10 Asian Vegetarian Recipes for a Colorful Week

10 Asian Vegetarian Recipes for a Colorful Week

Ran out of meat in the fridge or simply living the vegetarian life? These amazing meatless dishes prove that a meat free lifestyle can be equally delicious and nutritious

Living as a vegetarian (or vegan for that matter) in any Asian city can be a little tricky. Most hawker fares or street side finds often use animal fats like pork lard or infuse their vegetables with chicken or pork stock. The fully vegetarian options at restaurants or hawker centers are not diverse at best and sometimes plain miserable when you end up with just a plate of rice and pickles. That’s not saying that fantastic vegetarian food is impossible to find – just turn to your home base aka kitchen and whip up these amazing meatless dishes that combine the best of Asian flavors with wholesome vegetables for some instant gratification. Even carnivores will be converted with these tasty options!

1. Meat Free Mee Pok

At first glance, you won’t even know that you’re having a Meat Free Mee Pok. Meat free mince makes this famous and comforting hawker dish possible, and you’ll still get those umami flavors from the juicy shiitake and oyster mushrooms. A side of choy sum adds a dash of contrasting green and a nice crunch as you slurp up those tasty noodles.

2. Korean BBQ Tofu

The selection of grilled vegetarian options always seem woefully small compared to the meat choices at the Korean grill restaurants. Fret not, as you can throw yourself a mini grill party at home with just a pan or a full-on electric grill with this Korean BBQ Tofu. The quintessential gochujang sauce imparts a sour-ish spicy tang to your grilled tofu in this dish and the myriad of vegetables from peppers to mushrooms add interest and different textures to your grill mix. Heap the colorful grilled veggies on top of udon and get ready to tuck in!

3. Carrot Masala

Cheap yet tasty, Carrot Masala takes a classic meat-based masala recipe and turns it into a spicy sweet delicacy that goes well with quinoa or flatbread. Carrots, pumpkins and hardier vegetables are a good option to use in this recipe as they won’t wilt or fall apart while cooking in the gravy.  

4. Aloo Malai Kofta

While Kofta usually refers to meatloaf balls, this Aloo Malai Kofta turns them into an equally addictive and moist vegetarian ball or patty made out of potatoes, carrots and peas. Have it as a side or a whip up a larger batch as a main, this yummy North Indian dish is an absolute treat when paired with a spiced tomato chutney to balance out the creamy flavors.  

5. Meat Free Bibimbap

Bibimbap is always a delight to behold, with its rainbow mix of colors, complete with gooey egg on top. Mixing it up and watching as the colors and textures fuse together is also fascinating in itself, and there’s nothing quite like the first mouthful where the warm, crunchy, sour spicy flavors lead you to wolf down the entire bowl in no time. Going meatless is easy with some Quorn mince, and everything else basically adheres to the classic bimbimbap recipe that has been around for generations.

6. Meat Free Butter Chicken

Smooth and creamy with the subtle taste of charred meat, Butter Chicken is a sure winner at any dinner table. It’s more lusciously rich compared to other curries and this vegetarian version lets you enjoy all that spicy goodness with chunky meat-free Quorn pieces. Pour the mix over a steaming hot bowl of basmati rice and tuck into a warm, aromatic meal.

7. Cauliflower Quinoa Kofta

The beauty of Koftas is that it allows for different ingredients to bind together in easily ingestible meatball forms, offering up a contrast of different flavors compared to their base ingredients. Cauliflower Quinoa Kofta is another fabulous way to use up your cauliflowers (that’s not just boiled and boring) besides cauliflower rice. Flaxseed egg holds the quinoa, cauliflower and almond flour mix together in lovely meatball shapes that stand out in the bright yellow turmeric sauce. There’s nothing not to love about this dish and it gives ordinary vegetables an absolutely delicious Indian twist!

8. Coconut Lentil Dal

Sick of rice and noodles? Lentils offer a chewy changeup that soaks up the spicy dal, stew or curry flavors easily while maintaining their shape and form. This Coconut Lentil Dal is simmered in a richly spiced gravy, and is best enjoyed with basmati rice or flatbread for a satisfying meal.

9. Garam Masala “Shepherd’s Pie”

Potatoes are a highlight of both Indian and Western cuisine, and this Garam Masala “Shepherd’s Pie” brings together the best of both worlds, while being perfectly suitable for vegetarians! Traditional western herb fillings are swapped out for a fragrantly spiced Indian filling of carrots, green peas and tofu before being topped with a creamy layer of mash. No baking is required for this super hearty and party-sized dish that will appease meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

10. Meat Free Katsu Curry

You need not shy away from recreating meat-heavy dishes like Katsu Curry, not when there are some equally protein-packed and flavorful mock meats out there like Quorn fillets. Japanese curries are much milder than their Indian or Malaysian cousins, making this Meat Free Katsu Curry a family-friendly option for vegetarian weeknight dinners. Deep fry those fillets till golden brown to achieve that coveted crunch and heap some sweet Katsu curry over the fillets and a bed of Japanese rice for a classic meal.

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