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Olives for Dinner
Thu, 21 Sep 2023 12:12:00 +0000

Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Give your holiday table a tasty upgrade with this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe. It effortlessly adds a smoky, succulent, salty, and crispy flair to classic roasted Brussels sprouts.

Shiitake bacon and roasted Brussels sprouts.

This recipe was originally published in November 2013 and reposted in September 2023 with updated copy, images, ingredients, and instructions.

Until I learned to prepare them correctly, I hated Brussels sprouts. They were a limp, mushy, and weird-tasting vegetable that immediately conjured up images of a sour-faced child or disinterested adult, sulkingly rolling it around on their plate without really eating it.

Like most vegetables that get a bad rap, the Brussels sprout is not inherently bad. But boiling or blanching coaxes out a flavor and texture I don't like, while roasting creates a sublime, smoky, popcorn-like aroma and allows a beautiful caramelization to develop around its cabbagy edges.

Why this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Recipe Is So Good

Before diving into the details of this umami-bomb recipe for Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts, let's set the stage with a simple tale of change. Brussels sprouts, known by some for their limp and uninspiring reputation, have found their redemption in the world of roasting. This method brings out the hidden potential of these mini cabbages and transforms them into smoky delights, complete with an irresistible crispy edge.

This recipe guides you through the process of creating a dish that effortlessly combines the earthy flavors of Brussels sprouts with the savory allure of shiitake bacon. It promises a tasty upgrade that's perfect for your holiday table or any time you're craving a smoky, salty, and crispy twist to a classic favorite. Let's unlock the magic of Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts!

Shiitake Bacon: A Great Plant-Based Mushroom Bacon

About 10 years ago (yikes!) I created this sliced shiitake bacon recipe and have tweaked it a lot over the years. Since shiitakes come in all shapes and sizes, they can be sliced thin or thick, or just broken up by hand (like I did in this recipe). Keep in mind that shiitake mushrooms vary in size, and in this recipe, large ones work best … just like these beauties!

A hand holding a few large shiitake mushrooms.

Never Wash Mushrooms! Here's Why.

When prepping mushrooms, especially shiitakes and portobellos which have frilly gills, don't wash them. Why? They'll become waterlogged quickly and turn out mushy and sad. If they're dirty, just sort of brush as much as you can away with your hand. Use a damp paper towel if you must. They're going to be roasted so a little dirt doesn't hurt.

For this recipe, large shiitakes broken up by hand work best. It creates jagged, uneven shapes that allow for both crispy and succulent textures that taste really good in this dish.

How To Select And Prep Shiitake Mushrooms

Just as with Brussels sprouts, the quality of your shiitake mushrooms will greatly impact the overall taste and texture of your Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Here's how to pick the best shiitake mushrooms:

Appearance: Choose shiitake mushrooms that have smooth, plump caps and firm stems. Avoid any that appear wrinkled, slimy, or have dark spots.

Color: Fresh shiitake mushrooms should have a dark brown to light tan color. The caps should be slightly curved upwards, resembling a cup shape.

Texture: When you touch the mushrooms, they should feel dry and not overly damp or sticky.

Aroma: Give them a little sniff! They should have a rich, earthy aroma, which is a good sign of freshness.

Size: Large-sized shiitake mushrooms work well in this recipe. If you can only find smaller ones, follow this shiitake bacon recipe.

Before using, pop off the stems and discard or freeze them for making stock later.

How To Marinate And Bake The Mushroom Bacon

Place marinated shiitakes into a preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping the shiitakes around every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning. Since shiitake pieces vary in size and thickness, you will need to keep an eye on the cooking time, especially toward the end.

To drain excess oil off the baked shiitake mushroom bacon, place them on paper towels after baking.

Torn shiitake mushrooms in a marinade. Marinated mushrooms on parchment paper, to be baked. Baked shiitake mushroom bacon on a baking sheet.

How To Select And Prep Brussels Sprouts

Making these Brussels sprouts is super easy. The hardest part is not eating all of the shiitake bacon before serving!

