Exotic Vegan Recipes From Around The World

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Take your tastebuds on holiday with these 30 exotic vegan recipes from around the world!

By Lora O’Brien

The world is getting smaller –  and thank god for that. Time was (or so I’ve been told!) that food in the UK consisted basically of boiled cabbage, potatoes with maybe some nice greasy fish & chips thrown in on Fridays. And of course, there was roast beef and overcooked veg on Sundays. Foods like ‘Dim Sum’, ‘Gado Gado’ and ‘Enchiladas’ were about as British as Carmen Miranda dancing the samba in a fruit hat. But that was then.

Today, Britain and most other nations in the world are a happily mixed salad bowl of world cuisines (and peoples). So much so that cooks have finally gained the confidence to put a spin or two on traditionally foreign dishes and use meat that doesn’t include animals at all!

Here below, I’ve focused on six different countries that are famous for their incredible cuisine. These are, in order:

  • India
  • China
  • Mexico
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Lebanon

Whether you’re a fan of spicy Indian or subtle sushi, or if you just want to try something a bit different for dinner, we’ve got some exotic vegan recipes from around the world that take the best foods from around the globe and put them right into your kitchen.

30 Vegan Recipes from Around the World

INDIAN

Some may be cautious with Indian food due to the fear of too much spice. But real Indian food isn’t spicy so much as it is aromatic. Spices are used, yes – but not to set your tongue on fire and dull the taste buds. Rather cumin, coriander and tumeric are often used in brilliant combinations to enhance food, much the same way a perfume makes a woman all the more charming. And whereas Indian food can sometimes leave you feeling weighed down and experiencing somewhat of a food baby, these exotic vegan recipes below will do the opposite!

1. Tofu Cauliflower Korma

Forget spending money on takeaways! This korma is the perfect exotic vegan recipe to make at home! It’s a mixture of creamy, delicious coconut and subtle spice. The addition of the tofu in this recipe really bulks the curry out in place of where meat would be in a traditional recipe, making it a nice, filling dish.

Get the recipe here.

Exotic Vegan World Food Recipes

2. Butter Chik’un

The sweet folks at hotforfood have waved their magic wand to banish boring food and have created this butter chicken recipe – without the butter! Or…the chicken! And if you really love detailed instructions for cooking, they even have a YouTube video so you can follow along.

Get the recipe here.

Exotic Vegan World Food Recipes

3. Golden Lentil Dal with Cilantro Speckled Basmati

The best thing about this exotic vegan recipe? The leftovers! Have you ever eaten Indian food the next day? It’s just as good, trust me so if you make too much of this, you can enjoy it for a few days, hurrah! This dal is creamy from the coconut giving it a real rich texture.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

4. Beetroot & ‘Paneer’ Curry

Healthy eating really allows you to get creative when re-inventing popular cuisines to suit your lifestyle. And this beetroot and ‘paneer’ curry is just bursting with delicious colours and tasty flavours. Though paneer is usually cheese, this one uses tofu instead, so it’s absolutely vegan friendly. This dish holds so much goodness from the beetroot, potatoes and the array of seasoning! You could even go one step further and make some vegan naan bread to pop it up. Mmmhmm!

Get the recipe here.

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5. Coconut Curry

Curries don’t have to blow your brains out with their spice levels: they can be rich and creamy, too. This coconut curry recipe is brimming with veggies such as broccoli, carrot, onion and snow peas, but you could easily adapt this to your own preferences. I definitely suggest adding in some potato or an extra hit of healthy carbs. As for the spice factor: just a little curry powder with a pinch of cayenne is all this recipe calls for. Want a warmer vibe? Add a little cinnamon.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

CHINESE

Who doesn’t enjoy a good Chinese takeaway? Problem is, they’re often loaded with MSG, salt and artificial colourings. So best to find some great recipes, like these below, and make your own!

