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.

Mushroom Barbacoa

Where to find it: Taco

Guild (

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


Lasagna Urban Beans

The dish: Vegan Lasagna

Where to find it: Urban

Beans Bar & 24 Hour Cafe (

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.”

Farm and Craft Pad Thai Salad

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 (

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.

Pita Jungle’s Caramelized Cauliflower

Where to find it: Pita

Jungle (

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


Unbeetable Burger

Where to find it: True

Food Kitchen (

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.

Vegan Omakase at Sushi Roku

Where to find it: Sushi

Roku Scottsdale (

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

Casa Terra, Barbacoa Taco

Where to find it: Casa

Terra (

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. 

Mediterranean Bowl

Where to find it:

Intentional Foods Cafe and Market (

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.

Bamboo Sushi

Where to find it: Bamboo

Sushi (

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.”

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