Six Vegan Recipes for
Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!

That’s right, February 12th is coming up, and it marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year for millions celebrating across the globe.

This year is the Year of the Ox!

The ox represents good luck, dependability and strength, so there is good reason to be optimistic for the year ahead, (goodbye 2020!).

Food is an especially important part of the Chinese New Year. One of the most crucial parts of the celebration is gathering for a huge feast to celebrate the oncoming new year.

But when it comes to Chinese food, vegan food isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. 

Lots of us conjure up images of rows of hanging ducks in Chinatown, meat-filled dumplings and chicken chow mein. 

Firstly, there is way more to Chinese food than what is served at your local takeaway.

In fact, China is the second biggest country in the world and is full of diverse, fascinating and tasty food. 

Lot’s of which are totally plant-based!

You’ll be gobsmacked by the awesome and inventive ways of cooking aubergines, tofu and other veggies that exist. 

So, if you’re on a plant-based diet, it’s great to know which vegan Chinese New Year recipes are out there so that you can get your own feast going.

And that’s what this article is for.

We’re about to change your mind completely when it comes to vegan Chinese dishes with these six killer vegan recipes for the Chinese New Year.

But before we dive in, If you’re new to Chinese cooking, here’s a quick tip:

Loads of Chinese foods can be bought at mainstream supermarkets, so head over to the Asian section of your nearest supermarket and see what’s on offer.

If they don’t have the foods that you’re looking for, your local Asian food shop sure will!

If you don’t feel like cooking, why not check out these Nine Sublime Asian Restaurants in Chelsea

Or if you don’t even want to leave your home, why not order some awesome Asian dishes for delivery from Plant Sumo?

Let’s dive in with these six vegan Chinese New Year recipes to usher in the Lunar New Year in plant-based glory!

Of course – there won’t be anything resembling an ox on the menu!

chinese vegan dish

Source: Unsplash

Fire Roasted Aubergine with Garlic Vinegar Sauce

chinese vegan dish

Remember that thing I said about aubergine? Well, this recipe from Maggie at Omnivore’s Cookbook proves my point perfectly.

This super easy aubergine centred meal is everything you could possibly want in a comforting Chinese vegan dish.

Surprisingly, the tender soba noodles in this plant-based dish are quite high in protein too, so this meal will certainly leave you feeling full and satisfied.

It’s spicy, garlicky, smokey and will have you imagining the simple aubergine in a whole new way.

You’ll also get to char the aubergine directly in the gas flame of your hob, so it’s pretty fun to make too. (It’s fair to say that this dish is fiery in more than one way!)

This impressive vegan Chinese dish serves 2 people (or one really hungry person.)

Ingredients:

  • 450g Aubergine
  • 4 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 Cloves Grated Garlic
  • 2 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
  • Chilli Oil (to taste)
  • 200g Soba Noodles

Method:

  1. Turn your gas hob onto medium-high heat and place your aubergine directly in the flame using a pair of tongs (no burnt fingers please, I don’t think it’s vegan…)
  2. Turn every 30 seconds to char the aubergine on all sides. You’ll know it’s done when it is soft in the centre and the skin is turning black. (If you don’t have a gas hob, use a hot grill!)
  3. Peel off the charred skin and discard it.
  4. Whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, grated garlic, grated fresh ginger and chilli oil and set aside.
  5. Boil your soba noodles for two-four minutes and drain them.
  6. Place your drained noodles and aubergine in your serving dish.
  7. Pour half of the sauce over the aubergine and leave the rest on the side.
  8. Gobble it up, adding the extra sauce to your noodles as you please!

This Chinese vegan recipe is ridiculously easy and enjoyable to make, as well as being pretty low in calories too! 

If you’re celebrating the Chinese New Year vegan-style, you’ll want to get cooking these smokey plant-based aubergine noodles.

Vegan 1-2-3-4-5 Tofu

chinese vegan dish

Are you a fan of sweet and sour?

Well, this 1-2-3-4-5 Tofu is a step up from what’s on offer at your local takeaway.

Of course, I need to explain the unusual name of this vegan Chinese recipe. 

