Eat your vegetables!
By Michelle Talsma Everson, March 2020 issue.
Photos provided by featured venues
One time, my very vegetarian sister-in-law asked my son if he planned on being vegetarian like his auntie. In his firm preschool voice he replied, “NO! I like bacon too much!” We all laughed and it’s one of our favorite stories to tell. But, the joke is on him, because I bet you if he tried some of the vegetarian and vegan dishes we’ve rounded up, he might change his tune.
The dish: Mushroom
Barbacoa: grilled oyster mushrooms in house guajillo Chile broth, avocado,
charred onion and micro beet greens.
Where to find it: Taco
The chef says: “It’s a
great alternative to the classic barbacoa dish,” according to the Taco Guild
culinary team. “The oyster mushrooms shred like meat and soak up all the broth.
The best part about it is that it’s vegan. We want to show people that
vegetables can be cooked in different ways and don’t have to always be a side
The dish: Vegan Lasagna
Where to find it: Urban
Beans Bar & 24 Hour Cafe (urbanbeans.com)
The chef says: “We use a
high quality noodle, add our scratch made marinara, ricotta, sausage, and throw
in some spinach,” says Virginia Senior, executive chef and founding partner.
“Top it off with scratch made mozzarella
and bake it. The result is an Italian dish your mother wished she could make.
All plant-based, of course. We choose to create healthy delicious food; it’s
got to be both healthy and delicious. We have found that using vegan
ingredients, we create foods that are lower in unhealthy fats, provide protein
and ingredients that are good for everyone.”
The dish: Chilled Raw Pad
Thai: spiraled zucchini, carrots, bean sprouts, Brussels sprouts, raw almonds,
chili almond dressing and a tamarind glaze.
Where to find it: Farm
& Craft (ilovefarmandcraft.com)
The chef says: “This dish
is a play on a traditional Pad Thai,” says Chef Cameron Cortese. “It is super
clean, high in nutritional benefits, packed with flavor and, to top it all off,
it is vegan.”
The dish: Wood-Fired
Caramelized Cauliflower with Tahini: cauliflower, evoo, garlic-cilantro tahini
sauce, caramelized onions, and toasted pine nuts.
Where to find it: Pita
The chef says: “Everyone
is loving cauliflower these days and for good reason,” says Bassel Osmani.
“Cauliflower is extremely healthful as is it low calorie and rich in folate,
vitamin C, E and K and fiber. Tahini is a good source of protein and also high
in fiber — as a plus the dish is very tasteful. This dish is one of our menu
staples and top sellers for everyone, regardless of their diet.”
The dish: The Unbeetable
Where to find it: True
Food Kitchen (truefoodkitchen.com)
The chef says: “The
concept of a burger combined with scratch cooking and whole foods is very
appealing to everyone, not just someone eating a plant based diet,” says Chef
Robert McCormick. “The fact that this is actually a vegan sandwich, that is
loaded with nutrient dense, whole foods such as red beets, jicama, avocado, and
butter lettuce, is a bonus.”
The dish: Avocado
Hanabi-Pressed Sushi Rice tossed in a signature Hanabi Sauce, topped with a
yuzu and avocado infused puree, finished with shaved parmesan.
Where to find it: Sushi
Roku Scottsdale (sushiroku.com)
The chef says: “I really
enjoy this dish due to the flavor profile of the avocado puree,” explains
Executive Chef David Miles. “It has a very sharp acidic finish due to the use
of the yuzu mixed with the avocado. The cheese gives it a nice salty finish
that pairs very well with the crunch from the sushi rice. It is a vegetarian
dish and it is unlike any I have ever tried. This dish screams umami flavor
profile that leaves you wanting to eat more.”
The dish: Tacos Barbacoa
Where to find it: Casa
The chef says: “This dish
is packed full of flavor,” says Chef Jason Wyrick of Casa Terra. “It’s tangy,
spicy, a little sweet, a little salty, a little bitter, and it’s served on
beautiful handmade tortillas. The barbacoa also showcases smoked oyster
mushrooms as a meat replacement, a technique I helped pioneer years ago.
It’s not that vegans and vegetarians should try it, it’s
that everybody should try it. Plant-based food is for everyone.”
The dish: Soil & Seed
Beet & Radish Semi-Salad: This foraged salad features Detroit Beets two
ways: marinated and as a purée stamp. Crisp Daikon radish and the essence of
Preserved Buddha’s Hand top the earthy beets along with leafy Shungiku. Viola
edible flowers bring the garden full circle, with a house-churned smokey butter
to pair with the oversized Fried Brioche.
Where to find it:
Quiessence at The Farm
The chef says: “This dish
is a great representation of finding different ways to utilize the same
vegetable,” says Chef Dustin Christofolo. “Quiessence always want to approach a
vegetable with a unique way to be eaten and the layering of flavors, not the
norm. This is a great dish for vegetarians to experience.”
The dish: Mediterranean
Bowl: rosemary potatoes, roasted tomatoes and house marinated artichoke hearts,
with organic arugula, shaved organic carrot ribbons, and red onions, topped
with a vegan lemon-garlic aioli and dusted with rosemary.
Where to find it:
Intentional Foods Cafe and Market (intentionalfoods.org)
The chef says: “Having a
family with life threatening food allergies and dairy sensitivities, I had to
get creative in the kitchen to satisfy my three daughters’ desires for
delicious, flavorful food, free from the top eight most common food allergens,”
says Chef Brendan Heath. “This dish quickly became a family favorite. The
mix of potatoes, arugula and carrot ribbons give an awesome texture along with
a very savory flavor profile.”
The dish: Green Machine:
Tempura fried green bean and green onion, topped with avocado, and cilantro
sweet chili aioli.
Where to find it: Bamboo
The chef says: “We’ve managed to create a roll that has become our #1 seller, companywide, year after year that just happens to be vegetarian; not really common for a sushi restaurant,” says culinary director Mike Theriot. “When the first Bamboo Sushi menu was created there was a need for just one more roll and we always set out to have a strong part of our menu be plant-based. The Green Machine sauce, a cilantro sweet chili aioli, is what makes this signature roll famous. The sweetness balanced with the flavor of the Oregon Coast Albacore, and the savory crunch of the tempura fried green bean, creates the perfect bite.”
Why create vegan or vegetarian dishes?
“In general, we believe that a clean plant forward diet is not just a trend, but an evolution forward to a healthier and more sustainable future,” says Chef Cameron Cortese. “We need to get away from processed foods and go back to our roots of eating whole foods again.”
“I make vegan food for three reasons, and it’s why I only make vegan food,” says Chef Jason Wyrick. “It’s a kinder way of living; treating other creatures as commodities is the exact opposite of that. When you use unprocessed plant-based ingredients, it’s a healthier way to live. In fact, I lost over 100 pounds and reversed Type II diabetes by going vegan. Finally, it’s a way to step out of the animal agriculture cycle, which is causing a vast amount of harm to our planet.”