1. Sweet & Sour Tofu

Sweet and sour usually contains chunks of chicken or pork, making it a no-no if you’re vegan or just looking to cut out your meat intake. Well, the good news is you can now recreate this dish with the use of tofu. I know some of you may be thinking, tofu? That bland block of nothingness? But it’s actually a great ingredient to use in place of meat! Firm tofu holds its texture whilst it’s easy to season and to make delicious.  Serve it over a bowl of rice to imitate that popular Chinese dish you’d normally buy from your local takeaway.

Get the recipe here.

sweet and sour tofu

2. Vegan Fried Rice

Rice is a standard side dish when ordering Chinese foods. It’s practically takeaway etiquette to ask for either boiled or stir fried rice. But that being said, boiled rice…? *yawn*. And stir fried? Well, it’s not usually vegan, thanks to the presence of a lot of egg. So this is one of those exotic vegan recipes you’ll want to have on hand at all times! Cook up a large helping and serve it as a side dish or a main.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

3. Dim Sum Buns

When I was last in Hong Kong, there were a lot of foods I was excited to try. One that I fell head over heels in love with was dim sum. Doughy steamed balls oozing with delicious fillings – yum! And today, this is one of my very favourite exotic vegan recipes.

Get the recipe here.

vegan dim sum recipe

4. Chinese Aubergine

If you think aubergine (also known as eggplant, of course), is a big purple tube of nothingness, guess again. This versatile veggie can take on any flavour it faces, something like a culinary chameleon. And when those flavours are spicy and salty like the ones here….aubergine is transformed into the tastiest side dish ever!

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

5. Cantonese Chow Mein

Another dish I thoroughly enjoyed eating whilst in Hong Kong was noodles. Unlike the thick, sticky noodles we’re used to when ordering ‘Chinese’ food, these were thin, and sometimes crispy and come accompanied by garlic sauteed veggies. Every single dish was seriously good! Although this recipe calls for egg noodles, which aren’t vegan for obvious reasons, you can find some really simple recipes for cooking vegan forms of these. (You could even try rice noodles, but the consistency won’t be the same).

Get the recipe here

MEXICAN

I like to think that I was perhaps Mexican in another life, solely due to my undying love of Mexican food. There’s just something about the heaping portions at Mexican meals, the colours, the flavours, that has me doing my own victory dance every time I chow down on this cuisine. Mexican night in our household is like a celebratory event! There’s just so much simplicity here, but so much flavour.

1. Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

Traditional nacho recipes include meat, tortillas and  various other ingredients. But think about how unhealthy they are from the meat (ew) to the heaped amounts of (kinda fake) cheese and sour cream. Thankfully, I found this fully vegan nacho recipe which means we can enjoy our faithful nachos, without all that bad stuff. For real, how could I not share this, of all the exotic vegan recipes, when it looks so insanely good?! And did I mention that gooey yellow stuff is nacho cheese? Sorry, ‘vegan’ nacho cheese.

Get the recipe here.

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2. Easy Vegan Tacos

The art of the taco is all about the filling. The ‘meat’ that sucks up all the juices and then layers of creamy guacamole, tangy sour cream and handfuls of crisp lettuce and chunks of tomato. It’s all so good! I’ve been making tacos with ‘fake mince meat’ for a while now. John and Lauren of hotforfood have brought perfection to the vegan taco. It’s exactly how a taco should be, fully loaded and packed with Mexican goodness. Plus, it’s one of the easiest exotic vegan recipes to make!

Get the recipe here.

easy vegan tacos

3. Vegetable Enchiladas

Whilst not a typically vegan recipe, you can very easily make it so by omitting the cheese for a vegan cheese substitute, voila! Anyone who enjoys a good enchilada will know that the corn tortilla is wrapped around an array of vegetables. It’s then baked with cheese which melts over them like some kind of glorious shield. The best part of cooking enchiladas is how easy and versatile they can be. Especially if you’re vegan! You can just pack them full of wholesome good stuff like beans, spinach, corn and even potato.

Get the recipe here.

