20 Best Vegetarian Dishes From Around the World

Vegetarian Dishes From around the World

One of the most enjoyable ways to learn about different cultures is through their cuisine. However, finding authentic good food to eat can be challenging for a vegetarian traveler. The world offers you endless meat and fish dishes, but vegetarian options are limited. But there is hope. As the world becomes increasingly conscious of the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the negative impacts of eating meat, vegetarian cuisine becomes more innovative and accessible than ever.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to try something new, you will find veggie dishes from all over the globe. Each region has its distinct range of vegetarian delicacies, made from various locally sourced ingredients and time-tested recipes passed down through generations. From the aromatic spices of India to the fresh simplicity of Italian dishes, vegetarian cuisine provides a tempting array of aromas, textures, and tastes that captivate the senses and nourish the body.

There are so many excellent vegetarian dishes that it can be tough to choose the finest ones because it all comes down to personal choices. However, there are a few popular dishes from across the world that you should taste because each bite reveals a tale of culture, tradition, and culinary creativity. Embark with us on an adventure through the world’s top vegetarian offerings.

Koshary, Egypt.       lentils.com

1). Koshary, Egypt

Koshary, also known as Koshari and Kushari, is a staple food all over Egypt. It’s an unusual combination of rice, macaroni, and lentils, topped with chickpeas, fried onions, spicy tomato sauce, and garlic vinegar. Koshary can be found just about everywhere in Egypt – every Egyptian home, every stall across the country, and most Egyptian restaurants. It’s also one of the cheapest meals around, making it very popular among the working class, who eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Koshary is not only delicious but also very nutritious with plenty of carbohydrates and plant-based protein. No trip to Egypt is complete without sampling the wholesome Koshary.

2). Falafel, Middle East

Falafel requires no introduction as it is among the most widely consumed vegetarian dishes worldwide. Though its exact origin is unknown, it is thought to have originated in Egypt. Falafel are deep-fried dumplings typically made with ground chickpeas/fava beans seasoned with herbs, spices, and garlic. The little dumplings, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, are hugely popular among vegetarians, vegans, and non-vegetarians. The scrumptious falafel is also a great source of fiber and protein. It is a common street food throughout the Middle East, but especially in Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. Some people prefer to eat falafel on its own, while others enjoy it sandwiched between pita bread with fresh greens, tahini, hummus, and yogurt.

Falafel & Ratatouille

3). Ratatouille, France

Ratatouille is a regional French dish originating in Nice. While there are many variations of the dish, common ingredients include aubergine, zucchini, capsicum, yellow squash, and garlic. Instead of stewing all of the vegetables together, the thinly sliced vegetables are cooked individually, allowing each vegetable to maintain its perfect texture. They are then simmered in a tomato sauce for up to 6 hours. The fragrant spices and herbs gently sink into the vegetables, making them taste even better the next day. The French classic can be served with rice, potatoes, pasta, or slices of freshly baked bread. Ratatouille is an excellent way to utilize garden produce.

4). Spanakopita, Greece

Greece is a wonderful getaway for vegetarian visitors, as the cuisine there prioritizes fresh produce. Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie made from phyllo pastry. This Grecian pie usually comes with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and eggs. The buttery pastry shell keeps the pie together and makes the entire filling melt on your tongue. A vegetarian and vegan version of Spanakopita is made during religious fasts. It does not contain any cheese or eggs. Enjoy this delectable dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, either as a side dish or snack.

Spanakopita & Patata Bravas

5). Patata Bravas, Spain

Spain is a meat lover’s paradise, but vegetarian tourists also have a few good options. Patata Bravas is a simple fried potato dish that is a restaurant and cafe staple throughout Spain. White potatoes are chopped into irregular 2-centimeter shapes and fried in oil before being tossed in a spicy sauce prepared from fried eggplant and honey. There are multiple variants of Patata Bravas available, but the spicy sauce on top is an absolute must. The delicacy is crunchy on the outside but fluffy in its center. It is quite light on the stomach and can be enjoyed as an appetizer or snack during dinner.

6). Vegetable Sushi, Japan

Sushi is famous worldwide and a major draw in Japan. Most people associate sushi with rice, seaweed, and fish, but there are many delightful vegetarian and vegan sushi options available. A vegetarian sushi roll features an outer layer of sesame seeds and seasoned rice, with a filling of avocado, zucchini, cucumber, asparagus, carrot, and tempura, among other toppings and condiments. These options offer plenty of textures and aromas, making them just as enjoyable as conventional sushi. Veg Sushi offers a healthy and delectable alternative to raw fish-based sushi.

