If you’re considering cutting animal products out of your diet, whether for a week, a month, or indefinitely, you’re probably thinking primarily about what you’re going to substitute for meat, eggs, and dairy in the three square meals you eat each day. What you eat between those meals? Maybe that hasn’t been as much of a priority. But if you usually rely on snacks to span a long stretch between breakfast and lunch, or for a quick jolt of energy during the early-afternoon slump, you should absolutely plan on incorporating them into your vegan diet as well. There are plenty of options that require little to no prep—dried fruit, nuts and nut butters, and avocado on toast are all essentials in our book. But, to keep your snacks well balanced and your taste buds on board with this new approach to eating, it’s worthwhile to try out some more involved dishes. Make the most of your cooking time by preparing big-batch items that you can eat several times—a fresh, herb-heavy tabbouleh salad, for instance, or a homemade Israeli-style hummus that’s smoother, creamier, and more flavorful than store-bought. And make sure you have some slightly junkier snacks in your vegan repertoire, too, like Buffalo-style deep-fried cauliflower or loaded “queso” dip—because, while some non-vegetarians may think vegans are all my-body-is-a-temple ascetic types, most vegans themselves will tell you that they like gooey, melty, fried, and/or dippable munchies as much as the next person. Read on for a collection of 10 snacks to suit almost any mood or craving, both healthy and not-so-healthy, all of them 100% vegan.
EASY VEGAN CRISPY TOFU SPRING ROLLS WITH PEANUT-TAMARIND DIPPING SAUCE
Crispy and fried is one of the most universally pleasing ways to prepare tofu. In a dish that’s perfect for a DIY dinner night with family or friends, we stuff golden fried tofu into store-bought spring roll wrappers, along with fresh pea shoots, julienned carrots, and herbs, crunchy toasted peanuts, and hot chilies. The dipping sauce is more than half the fun, though—ours is a blend of peanuts, tamarind concentrate, and curry paste (the stuff from a jar works just fine for this simple dip).
Get the recipe for Easy Vegan Crispy Tofu Spring Rolls With Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce »
CRISPY BÁNH MÌ SPRING ROLLS WITH CREAMY CHILI MAYO
For these traditional deep-fried spring rolls, we take inspiration from Vietnamese bánh mì, filling the wrappers with pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro. Tofu or shiitakes would be great additions, too, if you like. Again, the dipping sauce here—a spicy mayo that we make by mixing vegan mayo with chili sauce like sambal oelek or Sriracha—is clutch. We’ve got a couple of recipes for homemade vegan mayonnaise, plus recommended brands if you want to buy it already prepared.
Get the recipe for Crispy Bánh Mì Spring Rolls With Creamy Chili Mayo »
CRISPY BUFFALO FRIED CAULIFLOWER
Most of the deliciousness of Buffalo chicken resides in the fry, the seasoning, and the sauce. If you’re in the market for a vegan alternative, ditch the chicken and replace it with cauliflower, deep-frying it just as you would chicken wings. With a Korean-style batter of cornstarch, flour, water, and vodka, the cauliflower ends up super crisp. For the sauce, we mix a little of the fry oil with hot sauce instead of using butter.
Get the recipe for Crispy Buffalo Fried Cauliflower »
KOREAN FRIED CAULIFLOWER
The Korean-style batter we use for Buffalo cauliflower lends itself to other flavor profiles, too. To make a Korean version, we add sesame seeds to it, plus unsweetened coconut flakes for added surface area (more surface area = more crunch). As soon as the florets come out of the oil, they’re tossed with a sweet soy sauce or sweet-and-spicy chili sauce.
Get the recipe for Korean Fried Cauliflower »
THAI COCONUT RED CURRY POTATO CHIPS
Are homemade potato chips really worth the effort, considering the myriad brands and flavors in stores? Unquestionably yes. At home, you can get them shatteringly crisp, and your available chip flavors are limited only by your imagination. Here, we use a Thai-inspired mixture of pulverized coconut flakes, makrut lime leaves, chili powder, and lemongrass, among other ingredients, to produce a set of flavors that are both intense and intensely contrasting.
Get the recipe for Thai Coconut Red Curry Potato Chips »
BEAN-STUFFED DEEP-FRIED JALAPEÑOS WITH SALSA ROJA
Jalapeño poppers are wonderful when you want a crispy-outside, creamy-inside treat, but they don’t exactly scream “vegan-friendly.” This alternative version stuffs the peppers with vegan refried beans mixed with chopped green chilies and cilantro, so you get that same delightful contrast, though with a different flavor.
Get the recipe for Bean-Stuffed Deep-Fried Jalapeños With Salsa Roja »
SMOKY POTATO AND CAPER EMPANADAS WITH CILANTRO SAUCE
Making the dough for these flaky empanadas does take a bit of time, so, if you’re squeezed, you should feel free to use a good frozen vegan pie crust if you can find it, and even spring roll wrappers would work in a pinch. We stuff them with hearty potato and briny capers, seasoned with chipotle and Madras curry powder —an unusual yet delicious flavor combination. A spicy cilantro chutney makes for a wonderful complement to the crispy pastries.
Get the recipe for Smoky Potato and Caper Empanadas With Cilantro Sauce »
FRIED PLANTAINS WITH BLACK BEANS, ROASTED POBLANOS, AVOCADO, AND PICKLED RED ONION
Patacones are Colombian fried green plantains, and, like the best French fries, they’re double-fried—once in low-temperature oil before being smashed into flat disks, then again at a higher temperature. The shape is perfect for loading up with toppings, like the black beans, roasted peppers, avocado, and vinegary pickled red onion we use here.
Get the recipe for Fried Plantains With Black Beans, Roasted Poblanos, Avocado, and Pickled Red Onion »
PAN CON TOMATE (SPANISH-STYLE GRILLED BREAD WITH TOMATO)
[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
No joke: This Catalan tapa comes together in about as much time as it will take you to read this paragraph. Because it’s so simple, though, using the best ingredients you can find is crucial. Start by drizzling crunchy ciabatta slices with good olive oil and toasting them, then rub them with garlic once they’re crisp. Spoon on a pulp of ripe summer tomatoes, and finish with more olive oil and flaky salt. It couldn’t be simpler or more satisfying.
Get the recipe for Pan con Tomate (Spanish-Style Grilled Bread With Tomato) »
SPANISH-STYLE BLISTERED PADRÓN PEPPERS (PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN)
[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
Blistered Padrón peppers are a tasty snack with an exciting element of unpredictability: While most Padróns are as mild as green bell pepper, about one in 10 is wickedly spicy. Preparing them is a snap—just heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet until it’s smoking, char the peppers, then take them off the heat and drizzle them with high-quality olive oil.
Get the recipe for Spanish-Style Blistered Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón) »