Get your taste buds ready to tingle because August 19th is Hot and Spicy Food Day. That’s right, it’s a day to get out the Sriracha, pile on the jalapeños, and whip up your hottest hot sauce. Do you already do that on a normal day? Many people love spicy food; there’s even a name for them: pyro-gourmaniacs.
Did you know that there’s a difference between hot food and spicy food? Hot foods are made hot with peppers, chilis, and hot sauce, but spicy food isn’t necessarily “hot.” Spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder can be warm and flavorful without setting your mouth on fire.
Spicy foods are also healthy – studies have shown that people who eat spicy foods have lower rates of heart attacks and strokes. Plus, capsaicin, the main compound in chilis, can help you burn calories faster.
If you’ve never been one to delve into the flavor-packed realm of hot and spicy food, then there’s no day like day to get started. If you’re not sure you want it too spicy, then you can always turn down the heat by combining sweet and spicy flavors in the same dish.
1. Jalapeño Poppers With Smoked Tofu
These Jalapeño Poppers With Smoked Tofu are the perfect mix of crunchy and creamy consistencies. These crunchy bites of goodness pack the heat of the jalapeño and the complementary cooling of the vegan cream cheese. Smoked tofu adds another layer of heat and a bacon-ish flavor to the mix. Is your mouth watering yet?
2. Buffalo Seitan Bites
These Buffalo Seitan Bites are tender, yet chewy and the perfect size for snacking and dipping. They’re baked to keep things easy, and then breaded and fried to keep things delicious. Coated with buffalo sauce and served with vegan ranch, carrot sticks, and celery, these are the perfect indulgence when you’re craving spicy snacks for game day, movie night or anytime.
3. Jalapeño Cashew Cheese
This Jalapeño Cashew Cheese has a similar texture to goat cheese, but it’s made from cashews instead. This is a lovely spread for crackers or use it as a veggie dip, on pizza, as a sandwich spread, or drizzled over veggies. Add lots of black pepper to really make all the flavors pop!
4. Hoisin Black Bean Burgers With Spicy Sesame Sauce
Why choose between Chinese food and barbecue when you can have them both in one dish? With this Hoisin Black Bean Burger With Spicy Sesame Sauce, you get double the deliciousness. The burger is protein-packed, nutty, and flavorful. It’s topped with grilled veggies and a spicy sesame sauce. Just don’t try to eat it with chopsticks — it might be a little tough.
5. Spicy Vegetable Slaw
This Spicy Vegetable Slaw is a zesty version of the traditional slaw. Fresh purple cabbage, sprouts, mushrooms, and carrots are tossed together with an Asian dressing. It’s crispy, spicy, creamy, zesty, and simple to make. This crunchy slaw is perfect for barbecues and picnics, where it’s best served on top of a burger or a loaded veggie dog.
6. Chili Lime Lentil Tacos With Spicy Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Everyone loves tacos and these Chili Lime Lentil Tacos will set your heart aflame. The lentils are seasoned with hot and smoky spices and then topped with a spicy, sweet, and tangy grilled pineapple salsa with red onion and jalapeño. Taco Tuesdays will never be the same again!
7. Spicy Eggplant Curry
Freshly ground spices like cardamom lend their aromas and distinct flavors to this Spicy Eggplant Curry. It’s spicy to the taste, yet coconut milk adds a depth of creaminess to keep it from getting too hot. It’s perfect for serving over steamed basmati rice to ensure you won’t miss a drop.
8. Tempe Tumis Cabe Gendot: Indonesian Stir-Fry Habanero Tempeh
In this Indonesian dish, Tempe Tumis Cabe Gendot, tempeh is deep-fried and then cooked in a hot and spicy sauce. Lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves bring different flavors while habanero brings the heat. Best of all, it’s easy to adjust the amount of peppers according to how spicy you like it, so it’s a dish for all palates. Since it’s so flavorful, this dish is best served with steamed rice so that the tempeh is the main focus.
9. Spicy Sriracha Tofu With Coconut Rice
This Spicy Sriracha Tofu With Coconut Rice is a simple dish to make, but its flavor profile is impressive. Tofu is cooked in a spicy mix with fragrant jasmine coconut rice. What’s amazing about this dish is not just how wonderfully the flavors combine, but that you can feed your whole family an amazing meal for a very affordable price.
10. Jalapeño Zucchini Fritters
For a surefire crowd pleaser, include these Jalapeño Zucchini Fritters at your next get together. They’re flavorful with a spicy kick and have a crispy exterior with a soft center. Serve these with avocado cream dip for a fun and delicious appetizer. Make a lot — there’s no way that these will last long.
11. Fiery Garlic Tofu
This Fiery Garlic Tofu isn’t the kind of dish where the spiciness builds gradually like a slow burn – this one starts off strong, thanks to the addition of red chili peppers. Of course, there’s more to this dish than just heat; it’s seasoned with garlic, pepper, ginger, sesame oil and a brown sugar glaze, to round it all out. Once you taste this dish, you’ll understand how it got its name.
12. Eggplant Vindaloo
Curry is known for bringing the heat, but vindaloo reigns as the supreme hot and spicy curry. This Eggplant Vindaloo is a medley of delicious flavors. There are savory mushrooms and tomatoes, crisp red onions, cinnamon and mustard seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that gives the dish a mildly sweet and tangy flavor.
13. Spicy Mushroom and Walnut Bolognese
Sliced Cremini mushrooms and chopped walnuts alone provide all the texture this hearty Spicy Mushroom and Walnut Bolognese needs. The sauce is packed full of flavor, thanks to a balanced mix of herbs, spices, and condiments. Apart from being really quick to make, it is also a great freezer-friendly recipe that’s a life-saver when you work late or just don’t feel like cooking.
14. Sriracha and Miso Glazed Sushi
This spicy Sriracha and Miso Glazed Sushi is a must-try for all sushi lovers. Carrots and tofu are roasted in the oven with the spicy umami glaze until they achieve just the right amount of crispiness. The filling is then rolled up with seasoned sushi rice and creamy avocado, creating the perfect balance between flavors. Dip these rolls in the remaining glaze and serve with pickled ginger.
15. Chorizo-Spiced Potato Enchiladas
These Chorizo-Spiced Potato Enchiladas are really tasty! Potatoes are tossed in a blend of hot spices and wrapped up in a warm tortilla with black beans and fresh herbs. They’re topped with a simple and easy spicy sauce and a creamy vegan cheese sauce. This dish is easy to make and even easier to eat.
Whether you like your food screaming hot or just flavored with warm spices, these recipes can be adjusted to all tastes. Go ahead, try something new!
Lead image source: Fiery Garlic Tofu