Switching to a plant-based diet or vegan diet is a huge lifestyle change that alters your eating habits and the way you order out. Dining out with fewer options can be frustrating, but don’t worry, we have your back. There are things you can look for when eating out and ordering off a menu, and we’re here to suggest the best options for you. It’s important to note that getting creative in these instances will be the beginning of you getting more comfortable with your vegan lifestyle. Here are some options that might make things a little easier the next time you dine with friends and family.
When ordering anything as a vegan, we must tell the people who are making our food. It’s obvious, I know, but sometimes you might think something is already vegan when in fact, it could have a broth or a marinade that contains meat or poultry. Places of business want to accommodate all your needs, and they want to create the best experience possible for their customers. Sometimes restaurants even have a vegan menu that’s not on their regular menu, but you won’t know unless you ask.
We often see menus that include the “V” next to the dish description or a leaf icon. That will guide you to your best picks.
Even when the menus aren’t all that vegan-friendly, it’s important to know that most things can be easily made vegetarian/vegan. There is no shame in asking for substitutions, and most of the time, they have options to accommodate you. If you see main dishes that aren’t necessarily vegan, look to the sides. Getting multiple side dishes will still satisfy you as well.
There are tons of great apps and websites to help you find vegan-friendly restaurants near you. This can be great for travel or getting to know your local vegan places.
Ok, so what restaurants have the best vegan options?
This one may seem obvious, but we don’t see many vegan/vegetarian restaurants, but there are more and more appearing every day the more common veganism has been becoming.
With Mexican food, it’s simple to eat vegan and not have to worry too much. You can change many traditional Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, and fajitas, and there’s always a vegetable option.
Be sure to ask for no sour cream or cheese, and sometimes dishes are made with chicken broth, so ask for substitutions.
Even Mexican starters like salsa, guacamole with tortilla chips are vegan friendly, and veggie bean burritos taste heavenly.
Vegetable pad thai, veggie rolls, vegetable curry, and styles of rice dishes, Thai food is an excellent choice for vegans alike. These are easy cuisines for any vegan to enjoy, and Thai food has endless green options, tofu, and other plant-based foods.
Just be sure to ask for no egg or fish sauces; most places can use a substitute.
It’s surprisingly easy to find plant-based food when ordering Japanese cuisine. You have tons of options like edamame, veggie sushi rolls, fried tofu, vegetable tempura, and seaweed salads. Again, always let the restaurant know your vegan, so they don’t add any eggs, fish sauce, or dried fish flakes commonly used in Asian cuisines.
That’s right! You can still enjoy your favorite Chinese food vegan style. Your options include vegetable spring rolls, veggie dumplings, soups, fried rice, and noodles. Chinese food has many options for vegans and plant-based dieters; make sure you let them know not to add in the egg, which is often used in Chinese dishes.
Classic Italian food is another excellent option for non-meat-eaters and vegans. Italian cuisine includes bruschetta dishes, various salads, grilled artichokes, pasta, vegetable-style pizzas without cheese. When ordering vegan, it’s ok to get creative, and it’s ok to ask for your specific needs to be met.
Make sure when ordering your salad you use dressings with a vinegar base and contain non-dairy options.
You may not order the calamari, but you can always ask for them to fry up some zucchini or see if they have other vegetable replacements.
Greek food is another excellent option for vegans, with a ton of platters to choose from. It’s often easy to find a Greek restaurant or diner nearby that has all the plant-based ingredients you’re looking for. That includes common Greek dishes like hummus, pita bread, Greek salads, grilled vegetables, and roasted eggplant. The greek food option is one of the healthiest, and most of their dishes provide protein and other nutrients your body loves.
Greek salad is loaded with tomatoes, onions, olives, peppers, and cucumber; don’t forget to ask to hold the feta sprinkled on top. There are even options for different style wraps on the menu that can include vegetables and rice.
BBQ or steak restaurants
Ok, this one sounds a little bizarre, but bbq and steak restaurants often have different vegan options. That is deep-fried pickles, french fries, vegetable chili, sweet potato fries, and even vegetables smothered in bbq sauce.
Be cautious and ask for no cheese or butter often used in these dishes, and batters often contain buttermilk.
With traditional American food, you have your selection of vegan picks. The classics include french fries, onion rings, potato wedges, and most of the time, there’s a veggie burger option. There are also tons of sides to choose from, brussel sprouts, steamed spinach, mushrooms, baked potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, YUM!
One of the best parts about being vegan is that we get to try new things, and middle eastern restaurants have plenty of vegetable options on their menu. You have your choices of falafels, tahini, rice, pita, couscous, all available options for vegans. It’s often served with yogurt or cheese, so be sure to let them know you can do without.
Ordering out doesn’t have to be a hassle when eating on a vegan diet. You don’t have to go to vegan-only restaurants or miss out on what your friends want to eat.
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