Sushi & Pad Thai

7). Pad Thai, Thailand

Vegetarian visitors do not particularly enjoy meandering around Thailand’s food markets. However, knowing exactly what you are looking for makes life a lot easier. Pad Thai is a must-try while visiting Thailand. It is claimed to have originated as a Chinese dish and was later adapted to Thai tastes. The vegetarian Pad Thai is a simple and quick recipe to prepare, but it must be made fresh. Tofu, bean sprouts, and diced veggies are stir-fried with rice noodles and seasoned with tamarind sauce and Thai spices. The vegetables, sauces, and noodles are all stir-fried in a wok over high heat, giving the noodles their perfect texture and authenticity. Pad Thai is available at practically every street food vendor and restaurant in Thailand.

8). Pesto Trofie, Italy

Italy is a vegetarian’s dream, with countless options for eating such as pizza, pasta, risotto, and much more. The beautiful country is known all around the world for its pasta and the different sources that go with it. For this list, we choose Pesto Trofie. Pesto originated in the Liguria region and the basil there is believed to be more potent than anywhere else. Pesto is made using crushed basil, salt, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and loads of olive oil. It goes well with any type of pasta, but the thin, twisted Trofie soaks up pesto perfectly. Trofie is a short, twisted pasta made by cutting a long strip of rolled pasta into tiny pieces.

Pesto Trofie & Dal Bhat

9). Dal Bhat, Nepal

Dal Bhat is Nepal’s national dish, which the Nepalese eat for all three meals of the day The classic Nepalese food is simple, quick, and cheap to whip up, yet yummy. Dal is a yellow lentil soup, while Bhat is cooked rice. Dal Bhat has no set recipe, and different locations and households prepare it differently. It is commonly served with seasonal vegetables, potato curry, and pickles. The colorful Thali (plate) is both tasty and filling. Dal Bhat is also quite popular in India and Bangladesh.

10). Gado Gado, Indonesia

Gado Gado translates as ‘ mix-mix’ in Indonesian. It is a colorful salad made up of lightly cooked vegetables such as potatoes, long beans, spinach, bean sprouts, corn, and cabbage. Hard-boiled eggs, Tempe (fermented soya beans), and tofu can be added to the medley, which is then tossed with the most incredible peanut dressing. Most regions in Indonesia have a different take on this immensely popular dish. It could be made as spicy as you like while still tasting fantastic. Gado Gado is very wholesome and packed with all the natural nutrients. The ‘one-dish meal’ can be served as either a snack or a main entrée. It comes with krupuk (fried crispy crackers) on the side, which you may eat in between bits of Gado Gado or use to scoop up the extra sauces. If you’re strictly vegetarian, avoid the crackers because they contain prawn meat.

Gado Gado & Caldo Verde

11). Caldo Verde, Portugal

Portuguese cuisine is not particularly vegetarian-friendly, but Caldo Verde is great for cold nights when you want something hearty and comforting but don’t want to put in too much work. Caldo Verde simply means ‘green broth’. The warm soup contains finely shredded Portuguese cabbage, potatoes, kale, onions, and olive oil. It was traditionally cooked in a metal pot over an open fire, but the recipe has been modified to reflect the region in which it is made. Some variations contain meat, so inquire if you order this at a restaurant. The creamy soup might look too basic, but it is quite flavourful which is why it can be found in practically every restaurant in Portugal. It may be served with freshly made bread and can keep you full for hours.

12). Spring Rolls, China

Spring rolls are one of the most-loved Chinese appetizers that are also a favorite in Asia. The standard recipe is to stuff gently seasoned crunchy veggies inside a thinly wrapped cylindrical pastry. In China, you can indulge in different kinds of veggie spring rolls, including ones containing noodles, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and bean sprouts. The number of conceivable combinations is countless. You can eat it with a dipping sauce for added flavor. Spring rolls can be fried or baked, depending on your preference. Traditionally, spring rolls were made using spring vegetables during the spring festival, hence its name. In Asian countries, these are pretty much everywhere, from swanky eateries to street vendors.

Spring Rolls & Misir Wot.   kindernetz.de

13). Misir Wot, Ethiopia

Misir Wot is a full-flavored and well-seasoned red lentil stew from Ethiopia. It is a one-pot lentil dish that is filling, spicy, earthy, and ridiculously simple to make. Misir Wot takes a few simple ingredients, like split red lentils, onion, garlic, and spices, and turns them into something magical. The star components are berbere (spice mixture) and niter kibbeh (flavourful spiced clarified butter). Misir Wot is a healthy, protein-packed, and delicious dish that we’ll never tire of. The stew is generally served with injera (sour fermented flatbread), but it also tastes amazing with any other flatbread or steamed rice.