Ordinarily, this recipe is made with ribs, and the numbers refer to the ratio of ingredients used in the sticky glaze that coats the ribs, (or in this case, tofu!)

Tofu is also a super source of protein for vegans and vegetarians, and it’s low in fat.

This vegan Chinese dish is a sweet, sour and sticky recipe. It’s not exactly a Chinese New Year tradition, but it is so yummy that you’ll always end up coming back to it. 

What’s more, this eight ingredient Chinese vegan recipe is totally easy and takes less than one hour to prepare. 

This makes it a great protein-packed vegan midweek meal. 

This four-person recipe is from Kaitlin at The Woks of Life.

Ingredients:

  • 600g Firm Tofu, Cubed 
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Slices of Fresh Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine (another kind of rice wine will be fine as well!)
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Black Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
  • 5 tbsp Water

Method:

  1. Place a wok (or a cast iron pan) onto the heat until it smokes.
  2. Add two tablespoons of oil and the ginger slices, fry on medium heat for one minute.
  3. Add the tofu and brown on all sides for 10 minutes.
  4. Add your Shaoxing wine, Chinese black vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar and water.
  5. Stir and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes on medium-low heat, (make sure it doesn’t dry out! Add a little more water if needed.)
  7. After 15 minutes, toss everything together in the wok and let it reduce until the sauce has a syrupy consistency.
  8. Serve with some fluffy white rice!

Who would have thought tofu could taste this meaty and satisfying?

It’s time to get cooking and add this easy and protein-packed tofu dish to your list of vegan Chinese New Year recipes!

Orange Cauliflower

Six Vegan Recipes for Chinese New Year

Vegans and vegetarians have definitely proven that the cauliflower is far more than a boring vegetable that works best when drowned in cheese.

Done the right way, Cauliflower can be the star of the show.

You’ve heard of the wonders of cauliflower rice and cauliflower steak, but how about Orange Cauliflower?

This vegan-ified version of the classic Chinese takeaway dish, Orange Chicken, is light and satisfying all at the same time.

It’s also packed with vegetables and full of nutrients. Who said you needed to eat a cold salad to get your five-a-day in?

It’s best served with some fluffy white rice, but if you’re looking for a low-carb Chinese vegan snack, you can enjoy it on its own too.

It’s sweet, sour, gluten-free and super easy to make. It only takes 30 minutes to have this steaming bowl of plant-based loveliness on your table.

This veggie-loaded recipe is from Veggie Inspired and feeds four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Head of Cauliflower
  • 95ml Vegetable Stock
  • ½ Red Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 255ml Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 4 tbsp Tamari (or soy sauce, if you are not gluten-free!)
  • 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and toss in one tablespoon of orange juice.
  3. Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes.
  4. Whisk together the remaining orange juice, tamari, maple syrup and rice wine vinegar.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth, (this going to make our sauce thick and sticky.)
  6. Dice the onions and peppers and mince the garlic.
  7. Add the vegetable broth to a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, (about five minutes.)
  8. After five minutes, add in the peppers and cook for another five minutes.
  9. Add the orange sauce to the pan and bring to a boil.
  10. Once it’s boiling, add in your cornstarch mixture and watch the sauce reduce and thicken until it’s sticky enough to coat the cauliflower.
  11.  Add the cauliflower to the sauce.
  12. Serve with white rice. Voila!

Here’s a quick tip! If you’re in a rush, using store-bought orange juice works in this recipe too!

Once you’ve tried cooking this awesome vegetarian Orange Cauliflower recipe, you’ll pick this nutritious and healthy dish over the local takeaway any day!

Chinese Spring Onion Pancakes

chinese vegan dish

Spring Onion Pancakes are so popular that they are eaten across tonnes of different countries in Asia, including China, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.

In fact, they are so widespread that no one can actually decide on where exactly they came from or who came up with them.

All I know is that these vegan savoury pancakes taste absolutely incredible. They’re salty, flaky and moist. Each bite is sprinkled with little green bursts of flavour. 

The rules for western pancakes apply to these Spring Onion Pancakes too; You simply have to eat more than one.

They’re usually eaten for breakfast, but why not enjoy this plant-based recipe as part of your vegan Chinese New Year?

