Whether they’re childhood favorites, restaurant staples, or party snacks, so many classic dishes seem inaccessible to those on a plant-based diet.
It’s easy for the herbivore at the table to start feeling left out, unable to partake in what’s supposed to be a bonding experience over everyone’s most beloved foods.
Thanks to the taste buds and kitchen skills of talented bloggers all over the internet, we’ve rounded up meatless and dairy-free versions of some of the most popular, most un-vegan dishes out there.
Not only do these recipes eliminate animal products, but many introduce healthier alternatives and nutrient-dense swaps for flavors that not only resemble, but maybe even surpass the originals.
From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, here are 35 dishes you never thought you could vegan-ize.
1. Basic vegan French toast
Chia seeds aren’t just a thickening agent in this breakfast classic; they also provide protein, calcium, fiber, and omega-3’s, packing in a nutritional punch and the same fluffy-yet-chewy texture as the traditional version.
Pro tip: Get creative with how you top your toast, using ingredients like peanut butter, berries, or an airy coconut whipped cream.
2. Outrageously fluffy vegan pancakes
Think you need milk and butter to make pancakes the highlight of your weekend? Think again.
If you’ve got 20 minutes and an eager audience, this is the recipe for you. The secret to all that fluffiness comes from, believe it or not, a splash of apple cider vinegar, which reacts well with the baking powder.
Pro tip: Grab a bag of vegan chocolate chips and toss them in the batter.
3. Chickpea flour omelette with spinach, onion, tomato, bell peppers
It resembles that greasy-spoon staple we all love, but this fresh, veggie-packed meal is actually made of gluten-free chickpea flour instead of beaten eggs.
Just like regular omelets, feel free to customize it with whatever produce you’ve got on hand, from spinach and mushrooms to onions and tomatoes.
Sure, it may not taste exactly like a typical omelet, but with its subtle nuttiness and savory bite, this is a tasty a.m. treat in its own right.
4. Vegan breakfast hash
Nothing screams comfort more than a bowl of breakfast hash, and this recipe proves you don’t need dairy to glue all the ingredients together.
Once the potatoes, veggies, and spices are cooked to perfection, heat up a veggie burger and crumble it over the top for a bit of extra protein. You can also top with avocado, salsa, and a little homemade cashew “cheese.”
5. Vegan tofu benedict with avocado
If you assumed that going vegan meant never being able to enjoy this quintessential brunch favorite again, we’ve got your back.
Tofu replaces the egg, while a vegan take on Hollandaise gives the dish its familiar “Benedict-y” flavor. Take it a step further by topping the whole thing with sliced avocado for a pop of green color and healthy fat.
6. Vegan Caesar salad
The idea of making an anchovy-studded, cheese-and-egg-yolk-infused Caesar salad vegan seems inconceivable, but this whole-foods-filled version suggests otherwise.
Satisfyingly salty Kalamata olives step in for the anchovies and blended cashews provide the creaminess of the missing yolks.
Whisked together with other classic Caesar salad ingredients, it’s now this blogger’s go-to salad dressing. Try it out and it could become yours, too!
7. Vegan Cobb salad
Make lunchtime your most fun meal of the day with this vibrant, produce-packed Cobb salad. Hearts of palm tossed with turmeric make a clever imitation of chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Crisped tempeh also mimics the savory bite of bacon bits, and mandarin oranges add a refreshingly juicy twist. Line them all up on a bed of spinach for a kaleidoscope of colors and nutrients.
8. Vegan “BLT” sandwich
Thinly sliced eggplant masquerades wonderfully as bacon for a meat-free version of this deli classic. The rest is nothing but an assembly job that comes together quickly and easily.
Use whatever bread, lettuce, and tomato varieties you like best for a sandwich that’s forgiving and flexible, but still so, so good.
9. Mashed chickpea salad sandwich
Nothing beats a simple but satisfying sandwich for lunch, and this one, reminiscent of a brown-bag staple, more than fits the bill.
Using chickpeas instead of chicken, the low-glycemic legumes are mashed with hummus or tahini, carrots, and celery for a filling that’s part smooth, part crunchy.
Lather a generous layer between slices of thick whole-wheat bread for a hearty and super-tasty midday meal.
10. Vegan avocado melt with coconut bacon
Another effortless and fairly fast preparation for busy weekdays. Mashed avocado spread onto bread and then browned in a skillet not only gives this sandwich its “melty” factor, but racks up its nutritional profile as well with fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats.
The roasted red peppers this recipe calls for can be found in the pickle section of most grocery stores. Add some “coconut bacon” (essentially seasoned and toasted coconut flakes) for some crunch and added satiety.
The result is unique, wholesome, and almost too pretty to eat!
11. Homemade veggie dogs
This blogger forgoes soy substitutes more commonly found in veggie dogs, opting instead for vital wheat gluten and flax (both found in the organic aisle) to serve as binding agents.
Oatmeal, beans, and a variety of spices round out the ingredients for a tender yet substantial filler for your hot dog bun. All you need next is a good sports movie on Netflix.