14). Doenjang Jjigae, South Korea

Doenjang Jjigae is a traditional Korean stew and one of the most popular vegetarian options. The mouth-watering broth is made with fermented Korean soybean paste (doenjang). To give it more substance, tofu mushrooms and bean sprouts are added. Doenjang Jjigae is hearty, yummy, and packed with savory aromas. The key to a perfect jjigae is to use good doenjang. The rest of it is adaptable and you will likely come across dozens of variations for this dish. Doenjang Jjigae is generally vegetarian, but may occasionally contain fish or meat. Tell the waiter not to add seafood to the order while serving it.

Doenjang Jjigae & Shakshuka

15). Shakshuka, Israel

Shakshuka is supposed to have evolved in North Africa, but it swiftly spread to the Middle East and became popular. Shakshuka is now a staple dish in Israel. It’s an easy recipe with simmering tomatoes, onions, garlic, green chilies, and gently poached eggs. Cumin, coriander, paprika, and nutmeg enhance the rich tomato base. Traditionally, the dish is prepared by poaching eggs directly in tomato sauce, however, Shakshuka does not have to include eggs! You can add vegetables, tofu, lentils, or ricotta. Shakshuka is usually eaten for breakfast, but it is so simple, filling, and nutritious that it’s fit for any meal of the day. It is usually served with some sort of bread to soak up every last drop of the lip-smacking sauce.

16). Vinegret, Russia

Vinegret is a Russian salad that is also popular in post-Soviet countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus. This sour, sweet, and savory salad is delightful, hearty, and loaded with veggies. Vinegret consists of fall harvest vegetables (boiled beets, potatoes, and carrots), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), and brined pickles. Beets are a key ingredient in the salad, giving it a unique, vivid pink color. It tends to be the cheapest dish on the menu, hence it is always the first option for every budget traveler.

Vinegret & Tacos

17). Street Tacos, Mexico

Tacos are still a staple of Mexican cuisine, available in both upscale restaurants and street kiosks. It has also been well received globally, finding favor wherever it travels. Tacos are made of a tiny hand-sized corn/wheat tortilla topped with a filling. The tortilla is then wrapped over the stuffing and eaten by hand. Tacos can be packed with a variety of fillings such as beans, veggies, and cheese, and topped with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or vegetables. Authentic, traditional tacos are mostly served in soft tortillas. A street taco got its name from street vendors in Mexico who sold tacos from food carts or kiosks along the road. Street tacos are smaller than regular tacos and made using a corn tortilla.

18). Fondue Switzerland

Fondue is a Swiss melted cheese meal served in a fondue pot on a portable stove and eaten by dipping bread and veggies into the cheese. Fondue originated during the harsh Swiss winters when impoverished villagers had little left to eat but stale bread, a block of cheese, and a splash of wine. They dunked the crusty bread in melted cheese, making it soft and delectable. Over the years, Fondue evolved from its humble beginnings into a Swiss winter tradition. Though the essential ingredients in Swiss fondue are cheese, wine, and garlic, other add-ins include herbs, paprika, nutmeg, and mustard. For a truly Swiss flavor, nothing beats a rich, cheesy fondue high up in the Alps after a long day of hiking or skiing.

Fondue & Banh Mi.    eatingwell.com

19). Vegetarian Banh Mi, Vietnam

Banh mi sandwiches are a traditional Vietnamese street food that originated in Saigon. They’re a delightful fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisines. Banh mi is a crusty baguette sandwich filled with marinated protein, pickled vegetables, fresh greens, sriracha, mayonnaise, and other delicious toppings. Usually, the sandwich’s protein comes from meat (marinated chicken, paté, or pork), but it’s easy to find plant-based substitutes in Vietnam, like crispy marinated tofu. The delectable Vietnamese sandwich is crispy, hearty, and succulent.

20). Vegetarian Food, India

Almost forty percent of India’s population is vegetarian, and it is difficult to find a restaurant without a few vegetarian selections on its menu. You may believe I am biased, but I can promise you that no other country can prepare vegetarian food better than India. Even the most ardent meat eater will be tempted by the range of flavors and tastes in these vegetarian dishes. From north to south and west to east, there is an incredible variety of unique and delicious vegetarian dishes to choose from. It is tough to choose which ones to recommend. So, I would give you the names of some of the most-loved vegetarian foods in India and leave you to figure out where to start.

Chole Bhature & Butter Paneer

Dal Makhani, Shahi Paneer, Puri Aloo, Masala Dosa, Idli Sambar, Pani Puri, Dal Baati, Kachori, Samosa, Chole Bhature, Veg Biryani, Malai Kofta, Paneer Tikka, Pav Bhaji, Dum Aloo, Undhiyu, and countless others. If you have a sweet craving, check out this list of must-try sweets in India.

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