Original photo of tofu recipe I tried

I Tried These Vegan TikTok Recipes So You Don't Have To

I’ll admit, I’ve always been afraid of veganism. While I admired the benefits of a plant-based diet, I didn’t think I had the guts to give up my favorite non-vegan dishes. I was afraid I’d never be able to go out to restaurants with friends, I’d never feel entirely satisfied with my meals, or I’d experience constant cravings for the foods I gave up. I eased plant-based ingredients into my lifestyle, such as almond milk and dairy-free cheese, but convinced myself that fully making the switch would be way too hard. 

However, TikTok has recently inspired me. While scrolling through my TikTok feed, I have stumbled across dozens of users that are sharing their tasty, vegan-friendly recipes. Tabitha Brown, Halle Burns, and Rebecca Leigh are only a few plant-based influencers who have made veganism seem a lot less scary. So, I decided to kick my fears and doubts to the curb, and officially declared myself a vegan. 

As I made the transition, I knew I’d need all the help I could get. To kick off my first week, I decided to make five recipes from TikTok that caught my eye and made my mouth water. Here’s how it went. 

  1. 1.  Buffalo cauliflower wings 

    Original photo of cauliflower buffalo wing recipe I tried

    When I came across Gaby Dimova's buffalo wing alternative, I was thrilled. In fact, it filled the chicken wing-shaped hole in my heart. 

    Gaby’s recipe seemed quick, easy, and a great substitute for chicken nuggets, boneless wings, or other meat-based snacks. Per instruction, I began by preheating my oven to 450 degrees, then spreading bite-sized cauliflower florets on a lined baking sheet. I used aluminum foil, but I’d highly recommend parchment paper instead. 

    To create the coating for the cauliflower, I combined ¾ cup of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, a cup of dairy-free milk (I used almond) and some salt and pepper. Then, I dipped the florets in the mixture, and placed them back on the baking sheet. I popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

    When I took the baking sheet out to toss the wings in buffalo sauce, I encountered a bit of an issue. The coating on each cauliflower piece had stuck to the foil, so when I picked each one up to toss it in sauce, the breading slipped right off. I was able to salvage most of it, but I lost a ton of crispiness and spice. Next time, I’ll go for a parchment paper lining instead. 

    After dipping each wing in Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Sauce, I baked for another 20 minutes. When it was time to chow down, I paired my wings with Trader Joe’s Vegan Ranch Dip, which is a total lifesaver for ranch-lovers, and sprinkled with some chopped celery. The combination was delicious. 

  2. 2. 3-ingredient pumpkin pancakes 

    Original photo of pancake recipe I tried

    Fall is in the air, so I had to incorporate some pumpkin spice into at least one of my meals.  After waking up in the mood for pancakes one morning, Rebecca Leigh had my back with this vegan, gluten-free, and very festive recipe. 

    I poured ¼ cup of organic pumpkin, ½ cup of gluten-free oats, and a ⅓ cup of almond milk into a blender. I topped it with a pinch of pumpkin spice and cinnamon, then blended it up. After heating some vegan butter on a stove-top skillet, I poured the blended mixture in, making four circles. I cooked each side for only a few minutes, and it was done.

    I topped my pancakes with sliced bananas and cinnamon. You could also top with maple syrup, dairy-free whipped cream, granola, or fresh fruit if you desire. Since oats and pumpkin are very bland ingredients, they could have used a bit more spice. Rebecca’s recipe calls for only a pinch of pumpkin spice, but I’d recommend being a bit more heavy-handed with it. 

    Otherwise, I absolutely loved the texture. The pancakes were very light and flaky, yet kept me full. This dish is a great way to start your day, especially during the autumn season. 

  3. 3. A thick and creamy smoothie bowl 

    Original photo of smoothie bowl recipe I tried

    This creamy smoothie bowl recipe has recently flooded my TikTok feed. While I was most eager to try this trending snack, it ended up being my biggest fail. 

    You can use any fruit you’d like for this recipe, so I went with decided to go with blueberries and banana. According to Emily Daniels, the key to creating a super thick, creamy texture is using frozen fruit. I already had fresh fruit, so I decided to just pop in the freezer for a bit. 

    After letting it chill for a few hours, I added the sliced banana and 1 cup of blueberries to my blender. It was pretty difficult to blend at first, so I had to use a fork to mash it up and mix it around. Once it was fully blended, I poured it into my bowl. Finally, I topped it with some chia seeds and extra blueberries.

    Right away, I noticed that it was not the texture I was hoping for. Rather than being dense and creamy like sorbet, it was more thin and watery like a traditional smoothie. It was still super yummy and nutritional, but not the consistency I was excited for. 

    Next time, I’ll opt for pre-packaged frozen fruit instead, or leave my fresh fruit in the freezer for a bit longer. In addition, I think a high-quality blender is necessary to get the desired texture.

  4. 4. Crispy tofu nuggets

    Original photo of tofu recipe I tried

    As I transitioned to veganism, one question constantly haunted me: would I be able to survive without chicken nuggets? Luckily, this TikTok recipe totally answered my question. 

    I headed to the grocery store and picked up some extra-firm tofu. After dabbing my tofu with a paper towel to remove a bit of moisture, I cut it into identical cubes. I placed the cubes into a mixing bowl, and coated with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of all-purpose flour. You can definitely mix in other spices and seasoning if you’d like. 

    I heated avocado oil on a stove-top skillet, and tossed my tofu nuggets in. It took about ten minutes for the nuggets to get brown and crispy on each side, and then I was done.

    To complete the dish, I paired with white jasmine rice, sauteed green beans, and Trader Joe’s Honey Aleppo Sauce for some heat. This dinner was not only super quick and easy to make, but absolutely delicious. The tofu didn’t entirely mimic chicken nuggets, but I loved the crispy texture so it still satisfied my craving and kept me perfectly full.

  5. 5. Homemade tortilla chips 

    Original photo of my homemade tortilla chips

    For my last recipe, I wanted a quick dish that I could snack on throughout the day. I scrolled upon a TikTok of Halle Burns, my favorite plant-based influencer, making some homemade tortilla chips, so I had to try it too. Tortilla chips, paired with any dip, is a great snack for vegans and non-vegans alike. 

    I began by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. While it warmed up, I got my package of small corn tortillas and cut them into triangles. I tossed the triangles into a mixing bowl, and added 1 tablespoon of olive. With each triangle evenly coated, I generously sprinkled seasoning salt and pepper. 

    Once the oven was all heated up, I spread the chips on a lined baking sheet and popped it in. I baked for about 20 minutes, but I would recommend doing no more than 15 minutes. Halle included a vegan avocado dip recipe in her TikTok, but I just stuck with the chips.

    My only issue was the texture; I baked for a bit too long, so the chips were harder than expected. Regardless, they were super yummy, well-seasoned, and felt more fresh than bagged tortilla chips from the grocery store. I would definitely give this quick snack another try. 

With only a few mishaps here and there, my five recipes turned out pretty well. Due to the positive online community that TikTok provides, my first week as a vegan felt totally seamless. Whether or not you aim for a plant-based diet, I’d highly recommend giving any of these dishes a shot. Thank you, TikTok!