4. Black Bean & Butternut Squash Burritos

I did a major fist of victory when I found this burrito recipe! It’s filled – no sorry, it’s crammed – full of black beans, butternut squash, chunks of creamy avocado, onions and peppers. This is exactly what you want from a burrito, which is, by the way, one of the best exotic vegan recipes I know of!

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

5. Vegan Quesadillas

Quesadillas are toasted lightly, usually on a griddle pan, and full of foods that melt down and ooze out. I’ve used the word ooze in almost every Mexican recipe. But seriously – they all just ooze food, flavour and goodness! This is another of those exotic vegan recipes you can customise. Maybe add some creamy guacamole to take this up a notch,  for example. But it’s pretty good as it is if you ask me.

Get the recipe here.

vegan quesadillas

THAI

Thai food is super popular nowadays, and with good reason – it’s hellatasty! Thanks to the magic of globalisation, you’re able to buy Thai food ingredients in a lot of supermarkets nowadays, and there are various Thai restaurants that have sprung up But you can just as easily cook it yourself, of course. Not familiar with Thai? Think fresh, lemony, sweet, hot and salty flavours, with an emphasis on coconut, lemongrass and coriander. Thai food definitely has its own distinct taste, and it’s a real flavour party!

1. Thai Green Curry

Of all the exotic vegan recipes, this is another one of my faves! (after anything Mexican, of course). Green curry is probably the most famous of all the Thai dishes. While traditional recipes use chicken, shrimp and fish sauce, this veggie version eliminates all the animals.  It still looks delicious and creamy, but is packed out with an abundance of healthy vegetables. Want it a little more filling? You could add some tofu in there, but trust me –  this dish is hearty enough without.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

2. Veggie Spring Roll & Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Veggie spring rolls with a satay sauce are the perfect party food, or dinner party appetizer. The traditional chicken here is replaced by lots of veggies, and you can still enjoy that peanut sauce, just in a new, healthier way.

Get the recipe here.

3. Thai Green Papaya Salad

This dish, also known as  Som Tam, is a hot dish that is crunchy and refreshing at the same time. The main ingredient in this dish is the papaya, but you won’t be needing a sweet one, entirely the opposite. In your hunt for all of the ingredients, be sure to pick up a green papaya which is green and unripe, firm with no spots on its skin. Even after two weeks in the fridge the flesh should still be pale, green and it will be crunchy without being  too sweet, which is why it’s perfect in salad and stew recipes.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

4. Pad Thai

Hooray! A traditionally vegan Thai dish at last. Well, almost – this can be made with chicken, shrimp or, in this case, tofu, but it usually has fish sauce as a base. Just sub in soya sauce, as this recipe does, and no matter what you add, there’s always the sweet and salty taste of peanuts. There’s also the delightfully mixed textures of crunchy veg and soft rice noodles, and the tang of refreshing cilantro. This is one of those exotic vegan recipes you’ll want to have on hand at all times!

Get the recipe here.

vegan pad thai

JAPANESE

Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest in the whole world. Thanks to a diet based on oily fish, tofu, fermented veggies and green tea, the Japanese live longer than anyone else on Earth. So what are you waiting for? Improve your health and impress your friends with these exotic vegan recipes from Japan!

1. Vegetable Sushi

Sushi is probably the recipe that first springs to mind when considering Japanese cuisine. But so many people screw their noses up in disgust at the suggestion of sushi. Let’s just set the record straight – sushi is NOT all about raw fish. Sushi is actually the rice  part of this dish. Right, now onto this AMAZING recipe. You can probably tell from the photo how beautiful this sushi looks, but allow me to sell it to you some more. This sushi includes asparagus, beets, red peppers and even sweet potatoes! Shiitake mushrooms have been sauteed, and there’s raw avocado, cucumber and kale for a little added texture. And I have to agree; this sushi looks way better topped with veggies than it would seafood or meat. Just sayin’.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

2. Vegan Ramen

Ramen is a popular in Japanese cuisine. It’s basically noodles served in a broth with vegetables and meat, but there can be vegan versions too, like this one. In this recipe, the broth of choice is made from miso, a delicious fermented soy beans. It’s topped with roasted sweet potato and mushroom which lends a filling topping whilst the charred eggplant gives an almost smoky edge to this dish.

