This vegan fondue chinoise, featuring a rich vegetable broth, offers a lighter and healthier alternative to the oil-based method. With a variety of plant-based goodies, it makes for a fun and interactive dish, perfect for gatherings.
I might not be Swiss, but my love for fondue runs deep and goes way back. I made fondue when my kids were little, and those moments were always filled with laughter and fun. When we went vegan, I still wanted to enjoy this fun and eventful way of eating, so I have veganized the experience through the years.
This version of fondue chinoise maintains the deliciousness of the original, which is sometimes made with beef stock. It also avoids the heaviness often associated with oil-based fondues. It’s a delicious way to enjoy fondue without sacrificing flavor or your waistline.
This fondue also features a range of plant-based dipping options and essential vegan sauces that really make this meal shine.
But don't just keep this to family fun. Since it requires little preparation, it is great when hosting small gatherings. Everything can be made in advance, and you can relax during your event while everyone tailors their plate to what they like.
Why You'll Love Vegan Fondue Chinoise
- Healthier Choice: By using plant-based ingredients and opting for a vegetable broth, you're treating yourself to a meal that's not just delicious but also better for you. It's a win-win for taste and health!
- Fun and Interactive: Like this vegan queso fondue, this vegan broth version is about the experience. It's a great way to bring friends and family together, cooking and chatting around the pot. It turns mealtime into a fun, interactive event.
- Variety Galore: You can have various ingredients to choose from– from different vegetables to your favorite vegan proteins like Meati steaks, sausages, tofu, and seitan so everyone gets something they love.
- Flavorful and Satisfying: With the right combination of broth and dipping sauces, you won’t miss the meat. The satisfaction of warm, cooked-to-perfection bites cooked in a flavorful veggie broth, then dipped into a delicious vegan dip, is incredibly fulfilling.
- Customizable: It's super adaptable to different tastes and preferences. Don't like tofu? Swap it out. Love mushrooms? Use more. It's your fondue, your way. You can also add and subtract from the broth. You can add dried mushrooms, ginger, leeks, lemongrass - you get the picture - make it with the flavors you like. It often ends up as a drinkable broth you can have the next day!
What is Fondue Chinoise
Fondue chinoise is a fun and interactive culinary experience that marries the Swiss fondue tradition with the essence of a Chinese hot pot. The Swiss usually enjoy this dish during the holidays, and it reflects the ancient hot pot traditions originating from Mongolia and China. Read more about its origins in Fondue Chinoise: Switzerland's Asian-inspired hot pot.
In this dish, a fondue pot filled with a savory and aromatic broth is placed at the center of the dining table and heated to a gentle simmer. Bite-sized items like thin slices of meat—commonly beef, chicken, or seafood—and an array of vegetables are provided and cooked in the hot broth. Using fondue forks (or what we call dipping daggers), each person cooks their chosen ingredients in the broth.
The beauty of fondue chinoise lies not only in the subtle infusion of flavors as the ingredients meld with the broth but also in the variety of dipping sauces offered on the side, ranging from tangy to spicy, that adds an extra layer of flavor to the cooked morsels. For me, it really is all about the sauces;)
What is Vegan Fondue Chinoise
Transforming fondue chinoise into a vegan dish is not difficult.
The key is to replace traditional meat with a variety of vegan proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan, all of which excellently absorb the flavors of the broth. The vegan broth uses rich vegetable stock as the base, infused with herbs and spices.
Chinoise fondue always features a selection of fresh vegetables. To ensure even cooking, some of these vegetables and meat substitutes, particularly those with longer cooking times, should be parboiled or precooked before adding to the fondue. Remember, it's really about the experience.
For the dipping sauces, you can opt for vegan favorites like soy sauce or chili sauce. Some other traditional dipping sauces for Fondue Chinoise range from creamy to tangy and are already vegan or can easily be made vegan. See below for more suggestions.
Here's what you'll need, plus some notes below. See the recipe card for quantities.
For the Fondue
I prefer to keep the broth for the fondue chinoise simple and subtly flavored. This approach allows the natural tastes of the dipping options to come through, creating a perfect canvas for the rich flavors of the various dipping sauces. For me, it's about harmonizing the textures of the dippers, with the gentle taste of the broth, then combining that with the more intense sauce flavors, making each bite a wonderful contrast of flavor and texture.
