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Best Easy Vegetarian Recipes

Updated on July 5, 2013

Flavor and Simplicity

Here is a set of Chinese recipes that are vegetarian and easy. They work well, are simple to make, and contain simple ingredients. They are fragrant and flavorful, not bland, and contain no MSG at all.

The renown chef Grace Zia Chu began writing Chinese cook books for Americans in 1962 in order to share the simple artistry of cooking in Chinese, as some say. The ingredients she recommended for flavor in all Chinese cuisine, including the vegetarian, include some of the following list that are present in the recipes below:

  • Oils: soy bean, cabbage-seed, sesame-seed, and others.
  • Sea salt.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Vinegars.
  • Tea: beverage and flavoring.
  • Sugar.
  • Ginger root.
  • Scallions, leeks, chives.
  • Garlic.
  • Cornstarch for thickening.
  • Black and red peppers.
  • Cilantro.
  • Hoisin and oyster sauce.

If you have not yet prepared any Chinese cuisine because you felt that you needed special cooking tools and a wok, then try these recipes with your own cooking utensils. These dishes are authentic home-cooking style in China and have been shared with me by friends I met at university and work.

Chinese Sesame Onion Bread

Sesame seeds and oil make an interesting addition to any Chinese recipe, bringing a touch of another flavor to each. While some individuals mistake the purpose of the oil, it is for flavoring and not frying, per se.

This receipe takes about an hour in total and is well worth the time.


  • 2 Cups all purpose flour plus extra to flour a surface for kneading
  • 3/4 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 4 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tsp chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds, placed on a flat plate
  • 4 tsp vegetable or corn oil


  • Pour the 2 Cups flour into a large bowl and add 3/4 Cup boiling water; stir until a sticky ball forms in the bowl (about 3 minutes)
  • Flour a clean flat surface and place the dough on it. Knead ten minutes until no longer sticky.
  • Cover dough with a clean tea towel and let it rest 30 minutes.
  • Uncover dough and knead 10 times.
  • Roll dough into a thick coil and cut into 4 equal lengths.
  • Form a ball of each length and roll each out into a circle about 5" in diameter.
  • Brush circle tops with sesame oil and sprinkle 1/4 tsp coarse salt and 1 tsp each of cilantro and green onions over the oiled surface.
  • Roll up each seasoned circle into something like a cigar and roll the cigar-dough shapes once again into 5" circles.
  • Brush the new circle tops with sesame oil and flip each over gently into the plated sesame seeds.
  • Heat an empty frying pan over moderate heat on the stove top. After heated, add 1 tsp vegetable or corn oil and fry the circles on the unseasoned bottoms first until crisp - again, this will take about 3 minutes.
  • Turn over each circle and fry 2 minutes.
  • Remove breads and serve hot. Some cooks like to serve these with a little honey.

Chinese Pickles


  • 2 Large Cucumbers
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Dried red peppers - see this advice if you have made a dish too hot.
  • 1/4 Cup vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar


  • Peel cucumbers and cut lengthwise into pieces that are 2" long.
  • Cut each piece of cucumber in half lengthwise and place all peices into a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt to extract some of the moisture and allow to sit for 60 minutes.
  • In a frying pan, heat sesame oil over medium heat.
  • Pour red peppers in the oil and stri-fry for several seconds until fragrant.
  • Pour vinegar and sugar into the frying pan and stir well to make a hot marinade
  • Pour this marinade over the cucumber pieces, cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
  • Serve with Chinese Sesame Bread above.  

Moon Festival Cakes

These tasty cakes can be used at moon festivals or for any dessert occasion.

Makes 8 Moon Cakes.


  • 1 Can or package of red bean paste. The remainder will keep in the freezer wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 6 months.
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts or walnut pieces
  • 1.5 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 6 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Egg yolk. Use th ewhite for breakfast and for a vegan snack, eliminate the egg completely.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a clean bowl, place 9 Tbsp of bean paste with eight tsps of pine nuts for the filling. Mix gently and divide into 8 balls.
  • In a larger bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and granulated sugar.
  • Pour peanut oil and honey into the flour; mix well, and knead until it is a soft dough. Divide it into eight balls to match the filling
  • Roll the individual dough balls in 8" circles and make sure they are a bit thicker in the centers than at the outer edges.
  • Place one filling ball in centers the dough circles and bring up edges of dough to seal into a ball.
  • Using a muffin pan, dust the openings with flour.
  • Press the moon cake balls into the muffin openings and pat down. Turn the pan upside down and tap the bottom until the moon cake fall out. Wooden molds are made for moon cakes, but you do not need them.
  • Place the cakes neatly in lines on a cooking-sprayed baking sheet and brush each lightly with egg yolk.
  • Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown, remove, and serve hot or cold.

Moon cakes, ready to enjoy! A special mold makes the designs on top. Some Chinese markets carry them.
Moon cakes, ready to enjoy! A special mold makes the designs on top. Some Chinese markets carry them. | Source


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      GetitScene - Thanks for the suggestion; I added one for you!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 4 years ago from The High Seas

      Sounds wonderful. Would like to see a photo of the moon festival cakes!

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      These recipes sound delicious!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Great Chinese recipes that don't look too difficult to make. They all sound very goodl

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      I enjoy kimchi too! We used to have a resaurant that brought out a dozen types of kimchi at the start of the meal - like Mexican restuarnts here provide chips and salsa. Unfortunately, the Korean eatery moved out of town. I miss it.

      Hello, hello - I like to have all threee of these in one meal: one or two of the savory onion breads, pickles, and one moon cake with some hot or iced tea. Perfect. thanks for visiting!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your tempting recipees.

    • dashingclaire profile image

      dashingclaire 7 years ago from United States

      I love kimchi, so I'm more inclined to try the Chinese pickles first. Sounds like a great recipe.