To make the most out of this Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe, it's essential to start with the freshest Brussels sprouts. Here's a quick guide on how to select the best ones:

Size Matters: Look for Brussels sprouts that are small to medium-sized. These tend to be more tender and have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to their larger counterparts.

Firmness: Gently squeeze the Brussels sprouts; they should feel firm to the touch. Avoid any that are soft, squishy, or have blemishes.

Color: Opt for Brussels sprouts that are vibrant green with tightly closed leaves. Avoid those with yellowing or loose leaves, as these indicate age and potential bitterness.

Stem Check: Check the stem ends; they should be fresh and moist, not dry or woody.

There's no need to rinse the Brussels. Just chop off the base, discard, and slice each of them into halves.

Brussels sprouts being sliced on a cutting board. A halved Brussels sprout on a cutting board. Halved Brussels sprouts on a cutting board. How To Roast Brussels Sprouts

Allow your oven to preheat to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the Brussels into a large prep bowl and toss with olive oil or drizzle the oil over the Brussels on the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through.

Halved Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet. Roasted Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet.

How To Serve This Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Recipe

Toss the Brussels and shiitakes together and serve immediately. This makes a perfect side dish for the holiday table or weeknight dinners!

A serving dish with roasted Brussels sprouts and shiitake vegan bacon.

Plant-Based Bacon FAQs What is shiitake bacon made of?

Shiitake bacon is made from sliced or torn shiitake caps. They are marinated in a blend of olive oil, salt, liquid smoke, toasted sesame oil, and smoked paprika, then baked until crispy.

Is there a plant-based bacon?

There are many types of vegan bacon made from plants. Mushrooms, tempeh, seitan, tofu, and coconut are a few plant-based ingredients used to replicate the taste and texture of bacon.

There are also lots of commercially prepared, plant-based bacon created by brands like Lightlife, Tofurky, Sweet Earth, and Upton's Naturals.

How do you make shiitake bacon?

Making shiitake bacon is easy. Slice or hand-tear shiitake caps, marinate and bake until crispy. It can be used in a variety of dishes like shiitake bacon & roasted Brussels sprouts, pasta, soups, and stews.

More Recipes Using Mushroom Bacon

This shiitake bacon is super delicious and can be used sort of like vegan pancetta! A dish that calls for a smoky, salty, fatty, and crispy element like the ones below would love this mushroom bacon recipe!

  • This Vegan Alfredo Recipe is super creamy and delicious. Mushroom bacon is the perfect addition to transform it from decadent to mind-blowing!
  • Tofu scrambles love shiitake bacon mixed in or on the side. It adds a bit of saltiness and crunch.
  • These Vegan Pork Buns use oyster mushrooms following the same concept here.
  • New England Vegan Clam Chowder uses soy curls and chopped mushrooms. Use this shiitake bacon recipe (reserved "bacon grease" and all) in place of the commercially prepared bacon.
Print Shiitake bacon and roasted Brussels sprouts. Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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  • Author: erin wysocarski
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 servings
  • Diet: Vegan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Description

This shiitake bacon & roasted Brussels sprouts recipe is a fantastic choice for the holiday season. With its crispy, smoky, salty, and umami-rich qualities, this vegan bacon brings bold flavor. Pair it with perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, and you've got an ideal addition to your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any fall and winter meal.

Ingredients for the shiitake bacon
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 cups hand-torn shiitake caps
for the roasted Brussels sprouts
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • several pinches of coarse sea salt
Instructions to make the shiitake bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the shiitake bacon ingredients except for the shiitakes. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the shiitakes and toss to coat. Allow them to marinate from anywhere to 15 minutes and up to an hour at room temperature.
  4. Transfer the shiitakes to the lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place into the oven and allow to bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Take them out, flip around, and bake for 10 minutes more. Repeat.
  6. At this point, evaluate if they are done or need 10 minutes more. They are done when they are toasted around the edges but not burnt. They will still be moist with the marinade, which is okay.
  7. Once done, transfer the shiitake bacon to paper towels to drain. They will crisp up as they cool.
to make the Brussels sprouts
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the Brussels to a large prep bowl and toss with the oil and salt, then transfer to the baking sheet. You can alternatively add the Brussels to the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and season with the salt.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and toss them around and then bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until golden around the edges.
to serve
  1. Toss the Brussels and shiitake together and serve immediately.

