6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan


Curious to discover vegan recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival? Look no further!

The annual holiday, sometimes referred to as the moon festival or the moon cake festival, is a traditional holiday observed by many people in East and Southeast Asia. In fact, it is widely regarded as the second most important holiday after the Chinese New Year, and its history dates back over 3,000 years. It is commonly celebrated in mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

The holiday is observed on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, which is usually mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar. This day was chosen because it is believed to be the “middle of autumn”. In addition, on the 15th of each month the moon is the roundest and brightest, AKA the harvest moon. It symbolizes unity and reunion in Chinese culture. In 2021, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 21.

The festival began thousands of years ago when the Emperor of China worshiped the moon to ensure bountiful harvests. Today the holiday is usually celebrated with large family dinners where people eat foods that represent success and good fortune. People also carry or display lanterns that are supposed to represent beacons that light the way to prosperity.

What foods are eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival?

The most popular food eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival is moon cakes, a pastry often stuffed with sweet beans, yolk, meat, or lotus seed paste. In many families, making moon cakes is part of the holiday, and the candies are often meticulously decorated and packaged with care.

As the name suggests, moon cakes were originally intended as an offering to the moon. They are named after the moon goddess (Chang’e), who makes this type of cake. Common filling flavors include lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and green tea.

Moon cakes are a symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival and are traditionally made and eaten during the holidays. | Edwin Tan / Getty

Like the moon, moon cakes are round and meant to represent unity. They are usually eaten in small wedges and served with tea, and are usually shared by family members. Moon cakes can also be given to relatives or friends as an expression of love and best wishes.

Since the Mid-Autumn Festival is supposed to celebrate the moon and the harvest, many dishes are filled with vegetables, such as pumpkin, eggplant, mushrooms, and carrots. In a similar vein, moon cakes can often be filled with fruits such as pineapple or taro.

Duck is also common during Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. The people of Fujian Province (east China) traditionally prepare it with taro, which is widely planted during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

How to be vegan during the Mid-Autumn Festival

Since the Mid-Autumn Festival is all about the harvest, fruits and vegetables play an important role in most family celebrations. However, bloggers and home chefs have also developed vegan versions of popular Mid-Autumn Festival dishes that are typically made with meat and / or dairy.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
Moon cakes are sweet treats that are one of the most identifiable Mid-Autumn Festival foods. | Edwin Tan / Getty

For example, many moon cakes are usually made with an egg yolk inside. and feature egg wash, but plant-based cooks have been able to create recipes with vegan toppings and no egg wash.

Celebrate the Vegan Mid-Autumn Festival with These 6 Recipes

LIVEKINDLY reached out to food bloggers of Asian descent for some of their favorite vegan meals from the Mid-Autumn Festival. Each blogger has included personal details of what the dish means to them.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
A vegan Chinese “duck” dish made with tofu skin and vegetables. | Woks of life

Chinese vegan duck

“Eating duck and giving duck as a gift is a custom for many during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This recipe, however, is our version of a Chinese vegetarian duck, which is made with tofu skin and stuffed with a rich blend of vegetables and mushrooms filled with umami, ”says Sarah Leung, who runs the blog. The Woks of Life with his parents Bill and Judy and his sister Kaitlin. “After slicing, the pieces really look like pieces of Chinese roast duck! ”

Get the recipe here.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
A plate of cooked eggplants with a sauce of smoked green onion oil. | Aubrie pick

Eggplant in smoked green onion oil

“[Mid-Autumn Festival] is a harvest festival, so I think of the bounty of the season. Rice, for example, is harvested in September and October. TT [Tết Trung Thu, another name for Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam] between seasons, so the products available are great ”, notes Andrea Nguyen, author of Vietnamese cuisine every day: simple recipes for true and fresh flavors. “Tomatoes, eggplants and green beans are still around, but tough squash and sweet cruciferous vegetables are ramping up! ”

She adds: “[That’s] what the season means to me. I watch the big moon, sip wonderful tea, and if there’s a moon cake around, grab some bites.

Buy a copy of Nguyen’s book with this recipe here.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
The salty glutinous rice dish made with tofu, mushrooms and more. | Gourmet takes off

Salted sticky rice

“I know the Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching as the quantity of moon cakes we are starting to have here at home. It’s a very festive time with a lot of food involved and one of the dishes we always had at home is a hearty rice dish to share, ”says Jeeca Uy. “This Chinese salty glutinous rice is similar to Kiam Peng, a Fukien term that literally translates to salty rice (kiam = salty, peng = rice). In Chinese and Filipino cuisine, sticky rice symbolizes a close-knit family believed to bring good fortune. “

Get the recipe here.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
Vegan sesame noodles topped with sesame paste, homemade chili oil and more. | Omnivore’s cookbook

Sesame noodles

“The dish is special to me because it’s a family recipe that my mom has been serving for years and it’s so heartwarming. The best part is that the sauce is very versatile and you can use it as a base to serve various toppings as needed, ”says Maggie Zhu. “For example, I love to garnish it with raw vegetables in summer to serve as a cold salad. In winter, I serve it with roasted root vegetables as a hot bowl.

Maggie adds, “For the Mid-Autumn Festival, a noodle dish is always a must-have because it symbolizes fortune and longevity. The sesame noodle is perfect because it is extremely easy to make, can be made ahead of time, and goes well with the rest of the dishes on the table.

Get the recipe here.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
Vibrant matcha moon cakes filled with a black sesame filling. | Radiant Rachels

Snowskin black sesame matcha moon cakes

“Moon cakes are all about getting together with loved ones and sharing a sweet treat together. It’s a dessert we come in once a year, so we savor every bite! explain Rachel Chew and Racel Leung. “Snowskin moon cakes are a modern, no-bake version that’s easy to make at home. If you love matcha and mochi, you’ll love this recipe as much as we do.

Get the recipe here.

6 Recipes for the Mid-Autumn Festival, Made Vegan
Pink moon cakes get their hue from beetroot juice and feature a fruity pineapple filling. | Light orange bean

Gluten free snow skin mooncakes with pineapple filling

These fruity moon cakes from Joyce Gan are vegan and gluten free because wheat replaces cornstarch. Gan describes moon cakes as a “hallmark tradition” of the Mid-Autumn Festival and recalls her parents stocking their pantry with all kinds of traditional moon cakes as a child. Now, these vibrant pineapple-filled treats have become a tradition in Gan’s own family.

Get the recipe here.


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