More and more Americans are choosing plant-based and veggie-centric meals. If you’re checking out vegan food, what kind of food can you order that’s both delicious and meets your nutritional needs?
Whether you’re choosing to go vegan for health reasons or you have reservations about the meat and dairy industry, you need to know what’s on the menu. Just because something is labeled as vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s tasty or as healthy as it seems.
Don’t walk into a restaurant or go grocery shopping without a game plan. We’ve got a list of nine dishes vegan foodies need to know about!
1. Curried Tofu
Look, we know that tofu is a vegan cliche. But sometimes things are staples for a reason.
A good, firm tofu pairs delightfully with as hot or as mild a curry as you want. Vegan coconut milk adds a rich, creamy base for this filling meal.
All that’s left is to add as many veggies as you like. Explore your local Thai and Indian restaurants to see what kind of curry combinations you can create.
2. Creamy Mushroom Soup
Need something hearty, filling, and warm for those cold days and nights? Creamy mushroom soup is exactly what you’re looking for.
The trick is to find the right cream substitute. The best vegan recipes use alternative milks, like coconut or nut milk, to give it a full-bodied yet smooth texture.
If you’re a real vegan foodie, you know how important fresh, quality ingredients are. Look for a variety of mushrooms beyond plain button mushrooms or even local and seasonal varieties, like morel or wood ear.
3. Socca Chickpea Crepes
When you go vegan, you quickly find that many baked items use eggs or dairy as binders. So what you can you do if you miss the taste of bread, pancakes, and pastires?
Try socca crepes made with chickpea flour. This savory thin crepe from Provence will give you the perfect canvas for a variety of fillings.
Load them up with hummus and fresh veggies for a perfect lunchtime treat. Saute some kale, fennel, and caramelized onions for a rich flavor that will have you coming back for more.
4. Gourmet Vegan Burgers
Former meat eaters might find themselves tempted by the through of a thick, juicy burger. Luckily, vegans have plenty of options when this particular craving hits.
Maybe you’ve seen black bean burgers in the frozen aisle at your grocery store. Check out your local vegetarian restaurants — they probably have one on the menu.
Don’t feel like eating a black bean or soy patty? There are some vegetables that make great burgers all on their own.
A big, meaty portobello mushroom cap makes an excellent burger all on its own. It’s just as juicy as an all-meat burger and has a similar texture.
A thick cut cross section of cauliflower can also make a wonderful burger. Seasoning is key as well as making sure it’s grilled just right.
5. Avocado Salads
Most people’s initial idea of vegan food is a big plate of salad. While there’s nothing wrong with the humble salad, it can get boring quickly if you don’t know how to dress it up.
One way to make sure your salad gives you the energy and protein that you need is to make avocado the star of the show. Avocado’s creamy texture plays well with fresh, crisp greens and veggies.
Because it’s flavor is so mild, you can enjoy it on it’s own with just some salt and pepper or season it in many different ways to punch up your greens. Think about adding a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an Asian flavor or making a classic tangy balsamic vinaigrette then adding some pine nuts, kale, and caramelized onions.
6. Beans, Rice, or Quinoa
Beans and rice can easily be considered vegan comfort food. These two items combine to form a whole protein and a filling meal.
A simple bowl tastes amazing by itself. You can also transform it with a myriad of different toppings, from raw onions and cilantro, to hot sauce, to nutritional yeast.
Quinoa can be an amazing substitute for rice while still providing a complete protein. There are different kinds of quinoa to explore too including sweeter black quinoa or nutty exotic red quinoa.
The best part about beans and rice? No matter what restaurant you’re at, from high end to fast food, you can usually find it on the menu.
7. Udon, Hot or Cold
Many noodles are made with just flour and water making them a staple of vegan menus. Thick cut udon noodles steal the show in any Japanese-style dish.
Look for a bowl of hot udon soup topped with green onions, tofu, and carrots. Try them in a stir fry with a spicy sauce base.
Udon noodles are even great cold. Order a summertime salad with udon noodles, fresh halved cherry tomatoes, and some cucumbers.
8. Loaded Sweet Potatoes
If you find yourself at a restaurant without a lot of vegan options, they most often have some sort of potato dish on the menu. Loaded baked potatoes are always amazing, but have you ever tried loaded sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes make the perfect sweet and savory meal. Top them with beans and herbs like cilantro or rosemary to make them even more filling.
9. Creamy Fruity Popsicles
Don’t forget dessert! Vegan food can include the sweet stuff, and one of the best dessert options are creamy, fruity popsicles.
Popsicles have come a long way. It’s not just plain frozen fruit juices, there are lots of gourmet flavors available like golden milk and tropical lime pineapple coconut.
Best Meals for Vegan Foodies
Vegan foodies have options everywhere they go. No matter what’s on the menu, you can find something to eat if you know what to look for.
As you can see, many places offer incredible gourmet vegan creations. Search for local vegetarian and vegan restaurants and expand your palate.
Looking for amazing vegan eats in Atlanta? Check out our mouth-watering menu and then order your next vegan adventure today!