Shiitakes vary greatly in size. This recipe works best with large shiitakes (like the ones pictured in this post). If you can only find small shiitakes, you can follow this shiitake bacon recipe instead.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Baked, Marinated, Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: shiitake bacon, vegan pancetta, roasted shiitake, crispy vegan bacon, mushroom bacon, holiday vegan sides

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The post Shiitake Bacon & Roasted Brussels Sprouts appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

Olives for Dinner
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 16:34:01 +0000

25 Vegan Fall Recipes For Comfort Food Cravings

These vegan Fall recipes offer the best kind of comfort food as we transition into this new season. With the drop in temperature, I say bring on all of the hearty stews, pumpkin everything, warm bread, and roasted vegetables! Here are 25 recipes that will hit the spot for sweater weather.

Best vegan fall recipe is creamy mushroom stroganoff!

It's finally here! This is the best time of year, in my opinion. Here in New England, it's magical. Leaves turn fiery shades of crimson, yellow, and orange. Driving down tree-lined roads in the Fall offers a spectacular view and makes me feel so lucky to live in this special place.

With the shift in the landscape and atmosphere, it's also a great time for hearty soups and stews, warm bread, pasta drizzled in an array of sauces, and pumpkin everything desserts! To help ease you into this season, here are 25 vegan fall comfort food recipes, full of carbs, sauce, flavor, and color.

Vegan Fall Recipes. Comfort Food Is Here!

There's nothing better than grabbing a glass of wine or hot chocolate, baking bread, and prepping stews and bread during the fall months. It just smells and tastes so satisfying! If you are stumped about what to make or are just looking for some inspiration, these soups and stews, roasted vegetables, pasta dishes, and cozy vegan dessert recipes will hit the spot!

Indulge In These Vegan Fall Recipes: Soups and Stews

As the autumn air turns crisp and cozy, there's a shift in our cravings. We long for something that warms not just our bodies but also our souls. It's the season when nature itself puts on a stunning display of reds and golds, and our taste buds join in the celebration by yearning for hearty, satisfying meals. This is where the magic of the kitchen comes alive.

Imagine stepping into your kitchen with the promise of a sensory journey that engages all your senses. The aroma of seasonal ingredients fills the air as if it's been invited right into your home.

Soups and stews take center stage. They're so comforting, blending seasonal veggies, legumes, mushrooms, and warm spices into dishes that soothe both body and spirit.

As these vegan fall soups and stews simmer away, your kitchen will be filled with irresistible aromas. With each spoonful, you'll be reminded of how cooking is such a lovely, sensory adventure. So, go ahead, step into your kitchen, and try some of these amazing recipes!

New England Vegan Clam Chowder

This New England vegan clam chowder is perfect for fall. Made with soy curls, chopped mushrooms, vegan bacon, thyme, and potatoes, it's completely plant-based. Cashew cream adds some creaminess, and oyster crackers or fresh biscuits complete this chowder!

A pot of vegan New England-style chowder.

Seitan Bourguignon

This seitan Bourguignon smells AMAZING. Plus, it's easy to make and perfect for cold days. Seitan, vegan bacon, and mushrooms take the place of beef, while a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and fresh thyme will fill your kitchen with the best aroma!

A plate of seitan bourguignon, with a glass o red wine behind it.

Portobello Vegan Stew

This hearty vegan stew from Alissa over at Connoisseurus Veg uses portobellos to make this meaty vegan stew. Potatoes, veggies, herbs, and red wine are simmered together to make this hearty, feel-good dish!

A pot of vegan beef stew.
Vegan Beef Stew | Photo and Recipe by Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg

Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup

Parsnips, cauliflower, and garlic are roasted and then pureed to make this creamy, earthy soup. I top this with crispy onions and vegan bacon, but some crusty bread will also do as well!

A bowl of creamy roasted parsnip soup garnished with vegan bacon and parsley.

