Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+
One of the most popular holidays on the planet, Lunar New Year marks the start of a new year based on the moon-focused calendar. Lunar New Year celebrations are particularly popular in cultures across East and Southeast Asia and in modern times are often celebrated with festivals, house cleaning and decorating, gift giving, gathering with family, and, of course, traditional Lunar New Year food. In honor of the occasion, we’ve pulled together some vegan and vegetarian recipes that are sure to set you up for an auspicious and delicious new year.
Vegan and Vegetarian Lunar New Year Food Recipes
Vegan Wonton in Red Chili Oil 红油抄手 (hóng yóu chāo shǒu) – Woon Heng
Woon Heng is one of our favorite food creators (her stunning plant-based food Instagram, @woon.heng, is a mandatory follow) and while she has several Lunar New Year food recipes to try, this one is particularly special. “In Lunar New Year, it’s believed that eating dumplings will bring good fortune,” she writes. “I also think it’s a perfect family activity where everyone can sit together and wrap dumplings while sharing laughter and joy.”
Paleo Korean Caramelized Sweet Potatoes (Goguma Mattang) – What Great Grandma Ate
“I remember eating these caramelized sweet potatoes when I was young for every holiday in Korea with my family,” What Great Grandma Ate blogger Jean Choi writes. She created this baked-not-fried (and, aside from honey, totally vegan) take on the dish for a Lunar New Year celebration.
Vegan Japchae (Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry) – Veggiekins, A Blog by Remy Park
“Japchae is commonly enjoyed around the Lunar New Year as noodles symbolize a long life, however it’s common to find japchae at celebrations and gatherings like birthdays and family dinners too,” creator Remy Park notes of this easy-to-make, gluten-free noodle dish.
Chinese New Year Almond Cookies – Table for Two by Julie Chiou
Taiwanese-American blogger Julie Chiou created this recipe for crumbly, almond-y cookies to mark the occasion. “These little almond cookies symbolize coins, so they’re often enjoyed during the New Year to bring good fortune,” she writes. “They have a distinct almond flavor and a satisfying crunch, which made them one of my favorite Asian snacks as a child. ”
Nian Gao (年糕, Chinese New Year Cake) – Healthy Nibbles by Lisa Lin
Glutinous rice cakes known as nian gao are an iconic celebration food, but the details of how they are created vary by region and tradition. “Although my family is from Guangdong Province, we make something similar to Shanghai nian gao during Lunar New Year, but it’s called 迎年圓 (“welcoming [new] year dumplings”),” writes Lisa Lin of this recipe, adapted from her mother’s version.
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup (酸辣湯) – Chez Jorge
“It is hearty, spicy, and sour — one of my favorite round table dishes to have during Lunar New Year,” writes George, the chef creator behind the fully plant-based blog Chez Jorge. “Traditionally the dish contains meat and egg, but we made it vegan & just as good by packing it with mushroom umami and replacing the egg drops with tofu skin (yuba).”
Long Life Noodles (yī miàn, 伊面) – The Woks of Life
Long Life or Longevity noodles are one of the most iconic Lunar New Year foods and this version (veg as long as you use plant-based ‘oyster’ sauce) is simple and flavorful. “In addition to symbolizing longevity, eating noodles also signifies prosperity and good luck, which is why serving any kind of noodles for Chinese New Year (which is almost here!) is a good idea,” writes Bill, one of the four family members behind The Woks of Life.
Vegan Red Curry Braided Dumplings – The Viet Vegan
“These vegan red curry braided dumplings are packed with fragrant curry flavor,” writes Lisa Le of The Viet Vegan. “Super easy to make and would be beautiful for celebrating Lunar New Year!” She created the recipe last year, while separated from loved ones, noting that she found joy and comfort in cooking and eating food that reminded her of family traditions.
RELATED: Su Cai Jiao (Vegetable Dumplings)