Dessert and Appetizer Edition. Also See: 20 Vegan Meals That Don’t Suck
While vegan meals are a not a palatable permanent lifestyle choice for many, enjoying occasional vegan meals can be a rewarding way to incorporate environmental sensitivity on the path to a green life. The good news (as noted in the original, popular vegan recipe guide), is that plenty of vegan meals are tasty and satisfying for even the most red-blooded steak lover out there. This post will offer up the sides we all love: dessert, salads, and appetizers – veganized.
Veganism is a fairly restrictive dietary choice, though it’s getting easier – and plenty of vegans report that it’s really not difficult at all. According to research, only about 2.5% of the American population is vegetarian, with strict vegans being but a fraction of that number. No one disputes that vegan fare is gentler on the planet. For now, though, forget tofu and sprouts side of things. Let’s begin with what’s clearly most important: dessert.
Old-Fashioned Extra-Rich Chocolate Cake
Image via jorgempf
Someone has to make sacrifices for the greener good, and it might as well be you with this chocolate cake. Anything for a good cause, right? This Depression-era egg-free and hence vegan chocolate cake recipe (originally conceived to save cash) seems fitting for the current economic times, but truth be told it is delicious no matter what’s happening on Wall Street. According to the recipe publisher it is also “absurdly easy”, and there is no disagreeing with that.
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie
Image via Blair Christensen
Taking coconut cream pie and making it even better with the chocolate and the vegan factor, this vegan chocolate coconut cream pie recipe will not disappoint. It is fudgy and rich while also being cool and creamy. Just don’t indulge too often – although vegan desserts typically have less fat and fewer processed ingredients than conventional desserts, they aren’t really health foods.
Spicy, Savory Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Image via pbody
This insanely delicious vegan pumpkin pie recipe will be a hit at Thanksgiving. Start practicing your pie making skills now. Pumpkin is actually quite nutritious; it was a staple of Native Americans and rivals yams and sweet potatoes for vitamin A (as beta carotene) content. It’s also very high in vitamin C – and, trivia hounds will be happy to know that 1 cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana. The lack of butter in the crust makes this dessert relatively healthy.
Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Image via bcmom
Not just rich chocolate. Not just fresh banana. Not just chewy oatmeal. All three, in one impossibly tasty cookie. To quote a taste tester who shall remain nameless, it’s pretty much foreplay in your mouth. Don’t add peanut butter or you may die of ecstasy. The best part about these amazing cookies is that they’re vegan.
Image via Powellizer
Fudge is one of those seasonal desserts that is simple yet easy to screw up. Add earth-friendly into the mix and a good vegan fudge recipe is hard to find. This one is incredibly delicious and also amazingly simple. Add nuts to make it even better because, well, everything is better with nuts.
Double-Chocolate Vegan Brownies
Image via bloggyboulga
Your friends won’t believe you when you tell them these are both vegan and low-fat. Probably best to leave out this information entirely. One of the best vegan brownie recipes as tried and tested. Very rich, moist and chewy, too.
Now for some healthier but no less tasty fare: best vegan salads. (No iceberg to be found.)
The truth is that anything can make a salad. No leaves need to be involved. For example, non-vegans can enjoy the classic Caprese (mozzarella, tomato, basil), and simple sliced fruit and berries is always a delicious combination, too. A great vegan leafless salad is cubed mango, sliced avocado and sliced pink grapefruit. It’s refreshing, surprisingly filling thanks to the high (but healthy) fat avocado, and just unusual enough to shake up the standard salad routine. Plus it’s really easy to make.
Classic 3 Bean Salad
Image via Zesmerelda
There are a number of ways to configure the three-bean salad – most classic recipes call for green beans, kidney beans and garbanzos (chickpeas) marinated in an Italian olive oil herb dressing. But you can use any cooked beans you like, including leftovers. White beans are great, as are pintos. The blend is high in protein and easy to make, which makes vegan bean salad a perfect lunch.
