We’re glad that some restaurants already have vegan and vegetarian options, but so many can still improve. More of us are choosing plant-based diets, and restaurant owners should consider expanding their menu with more meat and dairy-free meals. To accommodate all different diet choices, we’ve got some ideas for easy dishes that restaurants could serve to accommodate plant-based eaters.
1. Veggie Burger
Restaurants could make a house veggie patty, which will work to their advantage. Veggie burgers can vary so much depending on the ingredients used, so once a restaurant settles on their magic recipe, that will distinguish them from other restaurants. Or at the very least, a frozen veggie burger can also work to at least have an option available.
2. Pasta with Choice of Sauce
Often, pasta dishes contain cheese at restaurants, and it would be great if they offered some vegan versions of this comfort food. Some good options include a cheesy sauce, pesto or marinara vodka sauce to go along with whole wheat or gluten – free brown rice pasta.
3. Veggie Sushi
Any sushi restaurant can easily serve a veggie sushi option. A cucumber and avocado roll is common, but how about having a vegan roll made with tofu and mixes veggies?
4. Veggie Stirfry
Stir fries are easy to make for restaurants because the ingredients and cooking supplies are already there. Restaurants could serve a mixed veggie stirfry or bulk it up with tofu, tempeh or falafel.
5. Hummus Plate
Hummus is basically chickpeas, tahini and olive oil, so it’s easy to make when the kitchen staff has their prep time. You can get creative and serve it with items like pita, carrot sticks, cucumber and bell pepper slices, tabouli salad, eggplant and falafel.
6. A Non-Sad Salad
It’s surprising how limiting the salad options can be when eating out, since they can be full of meat, cheese, Ranch dressing and unhealthy oils. What’s worse, they can come with iceberg lettuce, which is not as nutritious as darker greens. We would love a hearty salad that is packed with nutrition.
7. Quinoa Bowl
Since quinoa is a complete protein source, it is an easy choice to serve plant-based eaters and see them go home feeling full. A hot quinoa bowl can be as simple as mixing quinoa, veggies and a sauce together over the stove in the same manner as many restaurants prepare pasta dishes.
8. Veggie Wrap
For restaurants that have tortilla and/or whole wheat wraps on hand, this is an easy option. The wrap can have hummus, quinoa, tofu or tempeh. Add in some veggies and crisp greens to the wrap, along with a sauce.
9. Tempeh Sandwich
Offering tempeh will help restaurants stand out from others. Tofu is great, but we don’t want to eat it for every meal every day. Tempeh is easy to marinade or fry, then place between two slices of bread with the works of veggies and condiments.
10. Beans and Legume Dishes
Lastly, beans and legumes in general are on this list because the world of these protein and iron-rich beauties is so vast. When a plant-based eater is hungry, we don’t want a salad and some fries while everyone else proclaims they’re sooooo full at the table. We want that full, satisfied feeling, too, and aside from soy products, that fullness can come from lentils of all colors, black beans, green peas, split peas, pinto beans, white beans, kidney beans, and more.
Restaurants could easily incorporate these ten dishes made from beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh and veggies into their menu offerings. Whether it’s a salad, burrito, sandwich, hot bowl, cold side dish, soup or even a homemade lentil loaf or patty, the only limit to offering vegan food is your imagination. When it comes to plant-based eating, the possibilities are endless!