A dozen delectable plant-based recipes for summer

12 Recipes
Vegan Tommy's-style burger
It sure looks like a burger ... but it’s vegan!
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times; prop styling by Kate Parisian)

Recipes for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking to eat more plants this summer.


Yes, that burger in the photo is vegan — made with one of those newfangled plant-based meats. And yes, veganism — abstinence from consuming or using animal products – has come a long way since the term was coined back in 1944. While only 4% to 6% (depending on the study) of Americans identify as vegan, interest in plant-forward diets and plant-based meats is surging.

From the popularity of meatless Mondays, Veganuary and plant-based meats to popular writers’ admonitions and advice such as Michael Pollen’s motto, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”, it is clear that a lot of folks are looking to shift the balance of meats and vegetables on their plates. Whether you are a die-hard vegan, occasionally cook for vegans or simply want to eat more vegetables, these vegan recipes are all delicious and satisfying.

Pureed Marcona almonds give this vegan take on spinach-artichoke dip is creaminess. Without the dairy, it is lighter than “the original,” making it perfect for summer. Miso, nutritional yeast and tahini combine for a rich faux Caesar dressing in Lodge Bread’s vegan Caesar salad. Shiitake jiaozi with black vinegar dipping sauce are as good as any vegetable dumpling out there. Ceviche vegetariano clearly has vegetables standing in for fish but it is substantial and umami-ful just the same.


Neither this Impossible burger with spicy special sauce nor this Tommy’s-style chili burger will cause anyone to ask, “Where’s the beef?” Vegan chilaquiles get flavor and texture from mushrooms as well as from a chipotle vegan crema, vegan queso fresco and a charred salsa verde. Jackfruit carnitas tacos get their meaty texture from — surprise, surprise — jackfruit. The smoky salsa de chipotle served with them adds an extra burst of flavor and some kick. Vegan picadillo empanadas are savory and lush, a perfect no-fuss, handheld lunch or snack on the go.

Successfully veganizing established baked goods takes some ingenuity and, sometimes, a little bit of genius. Erin McKenna’s vegan gluten-free chocolate chip cookies completely rise to the challenge. When I tested these, people could not stop eating them. They’re moist and chewy with a hint of molasses and loads of chocolate chips; nobody suspected that they were gluten-free let alone vegan. This carrot-banana cake uses bananas in place of eggs. Swirls of jam in the batter combined with fresh berries on top make these strawberry muffins sing with moist strawberry flavor.

Whether you call it vegan, plant-based, plant-forward or flexitarian — or nothing at all — people are consuming more vegetables and less meat. For some, it is a diet; for some, a full-on lifestyle. For others, it may be limited to a few hours or meals a day or to a few days a week. We can call them vegan-ish. Regardless of terminology or level of adherence to veganism, these recipes will feed body and soul.


Ceviche vegetariano

This Ecuadorian-inspired, umami-laden vegetarian ceviche is made with hearts of palm, mushrooms, white beans, cauliflower, corn, avocado and a refreshing lime broth.
YieldsServes 6 as a main dish or 8 to 10 as a first course

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

This homemade vegan artichoke dip is light and refreshing for spring, yet creamy and satisfying. Perfect as an appetizer for a party or potluck.
Time15 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Lodge Vegan Caesar Salad

This totally plant-based version of Caesar dressing blends nutritional yeast with miso and tahini. Lemon juice and cider vinegar balance the richness.
Time15 minutes
YieldsServes 8

Vegan Shiitake Jiaozi With Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce

The well-seasoned stuffing of sauteed shiitake mushrooms and kale is as flavorful as any meaty filling.
Time3 hours
YieldsMakes about 50

Vegan Tommy’s-Style Chili Burger

You won’t even be able to tell that this Tommy’s-style chili burger isn’t beef, especially with the saucy chili on top.
Time30 minutes
YieldsMakes 8

Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos

This vegan jackfruit carnitas tacos recipe is shared by Jocelyn Ramirez of L.A.-based catering company Todo Verde in her cookbook, "La Vide Verde."
Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Vegan Chilaquiles

These vegan chilaquiles develop deep, rich flavors from both fresh and dried mushrooms. They're also quick and easy to prepare.
Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Vegan Picadillo Empanadas

Finely chopped pecans take the place of beef in these picadillo empanadas seasoned with spices, raisins and olives.
Time1 hour
YieldsMakes about 12

Impossible Burger With Spicy Special Sauce

This Impossible plant-based burger tastes like the real thing when loaded up with spicy special sauce and fresh toppings.
Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

GGET Vegan Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry runs through these super-soft muffins with swirls of jam in the batter and fresh-cut fruit on top.
Time1 hour
YieldsMakes 1 dozen

Vegan Carrot-Banana Cake

Packed with carrots, this cake is simple to make vegan without sacrificing its original deliciousness.
Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 12

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These vegan, gluten-free cookies have the crunchy edges of classic chocolate chip cookies. They taste extra rich from a generous amount of coconut oil.
Time2 hours
YieldsMakes about 3 1/2 dozen