The broth is also quick and easy, and I usually have the ingredients already. Since I use a vegetable-based paste, I don't need to add extra veggies because I can make the broth as strong and dark as I want. Here are the ingredients:
- vegetable broth - I use this vegetable-based paste to make the broth extra strong and flavorful. You can also opt for vegan beef bouillon cubes.
- garlic - use fresh garlic for the best flavor
- bay leaves
- fresh thyme - fresh thyme is best
Dipping Ingredient Suggestions
Note that some vegetables will need to be blanched or parboiled in order to reduce the cooking time when enjoying the fondue. I also like to brown the 'meat' for a nice visual appeal.
- mushrooms - Use button, cremini, or shitake
- firm tofu - I bake it slightly in my air fryer at 350°F for 12 minutes to dry it out.
- vegan meatballs - brown in a skillet first.
- pasta - vegan tortellini or ravioli are great choices because they don't require long cooking time, and the 'dipping dagger' can hold onto them well.
- seitan - Make your own, like this High Protein Lupini Bean Seitan, or buy your favorite. My favorite store-bought seitan brand is Field Roast.
- baby potatoes - parboiled
- baby corn
- cherry tomatoes
- bell peppers
- snap peas
- zucchini - parboiled or blanched
- artichoke hearts
- Meati steak
- Beyond Meat sausages
- asparagus spears
- broccoli florets - parboiled or blanched
- carrots - parboiled
- cauliflower - parboiled
Dipping Sauce Suggestions
Here are some suggestions for sauces. For more on how to make your own delicious vegan sauces, visit How to Make Homemade Vegan Sauces (Easy + Fast).
- vegan aioli
- spicy mustard
- barbecue sauce
- soy sauce
- cashew cheese sauce
- Cuban chimichurri
- tartar sauce
- cocktail sauce
- mustard sauce
- vegan Béarnaise Sauce
- curry sauce
- horseradish sauce
Here is where you'll find pictures of the process. See the recipe card for details.
Have your sauces ready to go. If you are making homemade sauces, they can be made in advance.
Mix vegetable broth, minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
While the broth simmers, prepare bite-sized pieces of your dipping ingredients.
Transfer the broth to a fondue pot over a flame, maintaining a gentle simmer.
Skewer and cook the ingredients in the hot broth, typically taking just a few minutes per item.
After cooking, dip the items in the various sauces you’ve prepared.
- Quality Broth is Key: Since the broth is the heart of the dish, make sure it's flavorful. A rich vegetable broth, enhanced with herbs and garlic can make a huge difference. You can even use vegan beef broth instead of vegetable broth for a more beefy taste.
- Diverse Dipping Options: Offer a variety of vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and vegan meat substitutes. Different textures and flavors keep it interesting. Pre-cook anything that won't cook well in the broth, and don't forget to double up on any options that you think will be popular.
- Prep Your Ingredients: Cut everything into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on platters. This will make it easy for your guests and look great on the table.
- Mind the Temperature: Keep the broth at a gentle simmer. If it's too hot, it might burn your ingredients or reduce too quickly. If it's too cool, it won’t cook them properly.
- Sauce it Up: Dipping sauces can turn a good fondue into a great one. Offer a variety that will add layers of flavor to your options. Buy ready-made sauces or make your own. They are easy to make in advance, which is convenient.
- No Waste: The remaining broth can be enjoyed as a soup or used as a base for making soup.
- Enjoy the Process!: Fondue is as much about the experience as the food. Enjoy the cooking, the dipping, and, of course, the company.
- For More Information: If you're curious about fondue etiquette and other tips, visit this Vegan Guide To Fondue.
When having Fondue Chinoise, vary the side dishes. Traditional salads and potato chips are great, but I like to add warmth with white rice or French fries. You can also include delicious garlic bread.
When it comes to Vegan Fondue Chinoise, there are several variations you can explore to keep the meal exciting and cater to different tastes. Here are some ideas:
- Instead of broth, cook the food with a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut, canola, grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower. For added flavor, consider infusing it with herbs or garlic. Technically, it's no longer fondue chinoise but instead it's called fondue bourguignonne.
- Offer a range of sauces from different cuisines, like Vegan Tzatziki, chimichurri, or a Simple Thai peanut Sauce.
- Fondue Chinoise is a versatile dish with many broth variations. Here are additional broth ideas to explore. Some of these are great for making soups after the dipping is over!