12. Mushroom ravioli with garlic sun-dried tomato cream sauce
Sautéed mushrooms make a meaty filling for this occasion-worthy ravioli dish, and are a welcome departure from cheese. When the whole shebang is blanketed in a luxurious, coconut-milk-based sauce, there’s no missing the dairy here!
Make an event of it by rolling out the pasta from scratch (the link includes step-by-step directions). Or, if you’re in a pinch, spoon the mushroom mixture into store-bought pasta shells instead.
13. Vegan street tacos
Take street food in a new direction with this vegan version of tacos.
Fiber-filled black beans, cubes of lightly roasted butternut squash, and pico de gallo are folded into soft corn tortillas and topped with a tofu-based cilantro cream for a dollop of protein.
It’s a colorful, nutritionally loaded way to quench a craving, especially when food trucks are out of reach.
14. Eggplant Parmigiana with cashew ricotta
A popular stand-in for cheese, cashews go for a spin in the food processer to form the “ricotta” in this non-dairy eggplant Parmigiana, giving the dish an uncanny resemblance to the look and flavor of the original.
Make it in the summer when fiber-rich eggplant and vitamin-filled tomatoes are in their prime. Or save this recipe for a warming meal in colder months. Either way, your craving for pasta will be satisfied.
15. Vegan lasagna with basil cashew cheeze
Lasagna is a comfort food favorite for many, but with tiers of veggies nestled between the pasta sheets, this one is a winner in the nutrition department, too.
The ever-reliable cashew steps in yet again for the cheese, this time infused with lemon and basil for even deeper flavor. Try crumbling in some pre-cooked veggie burgers (even better if they’re homemade) between the layers for some extra protein.
16. New Age vegan pasta carbonara
From the bacon to the peas to the silky texture, all the bases are covered for a classic carbonara while keeping it vegan.
Gluten-free penne and smoked, pan-fried tempeh (a meat-replacing soy protein) are swathed in a sauce built from cashew butter, tahini, and almond milk instead of Parmesan and eggs. It may even rival the original.
17. Dairy-free stuffed shells
First, blend superfood spinach with calcium-rich tofu for a dose of iron, then gently pack the mix into jumbo conchiglie pasta.
Slather with a tomato sauce that’s brimming with cholesterol-fighting lycopene,
18. Eggplant Bolognese
This version takes advantage of summer’s produce bounty, including eggplants and the “holy culinary trinity” of carrots, onions, and celery.
Not feeling the slow-simmered, swoon-worthy sauce over pasta? Enjoy it atop brown rice, or amp up its protein content by serving it over quinoa. The eggplants and mushrooms replace the meat like nobody’s business.
19. Vegan enchiladas with tofu and black beans
Firm tofu holds up impressively well in these herbivore-friendly enchiladas, which are accompanied by black beans and spinach for a multicolored trifecta of iron and fiber.
Use small corn tortillas and top it all off with whatever you fancy: avocado, sliced radishes, maybe even a splash of fresh lime juice.
Pro tip: If you’re in a pinch for time, swap the homemade sauce for store-bought.
20. Amazing vegan mac and cheese
No comfort food roundup would be complete without vegan mac and cheese. It’s pretty magical what can happen when you warm up nutritional yeast, potatoes, cashews, vinegar, and spices, then pour it all into a blender.
Stumped? We were too. But it becomes creamy, irresistible cheese sauce — without the cheese, obvs — and it’s freakin’ genius. Pour it over your favorite noodles, and you’re in a dairy-free dream.
21. Super easy vegan nachos
No scary meat substitutes here! These plant-based nachos are actually a wholesome option for snack time, stacking tomatoes, black beans, and corn onto baked tortillas.
Drizzle them with a vegan sauce that looks as fluorescently yellow as the regular stuff, but is made with the natural goodness of cashews and nutritional yeast.
Pro tip: We recommend taking the blogger’s suggestion to serve these up with diced avocados for additional creaminess.
22. Cauliflower pizza bites
Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? Low carb rice, crust, gluten-free breadsticks, the list goes on and on. And now: pizza bites!
Made like mini muffins, the ingredients in these snacks are held all together by a chia seed and water mixture, instead of eggs. Chickpeas, herbs, and dairy-free cheese bring home the satisfying pizza taste you love.
Don’t forget to dunk these in warm marinara sauce!
23. Creamy artichoke spinach dip
This blogger surprised even herself with how authentic this bar food favorite tastes, despite ditching the mayo, cheese, and sour cream.
A combination of almond milk and — you guessed it — cashews creates a velvety, almost gratin-like consistency into which the artichokes and the spinach are gently mixed. Creamy without the cream. Who knew?
24. Buffalo cauliflower wings
Yep, you read that right: vegan Buffalo wings. In this recipe, cauliflower florets are tossed with almond meal, breadcrumbs, garlic and, of course, a generous helping of Buffalo sauce.
By the time you’re done figuring out what game to watch, and chopping up celery to share the plate with your “wings,” they’ll will be done baking in the oven. Come game day, the real winners are these bad boys right here.
25. Heart-loving stuffed mushrooms
An old potluck standby, stuffed mushrooms get a nutritional makeover as tofu replaces cream cheese and chopped pecans sub in for the Parmesan topping.