Vegan Pot Pie

This vegan pot pie is packed with mushrooms, Gardein beef, veggies, herbs, and white wine. Drape phyllo dough over the top and bake to crispy, bubbly perfection!

A close-up shot of vegan pot pie.

Vegan Slow Cooker Chickpea Noodle Soup

This vegan slow cooker chickpea noodle soup by Tori over at Easy Chickpeasy looks so comforting and inviting! If you don't have time to make a stew, a slow cooker is the perfect appliance to have. Just add in the ingredients, set to your desired temperature, and get ready to enjoy a gorgeous bowl of this soup in a few hours.

A bowl of vegan chicken noodle soup.
Vegan Slow Cooker Chickpea Noodle Soup | Photo and Recipe by Tori at Easy Chickpeasy
Roasted Vegetables: A Perfect Fall Dish

Fall's arrival brings with it a cozy transformation in the kitchen. In the realm of vegan fall recipes, one category stands out for its simplicity and robust flavors—roasted vegetables. This is where the natural goodness of seasonal produce meets the warmth of the kitchen.

Vegan roasted vegetables go beyond being mere side dishes; they are a celebration of what this season has to offer. Roasting vegetables transforms root vegetables into caramelized jewels. Those crispy edges and tender textures keep you coming back for another bite. If you are looking for inspiration to embrace the flavors of the season, these recipes offer all of that and more.

Roasted Root Vegetables

This swirled pattern of red and gold beets and rutabaga not only looks stunning once it's roasted. It's also fun to assemble and develops the perfect crispy edges. Top with a little balsamic and thyme for a lovely roasted vegetable side dish.

Roasted root vegetables swirled in a cast iron pan.

Firecracker Cauliflower

This firecracker cauliflower offers an explosion of flavor. Peanut butter, sriracha, and miso are combined to create a spicy and umami-forward sauce that clings to the edges of the cauliflower. Throw the whole thing in the oven, baste, and watch the magic develop!

A whole head of firecracker cauliflower, basted with sauce in a cast iron pan against a dark background.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Curry

This cauliflower and mushroom curry recipe is one of my favorites. Not only because it's delicious, but also because it's perfect to make a day or two beforehand and allow all of the gorgeous spices and ingredients to mingle before serving. This allows you to save time AND enjoy this decadent dish.

A plate of vegan curry with rice on a dark background.

Pasta With Roasted Tomatoes And Chickpeas

Roasting tomatoes on the vine is the perfect accompaniment to pasta paired with chickpeas. Toasted panko adds a little crunch and a buttery sauce brings the dish together! Add these roasted tomatoes to any pasta dish that needs a little pop of color and tang.

Roasted Tomatoes

Hearty Vegan Pasta Dishes For Fall

With the arrival of fall, I naturally gravitate toward comforting, carby, and flavorful dishes. Among the delicious options that the season offers, vegan pasta dishes are one of the most versatile and satisfying ones.

In the realm of vegan fall recipes, pasta takes center stage as it pairs seamlessly with a variety of hearty ingredients, from butternut squash and pumpkin to sauteed mushrooms and creamy cashews.

This collection of vegan pasta recipes will add so much comfort to your fall meal planning. Whether you're a pasta aficionado or looking for ideas to add more pasta to your routine, these recipes provide delicious options. Let's delve into the world of pasta, where simplicity and flavor combine to create comforting, inviting, and satisfying meals.

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

This vegan stroganoff is the BEST comfort food for fall! Sauteed oyster mushrooms and a creamy tangy sauce are slathered over ribbons of pasta, creating the most cozy and delicious dish.

Creamy mushroom stroganoff in a white bowl.

Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta

This lovely vegan butternut squash pasta from Melissa over at Vegan Huggs brings together crispy sage, earthy butternut squash, and pasta. The end result is this luscious and creamy dish that's a perfect end to a breezy fall day.

