The Best Vegan Recipes Of 2021

Whether it's dietary concerns, health implications, ethical reasons, or most likely a combination of all three, the vegan diet is more popular than ever. When we think of a vegan diet — and really any diet at all — we often immediately run through a list of all the dishes we can't have. But that's negative thinking. We're here to call out all the dishes you can have, including some that many vegans likely believed were off-limits forever. Indeed, the traditional versions of most of these recipes have animal-product ingredients long thought to be vital to their creation and success (think eggs and cake, butter and risotto). 

Thanks to our intrepid and creative recipe developers, we have new versions of these delicious meals that don't use any animal products yet still deliver all of the flavor of their non-vegan iterations. So break out the agar powder and get to cooking!

5-Ingredient vegan risotto

Risotto is known for its creamy texture, which is traditionally derived from butter, cheese, and broth (often the chicken variety). So making even a half-decent risotto without animal products can be a tall task. But this 5-ingredient vegan risotto recipe meets and surpasses that challenge.

The aforementioned five ingredients are shallots, garlic, arborio rice, vegetable stock, and lemon. As you may have guessed by now, the dish is decidedly simple to put together and requires almost no prep time. Saute the rice, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, and olive oil until the rice has fully absorbed all the liquid. Then whisk in the vegetable stock one cup at a time until it is all absorbed, season with salt and pepper, and you're done. In total, this risotto can be cooked and on your table in just 35 minutes.

Vegan chocolate cake

It's a common belief that following a vegan diet means that enjoying cake is out of the question. After all, how does one make a cake without eggs and milk? Believe it or not, it's very possible and the results are as good, if not better, than any traditional cake you've had before. This vegan chocolate cake is packed with cocoa flavor and, despite missing eggs, still has a soft, moist texture thanks to the addition of mashed bananas. 

Once the batter is made, the cake goes in the oven for 25 minutes. After it has properly cooled, layer on the frosting, a delightfully sweet mixture of vegan butter, powdered sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Dust the cake with cocoa powder and sprinkles and dessert is ready to be served!

Vegan cheese

You're not alone if you think the term "vegan cheese" sounds more like some lab experiment gone awry than anything you'd like to eat. But we assure you this vegan cheese is not that. It's made almost entirely out of ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen and tastes as good as any dairy cheese you'll find at the store. The one secret component you may not have in your pantry (or have even heard of) is agar powder. This magical ingredient is a thickening derived from seaweed that will give the cheese its proper texture. 

This vegan cheese can be prepped in only 10 minutes by blending all the ingredients except the agar: cashews, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. At the same time, dissolve the agar powder in boiling water. Pour the water into the cheese mixture and then transfer everything into a bowl. The cheese needs two hours in the fridge to solidify and then you can break out the crackers and enjoy!

Vegan lentil soup

Few dishes are as comforting to the soul and the stomach as a warm, hearty bowl of soup. But if you think you need meat to turn soup into a filling dish, think again. This vegan lentil soup recipe features enough vegetables — including onions, carrots, celery, shiitake mushrooms, a russet potato, lentils, and fire-roasted canned tomatoes — to satisfy any hunger craving, not to mention making it as nutritious as it is delicious.

The soup couldn't be much easier to make. Once all the ingredients are prepped and stirred together in the pot, simply let the mixture simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. The soup is great on its own but feel free to get fancy with cubed avocado, tortilla crisps, sourdough croutons, and fresh herbs.

Quinoa vegan burger

If you subscribe to the belief that a burger made of anything other than beef simply can't compete, this quinoa vegan burger recipe will have you reconsidering that opinion. Made from a delectable combination of quinoa, black beans, breadcrumbs, diced pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, salt, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, these burgers are packed with flavor. 

Once the patties are formed, cook them in a saucepan until they are browned and crispy, about five minutes on each side. Serve them like you would a traditional burger on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and the condiments of your choice. Even better news: the patties can be prepared in advance and frozen, making them even easier to whip up when a craving strikes!