By Jennifer Brunton
Plant-based cuisine has gone mainstream. It’s also gone upscale—leading to a surge in creativity.
Elegant vegan dishes now have pride of place at top tables across the globe.
These remarkable recipes come from some of the world’s finest restaurants. They’re presented with the original measurements—some metric, some imperial. The goal is to stay as close to each chef’s vision as possible.
Serve one of these plant-based dishes next time you want to thrill your guests.
Joia’s Vegan Panzanella
Europe’s only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant, Joia brings a vibrant, vegetable-forward touch to high-end Italian dining.
Led by owner Pietro Leeman, Joia has long been a pioneer.
Start any meal with this gorgeous variation on a classic panzanella salad. It’s a perennial presence on Joia’s exuberant menu.
For the bread salad:
- 300g stale bread, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 300g tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 50g carrots, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 50g celery, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 50g radishes, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 50g white wine vinegar
- 30g extra virgin olive oil
- 20g sugar
- Salt as needed
For the chickpea pâté flavored with wasabi:
- 200g dried chickpeas
- 300g cauliflower florets
- 20g extra virgin olive oil
- 10g wasabi paste
- Salt as needed
For the almond mayonnaise with saffron:
- 200g plain almond milk
- 8g salt
- 23g lemon or yuzu juice
- 1 pinch powdered saffron
- 350g cold-pressed sunflower oil
For the raspberry sauce:
- 30g sugar
- 60g white wine vinegar
- 200g fresh or frozen raspberries
For the cucumber sauce:
- 500g cucumber
- 8g cornstarch
- Salt as needed
Begin by soaking the chickpeas in water the night before.
For the bread salad:
- Preheat the oven to 200 F.
- Spread the bread on a baking tray and dry it out in the oven for 1 hour, or until crispy.
- Place the bread, tomatoes and vegetables in a bowl and add the vinegar, oil and sugar. Mix well and season to taste. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.
For the chickpea pâté:
- Rinse and wash the chickpeas, then boil them in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to drain in a colander.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the cauliflower and boil for 8 minutes. Tip into a colander and leave to drain.
- In a food processor, blend the chickpeas and cauliflower until you obtain a thick paste, then add the extra virgin olive oil, salt and wasabi.
For the almond mayonnaise:
- Place the almond milk, salt, lemon or yuzu juice, and saffron in a bowl.
- Emulsify the ingredients with a hand blender, slowly adding the oil until you have a thick and creamy mayonnaise.
- Season with more salt if needed and check the acidity.
For the raspberry sauce:
- Boil the sugar in a saucepan with a splash of water until it reaches 250 F on a sugar thermometer.
- Add the vinegar and simmer until it reduces to half its volume.
- Add the raspberries and cook for 5 minutes on low heat until you have a brightly colored sauce.
- Blitz until smooth with a hand blender, pass the liquid through a sieve and allow to cool.
For the cucumber sauce:
- Pass the cucumbers through a juicer, pour the juice into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Mix the cornstarch with a little water and whisk into the boiling cucumber juice until it thickens.
- Season with salt, remove from the heat and cool over a bowl of ice water.
- Take a spoonful of the chickpea pâté and roll it to create a small ball. Shape the bread salad around the outside of the pâté to make nice, neat spheres.
- Repeat until you’ve used up the pâté and set aside.
- Place a teaspoon of mayonnaise in the center of each plate, followed by a teaspoon of raspberry sauce and a teaspoon of cucumber sauce on top.
- With the bottom of a glass, vigorously bang on the three sauces making a colored “splash” design.
- Remove the glass and place the ball of panzanella in the center of the splash. Each plate will be slightly different.
Tokyo, Japan: Daigo’s Onion Steak
Daigo holds two Michelin stars. It amazes diners with its vegan kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal.
This serene establishment treats guests to enchanting garden views, impeccable service and exquisite nourishment.
This umami-laced dish from its repertoire will be a treat even far from Daigo’s dining room at the base of majestic Mount Atago.
- 1 onion
- Vegetable oil
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Peel and trim the onion and cut it into two horizontal pieces. Steam it for 20 minutes.
- Heat a sauté pan, add vegetable oil and cook the onion “steaks” on one side until brown.
- Turn each piece and add sake, mirin, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
- Right before all the liquid has evaporated, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
- Serve with watercress on top.
Berlin, Germany: Lucky Leek’s Spinach and Potato Dumplings
Lucky Leek is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant, meaning that it offers fine dining at a relatively lower price point.