A bowl of vegan butternut squash pasta.
Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta | Recipe and Photo by Vegan Huggs

The Best Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This alfredo sauce is creamy, rich, and decadent. Raw cashews, vegan butter, plant-based parmesan, and lemon combine to create a velvety sauce that clings beautifully to pasta. Serve with shiitake bacon for a pasta dish that offers carbs, richness, umami, and acid.

A plate of vegan alfredo pasta being twisted onto a fork.

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac And Cheese

I am blown away by this gorgeous creamy vegan pumpkin mac and cheese recipe by Nisha over at Rainbow Plant Life! This super wholesome mac and cheese is made with sugar pumpkin, raw cashews, spices, miso, and coconut milk to create a luscious, velvety sauce that coats pasta beautifully.

A bowl of creamy vegan pumpkin mac and cheese.
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese | Photo and Recipe by Nisha at Rainbow Plant Life

Pasta With White Wine Sauce

This easy pasta dish uses shallots, garlic, vegan butter, and white wine to make the sauce. It's simply tossed with your favorite kind of pasta and garnished with oil-cured olives for umami and fresh parsley for a pop of color. Serve with warm, crusty bread for a simple yet elegant dinner.

Vegan pasta twisted onto a fork.

Easy Vegan Chili Mac

This easy vegan chili mac by Tori over at Easy Chickpeasy combines pasta and chili for a doubly good comfort food dish. It's so filling, healthy, and bursting with color!

A bowl of easy vegan chili mac, garnished with tortilla chips and lime wedges.
Easy Vegan Chili Mac | Photo and Recipe by Tori at Easy Chickpeasy

Bread, Warm Bread! (And Sandwiches!)

Baking bread in the fall is like a warm hug for your senses. There's a simple joy in kneading the dough, feeling it transform from a mix of ingredients into something alive and elastic under your hands. The aroma that fills your kitchen when making your own bread is pure comfort. Now is a perfect time for experimenting with homemade bread!

When your bread emerges from the oven, the crust invitingly crackles, and the inside is so soft and tempting. Biting into homemade bread that's still warm is pure satisfaction. The crisp crust gives way to the tender center, and you savor the taste of your accomplishment. So, roll up your sleeves and start baking—it's a simple pleasure that your senses will thank you for!

Easy Focaccia Recipe

This is my go-to focaccia recipe that I've made a million times. I love the process of pulling it together. The aroma of this focaccia is so alluring, and taking that first bite straight from the oven is heavenly! If you are new to bread making and want something to ease into, this recipe is foolproof and easy.

Easy Focaccia straight from the oven.

Easy Focaccia Pizza

If you love that focaccia recipe, this focaccia pizza recipe may become your next go-to pizza crust! I topped this one with a balsamic glaze, green apple, red onion, vegan shreds, oil-cured olives, and thyme. But you can go as simple as marinara and vegan shreds and you'll still have something pretty magical!

A vegan focaccia pizza, cut into slices.

Vegan French Onion Soup Sandwich

If you have the time and desire, there's something comforting about babysitting a pot of sliced onions for a couple of hours. Watching the onions go from white to developing some caramelization, then reducing creates an amazing aroma. Filling a bowl with this soup and serving a grilled cheese sandwich with some of the onions to dip back into the soup is the perfect comfort food combo!

Easy Homemade Vegan Calzones

These homemade vegan calzones are so nice to make on a cold day when staying inside feels nice. The process of kneading this dough, prepping the filling, and smelling the aroma as it bakes is so comforting—to you and those you are making it for!

A homemade vegan calzone, cut open to show its interior.

Fall Desserts: Pumpkin, Cookies, and More!

As the air turns crisper, vegan fall desserts hold a special place in my heart. Among the stars of this season, pumpkin reigns supreme. Its rich, earthy sweetness and velvety texture make it the star of fall desserts.

The cozy, nostalgic feeling of enjoying a warm dessert on a chilly evening is unbeatable. The scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves filling the kitchen as you bake is a comforting aroma that defines the essence of the season.

Pumpkin pies, and anything-chocolate desserts, offer a creamy indulgence that's like a warm embrace from within.

Desserts in the fall embody the spirit of gathering, whether it's around a holiday table or a cozy evening by the fireplace. So, savor these vegan fall desserts, and let the magic of the season unfold!

