Make your own vegan Chinese that tastes exactly like your favourite takeaway with our list of the best vegan Chinese recipes for 2021.

Do you have your local Chinese takeaway on speed dial? Sure, there are times when having a piping hot meal in tupperware tubs delivered to your front door is undeniably appealing. But for all the other nights, why not try your hand at making some Chinese vegan recipes at home? They can be surprisingly easy and quick to put together, as well as healthy – and the bonus is that you’ll know exactly how much salt and sugar is going into your dinner.

It is well-documented that veganism is on the rise, with the number of vegans increasing in the UK by 62 per cent in the past year alone. And, as more and more people forego animal products in favour of plant-based ways of eating, so it follows that there is a greater demand for a diversity of recipe inspiration; gone are the days when vegans could expect little more than lentils or mung beans on the menu. Chinese food lends itself well to plant-based cooking and online resources for raw vegan Chinese dinner recipes abound.

But as with all sources of culinary advice, it is important to be well-informed, and to cut through the noise to get to the most authoritative and knowledgeable people online when looking for information about veganism and Chinese food. Happily, we can vouch wholeheartedly for those who make this list, taken from the top healthy vegan food blogs. These, in our books, can be considered the very best there are out there.

Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice

One Green Planet

One Green Planet has a single excellent and far-reaching mission: to provide, across its broad lifestyle content, an ‘online guide to making conscious and compassionate choices that help people, animals and the planet.’ As statements of intent, it’s a pretty laudable one. And who are we to disagree, when such compassionate choices come in the tasty form of scrambled tofu fried rice? A good rice dish is the cornerstone of a Chinese feast, and this one is exceptional. Spicy, sweet and salty, it packs a massive flavour punch while also containing plenty of goodness in the form of tofu, carrots and peas. A delicious way to get in a few of your five a day.

Vegan Sesame Tofu Fingers

Rabbit And Wolves

Gluten-free, refined sugar-free and animal product-free, these vegan sesame tofu fingers are far from fun-free. For anyone on the fence about vegan Chinese tofu recipes, this dish is, in fact, a revelation. Do ensure that you press all the liquid out, and then watch as it crisps up beautifully, before you toss in it the sesame sauce which, we should warn, is dangerously moreish. The perfect food to snack on, or to serve up as part of a more elaborate vegan Chinese food feast.

Vegan Chinese Salt And Pepper Tofu

Veggie Belly

When catering for friends and family, or – right now – those in your bubble, it is always reassuring to be able to make some dishes ahead and avoid kitchen stress later. This one works beautifully as a starter, and happily everything can be made ahead and then put together just before serving. Simply fry up the tofu and then throw it in with sautéed leeks, ginger, garlic and green pepper. It has plenty of kick, is beautifully warming, and can be served on cocktail sticks as a delicious and quick morsel.

Vegan Chow Mein

Cupful of Kale

Think it’s quicker to order a takeaway than to cook? Think again. This gorgeously colourful and healthy vegan dinner takes a mere twenty minutes to knock up, roundly proving that at-home Chinese cooking doesn’t need to be a laborious process. The recipe suggests using cabbage, red pepper, carrots and broccoli, all of which combine to ensure that it more than ticks the healthy box, though can you pretty much use whatever veg you happen to have in. Do note that to make this dish vegan, oyster sauce is a no-go. Happily, however, substituting with hoisin sauce, soy, shoaxing wine, sugar, sesame oil and sriracha guarantees that it’ll be more than tasty enough. A perfect mid-week dinner that is comforting, good for you, and kind to the planet.

Vegan Sweet and Sour Chicken (Tofu)

Jessica In The Kitchen

Sweet and sour chicken is a mainstay of the traditional Chinese takeaway. Unfortunately for those adopting veganism, there is a scarcity of take-out operations that offer sweet and sour tofu as a meat-free alternative. Fortunately, on the other hand, it eminently possible to make it at home. We love this simple and absolutely delicious recipe from Jessica in The Kitchen, who describes her healthy blog as a place in which she strives to share ‘easy, achievable, vegan and plant-based recipes – so many delicious options!’ We particularly like this one, which has all the stickiness and sweetness that this dish requires – and none of the animal products. A tofu pro, Jessica advises that the way to crisp it up to perfection is through using cornstarch (indeed, you can check out her post on how to cook perfect tofu here.) If, however, you’re a vegan who can’t eat tofu on account of its soy content, substituting for cauliflower works just as well. Completely, moreishly delicious.

Vegan Vegetable Dumplings

Bianca Zapatka

Chinese dumplings – or potstickers – make for the most perfect of sharing foods. Is there anything more inviting that a plate of these beauties with their accompanying sauce ready to be dipped into? Made using homemade dumpling wrappers (which can be gluten-free if you so wish), simply fill these little morsels with healthy vegetables and steam away. As Bianca notes, you can buy the wrappers from the supermarket, but given that they’re made from all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt and some hot water, they are quick and easy enough to make yourself. And the beauty lies in the flexibility. While this recipe uses cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, leeks and garlic, you may prefer to stuff your dumplings – or vegan gyoza as they’re known in Japan – with other veggies, or even tofu, lentils, beans and chickpeas. A great one to make with older kids, pinching these little parcels together before steaming is half the fun.

By Nancy Alsop
January 2021

5 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes For Weight Loss
8 Mouth-Watering Mexican Recipes
9 Of The Best Vegan Blogs in 2020

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.