Get the recipe here.

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3. Tempura Artichoke Hearts

Tempura is basically Japan’s contribution to the delicious world of deep-fried foods. It’s usually batter-coated seafood that has been fried in sesame oil and served with a dish of soy sauce. Tempura prawns is a popular dish, and one you can even get at most sushi restaurants. But if you’re vegan and still looking for a little deep fried fun, this is one of the best exotic vegan recipes for you.

Get the recipe here.

Exotic Vegan World Food Recipes

4. Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are often used in Japanese cuisine. They are an easy-cook buckwheat based noodle with a slightly nutty flavour. I’ve found lots of vegan friendly recipes incorporating these thin, healthy noodles. The sweet and spicy peanut sauce in this recipe is truly scrummy. It’s poured over the noodles, which are then topped with fresh vegetables, cilantro, sesame seeds and more peanuts.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

5. Vegan Okonomiyaki

Okonomikayki can only be described as Japanese comfort food. It’s a grilled savoury pancake that’s filled, usually with cabbage and prawns. It is then topped with fish flakes, dried seaweed, and a mayonnaise and a worcester-style sauce. Okonomiyaki are usually made with the addition of eggs, veggies and of course meat. The chickpea flour adds the colour to these and kala namak gives the eggy flavour. The sauce here? Vegan mayo and pickled ginger.  The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any vegetables  you have on hand.

Get the recipe here.

LEBANESE

Lebanese cuisine is one of the most loved – and possibly most ancient – cuisines in the world. It’s probably most famous for its mezze, a collection of tasty appetizers, bright and vibrant colours. And if you’re lucky enough to visit Lebanon, you’ll see that dishes are always served up in abundance with the warmest imaginable hospitality. Oh, and Lebanese food is also super healthy, due to the large volumes of those healthy grains and vegetables.

1. Loubyeh B’zeit

If you’re struggling to pronounce this dish, don’t worry; it’s  really just a green bean stew. The beans are in a tomato sauce, and this is naturally a vegetarian one-pot dish that requires minimal ingredients. Plus it’s a great way to incorporate green beans into your diet! This dish does use butter, which isn’t vegan, but you could switch it for a vegan-friendly option like olive oil pretty easily.

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

2. Freekeh Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

This salad is one of the most beautiful exotic vegan recipes! It is also super rich with antioxidants from the addition of pomegranate. There’s lots of nutrition from the beans and veggies, too. If you don’t know what freekeh is, it’s an ancient grain that is a young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It’s a super-healthy, slightly smoky tasting whole grain you can get here. It makes for a delicious, filling salad!

Get the recipe here.

exotic vegan recipes

3. Za’atar Man’ouche

Za’atar man’ouche is a very rich and healthy dish that many Lebanese have for  breakfast to kick start their day. It a great boost of energy due to the levels of magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc, and is sometimes served with cucumbers, olives mint and tomatoes. It’s basically a delicious flatbread that is spread with herbs, making it a very simple dish to make. Tip: Be sure to use the best quality olive oil you can find for this!

Get the recipe here.

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4. Fattet Hummus

Hummus is perhaps the most famous of all Lebanese dishes, and is served up at many meals. Fattet Hummus takes it to another level with the addition of yoghurt, tahini, chickpeas, bread, spices and toasted pine nuts. It’s so easy to make this dish vegan: instead of milk based yoghurt, use soy, and olive oil can easily be used in place of butter on the bread.

Get the recipe here.

What are your favourite exotic vegan recipes? Let us know in the comments, below!

Lora O'Brien
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8 thoughts on “Exotic Vegan Recipes From Around The World”

  1. The Golden Lentil Dal recipe link actually connects to the Coconut Curry recipe. I really wanted the Golden Lentil Dal one, can we get an updated link?

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