When you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you already have fewer food options than omnivores. To add to that, going gluten-free means you will have even fewer choices.

Many people think gluten-free vegetarians starve since they can’t have vital vegetarian ingredients like wheat and barley. But, the truth is far from it. There are plenty of vegetarian foods out there that are entirely gluten-free.

The more restrictive the diet, the more difficult meal planning becomes, but you can make many gluten-free items that you and your vegetarian friends will love with a bit of creativity.

Get inspired with these mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that are gluten-free and easy on your troublesome tummy.

Vegetarian Shakshuka

If you are looking for a quick and healthy breakfast dish, Shakshuka is what you want. This one-pan Mediterranean dish is easy to make and full of nutrition. One of the vital ingredients in Shakshuka is tomato. You use diced tomatoes and a little tomato paste, which makes up the base of Shakshuka.

You start with a bit of olive oil, add diced onions, and cook until it softens. You add thinly sliced or grated garlic and cook until it softens and releases that delicious aroma.

After this, you start adding vegetables. You can add tomatoes (which is a must!), eggplants, bell peppers, baby spinach, zucchini(slice them thinly), carrots, etc.

Eggs are another key ingredient in Shakshuka, but vegans do not eat eggs. If you want to go egg-free, add silken tofu instead. Before purchasing tofu or any other food that you are unsure of, look for certified gluten free logos on the package.

Vegetable Curry Quinoa Bowl

Similar to rice, quinoa is gluten-free. But, it is so much more nutritious than plain white rice. This cereal is filled with protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamin B. Rinse your quinoa before cooking. Try sautéing the rinsed quinoa with olive oil and salt for a bit. Add 1 and ¾ cups of water and boil until the water dries up and you are left with fluffy quinoa.

You can add many vegetables to make the vegetable curry, anything from cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, butternut squash, potatoes, okra, tomatoes, to bell peppers. Cut them into bite-size pieces. Sauté minced ginger and garlic in olive oil (or ghee if you are not vegan) until it releases aroma. Add the curry paste and cook for a few seconds.

Follow this with vegetables and boiled or canned chickpeas. Cook until the vegetables are almost done, then add coconut milk. Keep cooking until the vegetables are cooked, and everything is incorporated. Serve on top of the boiled quinoa. Thai curry paste is naturally gluten-free but still check the label.

Gluten-free Rainbow Soba Noodles

Despite having ‘wheat’ in the word buckwheat, 100% pure buckwheat is completely gluten-free. However, most buckwheat noodles in the market can have 20 to 50% wheat flour, so read the label before buying.

Buckwheat can get sticky and soggy very quickly. When you boil, do so for 7-8 minutes before. Make sure to salt and ‘oil’ the water before putting in the noodles. After boiling, immediately put them in cold water to stop the noodles from cooking.

Add some roasted sesame oil in a skillet and follow it with grated ginger and garlic. Add vegetable broth, maple syrup, soya sauce, and peanut butter, and whisk until smooth. Add baby spinach and stir until it wilts. Mix in the noodles and cook for a minute.

You won’t be cooking the other vegetables, so use salad vegetables like cucumber, red cabbage, carrots, green onions and cut them into strips. Put the noodles in a bowl with a splash of lime juice, sesame oil, and soya sauce. Arrange the vegetables on top and serve fresh.

Vegetarian Maki

This simple vegetarian variety of maki will make any Japanese food lover happy. Use ripe yet sturdy avocado, as if it becomes too soft, it won’t be easy to make this sushi.

Seaweed of any sort is a vegetarian/vegan person’s ultimate feast, as this is what adds the oceanic flavor to broths and stews when you can’t have seafood. You can use avocado, carrots, cabbage, radish (try using the pickled variety).

Contrary to popular belief, glutinous rice does not contain gluten. They are just called glutinous because they are stickier than regular rice. Boil the rice and add rice wine vinegar. Mix it.

Lay your nori seaweed on the sushi mat. Add your layer of rice, and then add the vegetables. You can also use cashew mayo in this. After adding all the ingredients, roll your nori carefully as you would with regular sushi.

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Who says barbecues are only for carnivores! Grilled vegetables taste smokey and delicious, so use a variety of veggies to maximize the flavors.

Season your vegetables with a simple glaze of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can also drizzle some maple syrup to caramelize the grilled skewers, but be careful as the sugar in the syrup can char your vegetables.

Some vegetables you can use are cherry tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, eggplants, etc. You can also use sweet corn with the cob; just make sure to cut them into a biteable size.

When grilled, mushrooms release a heavy “umami” aroma, which is rare in vegetarian food. You can use anything from regular button mushrooms to king oyster mushrooms.

Skewer the vegetables using wooden skewers, and put them on the piping hot grill. Grill until the vegetables are barbecued well.

Kidney Beans & Rice

This wholesome Louisiana creole dish is sure to warm your heart on cold nights. This thick and creamy red bean gravy pairs exceptionally well with plain rice. The deep flavor of cajun spices gives this dish its iconic Louisianian characteristics.

If you use canned beans, you don’t have to do much. You simply have to open the can and drain the beans, and they are ready to be used. 

If you are using regular beans, you have to soak them. Pour enough cold water to at least cover the bean completely(or more). Soak them for 6-12 hours. Drain the water and rinse the beans thoroughly. Soaking makes them taste better and easier to boil. It also gets rid of the nutrient inhibiting phytic acids.

Saute the garlic in olive oil, then add the onions and bell peppers. Add the beans and cook until the vegetables are soft, then add cajun spice, salt, and pepper. Serve steaming hot rice into a bowl and top it with the kidney beans.

Tofu Katsu Curry

Tofu katsu is a great vegan/vegetarian alternative for the Japanese Tonkatsu, which is made of pork. Any katsu will need to be ”breaded,” so make sure to use gluten-free panko crumbs which are made of nuts and spices.

To make the tofu feel more meat-like, you have to dehydrate the tofu. You can do it in a few ways, such as using the microwave or boiling a frozen block of tofu.

Japanese condiments always have some gluten in them, so make sure to buy a vegan, gluten-free curry. Some of the vegetables you can put in the curry are peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, etc. You can cook them in a vegetarian broth and curry roux(make sure it’s vegan and gluten-free).

You can fry the tofu katsu in oil or air fry them. Fry them until the breaded layer is golden and crispy. Serve your boiled rice in a bowl and top it with curry and tofu katsu.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake

This strawberry shortcake is vegan, gluten-free, keto, and paleo-friendly. The dry ingredients used for this shortcake are gluten-free flour, almond flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and coconut buttermilk. The coconut buttermilk is made of coconut milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Make the buttermilk and then combine the dry ingredients separately. Gradually add the coconut buttermilk into the dry ingredients. You don’t have to add all of the buttermilk, just until you end up with a semi-sticky dough.

Work the dough on a floured(gluten-free flour) surface and shape it into a 1-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut them out in circles.

Carefully transfer the cut biscuits into a greased baking sheet – bake for 15 to 17 minutes in a 400°F pre-heated oven. Take them out and place them in a cooling rack.

Cut the strawberries, then macerate them in sugar and lime juice. Assemble the cookies and strawberries and serve vegan and gluten-free vanilla ice cream scoop.

Final Thoughts

It might be difficult to go gluten-free while being vegetarian or vegan, but it is not impossible. Remember that bread is not the only carb out there, and try out good alternatives like rice, quinoa, potatoes, and buckwheat. Try out these delicious gluten-free vegetarian(and vegan!) recipes and get inspired to create your own dishes.