As plant-based meals become more common, those following a vegan diet have a seemingly endless variety of foods to enjoy.
In addition to tofu, lentils, and chickpeas serving as protein substitutes in vegan dishes, local restaurants are now using several other alternatives to mimic meat.
A dish that is often used as a meat substitute is tempeh. Tempeh is a plant-based protein source made from fermented soybeans that have been formed into a block; It is often marinated in liquid smoke or smoke powder when used as a bacon substitute.
There is also seitan, which is made from gluten. Unlike other vegan meat substitutes, it resembles the look and texture of cooked meat.
Another popular meat substitute is jackfruit. This tropical tree fruit, grown in Asia, Africa, and South America, consists of a stringy pulp that is often mixed with barbecue sauce and used to mimic pulled pork or chicken.
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We recently asked our readers where they go when they’re looking for a great vegan meal and what they usually order. Below are some of the locations and menu items that have been suggested.
Where: 450 Massachusetts Ave.
Around: Veggie Galaxy offers traditional diner-style home cooking made from scratch: the twist is that everything is vegetarian – and everything can be made vegan. The restaurant serves breakfast all day long and offers all guests friendly old-time hospitality.
Recommendations: Cauli of the Sea features cornmeal crusted fried cauliflower seasoned with Old Bay and served with fries, kale salad, homemade tartar sauce and grilled lemon.
One respondent said, “Whatever meal I order, I have to enjoy one of their delicious frappes!”
The frappes at Veggie Galaxy are made with FoMu coconut ice cream and oat milk.
Additional menu items: Biscuits & Southern “Sausage” Gravy, Chickpea “Tuna” Melt, “Steak” and “Cheese” Sub, Portobello Patty Melt, Chick’n and Waffles, and Fried Mushroom “Clam” Strips.
Where: 1 Teichstr.
Around: Red Lentil, an award-winning vegan and vegetarian restaurant with locations in Watertown and Sharon, has been delighting diners with its plant-based produce since 2009.
recommendations: Tofu Benedict Florentine featuring a grilled English muffin layered with tomatoes, spinach, tempeh bacon and tofu scrambled eggs, topped with homemade vegan hollandaise and served with homemade fries.
Other menu items: Tempeh Reuben, Butternut Squash Polenta, Jamaican Jerk Tempeh, Chimichurri Seitan, Nutty Lasagna, Moussaka Pizza, Pulled Jackfruit Tacos, Chesapeake Cableless Pie, Sweet Potato Quesadilla, Grande Nachos, Veggie Burgers with red lentils and huevos rancheros.
Where: 1203 Walnussstr.
Around: The Walnut Grille is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant with delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes and also offers many gluten-free options paired with organic wines and cocktails.
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Recommendations: Vegan BLT with homemade tempeh bacon, grilled organic tofu, lettuce, tomatoes and sriracha mayo, served on whole wheat bread. Nutty Tofu, which consists of hand-pressed organic tofu crusted with nuts (cashews, pistachios, and macadamias) and served over a brown rice risotto cake with a wild mushroom sauce, wilted greens, and pepper aioli and cilantro chutney.
Other menu items: Thai red curry, garden quesadilla, artichoke and sweet potato pizza, Southwest burrito, chicken piccata, tofu tikka masala, vegetable lasagna, portobello steak and a selection of appetizers and salads.
Where: 675 West Kendall St.
Around: PlantPub’s concept is to combine the world’s best craft beers with plant-based versions of classic pub grub, ultimately making plant-based eating accessible and fun for everyone.
Recommendations: “Everything,” said one respondent.
Menu items: Fried Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Nachos, Garlic Fingers, Chili Queso Fries, Ramen Bowls, Caesar Salads, Kimchi Burgers, BBQ Guac Burgers, Fried Chicken Sandwich, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Chicken Quesadilla and Pizzas including Margherita, Wild mushrooms and truffles, buffalo chicken, BBQ pulled pork and pepperoni.
Where: 302 Hauptstr.
Around: Bread + Roses is more than just a plant-based café; It’s also a bookshop and bar that has live music on Thursday nights and has something for everyone.
Recommendations: Oyster mushroom carnitas tacos including three crispy carnitas oyster mushrooms, pico de gallo, pea sprouts and cilantro crema on corn tortillas.
Other menu items: Breakfast Burritos, Flatbread Pizzas, Spicy Portobello Burger, Watermelon Tuna Poke Bowl, Lebanese Fattoush, Grilled Kimchi Cheese, Roasted Sweet Potato Sandwich, Salads, Corn Bowls, Smoothies and more.
Where: 880 Boston Street
Around: IndianStyle is a family run business offering North Indian style cuisine with a menu consisting exclusively of vegetarian and vegan options.
Recommendations: Tikka Masala, of which there are a few varieties on the menu. Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala is Gardein’s meatless chicken cooked in a soy-based sauce with herbs and spices. The vegan mixed vegetable tikka masala features vegetables cooked in a soy milk-based sauce with herbs and spices. And the vegan tofu tikka masala consists of tofu cubes cooked in a soy-based tikka masala sauce.
Other Menu Items: Vegetable Samosas, Aloo Tikki Burger (Potatoes and Peas), Paneer Tikka Wrap, Khati Rolls, Vegetarian Chicken Vindaloo, Kadhi Pakora, Aloo Curry, Chana Masala, Vegetable Korma, Malai Kofta ( veggie balls in sauce), chili paneer and a variety of naan.