This pancake can even be frozen raw and cooked from frozen in a pan, so it’s great for anytime that you’re craving an easy Chinese vegan snack, but don’t fancy waiting very long!

The recipe involves folding the pancake dough in a way that creates loads of crispy and flaky layers, kind of like puff pastry, (but not quite as labour intensive!)

This simple recipe inspired by China Sichuan Food makes enough of these vegan and vegetarian Chinese pancakes for two people.

Ingredients:

For The Pancakes

  • 280g All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 180ml Boiling Water
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 200g Chopped Spring Onions (green part only!)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Five Spice Powder

For The Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ tbsp Sesame Oil
  • ¼ tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Chili Oil
  • A Sprinkle of Chopped Spring Onion and Coriander

Method:

  1. Mix the salt and flour in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use a spoon to make a well in the flour and pour the boiling water in.
  3. Wait for 10 minutes then stir in the cold water and vegetable oil.
  4. Mix until it forms a ball, wrap in cling film and let the dough rest for five minutes. 
  5. After five minutes, unwrap and knead the dough until smooth.
  6. Cover and rest for 30 minutes. (You might also want to rest for 30 minutes!)
  7. Roll out the dough and divide it into four equal parts.
  8. Roll each part into a large circle. 
  9. Sprinkle your chopped spring onions and Chinese five-spice powder on top, leaving a one-centimetre edge uncovered on each pancake.
  10. Roll them up sideways into a long snake shape.
  11. Take your pancake-snakes and roll them into a coil (like a snail’s shell.)
  12. Rest your coiled dough under a wet cloth for 10-15 minutes.
  13. While you wait, whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. (No rest for you this time!)
  14. After 15 minutes, roll your dough into thin circles (well done, you’ve just created the crispy layers!)
  15. Fry in an oiled pan for two-three minutes on each side.
  16. Chop into triangles and serve with the delectable dipping sauce.

You won’t regret giving this sublime Chinese vegan recipe a go this Lunar New Year.

Remember to save some in the freezer for a Chinese vegan snack later on!

Vegan Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

chinese new year vegan dish

Why not bring some sunshine into your life with this easy Vegan Summer Roll recipe by Lazy Cat Kitchen?

Summer Rolls are a rice-paper wrapped roll filled with fresh fruits and veggies, usually enjoyed with a zingy dipping sauce.

They are bright, full of texture and packed with raw and juicy fruit and veg.

The Lunar New Year is a major cause for celebration in Vietnam, and this recipe takes a fun, fruity and fresh twist on this much loved plant-based Vietnamese snack.

These nutritious Vietnamese rice paper rolls are also super easy and fun to make.

With no cooking required, these are a great option if you want to get your kids excited about eating fruits and veggies.

They’re also totally gluten-free (no soy sauce!), in case you’re looking out for that too!

This fresh and healthy recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

For the Summer Rolls:

  • 20 Rice Paper Wrappers
  • 3 Fresh Peaches
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Small Cucumber 
  • 1 Small Carrot
  • ¼ Small Red Cabbage 
  • 100g Vermicelli Rice Noodles
  • 5 Cos Lettuce Leaves
  • A Handful of Fresh Mint

For the Peanut Sauce:

  • 2 Heaped tbsp Peanut Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 90 ml Water
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce (or Tamari for gluten-free!)
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 tsp Grated Ginger 
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce

Method:

  1. Cut the peach into even slices and set aside.
  2. Julienne the pepper, cucumber, carrots and red cabbage and set aside.
  3. Boil some water and soak the vermicelli noodles in a bowl until soft (about five minutes) and then drain.
  4. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  5. Brush a wooden chopping board with boiling water and place the rice wrapper on top, further brushing the rice paper with water until it is hydrated.
  6. Fill the rice paper wrapper with a few julienned vegetables, followed by some rice noodles, a lettuce leaf, a slice of peach and some mint.
  7. Roll the sides in and then roll it up (like a tortilla wrap), keep it tight so that the rice paper sticks to itself.
  8. Repeat until you have used up all of your fillings.
  9. Serve with your hearty peanut sauce!

You’ll get going with your own technique as soon as you’ve done your first couple of rolls and you’ll quickly be able to claim yourself to be a pro at making this awesome vegetarian and vegan snack.