- Classic 'Beef' Broth: Vegan beef broth, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and water.
- Asian-Inspired Broth: Vegan chicken or vegetable stock, ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, and a dash of sesame oil.
- Herb and Wine Broth: Vegetable broth, white wine, lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, and parsley.
Fondue chinoise pots are different from cheese fondue pots.
Fondue chinoise involves cooking meat, fish, and vegetables in a hot broth, so the pot is typically larger and deeper, designed to handle a large amount of liquid, and suitable for simmering. These pots are often made of stainless steel to manage the high heat required for the broth.
In contrast, cheese fondue pots are generally smaller and shallower, designed for melting and keeping cheese warm at a lower temperature, and are often made of ceramic or cast iron.
Each type of pot is specialized for its specific fondue style to ensure the best cooking experience, but don't worry if you don't have a 'special' chinoise pot. I use my regular small fondue pot with no problems. If you have a large pot however, you may need to adjust the quanitites of this recipe to fit your pot. You should have about ¾ of the pot full of broth for people to comfortably cook their food.
This is a great question because I have used a variety. I find that the best results come when I use a vegetable-based paste and add water. This makes a super flavorful broth, and I can control the flavor intensity by adding more or less paste.
Yes, this one is. For the healthiest options, use a variety of plant-based dipping ingredients, like fresh vegetables.
You can prepare the broth, dipping ingredients, and sauces all ahead of time.
What did you think?Print
For the Fondue
- 4 - 6 cups vegetable broth (use vegetable-base paste for better flavor)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
Dipping Option Suggestions
Note: The longer-to-cook vegetables should be parboiled or blanched to reduce cooking time when enjoying the fondue. I like to brown some of the vegan 'meat' for a nice visual appeal.
- mushrooms: such as button, shitake, or cremini, whole or halved
- firm tofu: cut into cubes - baked, see notes
- seitan: cut into bite-sized pieces
- vegan ravioli or tortellini
- Beyond Meat sausages - browned in a skillet
- Meati steak
- baby potatoes: halved and parboiled
- cherry tomatoes
- baby corn
- bell peppers: cut into large pieces
- artichoke hearts
- vegan meatballs - browned in a skillet first for a nice visual appeal
- asparagus spears
- snap peas
- broccoli florets - parboiled or blanched
- cauliflower - parboiled or blanched
- carrots - blanched
For the Dipping Sauces
- Prepare the Broth: In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and peppercorns. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Prepare the Dipping Ingredients: While the broth is simmering, prepare your dipping ingredients. Cut into manageable, bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer the Broth to the Fondue Pot: Once the broth is ready, carefully transfer it to a fondue pot set over a flame. Keep it at a gentle simmer.
- Start Dipping!: Each guest can skewer their choice of dipping ingredients and cook them in the hot broth until done to their liking. It's usually a matter of a few minutes per item.
- Enjoy with Sauces: After cooking, dip the items in the various sauces you’ve prepared.
I use a small cheese fondue pot for this recipe. If you have a larger pot, you may need to increase the amount of broth. Generally, aim for about ⅔ or ¾ of the pot full of broth. Adjust the remaining ingredients as needed.
Monitor the broth level and temperature throughout your meal. Add more veggie broth or adjust the heat as necessary. Have extra broth available in case your pot gets low.
I use this vegetable-based paste to make the broth extra strong and flavorful. You can also opt for vegan beef bouillon cubes. Add several cubes for extra flavor.
If you are using the Meati steak or chicken, I like to cook them first, as recommended on the packaging, then I slice them up into bite-sized cubes.
Feel free to use any herb of your choice in addition to, or as a replacement for, thyme. Fresh rosemary, for instance, is an excellent alternative.
See the post for variations of the broth and more tips.
If serving this to adults, you can add a splash of white wine or a shot of cognac to the broth right before serving.
When everyone is done cooking, the broth can be enjoyed as a soup or used as a base for making soup. For example, add some noodles to it for a delicious noodle soup.
I bake the cubed tofu in the air fryer for 12 minutes at 350°F to dry it and get slightly golden.
The nutritional information is only an estimate and only includes the broth since the dipping options and sauces vary.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Swiss-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 6 cups
- Calories: 10
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 330.2 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.4 g
- Protein: 0.1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: gameday, gatherings, holidays, healthy