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes

These easy vegan pumpkin cupcakes are so fun to make and the frosting is perfectly spiced and sweet! These are perfect to bring to a gathering or enjoy at home with friends and family.

A vegan pumpkin cupcake, topped with frosting.

Vegan Butterfinger Cheesecake

This vegan Butterfinger cheesecake by Christine over at Jar of Lemons is an absolute showstopper. Plus, it's easy to make and gluten-free. I love the ingredients Christine used to replicate all that's so good about Butterfingers. Bravo!

A vegan Butterfinger cheesecake, cut into slices.
Vegan Butterfinger Cheesecake | Photo and Recipe by Christine at Jar of Lemons

Yeasted Vegan Doughnuts

These yeasted vegan doughnuts by Christina over at Christina's Cucina look so light and fluffy! I can almost smell them from the photo. These are perfect for fall coating in whatever you like.

A stack of homemade vegan yeasted doughnuts.
Yeasted Vegan Doughnuts | Photo and Recipe by Christina at Christina's Cucina

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

This vegan pumpkin cheesecake from Anthea over at Rainbow Nourishments looks like an absolute masterpiece! Vegan cream cheese, coconut cream, and pumpkin puree combine to create the base and ginger cookies create the crust that adds a little spice and crunch.

A vegan pumpkin cheesecake, topped with pecans and a glaze.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake | Photo and Recipe by Anthea at Rainbow Nourishments

Flourless Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

These flourless chickpea chocolate chip cookies by Marly over at Baked Abundance are filled with wholesome ingredients and are gluten free! I love the balance of healthy and indulgent ingredients in this unique cookie recipe.

Vegan flourless chocolate chip cookies.
Flourless Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies | Photo and Recipe by Marly at Baked Abundance

That's it! I hope you've enjoyed this roundup of vegan comfort food recipes for fall! Check out more Vegan Fall Recipes here.

The post 25 Vegan Fall Recipes For Comfort Food Cravings appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

Olives for Dinner
Sun, 03 Sep 2023 19:59:11 +0000

Interview With Laura Wright of The First Mess

The First Mess is one of my favorite vegan blogs out there. Entering this beautiful space created by Laura Wright is like sinking into the most comfy, cozy chair in a warm house on a cold day. Laura's food, photography, and endless creativity have been a huge inspiration to me over the years. I'm so thrilled to share more about Laura and her work in this interview!

Laura Wright, vegan food blogger at The First Mess.

When you really love food and the process of selecting, chopping, and prepping, cooking can be sort of an emotional experience. Touching, smelling, seeing, and tasting a great dish invites all of the senses to become fully alive and reminds us to savor the present moment.

We eat with our eyes first, and Laura's food reminds us just how beautiful plants can be when prepared with joy. I love Laura's process shots, which invite us into her space and keep us curious about the recipe she's creating. Her culinary school background and experience working in vegan restaurants shines through in her precision and artistry.

The action of vegan cooking goes beyond just selecting ingredients and creating a dish. It's also a practice of kindness. Vegan bloggers not only play a key role in inspiring others to eat more plants but also discover the joy of compassionate living. Laura's work is a stunning example of the power vegan bloggers have to make a positive impact in the world.

I love diving into Laura's Saturday Sun articles, where she recaps things she is reading, enjoying, and working on in her life. Sharing a glimpse into her world helps foster a sense of community and connection. This is something that I certainly need and assume others also need quite a bit right now.

The First Mess Cookbook

One of my favorite cookbooks to cook from, especially in the fall, is Laura's The First Mess Cookbook. Published back in 2017, it's remained a well-worn and favorite resource to cook and get inspiration from.

Read on below to learn more about Laura's approach to cooking, her thought process, and her goal to make recipes approachable and doable for her wide audience.

The First Mess Cookbook cover, by Laura Wright. Interview With Laura Wright

When did you start to cook and what about the process itself kept you interested in it?

