A wooden table is laden with vegan finger foods, dips, salads and spread.

Vegan meze

Comfort foods like stews and roasts are associated with traditional cooking. After all, who doesn't have fond memories of beef cholent or pot roasted chicken? These classics are hearty and filling, and the lighter versions can be a healthy part of your diet.

But there are other hearty and satisfying choices that are outside of the world of meat, cheese and eggs. Vegan recipes, by nature, omit all animal based ingredients and rely instead on natural options that are high in fibre and low in cholesterol. Plant-based recipes have become more sophisticated, resulting in a wide range of dishes that are creative and tasty.

Back in the mid-1940s, the term "vegan" was introduced by Donald Watson, a British gentleman who lived to the ripe old age of 95. Interest in the trend picked up in the 1960s after food choices became linked with health and the environment. And in the past decade, the movement exploded; now vegan options are even available in fast food restaurants and tiny grocery stores.

While a vegan lifestyle may not satisfy your classic cravings, it can be nice to try something new. That's why we've gathered this collection of small dishes—or meze—to whet your veggie appetite. Pull up a pitta and enjoy this sampling of vegan recipes that may just surprise you (in a good way).

Cold dishes:

Falafel

Hummus

Chickpea and grilled aubergine salad

Tabbouleh salad

Hot dishes:

Fasolia (Sephardic green beans)

Honeyed carrots

Lentil soup

Mushroom barley soup

Onion rice (Timman w' basal)

Scotch barley soup

Split pea soup

Sweet and sour red cabbage

Dessert:

Apple crumble

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