You can avoid cooking altogether and try your hand at these fresh and fruity and low-carb Vegan Summer Rolls this Lunar New Year!

Buddha’s Delight

chinese new year vegan dishes

Source: Lin’s Food

Sick of Instagram’s endless ‘Buddha Bowls?’

Why not enjoy this hearty and authentic Buddha’s Delight?

This dish is popular in Chinese cuisine and originated as a recipe consumed by Buddhist monks (who are vegetarians), but this dish happens to fall into the category of vegan Chinese food too.

This Chinese vegan dish has a lot of ingredients, but don’t be intimidated – cooking this plant-based meal is super easy.

The variety of different foods only makes for a more dynamic, exciting and flavourful meal! 

It’s also a traditional dish enjoyed during the Lunar New Year, so you’ll certainly want to add it to your list of vegan Chinese New Year recipes.

This super recipe for six is from the lovely Azlin of Lin’s Food and is a fantastic way to ring in the Year of the Ox.

If you can’t get your hands on all of the ingredients, just pick your favourites and use those

It will still make for a delicious vegetarian and vegan meal!

Ingredients:

  • 60g Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 10g Dried Lily Flowers 
  • 10g Wood Ear Fungus 
  • 3g Black Moss (Fatt Choy)
  • 50g Glass Noodles
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 5cm of Fresh Ginger
  • 3 Spring Onions
  • ½ Napa Cabbage
  • 2 Bunches Pak Choi
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 tbsp Red Fermented Bean Curd
  • 100g Deep Fried Tofu
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Braising Liquid

  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine
  • 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp White Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 125ml Shiitake Soaking Liquid (This is just the liquid you’ll have leftover from soaking the shiitake mushrooms!)
  • 125ml Lily Flower Soaking Liquid (Same goes here!)

Method:

  1. In separate bowls, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms, dried lily flower, wood ear fungus and black moss in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the glass noodles in a bowl of boiling water for one minute.
  3. Drain the glass noodles and toss in sesame oil and set aside.
  4. Chop up all of your vegetables while you wait for the 30 minutes. (No time wasted!)
  5. After 30 minutes, drain the dried ingredients and chop them into bite-sized chunks.
  6. Whisk together all of the braising liquid ingredients.
  7. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok (or frying pan) on medium-high heat.
  8. Fry the garlic, ginger and spring onions for 30 seconds.
  9. Add the carrots, shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus, black moss, lily flower and red fermented bean curd to the wok.
  10. Mix around and pour in the braising liquid.
  11. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Add the pak choi and cabbage, cook for two-three minutes.
  13. Add the deep-fried tofu and cook for one minute.
  14. Pop in the transparent noodles.
  15. Serve immediately.

This nourishing vegan Chinese New Year dish tastes the way that gathering around a warm campfire with family and friends feels.

It is also packed full of healthy vegetables and protein, so you won’t ruin that new year’s health kick!

It’s no wonder it’s called Buddha’s Delight; this vegan Chinese dish is definitely the perfect way to kick off a happy and healthy Lunar New Year.

With Chinese New Year fast approaching, you’ll be glad to know how you can celebrate with these six awesome Chinese vegan recipes this February.

From hearty noodle dishes to savoury pancakes, you’re bound to want to get cooking these awesome recipes to hail the new year in the best way possible.

chinese new year

Source: Unsplash

Can’t get enough of awesome Asian foods?

At Plant Sumo, there are loads of epic vegan and vegetarian Asian-fusion dishes that you can get delivered to your door with no prep, either as a one-off set or a meal subscription. Easy-peasy.

How about our soothing 7-spice Thai Oasis Curry

What about some spicy vegetable kimchi bao in our steaming hot KK Bunz?

You could even get funky with our panko-fried aubergine All About Da Katsu!

It’s maximum taste, with minimum effort.

Welcome some vegan deliciousness into your life this Year of The Ox with a Plant Sumo subscription.

About the Author

Amy

Amy Swain is a content writer for Plant Sumo, foodie and ex-chef. If she’s not baking then she’s got a paintbrush in hand, working on her next masterpiece.