Meatless Pinoy Ulam Recipes You’ll Want to Try

Observing Lent? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? We've got a Pinoy ulam recipe for you!

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There may be a lot of meatless recipes in Filipino cuisine, but they are never more popular than during the Lenten season. As Lent is upon us, many are choosing to go meatless in order to observe this religious tradition.

However, that doesn't mean that our meatless Pinoy ulam recipes are only good for lent; we have a lot of healthy and hearty Filipino vegetarian and pescatarian recipes that make for a delicious meal. The key is not only to use fresh ingredients, but knowing how to store them properly so that they can stay fresh until it's time for them to go into your next meatless recipe!

Easy Filipino Fish Recipes

It may be difficult to catch fish, but it sure is easy to make them into these delectable meals! Here are some easy Filipino fish ulam recipes to try: from pan-fried fish to steamed fish and even to adding a fusion twist, you can make these isda recipes to feed a lot, with little effort.

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Light and tangy calamansi fish fillet.
Photo by Patrick Martires
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Calamansi Fish Fillet Recipe

This simple and easy fish recipe can be done in 20 minutes. The tangy calamansi marinade makes the pan-fried cream dory refreshing and light.

This tulingan is cooked low and slow.
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Sinaing na Tulingan Recipe

While most fish recipes require a quick flash in the pan, this tulingan recipe uses a low and slow method. Simply flavored with kamias, salt, and banana leaves, this steamed fish recipe makes the tulingan the true star of the dish.

Grilled sinigang tuna brings together the best of both worlds.
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3 Inihaw na Sinigang na Tuna Belly Recipe 

This fish sinigang recipe is kind of cheating; it's a two-in-one! It brings together the sour sinigang flavor you love and that beautiful char-grilled taste.

Tilapia and kare-kare sauce? Yum!
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Pan-fried Tilapia with Kare-kare Sauce Recipe

Who says beef is the only protein that goes well with kare-kare? Certainly not us; this pan-fried tilapia recipe is a testament to that.

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Easy Gulay Recipes

Gulay or vegetables are plentiful in the tropical Philippines, and they shine in the vegetarian recipes we've included below. Not only are they healthy but when cooked right, the gulay in these recipes can also be the best you've ever had!

Gisa or saute may be a simple method, but it brings out the best in vegetables.
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Ginisang Gulay Recipes

Ginisa means sauteed, and that's exactly all you need to do to turn these veggies into your next meal. With the right seasonings, you can make even the pickiest eater in your home into a fan of these easy gulay recipes.

Gata or coconut milk makes these gulay recipes creamier!
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Ginataang Gulay Recipes

There is something magical about gata (coconut milk) when it is added to gulay (vegetables). So much so that ginataang gulay recipes can be made with so many twists and of course, a variety of different gulay!

Visayas represent! Utan Bisaya is a hearty and filling vegetable soup.
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Utan Bisaya Recipe

Utan Bisaya translates to "Visayan-style vegetables" and what a style that is! This Visayan dish is a hearty soup that is full of umami and packed with a variety of healthy vegetables like squash, green beans, okra, and more.

Not only does it contrast texture and flavor, but this ensaladang talong recipe is also a feast for the eyes.
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Ensaladang Talong Recipe

This Ensaladang Talong Recipe is a masterclass in contrast. First, you get the soft texture of the eggplant versus the fresh, crunchy tomato and green mango topping. Then, your taste buds are rewarded with the contrasting but complementary flavors of the grilled eggplant and the tangy topping!

Lumpia rolls can be filled with almost anything, not least of which is gulay.
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Lumpiang Gulay Recipe

The quintessential lumpiang Shanghai recipe gets a vegetarian twist with this lumpiang gulay recipe. Packed with fresh veggies and fried to perfection, these are the perfect meatless rolls you'll love!

Easy Seafood Recipes

Going meatless doesn't limit you to just fish and gulay. After all, the Philippine archipelago is literally surrounded by so much water, we are abundant not only in fish, but in other seafood as well. These seafood recipes feature shrimp, pusit or squid, crab, and tahong, but can be easily modified by substituting with your favorite seafood!

Shrimp sinigang is best paired with steaming hot rice.
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Sinigang na Hipon Recipe

Sour sinigang and sweet shrimp? We are salivating at the thought! Pair it with hot rice, and it's a meal you won't soon forget. As if the classic version isn't enough, you can also mix it up with different souring agents like bayabas and kamias.

Adobong pusit is already so tasty, but add gata and you're on a different level!
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Adobong Pusit sa Gata Recipe

Pusit or squid by themselves have a very mild flavor, but using squid ink, gata, and choice spices to enhance it is pure genius, not only in concept but in taste. If you can't source squid ink, no worries: we've even got a version without squid ink for you!

Grilled stuffed squid is a delicate yet decadent summer dish.
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Grilled Stuffed Pusit Recipe

This is a summer favorite; grilled seafood is perfect not only for hot weather but also for the beach! The pusit is stuffed with veggies and then grilled, allowing all these flavors to be tied together with a smoky finish.

This yummy tahong soup lets the mussels' unique flavor shine though.
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Tinolang Tahong Recipe

There are so many ways you could cook tahong or mussels, but one of the standout tahong recipes you could use is this one. Kids will also enjoy this shellfish soup as they can use the tahong shells like a spoon to scoop out both the tasty broth and the meat from the shells. 

Think of it as Filipino seafood paella with bolder flavors, because of the bagoong.
Photo by Miguel Nacianceno
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Seafood Bagoong Rice Recipe

Is it a Pinoy ulam recipe if you don't pair it with rice? We've done you one better: this seafood recipe is a rice meal all by itself. This seafood bagoong rice recipe uses shrimp and pusit, but you can also add other seafood favorites!

Aside from fish, vegetables, and seafood, tofu or tokwa can be tasty in your meatless ulam recipes!
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Other Meatless Pinoy Ulam Recipes

Aside from the meatless recipes above that feature fish, vegetables, and seafood, you can also easily convert traditional ulam recipes that feature meat into pescatarian or vegetarian recipes. The possibilities are endless, and we're happy to start you off with the meatless recipe twists below.

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

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