with Coconut
Cookbook author Heidi Swanson has already proved she's a master at creating amazingly healthy and tasty vegetarian recipes with very few ingredients. Here, she toasts kale, coconut and tofu until lightly browned and crisp, then tosses them with brown rice.
Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms and Lemon
“My granny taught me that when corn is very fresh, the juices are naturally creamy,” Kevin Gillespie says. “I took that as the gospel.” He grates half of the corn here to make a luxurious puree that thickens without cream.
Spicing chickpeas with cumin and coriander and frying them is an unexpected preparation of the versatile vegan-pantry staple.
Spaghetti with Sun-Dried-Tomato-Almond Pesto
Salted, roasted almonds and toasty breadcrumbs add a salty richness to this pasta, no cheese necessary.
Grilled Tofu Steaks with Piquillo Salsa Verde
Firm tofu is ideal for the grill, because it holds its shape and gets nicely smoky. It's excellent with this tangy salsa prepared with piquillo peppers, capers and parsley.
Dark Chocolate Bark with Roasted Almonds and Seeds
Vegans can enjoy most dark chocolate worry-free; it doesn't contain any of the dairy solids that give milk chocolate its name. Here, it's tempered with almonds and salted seeds to create an irresistable—and and fairly healthful—treat.
These slivers of parsnip prove that it's all in the way you treat a vegetable that matters. Here, Quinn Hatfield bakes and seasons paper-thin slices of the root vegetable to satisfy salty, smoky and crispy cravings.
Fruit-and-Nut Energy Bars
The nuts and grain in these bars combine to create a good source of complete protein. Flax seeds provide sought-after omega-3 fatty acids, which are harder to come by for nonseafood-eaters; processing them with the other ingredients makes their benefits more available for absorption by the body.
Roasted Cauliflower-and-Sesame Spread
Like hummus, this ingenius spread gets its richness from tahini, but is slightly sweet from the roasted caulifower.
Proving that vegetables can be as satisfying as meat, chef Sean Baker serves this mushroom pâté on his vegan "charcuterie" plate.
Curried Spaghetti-Squash-and-Chickpea Toasts
Crostini make for elegant party food, but very often they are cheese- or meat-based. These vegan toasts, with warm curry flavor and filling chickpeas, are perfect for a fall get-together.
The watermelon in this tangy, chilled soup is a lightly sweet twist on a classic vegan Spanish dish.
Spicy Avocado-Cucumber Soup
The pureed avocado and coconut milk make this dairy-free soup seem decadantly creamy. To keep it vegan, be sure to buy a green curry paste that isn't made with fish sauce.
Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
Mario Batali makes dishes that people would never suspect are vegan. One is this thick, hearty main-course soup made with a colorful mix of carrots, peas, leeks and onions with borlotti beans and farro.
Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
Low in fat but high in protein, beans are among restaurateur Joe Bastianich’s favorite ingredients. He uses white beans here, but he also loves making this recipe with chickpeas and flat gigante beans: “The bigger and creamier the beans, the better.”
Edamame, Celery and Fennel Salad with Candied Lemon
The crunchy mix of ingredients in this salad is unexpected and fun. And the dressing is equally unusual: It's made with chopped candied lemon as well as soy sauce, toasted-sesame oil and Sriracha, so it's both sweet and spicy.
This salad is totally reflective of its creator, the iconic founder of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters. It's beautiful, minimalist and surprising.
Grilled Broccoli and Bread Salad with Pickled Shallots
“Grilling over an open flame is my favorite way of cooking,” says Charlie Parker, who created this impressive, unique salad. “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.
Bulgur Salad with Lightly Roasted Vegetables
Grain salads can make for satisfying, one-bowl vegan meals. The roasted vegetables here are crunchy-tender and slightly sweet, offset by lemony dressing.
Spinach Fettuccine with Tangy Grilled Summer Squash
Chef 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.
Dan Dan Noodles
It’s worth seeking out vegan chow mein noodles (traditionally made with egg) to make this easy, spicy, peanutty dish.
Homemade Firm Tofu
Tofu gets a lot of play in the vegan diet because it's packed with protein. For the best-ever version, try making your own.
Stuffed Peppers with Thai Curry Rice and Mushrooms
Using fish sauce-free curry paste and the suggested grapeseed oil instead of butter keeps this main-course vegetable dish vegan.
Cabbage, Watercress and Pine Nut Dumplings
Momofuku's notoriously pork-obsessed chef David Chang breaks type and goes healthful and meat-free with these light dumplings; just be sure to buy vegan wonton or gyoza wrappers.
Carrot Osso Buco
In Richard Blais's playful vegan take on osso buco (braised veal shanks), he braises very large pieces of carrots in red wine and mushroom broth until tender. Ground dried porcini mushrooms give the dish rich, meaty flavor.
Korean Sushi Rolls with Walnut-Edamame Crumble
Not all sushi has to be made with seafood. In this unusual vegan roll, edamame and walnuts are glazed with molasses and soy sauce.
Eggplant Involtini with Grilled Ratatouille
Faux cheeses made with nuts are one key to vegan cooking. To stuff these involtini, chef Sean Baker 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.
Grilled Polenta and Radicchio with Balsamic Drizzle
Chef Ryan Poli became interested in vegan cooking because his girlfriend follows a mostly vegan diet. “It was difficult to cook for her at home,” he says. “I couldn’t just open the fridge and make something. I had to really think.” This relatively simple dish of grilled polenta and radicchio proves it's possible to create something deeply delicious, substantial and vegan with just a handful of ingredients.
Citrus Salad with Candied Ginger
Fruit salad becomes an elegant dessert with spicy crystallized ginger and salted almonds.