Lara Vetter

Editorial Assistant at Kitchen Stories

From big bunches of Swiss chard to baskets full of juicy heirloom tomatoes, aromatic peaches to bundles of crisp red radishes, enjoying the abundance of summer is one of life’s simple pleasures. This article is part of “The Big Veggie Summer Issue,” a month of plant-based recipes presented by Garden Gourmet. Whether you’re an omnivore or flexitarian, vegan or vegetarian, there’s something for everyone! To get up to date on all the amazing veg we’re cooking with this month, check back here for a full list of our latest recipes and articles, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for extra tasty content!

At some point, just about all of us have experienced the frustration of searching for a reliably satisfying, straight-forward vegan or vegetarian recipe. While they most definitely exist, when scouring the internet’s treasure trove of recipes, it can be hard to find the ones that are meatless by design.

However, on closer inspection, we can often see that families and cuisines all around the world have recipes that are (sometimes unexpectedly) vegetarian or vegan, and always have been, long before the more wide-spread popularity of meatless and plant-based cooking. Of course there's nothing wrong with setting out to develop vegetarian or vegan versions of beloved meat-centered recipes; I can personally recommend Hanna's crispy seitan schnitzel or Christian's creamy vegan mac and cheese. In fact, on the contrary, it's better for our planet and has been a huge success in showing people how easy it can be to eat more sustainably while still enjoying dishes they know and love.

Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you’re just looking to cut out meat occasionally and need some fresh inspiration, here are some of our favorite “accidentally” veggie hits!

Sweet potato chaat

Sweet potato chaat

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Not only is this recipe quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but it's so delicious! It's one of Prerana's favorite Indian dishes and transports her back to the kitchen table of her childhood in Mumbai.

Ruby tries to make German cheese spaetzle

Ruby tries to make German cheese spaetzle

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When it comes to cheesy spätzle, one thing we can agree on is that no one will agree on which recipe is the very best, but we love this cheese spätzle recipe from our editor Lisa. Remember to use vegetarian cheese if you want it to be completely vegetarian and not just meatless.

Youtiao (Chinese fried dough sticks)

Youtiao (Chinese fried dough sticks)

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Youtiao are long, deep-fried dough sticks, sort of like a Chinese donut if you will, and they taste especially delicious when you dip them in delicious hot soy milk for breakfast or a snack.

Easy japchae (Korean glass noodles with stir-fried vegetables)

Easy japchae (Korean glass noodles with stir-fried vegetables)

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Japchae is a Korean dish made with glass noodles and lots of fresh, stir-fried vegetables. It's seasoned with sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce, which give the noodles a wonderful, thick dark sheen. Pro-tip: If you can find fresh shiitake mushrooms, marinate them in a little more sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar for a few minutes before frying and adding them to this recipe.

Make oven-baked falafel with Steven

Make oven-baked falafel with Steven

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Sure, falafel are a classic dish—I hardly know anyone who doesn't enjoy them—but few venture to make them at home. With Steven's recipe, you don't have to deal with the frying question, and they taste just as good as from your local falafel shop.

5-ingredient panzanella with nectarines and halloumi

5-ingredient panzanella with nectarines and halloumi

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Panzanella is a simple Italian bread salad that is almost always vegetarian. Lisa’s recipe goes for a fruity take on the classic, full of contrasting sweet nectarines, creamy halloumi, and crunchy crispy fried bread!

Chinese cold noodles

Chinese cold noodles

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This recipe for Chinese cold noodles is incredibly easy, delicious, and quick to make, and I'm convinced that every household would benefit from having a recipe like this in their summer cooking repertoire.

Çilbir (Turkish poached eggs with yogurt)

Çilbir (Turkish poached eggs with yogurt)

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A breakfast favorite in Turkish cuisine is çilbir, poached eggs with garlicky herb yogurt and spicy chili oil. Çilbir is on the table in 25 minutes and is at least as good for brunch or lunch.

Zwiebelkuchen (German onion pie)

Zwiebelkuchen (German onion pie)

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A personal nostalgic favorite for me is onion tart: It reminds me of lantern parades for St. Martin's Day, after which we warmed up in the village restaurant with this hot, hearty slice of cake, but it works well in summer in combination with fresh salad, too.

Gado-gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce)

Gado-gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce)

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What are your vegetarian or vegan favorites? Upload your recipe for the whole community to enjoy or let us know in the comments below!

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