It’s been more than 60 years since Julia Child published Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but her influence can still be found in American kitchens today. The chef, who studied at Paris’ prestigious cooking school Le Cordon Bleu, is credited with making complicated French cooking techniques accessible to a US audience, and, in turn, revolutionizing homecooked meals across America. But while iconic, most of Child’s recipes, like Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, and French Onion Soup, were laden with animal products, like beef, chicken, eggs, and cheese. However, it is possible to enjoy many of these dishes without animal ingredients. We gathered some advice from a top chef on how to make some of Julia Child’s most iconic recipes vegan. Plus, you can also find our own plant-based takes on some of the culinary icon’s classic dishes below.

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How to make Julia Child’s famous recipes vegan, according to a top chef

Child was a master of French cuisine, which, even today, famously relies heavily on meat and dairy ingredients. Take Boeuf Bourguignon, for example. The dish hails from Burgundy, in east-central France, and features beef braised in red wine and beef stock. It was one of Child’s most famous recipes and is still frequently republished across the internet today. At Equinox, a plant-forward restaurant in Washington, DC, the meaty dish is a favorite, but to make it vegan for diners, executive chef Todd Gray—a James Beard nominee—says he relies on mushrooms. “They are the obvious substitute for beef,” he told VegNews. “We make this dish with button mushrooms for an earthy, umami substitute.”

VegNews.juliachildtastingsoup.lynngilbertwikimediaLynn Gilbert/Wikimedia Commons

Gray takes a similar approach to Coq au Vin, which is another Child classic and refers to chicken braised in a wine-based casserole. “You can mirror a rich, creamy sauce with veggie stock and a red wine reduction, alongside a root vegetable that’s sturdy enough to handle a quick braise,” he says. “Think turnips, carrots, and onions.” Gray adds that when it comes to Child’s cream-heavy recipes, of which there are many (including chicken breasts with mushroom cream sauce), his go-to vegan version “starts with coconut milk or almond milk,” which is blended with silken tofu. “It’s flavorless, but it gives weight and creaminess to a sauce,” he says. 

And finally, when replacing eggs in dishes like crêpes and crème brûlée (two more Child classics), Gray says you can’t beat Just Egg. “We launched the product at the restaurant years ago and it works beautifully,” he notes. “We use it in our crème brûlée, frittata, and anywhere when a plant-based substitute is needed. It’s also great to use in a simple breading with flour and breadcrumbs.”

7 vegan French recipes, inspired by Julia Child

For more on how to make French-inspired, Child-influenced vegan dishes, you can find some of our favorite recipes below, from Bourguignon to hollandaise.

VegNews.BoeufBourguignonVanessa K. Rees

1 Vegan Boeuf Bourguignon in Red Wine Sauce

While Child used beef and Gray uses mushrooms, this recipe from Miyoko Schinner relies on homemade seitan to create a delicious, hearty version of the meaty French stew. The seitan, which is satisfyingly tender, is made with a mix of mushrooms, soy sauce, stock, red wine, garlic, and wheat gluten.
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VegNews.FrenchVeganCrepesClaire Power

2 3-Step Vegan French Crêpes

Child’s book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom introduced a simple crêpe recipe to America, and now, the French favorite is a common brunch staple across the country. To make vegan crêpes, you can make a batter with dairy-free milk instead of cow’s milk, just like this simple recipe from Healthy French Wife demonstrates.
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VegNews.VeganNicoiseSaladAndrea Hannemann

3 Easy Vegan French Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salad, which originates from the city of Nice in France, is usually made with hard-boiled eggs and fish, but it’s easy to make it vegan. This recipe from the Plant Over Processed cookbook ditches the eggs entirely, and instead of fish, it calls for a protein-rich chickpea tuna. 
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4 Silky Vegan Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Child’s version of chocolate mousse is much loved, and for good reason. It’s rich, chocolatey, and incredibly indulgent. But you can still get a delicious result without eggs and butter (which are key parts of Child’s version). This recipe uses avocado to get that same silky soft texture.
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5 Vegan Potato Leek Soup With Broccoli Gremolata

Potage Parmentier, or potato and leek soup, is another classic loved by Child’s fans. Make a nourishing, hearty, and satisfying vegan version with this recipe from the Show Up for Salad cookbook, which uses waxy yellow Yukon potatoes for a super creamy result.
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VegNews.TofuBennywithHollandaiseLauren Toyota

6 Vegan Tofu Benedict With Hollandaise

A traditional hollandaise is a mixture of egg yolk, melted butter, and lemon juice, so it’s far from vegan-friendly. Instead, this recipe from the Hot For Food Comfort Classics cookbook makes a delicious, creamy alternative using plant-based ingredients like vegan milk, nutritional yeast, and blanched almonds.
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VegNews.CremeBruleeAlex Shytsman

7 Vegan White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Don’t skip out on the indulgence of crème brûlée, one of Child’s most iconic dessert recipes. This recipe from the Wait, That’s Vegan? cookbook will walk you through how to make an equally tasty and addictive vegan version, using cashews and coconut milk.
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For more on plant-based cooking, read:

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