21 Very Wonderful Vegan Dinners From WoonHeng Chia

December 21, 2021
Photo by WoonHeng Chia

What’s for dinner? Let our resident WoonHeng Chia help out. If you have yet to try her recipes—what in the world are you waiting for?—they are all simple, savory, and totally vegan. Not that you’d miss the meat, what with the truckload of umami packed into each dish.

1. Curry Laksa Ramen

“I've made this a few times with different variations on the ingredients based on what I have available, and it's wonderful every time,” writes Food52er kellyhere.

2. Tofu, Napa Cabbage & Delicata Squash Stew

A deeply cozy dish, perfect for the brisk weather. And it comes together in under an hour.

3. Vegan Pho With Tofu & Herbs

Pho is traditionally not vegan, but this thoughtful broth is still full of flavor, thanks to dried shiitakes, umami seasoning, and warm spices like cinnamon and star anise.

4. Mee Goreng Mamak

“This is a nostalgic dish that I grew up with,” writes WoonHeng. Picture: tofu, plant-based egg, and lots of chewy noodles.

5. Kung Pao Cauliflower

Spicy and sticky, cauliflower has never been happier. Or, if you want to riff, try out broccoli instead.

6. Vegan Gua Bao

Traditional gua bao features braised meat. This just-as-savory vegan take hinges on firm tofu instead.

7. Vegan Khao Soi

“This vegan khao soi brings back many memories from when I visited Chiang Mai a few years ago,” writes WoonHeng.

8. Vegan Tofu Wontons in Chile Oil

Stuffed with tofu and vegetables, then drenched in an ultra-savory sauce made from a mixture of chile oil, black vinegar, and soy sauce.

9. Teriyaki Tofu Balls

“My meat eating husband and daughter liked these better than the carnivorous variety,” Food52er SusanIlene says.

10. Rad Na With Tofu

Wide rice noodles, crunchy gai lan, sweet gravy, bouncy tofu. What more could a weeknight dinner want?

11. Vegan Curry With All the Vegetables

Inspired by WoonHeng’s mom’s ga li chap choi, this brothy bowl is a perfect way to use up whatever vegetables are around.

12. Crispy Tofu Katsu

Freezing then thawing totally changes the texture of tofu, making it even heartier and meatier.

13. Pad See Ew With Tofu

“Similar to other Thai noodle dishes, a wok is highly recommended here,” WoonHeng says, “but a nonstick skillet will work if you don’t have one.

14. Gochujang-Glazed Tofu

If you have an air fryer, meet your new favorite recipe. (And if you don’t, there’s an oven method, too.)

15. Vegan Mee Rebus

Spicy, tangy, slurpy. To save time, WoonHeng opts for curry powder instead of a homemade curry paste.

16. Tofu Char Siu

Instead of pork, this twist on the Cantonese favorite uses tofu, and comes together in two shakes of a lamb’s (pig’s? soybean’s?) tail.

17. Rice Noodles With Mushrooms, Scallions & Chile Oil

Inspired by kon loh mee, this flavor-packed noodle dish would be dreamy for dinner, lunch, or breakfast.

18. Perfect Vegetable Dumplings

And when we say perfect, we mean perfect.

19. Rice Burgers With Teriyaki Mushrooms & Avocado

Crispy and grainy, rice burgers have been on the menu at MOS Burger, a fast-food chain in Japan, since the 1980s.

20. Kabocha Fried Rice

Feel free to swap in your favorite winter squash, like butternut. This fried rice, with fried scallions and fresh scallions, is flexible.

21. Tofu Pad Thai

“The sauce is out of this world—so savory and glossy on the noodles—and alone is worth making the recipe,” raves our Content Director Brinda Ayer.

What recipe do you want to make first? Let us know in the comments!
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


HalfPint January 7, 2022
Laksa for sure!
stacxx January 6, 2022
They alllll look good! I'll make Pad See Ew first ;) Thx!
txchick57 December 22, 2021
She's my favorite contributor on this site.