Healthy Vegan Pasta Salad
Image via Miss Pupik
Forget the saturated fat-fest of those gluey picnic pasta salads. This vegan pasta salad recipe is loaded with veggies and drenched in healthy fats. The pasta gives it just enough substance and it’s simple enough to cook up a big batch for several days of delicious vegan lunches. (Note: the recipe calls for olives, but the image above shows an olive-free version. You can add or eliminate whatever veggies you prefer.)
Classic (Vegan) Caesar Salad
Image via WordRidden
One of the most popular of all salads combines just the right mix of crunchy Romaine lettuce, creamy savory dressing and crusty croutons. This version leaves out the egg, anchovy and cream for a tasty, tangy vegan Caesar salad – rest assured no guest will notice that it is missing the standard ingredients.
Peas ‘n Greens Salad
Image via Crystl
This is a really delicious salad, especially when it’s chilled a bit. Peas are buttery and substantial and always make a salad better. The recipe calls for black eyed peas but green peas are even better because the sweetness plays off the onion. The greens are dressed with a terrific lemony olive oil blend that makes the whole thing sing. (Note: tomatoes have not been added in this image; the recipe is completely variable according to your tastes.)
Wild Rice Salad with Pecans and Oranges
Images via Fresh Approach Cooking and jslander
This is simply delicious. The chewiness of the wild rice paired with the sweet crunch of pecans and the tart burst of flavor from the oranges makes for an addictive vegan salad. You’ll find yourself making this complete protein wild rice salad again and again. With only a handful of ingredients, it’s very easy to make and quite healthy, too.
Moving on to the fun stuff: finger foods, hors d’oeuvres, and appetizers.
Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade
Image via YumSugar
This incredibly rich, pungent and fruity spread is great with toast points or warm cubes of foccaccia bread. The tart acidic flavor of the tomatoes blends perfectly with the oiliness of the olives to create a truly flavorful and easy-to-make party favorite. Try out vegan sun dried tomato and olive tapenade today.
Balsamic and Basil Bruschetta
Image via Jeffrey Beall
Everyone loves bruschetta – it’s hot and crusty and perfect for soaking up the delicious juice of garlic and chopped tomatoes. This vegan bruschetta leaves out the cheese but is still rich and tasty, with the basil offering a classic cool note.
Vegetarian Mini Meatballs
Image via Special*Dark
Carnivores won’t miss the standard tiny sausages when you serve up these completely meat-free vegan “meatballs“. These little guys are sweet and spicy and use GimmeLean mock meat, a pretty tasty mock meat. You can also use tempeh or wheat meat, but the recipe as is works very well. Recommended: go a little stronger on the seasonings.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Image via Kanko*
These are awesome anytime – for guests, as a snack, late at night after a pub crawl. They are low fat and since yams are one of the healthiest vegetables around, they are actually a completely healthy version of French fries. They manage to achieve something very rare indeed: certified delicious “junk food” that is 100% healthy and vegan. What makes vegan sweet potato fries healthy (aside from the ingredients) is the cooking method: baked instead of fried.
Mini Cheese ‘n Chive Muffins
Image via British Cheese
These tasty little muffins are great as a snack any time, not just for entertaining. Normally vegan cheese doesn’t go over too well, but because it is baked into the muffins, it simply lends a great flavor without imparting any odd texture. Vegan cheese and chive muffins are easy to whip up, and cheap.
Spicy Roasted Nuts
Image via MyRecipes
Great to bake up in large batches for easy snacking and serving anytime, this vegan spicy roasted nut recipe is sure to be a hit. Perfect for beer and the game or late-night healthy munching. For a slightly saltier version use cashews and peanuts instead of pecans.
Image via Laura B
Don’t laugh – these are seriously amazing. They’re also ridiculously easy to make. Vegan corn fritters are simple, cheap, and delicious. They’re a little bit like crab cakes, only vegan, of course. You can even eat the leftover ones cold the next morning with maple syrup and vegan sausages. (Or real sausage, if you’ve had enough of the veg.)
Image via kspoddar
Anyone who’s enjoyed Indian food has no doubt quickly grown addicted to the deliciousness that is the samosa. These deep fried pillows of tastiness aren’t exactly healthy, but as an occasional treat, they’re a nice vegan addition to the snack roster.