For so many people, the word “vegetarian” often connotes a diet that is rather bland and boring. That is not exactly true, of course. There are plenty of ways to make veggies delicious. And as more people become aware of the benefits of eating less meat, we’re starting to see more great vegetarian recipes with Asian influences. If you’re here to find vegetarian recipes, this is the best place to start. If you want to explore different flavors and textures of vegetables while keeping things meat-free, here are some ideas for easy-to-make Asian-inspired vegetarian recipes.
Most of them can be made in under 30 minutes—perfect for busy weeknights. This is very easy to make and doesn’t even need recipes. Whether you’re a dedicated vegan or just trying to eat less meat on occasion, these Asian-inspired recipes will give you some great options. Each one has its unique flavor profile and requires simple ingredients that are readily available almost anywhere.
Vegetable Egg Rolls
Egg rolls are a delicious appetizer and snack, but they can also be used to make a very filling meal. They are filled with vegetables, like carrots and cabbage, and sometimes even have tofu in them. It’s our version of vegetable lumpia that has togue in them (Which is also not a bad idea) You can choose to deep fry them or bake them so they are crunchy and delicious and taste like they are from a Chinese restaurant.
Egg rolls are usually served with either a sweet and sour sauce. If you want to make the sauce, you can by mixing a tablespoon of ketchup, a tablespoon of chili sauce, and a teaspoon of soy sauce. If you want a healthier version of the egg roll, you can leave out the oil from frying.
For the filling, you can fry the carrots and cabbage, and then mix them together with a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of vinegar. You can also fry the tofu, which you can replace with mushrooms, and mix it with salt, pepper, and soy sauce.
Tofu and Shiitake Mushroom Miso Soup
Miso soup is, of course, a traditional Japanese dish. Japan’s gotta be one of the best countries to find vegetarian recipes. But it is also a very popular offering and quite common in Chinese restaurants. This vegetarian version is easy to make and can be enjoyed either as a starter or a main. You can use any tofu you like, but firm or extra-firm tofu works best. For the soup, you will need a tablespoon of oil, a tablespoon of miso paste, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a liter of water.
Miso is one of the most well-known Japanese condiments and comes in instant sachets or per kilo. This is very different from our local Pinoy Miso (which I found out rather late). About 10 to 20 years ago, my father used to bring it from Japan (He’s a seaman), and I used to hate it because it tasted fishy to me. It’s available now in Asian stores across Metro Manila, and you can also buy it from Lazada or Shopee.
You can use vegetables or a mild fish sauce if you want to make the dish vegan. To make the tofu and shiitake mushrooms, you will need two tablespoons of oil, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of water, and two tablespoons of shiitake mushrooms.
Easy Spinach and Tofu Dumplings
Many people associate dumplings with Chinese food, but they are also popular in other Asian countries famous for finding vegetarian recipes, like Japan and Vietnam. Making your own dumplings is not as difficult as it might sound (or not, lol). They are easy to make once you got your technique in, and you can fill them with any filling you like. I have these dumplings maker from Lazada and they’re quite fun to use!
For the vegetarian dumplings, you will need a tablespoon of oil, around a cup of chopped spinach, a cup of chopped tofu, soy sauce, and a packet of dumpling wrappers. The dumpling wrappers are available in different shapes but I usually buy the square ones because they have a bigger area and less room for mistakes. You can, of course, also use homemade wrappers. There are also Mandu packs available in Korean stores, and some are vegetarian if you’re not in the mood for making your own. Once you have them, pan-fry or steam them as you like. For the dipping sauce, you will need soy sauce, vinegar, and chili. You can also add some grated ginger to add more oomph in taste.
Vegan Korma with Basmati Rice
Korma is a mild, creamy Indian curry dish. It is easy to make, and it is also very versatile. You can spice it up or down depending on your taste, and it can be served with rice, naan, or even just a salad. For the korma, you will need to saute two tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of cinnamon, two cloves of garlic, and a teaspoon of ginger. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste, two cups of water, a can of coconut milk, and two cups of sliced tofu. Add salt and pepper to taste. On some recipes, they use yogurt as well, and I find that that makes the taste a bit more balanced. You can use either coconut cream or yogurt as you like. To make it heavier, add fried vegetables like zucchini or eggplant if you want. And some chili too f you want it spicy! This is a very basic recipe. If you don’t want to go thru all the trouble of collecting the spices, you can buy a pack in Lazada. This Masala Powder Indian Curry Mix is just as perfect for vegetables.
Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Roll
Vietnamese food is well known for being both fresh and healthy, and it’s a good place to find vegetarian recipes. And Vietnamese food also tends to be quite cheap and easy to make, even in a Filipino home. A Vietnamese spring roll is a great way to get a balanced meal.
For the roll, you will need vermicelli rice noodles, thinly sliced mango, chopped peanuts, chopped lettuce, chopped cucumber. You can also add a fried egg if you want to make the roll even more filling. To make the spring rolls, dip your wrapper in water long enough to make it pliant, and layer the chopped vegetables like the mango, carrots, cabbage, and lettuce. Add some chopped tofu, and season with salt and pepper. Roll the spring rolls up tightly. Prepare your peanut sauce by combining butter, soy sauce, hoisin, and chili to taste.
Easy Thai Curry with Tofu
Thai curries are rich and creamy, and even though they are hearty, they are also packed with vegetables. You can use tofu or vegetables for a vegetarian version of this dish. For the curry, you will need a tablespoon of oil, a tablespoon of red curry paste, a tablespoon of green curry paste, a tablespoon of brown sugar, three tablespoons of soy sauce, two cups of vegetable broth, two cups of coconut milk, two tablespoons of lime juice. For no-fuss cooking, you try these Del Monte Flavors of Asia packs.
These new additions to Del Monte’s line of mixes and sauces are set to make cooking exotic dishes so much easier, not just for kitchen newbies, but also for more experienced cooks who may not have the time to prepare everything manually. They’re perfectly seasoned and blended to approximate the authentic taste of Asian dishes but still appeal to the Pinoy palate. You can also add local vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, or carrots.
These Asian-inspired dishes are just a sampling of the wonderful vegetarian recipes that you can make with a Buddhist-inspired approach to cooking. That means, simple, no-fuss cooking -which, if you may ask, is how I roll at Relax Lang Mom.
The key to making simple vegetarian meals is to focus on fresh, whole ingredients that are naturally flavorful. If you want to make your dishes more interesting, there are plenty of ways to incorporate Asian flavors. You can use soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, chili peppers, and other Asian staples. You can also incorporate other Asian ingredients like rice, tofu, and noodles. These ingredients are found in lots of vegetarian recipes, and they can make a simple meal more exciting and filling.