I started cooking with intention when I decided to try a totally plant-based way of life. That was about 15 years ago-ish? Then I just naturally became more interested in the process of nourishing myself and recreating those familiar flavours with 100% plants.

I had grown up with seasonal food because of my dad's local produce and grocery business, but this decision took things a step further for me. After I made this choice, I enrolled in a nutritional culinary program, started working in restaurants, and volunteered at a food bank. All of these things only deepened my interest. I was being exposed to the role of food in so many different contexts. This made the process of cooking so much more meaningful for me.

A romaneso-roasted-whole-cauliflower garnished with rosemary and other herbs.
Romesco Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Herbed Tahini Cream | Photo and Recipe by Laura Wright
More On Recipe Development

Describe your process of recipe development. How do you come up with fresh and new ideas for The First Mess on a regular basis?

My recipes mostly start with a craving, a seasonal ingredient, or a combination of flavours that I really love. From there, I plan the cooking method and try to be mindful of how many ingredients, the time it will take, how many dishes are needed, etc.

I used to just cook whatever I felt like and didn't really pay attention to the economies of time, effort, and cost. Now I kind of approach recipe development with a degree of problem solving. Of course my first priority is to make the recipe delicious and satisfying, but I also want folks to feel like cooking this particular thing is doable for them right now.

Define your own style of cooking.

Familiar with a few little unexpected turns, hearty, earthy, bright, and nourishing for all senses.

Describe the best dish you've ever made.

My mushroom and beet bolognese is up there. For me, the experience of cooking and eating it is on par with the traditional version. It's comforting, feel-good, the flavours are so rich and deep, and it's also a bit romantic in a way? I don't know, I'm just really proud of the recipe!

A plate of vegan mushroom beet bolognese.
Mushroom and Beet Bolognese | Photo and Recipe by Laura Wright
Some Of Laura's Cooking Heroes

Do you have any culinary heroes?

The home cooks that I grew up with in my family! My mom, Nana, grandma, my aunts … they were always getting it done, no matter what the day or life threw at them. I'm also always inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, Bryant Terry, and the entertaining QUEEN of our generation Ina Garten.

If you could choose anyone to cook with in the kitchen, who would it be?

Definitely Ina! Maybe we could vegan-ize her iconic Outrageous Brownies™ together 🙂

A vegan spinach and mushroom polenta pie by The First Mess.
Spinach and Mushroom Polenta Pie with Almond Ricotta | Photo and Recipe by Laura Wright

If you could throw a party for anyone, who would be there and what would the menu look like?

It's a boring answer, but probably my extended family. I haven't seen a bunch of them in so long, and keeping those connections alive and well is important to me. We would probably grill a bunch of things and make some big and beautiful salads. There would be homemade focaccia, dip and crudite platters, and something crowd-pleasing for dessert like chocolate cake and ice cream.

Stay Connected with Laura!

instagram | pinterest | facebook

Check Out More Interviews With These Vegan Bloggers!

I love the opportunity to get to know vegan bloggers better through my Why I Cook interviews. Check them out to discover new bloggers or learn more about your favorites!

Amanda Logan of My Goodness Kitchen

Gena Hamshaw of The Full Helping

Jackie Sobon of Vegan Yack Attack

Kathy Patalsky of Healthy Happy Life

Timothy Pakron of Mississippi Vegan

Cara Ansis of Fork & Beans

The post Interview With Laura Wright of The First Mess appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

Olives for Dinner
Tue, 25 Jul 2023 21:13:33 +0000

Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Boston

If you are looking for the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Boston and Cambridge, you've come to the right place! This guide will help you find the best vegan food depending on your mood, craving, or location. From vegan brunch to decadent desserts, you'll find it all in this Boston Vegan Food Guide!

A plate with Boston Vegan Food Guide on it.

If you are looking for the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Boston and Cambridge, welcome! I'm glad you're here. I've lived outside of and worked in Cambridge and Boston for more than 15 years, and have had some amazing vegan food here. This list is a compilation of my personal experiences, research (I'm always looking), and places I know are amazing with a fantastic reputation. It's a collection of rock-solid favorites to wish-list destinations.