Both swaps increase the whole-foods factor while preserving the dish’s nostalgia-inducing flavor. Bake them up for a batch of miniature pre-dinner morsels that are tasty, not to mention pretty adorable.
26. Baked jalapeño poppers
It’s nutritional improvement enough that these poppers are baked instead of fried. It’s also free of corn and soy, and includes the option for gluten-free breadcrumbs to coat the jalapeños, making it one of the most allergy-aware recipes on this list.
Pair them with the blogger’s dip recipe for a snack that’s as mouth-watering as its non-vegan counterpart.
27. Blueberry swirl cheesecake
Cheesecake: it really can be made vegan!
Unlike some other recipes, which can contain unrecognizable filling ingredients that make us squeamish, this one uses the trusty, no-bake combo of cashews and coconut cream.
Swirl in some blueberries, frozen or fresh, for a gorgeous, purple-tinted “cheese” layer atop a traditional graham cracker crust (double-check that the crackers don’t contain honey). This cake is just waiting to be sliced into.
28. Cookie dough dip
We’ve all eaten cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl, salmonella be darned. But the best thing about vegan cookie dough is that there’s no risk of adverse effects from consuming raw egg.
And while most cookie batters are baked into a final product, this one, as the blogger puts it, “you’re supposed to eat by the spoonful.” Better yet, by using chickpeas (don’t worry, you can’t tell) and nut butter as its base, this sweet treat provides a mid-afternoon protein boost.
29. Cake batter milkshake
Few cravings are as strong as one for an old-fashioned milkshake — even vegans aren’t immune to it. Next time it strikes, go all out with this dairy-free, cake-batter-flavored version.
Frozen bananas, coconut butter, and coconut milk combine to create that thick, spoonable texture and offer healthy fats for staying power.
A splash of vanilla, a spattering of rainbow sprinkles (because let’s be honest, everything’s better with sprinkles on top), and you’re on your way to slurp-tastic satisfaction.
Please make sure that your sprinkles are, in fact, vegan. Sometimes they contain confectioner’s glaze made from shellac, which are beetle secretions.
30. Vegan tiramisu
Fluffy cake. Espresso sauce. Cashew coconut cream. What more can anyone ask for? Well, a fork, maybe.
Traditionally, this dessert is anything but vegan, with ladyfinger cookies, cheese, eggs, and cream. Yet somehow, this blogger did the impossible: a classic European dessert with a vegan twist, all without refined cane sugar.
You may need to put in a little extra effort into this recipe, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. (You heard the part about espresso sauce, right? Glad we’re on the same page.)
31. Four-ingredient chocolate orange mousse
Four little ingredients are all that stand between you and this luscious mousse. Go for 60 percent or darker antioxidant-packed dark chocolate to bring out the best of this recipe.
The chocolate and avocado (you read that right) are whipped with shavings of orange zest and a touch of non-dairy milk into a glossy, citrus-tinged concoction. With this in your repertoire, dessert is always a good idea.
32. Homemade vegan Twinkies
They’ll bring back childhood memories, but these Twinkies are all grown up when it comes to what they’re made of.
Wheat flour is traded in for spelt, a grain dense with iron, fiber, and phosphorous. Pipe the cakes with a banana-macadamia cream and you’ve got yourself a sophisticated upgrade on a snack from the good old days.
33. Homemade Snickers bars
Paying homage to a beloved candy bar, this vegan spin on Snickers looks strikingly like the real deal and contains all-natural ingredients to boot.
Dates are an ideal replacement for the caramel; coconut oil and peanuts form the nougat; and the sticky, sweet, and chewy layers are encased in a thick coating of flavonoid-filled dark chocolate.
Our mouths are watering just looking at the pictures.
34. Homemade orange creamsicle popsicles
In this blogger’s playful (and pretty!) update on a signature summer drink, coconut milk plays the starring role yet again — and why wouldn’t it?
Its richness is perfect for achieving that fluffy-yet-silky ice cream consistency without the fuss of a machine. A burst of freshly squeezed orange juice and a squirt of maple syrup provide a sunny sweetness without being cloying.
35. Vegan oatmeal cream pies
OMG, remember oatmeal cream pies? We can just hear the recess bell now…
Another retro treat is revisited in this recipe. This time, soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup create a vegan “cream” sandwiched between two chewy oatmeal cookies, sweetened up with coconut sugar.
If you can spare 45 minutes of prep and cook time, you can enjoy these epic childhood treats, vegan-style. Now all we need is a vegan Star Crunch recipe, and adulting is a lot more fun.
Omnivores don’t get to have all the fun. With meat-like substitutes, dairy-free creams, egg-like tofus, and cashews, cashews, cashews, vegan comfort food is not only possible, but totally delectable.
We’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not these comfort foods are better than the originals. In the meantime, we’ll just be over here grabbing another slice of blueberry cheesecake…
Hilary I. Lebow is a health journalist with fitness and nutrition certifications through the Yoga Alliance and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). When she’s not working, you’ll find her playing on the beach with her two dogs or exploring around Miami, the beautiful city she calls home. Read more of her work here.