Chinese New Year marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The date changes from year to year. This year, it starts on January 28th, marking the start of the Year of the Rooster. The celebration lasts for seven days, but typically families gather on Chinese New Year’s Eve for a big, celebratory dinner that is considered the most important meal of the celebration. Many of the foods hold symbolic meaning and while fish and meat are traditionally a big part of that, everything can be made vegan.
Check out 25 EPIC Vegan Recipes for Chinese New Year to see what we did a couple of years ago. Then, to help you get ready for the big day we have 15 recipes — starters, dinners, and desserts — that are perfect for your feast. For the ultimate menu of menus, check out our updated Chinese New Year Vegan Food Guide!
1. Chinese Seaweed Salad
This Chinese Seaweed Salad is refreshing, healthy, and a great addition to your Chinese New Year’s dinner. With the homemade Chinese-style spicy dressing, you’ll definitely want to pile your plate up with a second helping.
2. Yeasted Scallion Pancakes With Spicy Ginger Sauce
Whoever says that giving up gluten means giving up springy, chewy textures in breads clearly hasn’t seen this recipe for Yeasted Scallion Pancakes! Psyllium husk is the magic ingredient here, and it gives this gluten-free flour dough an elastic quality that is exactly like a traditional yeast dough. You’ll have to try it to believe it! When these pancakes are freshly fried up and dipped in ginger sauce, your taste buds will be doing backflips out of pure happiness.
3. Simple Basil Citrus Salad With Balsamic Jam Dressing
Did you know that oranges, tangerines, and pomelos are all considered good luck? This Simple Basil Citrus Salad With Balsamic Jam Dressing is the perfect cross between what winter has brought us (citrus and a lot of freezing wind chills) and what is in store for spring. This will look picture-perfect on your dinner table.
4. Lo Bak Gou: Cantonese Turnip Cake
Turnip cake, also known as radish cake or Lo Bak Gou, is a savory steamed traditional Cantonese snack often found in Chinese dim sum restaurants. Loaded with shredded turnip, steamed and pan fried until crispy golden brown. Garnished with fresh cilantro and served with soy sauce and chili, this turnip cake is a delicious, savory delight!
5. Colorful Tofu Mushroom and Scallion Dumplings
Dumplings are part of every Chinese New Year celebration. Making these Colorful Tofu Mushroom and Scallion Dumplings can be a bit labor intensive, but it’s all worth it once they’re looking pretty on a dinner table. These dumplings have a mushroom, tofu, and scallion filling, and are colored with turmeric, spirulina, cabbage, and beet powder. Savory and fun to eat!
6. Filipino Fried Spring Rolls
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7. You Po Mian: 10-Minute Chinese Hot Oil Noodles
For noodles during Chinese New Year, long noodles represent long life. This robust and spicy You Po Mian is full of the authentic flavors of Chinese cuisine. It’s unlike anything you’ll find in Chinese take-out. The traditional version of this dish uses wheat noodles, however, by using rice noodles, it becomes both lighter and gluten-free!
8. Sesame Soy Tofu Noodle Bowl
Transforming tofu from bland to amazing is all about flavoring – and this Sesame Soy Tofu Noodle Bowl has succeeded! Tofu is marinated in a sauce made of tahini, lime, soy and hot sauce, and then tossed with vermicelli noodles. Along with some roasted peppers and sautéed red onions, this dish is full of delicious flavor combinations.
9. Lo Han Jai: Buddha’s Delight
Whether you’re looking for a festive Lunar New Year dish to celebrate or a simple zen meal to revitalize, this Buddha’s Delight offers a special treat! Traditionally served on the first day of the New Year, it’s also a vegetarian classic that appears in many Chinese restaurants. With its rich combination of fresh ingredients and a variety of delicate dried ingredients, such as fat choy (black moss) and lily flower for good luck and prosperity, the Buddha’s Delight is worthy of the title “king of stir fry”!
10. Sweet and Sour ‘Chicken’
Chicken dishes are another good luck staple of Chinese New Year. This Sweet and Sour “Chicken” is incredible – the mix of sweet and spicy – that always makes me happy! It goes perfectly over some brown rice and satisfies that take-out craving without ever having to leave your house.
11. Tofu ‘Fish’ Fritters
It’s not Chinese New Year without a fish dish! Transform tofu into deliciously crispy Tofu “Fish” Fritters with this easy-to-follow recipe! First, the cubes of tofu are given a generous splash of sesame oil and soy sauce, then they are coated in a mixture of spices, and finally wrapped in a sheet of nori (because nothing says fish like the flavor of seaweed)! After a dip in the chickpea-buckwheat batter, these little cubes simply need to be pan-fried for a few minutes and voila! Fish fritters. Serve with some vegan tartar sauce and go to town.
12. Dou Sha Bao: Chinese Red Bean Paste Buns
Red bean paste is a sweet staple of many traditional Chinese desserts and pastries. One of the top desserts in China are Dou Sha Bao just like these. Made from wildly healthy Adzuki beans, the paste is nutrient rich and full of antioxidants, so not only are these buns delicious, they’re healthy too!
13. Chocolate-Dipped Candied Oranges
Chewy, sweet candied oranges, dipped in rich dark chocolate. Sound tempting? This recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Candied Oranges calls for a dehydrator, but the good news is, you can make them even if you don’t have one! These candied oranges make the perfect gift for your sweetheart — or you can gift them to yourself.
14. Coconut Kinako Dango: Indian and Japanese Rice Dumpling Fusion
Rice cakes are a go-to dessert for any Chinese New Year celebration. Dango is a Japanese sweet dumpling made from rice flour called mochi. It’s sweet, doughy, and it also happens to be very similar to Kozhukattai, a South Indian rice flour dumpling usually filled with sweet or savory fillings. This recipe for Coconut Kinako Dango unites the two into one. When you bite into it, it’s very soft, and you get a nutty whiff of the roasted soy flour. The stretchy dango is interspersed with the crunchy sweet coconut filling, making for a very interesting mouthful. You really can’t stop with one!
15. Raw Persimmon Cheesecake
In Chinese culture, red represents good luck — and let’s not forget that orange is good luck, too! So this Raw Persimmon Cheesecake is the perfect centerpiece for your dessert table. The real selling point for this cheesecake is how easy it is to make! Just pulse several times the crust ingredients in your blender, blend the filling on high speed, and then, assemble and freeze. This cheesecake is defined by its bright color and divine creamy texture.
For even more recipes, check out our vegan Chinese recipes page. Happy New Year!
Lead image source: Buddha’s Delight