With just a few simple ingredients and 15 minutes of your time, you will have some delicious vegan gado gado on the table! Gado gado is a classic Indonesian recipe straight from the shores of Bali. It’s packed full of green veggies so it’s pretty healthy, but still tastes nutty and indulgent.
We love it as a post-workout meal because peanuts are a great source of protein. Plus all the veggies are a great source of vital nutrients!
Give this recipe a go if you fancy an authentic Indonesian meal that’s dead simple to make.
📋 Ingredient Notes
For the sauce:
- Peanuts - unsalted and with the skin on, if possible.
- Kecap manis - AKA sweet soy sauce. Alternatively, use a mixture of soy sauce and maple syrup if you can’t find it. Find out the best sweet soy sauce substitutes.
- Palm sugar. If you can’t find palm sugar, any other kind is fine.
For the salad:
- Shallots - peeled and roughly chopped.
- Cabbage - finely sliced.
- Green beans - chopped into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
- Begin by toasting the peanuts in a warm saute pan. You don’t need to use any oil for this.
- The peanuts are done once they look golden, which should take between 3 and 5 minutes. Be sure to keep them moving while they are toasting so that they don’t catch - you can do this using a wooden spoon or just by shaking the pan.
- Once the peanuts are done, chuck them into a cup blender along with all of the other sauce ingredients. Blend everything together until you have a smooth sauce. Set this to one side.
- Now take a small amount of oil and warm it in the saute pan. Once the oil is warm, add the shallots and fry them until they are soft.
- Heat up a saucepan full of water, and simmer the green beans for one minute. After 30 seconds, add the cabbage to the pan.
- Once you’ve reached your one minute cook time, turn the heat off and drop the bean sprouts into the pan. Drain everything immediately.
- Put the veggies into a large bowl and mix with the peanut sauce and shallots. It’s important to use a big bowl rather than the still-hot pan, as you don’t want the veggies to cook any further. Vegan gado gado is supposed to be nice and crunchy.
- Make sure that everything is well coated, top with crushed peanuts, and enjoy!
👨🍳 Expert tips
Is gado gado vegan?
Usually gado gado contains egg so it’s not vegan. Our recipe doesn’t have any egg in it though, so it’s totally vegan friendly. And contrary to popular belief, there’s plenty of protein in a plant-based diet. This dish proves it as 200g of peanuts contain 52g of protein!
We’d recommend using skin-on peanuts for vegan gado gado if you can. The skin gives a lovely rich colour when they’re blended up. Plus, the skins are full of antioxidants so they are worth eating! Don’t worry though, the peanuts (and the skins) get ground up, so you won’t have random peanut skins throughout the salad.
Kecap manis is a staple ingredient in Indonesian cooking - it’s a sweet soy sauce which is quite syrupy in texture. You can usually find it in the world food section of the supermarket. If you can’t find any you can use a blend of maple syrup and soy sauce instead.
The simmer time for the vegetables is very short. When you’re making vegan gado gado it’s important that the veggies are super crunchy (almost raw), but warm. Some salads call for you to blanch the veg, which means simmering and then plunging into ice-cold water. This recipe should be served warm, which is why we don’t blanch.
Yes, it’s medium spicy (depending on how spicy your chillies are). You can make it less spicy by using fewer chillies.
You can make the sauce ahead of time, but we’d recommend not cooking the veggies until you want to eat them. Once the veggies and sauce are mixed together, they’ll keep for about a day in the fridge before going soggy. Vegan gado gado is definitely best made and eaten fresh.
Gado gado comes from Indonesia. Our vegan gado gado is based on an authentic recipe we learned in Bali at an amazing cooking school. They created a totally vegan class for us, in order to still showcase Balinese food.
It is pretty healthy! The veggies are great for you of course, and the peanuts are a great source of protein. Plus because the veggies are simmered rather than fried they don’t have any added fat.
🥗 What to serve with it
Rice crackers are perfect if you want to add an extra crunch to your vegan gado gado! They’re also perfect as a before-dinner snack food, just don’t eat the whole bag.
Gado gado tofu
Adding some tofu is a great way to make this meal a little more hearty and substantial, and then you've got Gado Gado Tofu. Plus tofu is great with basically everything. Just fry off the tofu until golden, and mix with the peanut sauce along with the vegetables.
Vegan fried egg
Traditionally, gado gado is served with a boiled egg. So if you want to make your vegan gado gado as authentic as possible, add a vegan fried egg or vegan boiled egg per serving.
🇮🇩 Other Indonesian recipes to try
🇮🇩 More Indonesian recipes to try
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Vegan Gado Gado In 15 Minutes
For the sauce:
- 200 g peanuts skin on
- 2 tablespoon kecap manis *see notes for alternative
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 bird eye chillies
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1.25 cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
For the salad:
- 4 shallots - peeled and roughly chopped
- 400 g cabbage - finely sliced
- 200 g beansprouts
- 200 g green beans - chopped into 1 inch / 2.5cm pieces
- Put the peanuts (skin on) in a saute pan over a medium heat, without oil.
- Toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Shake or stir them in the pan so theat they don’t burn.
- Put the roasted peanuts and all of the other sauce ingredients in a cup blender and blend until smooth.
- Add a splash of oil to the saute pan. Pop in the chopped shallots and fry until soft.
- Fill a saucepan full of hot water and simmer the green beans for 1 minute. After 30 seconds, add the cabbage to the pan.
- Immediately turn the heat off and drop the bean sprouts into the pan, then drain it all straight away.
- In a large bowl, mix the vegetables with the peanut sauce and shallots. Don’t mix it together in the pan, as it will still be warm. It needs to be mixed in a fresh bowl that isn’t hot, so the vegetables don’t continue to cook.
- Top with crushed peanuts, a slice of lime and enjoy!
- Palm sugar is completely different to palm oil. They are manufactured in completely different ways, as stated by the Orangutan Foundation. However, if you don't have palm sugar, brown sugar is the best replacement.
- The vegetables should be crunchy, so follow the instructions as closely as possible to ensure they don't go soggy.
- If you don't have kecap manis, use 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ½ tablespoon maple syrup.
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