Plant-Based Cooking Show Episodes to Fill the Void of Meatless Cooking Series
A mainstream, fully meatless cooking series has yet to debut on cable TV, though that may soon change — nonprofit organization, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), has petitioned for Food Network to launch a fully plant-based cooking series. According to Veg News, Amazon Prime Video debuted High Cuisine last year, and TikTok's favorite vegan, Tabitha Brown, landed a series on the Ellen Digital Network, though cable cooking channels have yet to release a completely plant-based show – until now.
Tabitha Brown recently announced a new vegan cooking competition series called It's Complicated, and plant-based foodies are beyond excited.
But until that officially comes out, many established TV series have aired one-time meatless episodes to entice plant-based viewers. So, if you're in the mood to watch something that caters to your cruelty-free lifestyle, make sure to watch any of these plant-based cooking show episodes.
'The Pioneer Woman' — Season 12, Episode 5: "Meatless Marvels"
Renowned Oklahoma chef, Ree Drummond, is anything but plant-based, but her "Meatless Marvels" episode featured a variety of vegetarian and vegan meals. She whipped up several droolworthy recipes, including: tofu lettuce wraps, Greek grilled eggplant steaks, broccoli cheese baked potatoes, Italian cornbread, and roasted vegetable panzanella. Watch the full episode, or follow the link on Food Network's website to see each individual recipe.
'Beat Bobby Flay' — Season 9, Episode 4: "Green With Envy"
Yes, Bobby Flay appreciates a meaty sandwich more than anyone else on the planet, but the Iron Chef alum shows some love to greens in his "Green With Envy" episode of Beat Bobby Flay. Perrey Reeves and Scott Conant face off against Bobby Flay with Vikki Krinsky and lifelong vegetarian chef, Pankaj Pradhan, whipping up some seriously delicious-looking meatless dishes that could easily put any burger to shame.
'Cupcake Wars' — Season 1, Episode 3: "Match-Making Party"
Although this episode of Cupcake Wars isn't fully vegan, it's the episode from which chef Chloe Coscarelli first gained notoriety. She competed — and won — the "Match-Making Party" competition, and was crowned the first-ever vegan winner of the show. Watch the episode for some plant-based baking inspo, and to see where Chloe first got her start, pre-By Chloe!
'The Kitchen' — Season 8, Episode 5: "Delicious and Nutritious"
Aside from Katie Lee's Turkey Bolognese, The Kitchen's "Delicious and Nutritious" episode features a wide variety of meatless recipes, including rutabaga mash, a beet burger from Jeff Mauro, Asian lime edamame, a sparkling carrot ginger sparkling cocktail from Geoffrey Zakarian, and chocolate sweet potato cupcakes made by chef Chloe Coscarelli, who stepped in as a guest star for the episode.
'Top Chef' — Season 6, Episode 10: "Meat Natalie"
Although the quickfire challenge was centered on recreating a next-level TV dinner, the elimination challenge of Top Chef's "Meat Natalie" episode features vegan actress Natalie Portman as a guest star, whom the chefs must cook a plant-based meal for at Tom Colicchio's restaurant, Craft Steak. It was a difficult task, but the challenge winner, Mike Voltaggio, whips up something seriously special.
'The Great British Baking Show' — Season 9, Episode 7: "Vegan Week"
During season 9, The Great British Baking Show had a full week of vegan baking that included three plant-based challenges. The remaining bakers were required to make a savory and butter-free pastry, a technical challenge that involved a tricky and unusual ingredient, and finally, a showstopper challenge that apparently ensued in chaos.
'Giada at Home' — Season 3, Episode 30: "Viewer's Choice: Vegetarian"
Giada is known for her Italian meat and cheese-laden dishes, but her "Viewer's Choice: Vegetarian" episode includes a wide variety of meatless recipes. Try making her goat cheese, lentil and brown rice rolls; shoot your shot at whole grain spaghetti with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms; whip up some grilled herbed tofu with avocado cream; or spice things up with curried white bean dip. TBH, any of these dishes are bound to blow away even your meat-eating pals.
'Barefoot Contessa, Cook Like a Pro' — Season 7, Episode 5: "Eat Your Greens"
Although we're all well-aware of Ina Garten's affinity for roast chicken, the queen of the Hamptons has a fully meatless episode with so many mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan recipes! The "Eat Your Greens" episode includes recipes for broccoli rabe with garlic, mustard-roasted potatoes, warm mushroom salad, and spring green risotto with artichokes. It honestly sounds like a vegetarian's dream come true.
'The Great Food Truck Race' Season 15
The Food Network's Great Food Truck Race features a vegan competitor in season 15. Los Angeles-based SEÑOREATA serves up plant-based Cuban eats, thanks to Evanice Holz, who still wanted to enjoy her native cuisine after giving up animal products years prior.
'Black Vegan Cooking Show'
If you're looking to fill your time with a few plant-based episodes, we strongly suggest watching the web series Black Vegan Cooking Show. Starring Charlise Rookwood (aka @vegansoulicious), she invites various guests to her home to enjoy vegan meals and talk about life. It's definitely heart-warming, and will make you hungry.
'MasterChef' — Season 12, Episode 7
Saab is one of the few confident contestants. She won the challenge and nabbed immunity for the next episode by whipping up falafel served with handmade pita, watermelon radish, micro-cilantro, tomato, and pickled red onions—a “humble” recipe according to some standards, compared to the other contestants’ beet tartare, pumpkin arancini, and risotto with tofu scallops, to name a few dishes. But, Saab believes that elevating her family’s recipe is what secured her win.
"[Vegan food] doesn’t always need to be outside the box," she told VegNews following her big win. "There’s a time for innovation and creativity, but I knew I could do that in my own way with my plating and by playing with different pickled vegetables. But, I wanted to stick to something I knew the judges would love."
We're definitely jonesing for a full vegan cooking series on mainstream cable TV, but for now, these plant-based specials will have to suffice.
This article, originally published on Feb. 22. 2021, has been updated to include more related links.