Vietnamese cuisine is full of bright, fresh flavors that revolve around vegetables and rice. Common ingredients include lemongrass, ginger, mint, cilantro, chili peppers, and limes—and many of the dishes are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. It’s super-easy to make your favorite Vietnamese dishes animal-friendly by choosing vegan fish sauce (or omitting it altogether) and swapping tofu, soy curls, or other vegan proteins for animal flesh.
Tip: While there isn’t a word for “vegan” in Vietnamese, the word “chay” means “vegetarian,” and most “chay” food is also vegan. This can be especially helpful if you’re visiting Vietnam or ordering at a Vietnamese restaurant.
Here are a few of our favorite vegan Vietnamese recipes:
Every culture has some form of dumpling—a soft, doughy pocket filled with goodness. This is a Vietnamese version—a tapioca flour wrapper filled with crunchy jícama, wood ear fungus, and beefless crumbles.
Fresh spring rolls (aka “summer rolls”) are commonly filled with rice noodles, lettuce, herbs, and some type of protein and wrapped in chewy rice paper skin. Tofu is a great option, or you can pick up vegan ham or shrimp—both can be found in the freezer section of many Asian grocery stores.
Marinated tofu, crunchy veggies, and chewy noodles make for a refreshing salad. This recipe features homemade vegan fish sauce—because fish feel pain and have complex social lives that we’re only beginning to understand.
The bánh mì sandwich is a popular street food, easily identified by its crusty French baguette, which is filled with iconic Vietnamese flavors. We love this recipe, which features lemongrass “beef” made from homemade seitan. It’s delicious, savory, and cow-friendly.
One of the most popular Vietnamese dishes in the U.S. is phở, an aromatic soup served with fresh herbs and chewy rice noodles. The broth is key—and this recipe uses a variety of vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, and fragrant spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cloves to create a dish packed full of flavor.
Vietnamese fried spring rolls are typically made with wood ear fungus, glass noodles, various chopped vegetables, and ground meat. These are made with vegan meat crumbles instead of ground pork, a choice that spares the lives of countless playful pigs.
This refreshing dish features bundles of vermicelli rice noodles and marinated grilled “chicken,” topped with green onion oil and served with a dipping sauce. Soy curls are a versatile vegan protein that’s kind to chickens—intelligent and curious individuals who simply want to live in peace.
If you’re just starting your vegan journey, order a free vegan starter kit to help you make the transition: