With vegetarian meal options becoming more and more popular, those who follow a vegan diet have a seemingly endless list of foods to enjoy.
In addition to tofu, lentils, and chickpeas that are used as protein substitutes in vegetarian dishes, local restaurants are now using many other substitutes to mimic the meat.
One ingredient commonly used as a meat substitute is dates. Tempeh is a plant-based protein source made from fermented soybeans that have been shaped into a block; It is often marinated in liquid smoke or powdered smoke when used as a substitute for bacon.
There’s also seitan, which is made from gluten. Unlike other plant-based meat alternatives, it looks and feels very similar to meat when cooked.
Another popular alternative to meat is jackfruit. This tropical fruit, grown in Asia, Africa and South America, consists of stringy flesh often mixed with barbecue sauce and used to simulate pulled pork or chicken.
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We recently asked our readers where they go when looking for a great vegetarian meal and what they usually order. Here are some suggested places and menu items.
where: 450 Massachusetts Street.
Around: Veggie Galaxy offers traditional diner-style comfort food made from scratch: but the special thing is that it’s all vegan — and everything can be made vegan. The restaurant serves breakfast all day and provides friendly, old-fashioned dinner hospitality to all guests.
Recommendations: Cauli of the Sea, which features cauliflower fried in cornmeal, seasoned with Old Bay and served with fries, green cabbage salad, homemade remoulade and grilled lemonade.
One respondent said, “Whatever meal I order, I must enjoy one of their delicious fried meals!”
Veggie Galaxy Frappes are made with coconut and oat milk ice cream.
Other items on the menu: Southern “sausage” biscuits and gravy, melted tuna hummus, “steak” and “cheese” steaks, melted portobello patty, chicken and waffles, and fried ‘clams’ mushroom slices.
where: 1 Al Baraka Street
Around: An award-winning vegetarian and vegan restaurant with locations in Watertown and Sharon, Red Lentil has been delighting its customers with its vegans since 2009.
RecommendationsTofu Benedict Florentine, which features a grilled English muffin, is layered with tomato, spinach, bacon, and whipped tofu, topped with homemade vegan hollandaise and served with French fries.
Other menu items: Tempeh reuben, polenta, butter squash, Jamaican jerk tempeh, chimichurri seitan, walnut lasagna, moussaka pizza, jackfruit tacos, Chesapeake crabella, sweet potato quesadilla, grande nachos, red lentil veggie burger.
where: 1203 Aljoz Street
Around: A vegan and vegetarian restaurant with delicious varieties of vegetarian and vegan options, Walnut Grille also has plenty of gluten-free options paired with organic wines and cocktails.
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Recommendations: Vegetarian BLT with homemade tempeh bacon, grilled organic tofu, lettuce, tomato and sriracha mayonnaise served on whole wheat bread. Nutty Tofu, which features pressed organic tofu topped with nuts (cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts), served on top of a brown rice cake with wild mushroom broth, wilted green peppers, paprika and cilantro chutney.
Other menu items: Thai red curry, garden quesadilla, artichoke and sweet potato pizza, southwest burrito, piccata “chicken”, tofu tikka masala, vegetarian lasagna, portobello steak and a variety of appetizers and salads.
where: 675 West Kendall St.
Around: The PlantPub concept is to combine the world’s best craft beers with vegan versions of classic pub food, ultimately making vegan food accessible and fun for everyone.
Recommendations: “Everything,” according to one respondent.
Menu items: Grilled Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Nachos, Garlic Sticks, Chili Potato Queso, Ramen Platters, Caesar Salads, Kimchi Burger, BBQ Burger, Fried Chicken Sandwich, Boneless Beef Sandwich, Chicken Quesadilla and Pizza, Including Margherita, Wild Mushroom, Truffle, Buffalo Chicken Roast pork and pepperoni.
where: 302 Main Street
Around: Bread + Roses is more than just a vegan café. It’s also a library and bar that shows live music on Thursday evenings, offering a little something for everyone.
Recommendations: Mussels Carnitas Mushroom Taco, which includes three crunchy oyster carnitas, pico de gallo, pea sprouts and cilantro cream on a tortilla.
Other items on the menu: breakfast burrito, flatbread pizza, spicy portobello burger, watermelon tuna poke bowl, Lebanese fattoush, grilled kimchi cheese, roasted sweet potato sandwich, salads, cereal bowls, smoothies and more.
where: 880 Boston Rd
Around: IndianStyle is a family run business featuring North Indian style cuisine with a menu consisting of all vegetarian and vegan options.
Recommendations: Tikka masala, of which there are quite a few varieties on the menu. Vegetarian chicken tikka masala features meatless jardin chicken cooked in soy sauce with herbs and spices. It includes vegetable tikka masala mixed with vegetables cooked in a soy milk sauce with herbs and spices. Vegetarian tofu tikka masala contains cubes of tofu cooked in a soy-based tikka masala sauce.
Other menu items: Vegetarian samosas, Aloo tikki (potatoes and peas) burger, paneer tikka rolls, khati rolls, vegan chicken vindaloo, kadi pakora, aloo curry, chana masala, vegetable korma, malay kofta (vegetable balls in sauce), chili paneer. And a variety of naan.