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Check Out These 5 Iconic Chicago Foods, Made Vegan


When we think of iconic Chicago dishes, our minds immediately go right to the infamous deep dish pizza; some people love it, some people hate it, but most everyone who’s tried either a New York slice or Chicago pie has an opinion on it.

While it may be an undeniable mainstay in Chicago food culture, there is so much more to the Windy City’s foodscape than deep dish pizza (such as amazing vegan-friendly restaurants like Chicago Diner and Native Foods Cafe!). Below, we’ve searched through our Food Monster App to highlight five different classic Chicago dishes, and show you how to make them 100 percent plant-based.

1. Swap out the traditional meat in your Chicago Dog. 

The Chicago dog is a very specific preparation of a hot dog. A traditional Chicago dog starts off with a Vienna Beef hot dog, but we suggest swapping out the meat with this recipe for Carrot Hot Dogs by Casey Muir Taylor. Wrap your carrot dog in a steamed poppyseed bun (although this Sesame and Poppy Seed Bagel Loaf could do in a pinch). Next, the hot dog is covered with yellow mustard, vibrant green relish (we suggest our Sweet Zucchini Relish!), fresh chopped onions, red tomato wedges, and a kosher-style pickle spear. Don’t forget the spicy peppers and the dash of celery salt to top it off!

2. Get yourself a dairy-free deep dish slice!

Chicago deep dish pizza: it’s like a pizza and a savory pie all in one. This Chicago Deep Dish Pizza With Cashew Mozzarella by Megan Sadd is everything a pizza should be. The crust is thick and hearty. The sauce is chunky and spicy. The cashew mozzarella is melty and gooey. The sauce only takes about 15 minutes and you can roll out the dough while the sauce cooks. If you make the cheese ahead of time, this pizza comes together pretty quickly!

It isn’t uncommon to see Chicagoans enjoying Nutella-stuffed doughnuts from a place called Stan’s Donuts & Coffee.

3. Make your own Nutella Pockets just like Stan’s Donuts and Coffee.

Make these Dream-Filled Doughnuts by Lisa Dobler and stuff them with your vegan chocolate spread of choice to mimic Stan’s Nutella pockets. These homemade doughnuts are waiting to be filled with whatever delightful sweet confection you dream of drizzling in them. We suggest making your own vegan “Nutella” Spread and using that as your chocolatey filling, but it’s totally up to you!

4. Make a plant-based version of an Italian beef sandwich!

Originating in Chicago somewhere in the 1930s, an Italian beef is a sandwich traditionally features thin slices of seasoned roast beef which are then simmered and served with au jus — sauce from the meat — on an Italian-style roll. This Italian Sausage on Baguette by Lori Hirsch Stokoe honors those savory flavors with a twist, by basing their flavors off of a place in Illinois called Garcia’s Pizza, which serves the “Gutbuster” — a famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. This is a makeover of the beloved pie.

5. Make a gourmet vegan popcorn! 

This Vegan Caramel Popcorn by Rhea Parsons is crunchy, sweet, and perfectly nutty.Most caramel corn you buy isn’t vegan because it usually contains butter in the caramel. Vegan butter is used in this recipe instead to mimic the flavors of Garrett’s Popcorn, a famous gourmet popcorn seller in Chicago well-known for their decadent, often sweet popcorn flavors.

If you liked seeing all these vegan recipes, we also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza With Cashew Mozzarella

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