After a relaxing weekend, you're back in the hustle and bustle of the week: dropping off the kids in the morning before a long day at work, then soccer practice, ballet, homework... takeout is certainly a tempting option to finish off a Monday. But instead of opting for delivery, why not try to make your own (MSG-free!) vegetarian Chinese food recipes? We've selected some of our favorite Chinese food recipes bursting with flavors and colors, each of which will be a welcome addition to your Meatless Monday table.
This kung pao tofu is a spicy dish made with a base of firm tofu and broccoli. The sauce combines aromatic garlic, ginger, and scallions with peanuts for crunch and a touch of sweetness. Szechuan peppercorns add their slightly tongue-numbing flavor, and black vinegar and soy sauce round out the flavor profile. Just steam some brown rice, and you're good to go.
Image: Michael Phams
This soba noodle recipe may not be entirely traditional, but it is heavily influenced by both Chinese food recipes and other Asian cuisines. Japanese soba noodles are used as the base, but the sweet-and-savory peanut sauce is more reminiscent of a Chinese-style dish, spiced with ginger and hot pepper. The coconut milk adds creaminess and a bit of a Thai flair to this pan-Asian delight.
Soup dumplings image via Shutterstock
While many soup dumpling recipes feature a meaty filling, this vegetarian recipe takes a different approach. Taro, water chestnuts, and shiitake mushrooms are flavored with scallion, ginger, and sesame before being stuffed in these dumplings with a tasty vegetarian stock. They might require a bit more effort than some of our other suggested Chinese food recipes, but your work will be rewarded as soon as you take your first bite.
Image courtesy of Canolainfo.org
For a simple side, garlic snow peas are the perfect choice. Five ingredients are all you need: canola oil, snow peas, a generous amount of garlic, a touch of salt, and cilantro for freshness and flavor. This recipe can also be made with regular peas or string beans, if you want to change it up. Serve them alongside your favorite Chinese main or with steamed brown rice for a simple lunch.
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Chinese tofu image via Shutterstock