When you’re hit with a craving for classic American food, served to you in mega-portions, you can’t get much better than a trip to the diner. First, most diners are open pretty late — and most of them have the “breakfast-served-all-day” thing going on. Maybe breakfast was made to have in the morning, but diners break that rule and for that, we love them. Second, the portions. Most diners you go to really know how to serve you a meal that will keep you full for hours and maybe even the next day, if you go late enough. Your server is always ready to top off your coffee and the dessert case puts our wills to the test. But when you’re eating less meat and dairy, suddenly, the diner menu might not be so easy to navigate, between the breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast sausage, and buttered toast on the side, waffles, and meatloaf. If you’re lucky enough to live close to an all-vegan diner, your problems are solved, but those are few and far between. Good thing it’s easy to recreate at home, without meat, dairy, and eggs!
So, don’t despair! Make these 15 meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free diner classics in the comfort of your own home!
1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Caramelized Onions and Pineapple
This updated American diner classic is melty, sweet, and salty. To be frank, this Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Caramelized Onions and Pineapple is simply outta this world. Onions are caramelized and then cooked with fresh pineapple, making the pineapple tender and allowing the flavors to mix. The cheese is stretchy like it should be and the bread is crisp and buttery from the skillet.
2. Crispy, Crunchy Cornmeal and Pepita Onion Rings
3. Jackfruit Pot Pie
We’ve got the plant-based pot pie of your dreams right here — this Jackfruit Pot Pie! If you’re craving a creamy, warm jackfruit and veggie filling encased in a delicate puff pastry crust, you must make this recipe. Your stomach will be so incredibly happy.
4. Lentil Loaf With Cauliflower Mash
5. ‘Chicken’ and Waffles
Crispy fried “chicken” on top of a fluffy stack of waffles… What could be better?! Whether it’s the hot sauce baked into the tofu chicken, the sprinkle of rosemary, or the truffle oil in the waffles, this “Chicken” and Waffles is full of tasty surprises. With such beautiful presentation, this is a must at your next weekend brunch. Don’t forget the maple syrup!
6. Sweet Potato Reuben Sandwich
The traditional Reuben consists of roasted corn beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. In this unique Sweet Potato Reuben Sandwich, the meat is substituted for savory, roasted sweet potato greased in coconut oil, and the rest of the toppings are the same but dairy-free. Make sure to serve this on toasted rye bread for ultra-authentic flavor.
7. Portobello Gyros With Hemp Tzatziki
8. Navy Bean Biscuits and Roasted Garlic Gravy
Diners across the United States will confirm: biscuits and gravy does count as a real meal. Typically, the biscuits contain dairy and the gravy is meat-based, but not in these Navy Bean Biscuits and Garlic Garlic Gravy! Navy beans make their way into the two main components of this savory plate of biscuits and gravy, and almond milk and tempeh help increase the calcium content. There’s nothing we love more than a healthier version of a not-so-healthy classic!
9. Potato Hashcakes
Hashbrowns are ubiquitous with classic American diner food, paired alongside breakfast items of all sorts, from chocolate chip pancakes to savory omelets. These Potato Hashcakes take everyone’s favorite side to the next level with a blend of savory spices and a smashed avocado topping that makes it perfect as a stand-alone breakfast, brunch, or late night diner-inspired meal.
10. Fried ‘Chicken’
This is the meat-free Fried “Chicken” recipe of your dreams. The textured vegetable protein slices in this recipe are wrapped in rice paper wrappers, which makes an awesome crispy “skin”. Trust us, this makes these cutlets weirdly and amazingly awesome!
11. Double Black Bean Tofu Cheeseburger
Nothing says “America” like a cheeseburger and these Double Black Bean Tofu Cheeseburgers are so good. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they taste “beefier” than your standard bean burger, thanks to the tofu which helps them retain moisture. These burgers are topped with vegan mozzarella shreds, but you can swap in your favorite vegan cheese slices or sauce.
12. Pepper Jelly Stuffed French Toast With Blackberry Maple Syrup
13. Mushroom Tofu Scramble With Paprika Roasted Potatoes
14. Cauliflower Sloppy Joes
Think its impossible to make a vegetable like cauliflower taste like the smoky meat in sloppy joes? Think again! This recipe for Cauliflower Sloppy Joes uses peppers, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, broth, Worcestershire, and a medley of other spices to create a perfectly zesty beef-like mix that tastes amazing sandwiched between two buns. Roll up your sleeves and dig into this saucy, ultra-messy, and very delicious sloppy joe. And then show your friends!
15. ‘Chicken-Fried’ Seitan Steak With Buffalo Vinaigrette
There’s just nothing better than these homemade versions of classic diner food. No crowds, no noise — just good food. Don’t forget to put on a pot of coffee for that real diner experience.