With its renowned vegan tasting menu and friendly atmosphere, it’s become a vegan travel destination.
Its signature dish may well be its dairy- and egg-free savory dumplings with a piquant no-cook tomato sauce, developed by chef-owner Josita Hartanto.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 russet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 7 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 8 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, cored and quartered
- 2 sprigs thyme, stems removed
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 1/2 ounces firm tofu, drained
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons durum wheat semolina flour
- 2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 small zucchini, julienned
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped, toasted hazelnuts
For the potatoes:
- Add the potatoes to a large saucepan of boiling, salted water and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the potatoes. Use a potato ricer or masher to rice the potatoes on a baking sheet. Then let them stand to air-dry and cool them completely.
For the spinach:
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts down, all its moisture evaporates, and the spinach begins sticking to the pan, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the spinach cool completely.
For the tomato sauce:
- Combine tomatoes, thyme leaves and sugar in a blender and purée until smooth.
- Scrape the sauce into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 1 hour.
For the dumplings:
1. Place the tofu in a fine sieve set over a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, press it
through the sieve.
2. Add the cooled potatoes and spinach to the tofu along with the flour, semolina and
bread crumbs. Stir until evenly combined.
3. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- Using your hands, divide the dough into eighths and form each eighth into a round dumpling.
- Heat the broiler.
- In a 12-inch oven-proof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Arrange the dumplings in the skillet and then sprinkle the zucchini in and around the dumplings.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over the dumplings and then broil until the dumplings are browned on top and warmed through.
- Remove the dumplings from the broiler and sprinkle with the hazelnuts.
- Serve the dumplings hot from the skillet with the cold tomato sauce on the side.
Shanghai, China: Fu He Hui’s Chanterelle Mushrooms
The restaurant is known for its stunning preparations of unique local produce, as well as for its tea pairings.
Explore those exotic tastes with its inspired take on chanterelle mushrooms.
- 120g fresh chanterelle mushrooms
- 120g green asparagus
- 20g fresh corn kernels
- 100g high-fiber flour
- 4g sea salt
- 8g white sugar
- 48g water
- 8g olive oil, plus more for steeping and cooking dough sticks
- 20g vegetable stock, preferably made with dried shitake mushrooms, carrots and cabbage
For the dough sticks:
- Mix the flour, water and 2 grams of sea salt into a dough. Roll it into long thin sticks.
- Steep in oil for 10 hours.
- Fry the dough sticks in a pan of hot oil at 270 F.
- Remove them when they turn golden yellow and set aside.
For the asparagus reduction:
- Boil the asparagus over a low flame until tender.
- Add the sugar.
- Liquidize in a blender.
- Pour 4 grams of olive oil into a wok, add the liquidized asparagus and the corn kernels, and stir fry.
- Add the vegetable stock. Salt to taste.
For the chanterelles:
- Fry the mushrooms in 4 grams olive oil on medium heat for half a minute.
- Add 2 grams of sea salt or to taste.
- Spread the asparagus mixture on the plate.
- Add the chanterelles and garnish with the dough sticks.
New York, New York: NIX’s Carrots En Papillote
This jewel is the only vegetarian restaurant in the U.S. with a Michelin star.
At NIX, diners encounter thought-provoking food that’s also delicious and lovely to look at. And the eatery’s warm vibe makes the experience even better.
Bring the magic home with the complex flavors of this parchment-baked masterpiece.
- 2 cups cooked bulgur wheat
- 20 baby rainbow carrots (washed, with tops)
- 4 tablespoons carrot cure
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- Olive oil
- 4 parsley sprigs
- 20 mint leaves
- 4 lemon wedges
For the carrot cure:
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, grated
- Cut out 4 heart shapes in parchment paper (you’ll want to leave approximately 3″ all around each bunch of carrots).
- Toss the washed carrots in the cure.
- Place 1/2 cup cooked bulgur in the center of each parchment heart.
- Top with 5 spiced rainbow carrots.
- Dress the carrots with one tablespoon of vegan butter and a splash of water.
- Seal the parchment by folding it in half and pinching the edges together.
- Bake at 450 F for approximately 15 minutes.
- Cut the parchment open and top with herbs and a little olive oil.
- Serve with a lemon wedge
All over the world, innovative vegetarian and vegan restaurants are wowing diners. These scrumptious recipes will let you dazzle your dinner guests with plant-based delights in your own home.
A former academic turned freelance writer and editor, Jennifer Brunton lives and works in Vermont.
This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances.
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