Innovative Plant-Based Dishes for Diners

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Restaurant customers today want healthy options on their menus, so plant-based and vegan dishes are a great choice. You can bring in a new round of customers with the help of a little green on your list of dinners, appetizers and desserts.

Need some inspiration? Here are some fabulous recipes to try this spring.

Appetizers

cheese-and-meat-appetizer-selection

Vegan Crostini with Smoky White Bean Spread and Nectarine

These are delicious bites that come together fast and work best in big batches. Go beyond toasting slices of bread in your oven and dress seasonal crostini in an unforgettable array of flavors.

Whites beans pureed with roasted garlic are given a kick with a little liquid smoke. Ripe nectarines are glazed with balsamic vinegar to make them salty, sweet and too sexy to resist. Set these out at a buffet or offer them as a starter for your warm-weather dinner menu.

Spicy Lentil Samosas

Bring the taste of India to your table with crunchy baked samosas that combine the best spices of the east with cheap, easy veggies and legumes you can find on grocery store shelves.

Mix lentils with vegetables to make the filling for these crunchy treats. A bit of chili and garam masala give them an authentic flavor. Brush the finished pockets of goodness with a little oil and then bake them in big batches in the oven. These are perfect for a fusion menu.

Fava Bean Salad

This vibrant salad is easy to make. Your customers will love the cool temperature, light and fresh taste and satisfying effect of the fava beans. If you want to serve this at your cafe, bring it out in small bowls or on starter plates with some extra garnish to really sell it.

The beans only need some chives, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno to dress them up. Mix all the ingredients together and then put them in the fridge to chill and you’ve created a great new side or entrée salad. The cool result is perfect for a hot afternoon.

Soups and Salads

Soup and salad is the obvious choice for plant-based eating, but that doesn’t mean your offerings have to be boring. These are all great ways to use up your stock of vegetables and keep your customers coming back.

Green Pea Guacamole

Not exactly a salad, this mash of avocados and green peas makes this dish an easy sell to anyone, even those who balk at the words “eat your veggies.” Serve this delightful, cool and creamy dip with baked tortilla chips to keep it healthy or with raw broccoli to make it even greener. The lime juice will keep the avocado from going bad, and the peas add a surprising twist to the texture.

Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

A warm salad that makes the most of spring’s bounty, this dish puts your spiralizer to work making big, flat noodles out of white sweet potatoes, carrots and zucchini. Cook them in a splash of oil then keep them basic or zest them up with a squeeze of lemon juice. If you prefer, sprinkle grated cheese over them, but if you have vegans at your table, substitute nutritional yeast.

Potato Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Herb-roasted potatoes meet fresh salad greens in this innovative salad that will have everyone asking for the recipe. The dressing is a delicious combination of whole grain mustard, maple syrup and lemon with some chives to give it a kick. The roasted potatoes soak up the sauce while the bitter greens give them a delicious bed to lie on while they wait to be devoured. This is sure to be a new favorite at your restaurant.

Veggie Mexican Corn Soup

Celebrate the most iconic vegetable of summer with this spicy soup. Give it a twist with salsa, garlic and green chili to make it feel more southwestern and keep everyone asking for seconds. With its pretty yellow color, this soup is filling without being heavy and a great way to get your five veggies for the day.

Vegan Pho

Pho has been a rising trend for years, and it’s easy to see why. The mélange of ginger, anise and mint make it hard to put down the spoon. Now you can make this a healthier dish by keeping it vegan. Soft, delicious rice noodles fill the bowl and soak up all the broth’s complex flavor. Make this one on a rainy day or offer it at a smaller, chic locale for patrons who can appreciate this international soup.

Main Dishes

autumn-thanksgiving-main-dish-table-settingYou might not reach for the veggies when it’s time to make an entree, but perhaps you should. Chefs all over the world are creating some incredibly delicious dishes that showcase nature’s healthiest characters.

Vegan Gumbo

This delicious gumbo is a mélange of beans, okra, green pepper and mushrooms that all work together to make a surprisingly meaty stew. Dark miso paste helps to develop the flavor. Serve it with white rice to make it a meal.

Cauliflower Hot “Chicken”

Think your vegan guests won’t like fried foods? Think again. This amazing veggie twist on traditional fried chicken is mouth-watering, spicy and crunchy thanks to the magic of the deep-fryer. Serve this cauliflower-disguised-as-chicken on a bun or with the usual trappings of a chicken dinner. Try some corn or red potatoes on the side, as well as fresh coleslaw.

Desserts

layered-dessert-of-strawberries-biscuit-and-iceGood for you for eating — and serving — your veggies. Treat yourself with these amazing desserts to round out your vegan eating experience.

Elegant Whipped Lavender Berry Mousse

This delicious and light mousse is a great recipe for your latest trip to the farmers’ market. Use up a mix of berries and lavender for a sweet and complex crowd-pleasing treat with this fabulous dessert.

Fudgy Raspberry Brownies

These delicious chocolate squares will keep everyone smiling thanks to their soft texture, tart kick and sugar-free status. They mix up fast in your commercial mixers, so you won’t need a lot of time to prepare them. You can buy the berries frozen but measure them before they thaw. Be ready for these to go fast once they’re out of the oven.

Berry Galettes

Even the healthiest among us can’t say no to a tiny personal-sized pie. These galettes are the perfect mix of berries, whole grains and a touch of salt to create the perfect dessert. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream to make them truly irresistible.