If you are googling "best vegan restaurants in Boston" or "best vegetarian restaurants in Cambridge," and end up here, you'll undoubtedly find something that fits your needs. From fine dining to casual fare, this list has something for everyone—vegans, vegetarians, and the veg-curious.

So hop on the T or pahk the cah and get ready for some wicked good vegan food options!

Before heading out, double-check the restaurant's website (they're all linked below!) for the most up-to-date menu items. Some items mentioned below are subject to change by season, availability or menu adjustments. This list isn't exhaustive but fits one of these criteria:

  • They are an exclusively vegan restaurant.
  • They are not a vegan restaurant but offer a separate vegan menu.
  • They are not a vegan restaurant but mark vegan items very clearly on their menu, or have a substantial offering.

Click on the Table of Contents below to expand the list and see restaurants broken down by cuisine and name. Click on the restaurant name to jump to it in the article below.

Vegan American Restaurants in Boston and Cambridge

If you're in search of vegan burgers, diner-style eats, or comfort food dishes, these American-style restaurants have it all, ranging from casual options to upscale dining. Whether you crave delicious and gooey mac and cheese, a hearty burger prepared in traditional or wildly creative ways, or a mouthwatering slice of pizza, you can find all of that and more at these restaurants!

All-Star Pizza Bar

(Offers Vegan Pizzas)

All-Star Pizza Bar in Cambridge offers vegan pizza by the pie or by slice. Choose from unique pizzas like the Big Jerk with almond béchamel, Daiya mozz, jerk roasted jackfruit, mango and pickled red onions, or the Baked and Tofused with sundried tomato sauce, Daiya mozz, citrus-balsamic baked tofu, and roasted garlic. You can also build your own pie with Daiya mozz, vegan red or white sauce, and all the veggies you can think of!

Location: 1238 Cambridge Street, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: A great place in Cambridge with unique vegan pizzas you can order by the pie or slice.

A slice of vegan pizza with homemade seitan pepperoni from All-Star Pizza Bar.
Photo credit: All-Star Pizza Bar


Beatnic is a warm, casual, and 100% plant-based restaurant nestled in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. Formerly the location of by Chloe Boston, it features hearty salads, delicious bean-based burgers (my favorite is the Classic Burger), vegan chicken burgers and wraps, sides like mac n' cheeze with shiitake bacon (it's so rich and creamy and the shiitake bacon is so crisp!) and solid grab-and-go desserts like cookies and brownies.

Location: 399 Boylston Street, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A casual sit-down restaurant. It's a fun option if you are in the Back Bay area and want to grab a quick bite.

A vegan burger served at Beatnic.
The BCB with shiitake bacon and cheddah cheeze | Photo credit: Beatnic

Clover Food Lab

(Vegan and Vegetarian)

With about 15 locations in the Boston and Cambridge area, Clover Food Lab is an excellent spot for chickpea fritters, great soups, crispy rosemary fries, and seitan bbq. Be careful when ordering. Some items, like their Impossible meatballs, contain eggs, and the "vegan" sides sometimes contain cheese. Just be sure to double-check with the staff to make sure your order doesn't contain eggs or dairy.

Location: 1326 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge + 14 other locations throughout Cambridge and Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A fast casual eatery, where dishes are consistent and healthy, and use lots of fresh and pickled vegetables, lentils, and herbs.

The chickpea fritter sandwich at Clover Food Lab in Cambridge.
The chickpea fritter sandwich at Clover Food Lab is full of amazing textures and flavors!

Donut Villa Diner

(Offers a Separate Vegan Menu)

This retro-style diner isn't vegan, but offers a pretty generous separate vegan menu. Try their breakfast sandwich made with JUST Egg and Violife cheese, scrambled tofu, a vegan BLT, and sweet potato mac and cheese, and add vegan buffalo chicken if you'd like. They also offer cocktails, beer, and wine!

Location: 20 Prospect Street, Cambridge

Great if you are looking for: A spot to enjoy classic, diner-style vegan food with friends and family who may prefer non-vegan dishes. There's so much more here than a limp salad with fries!

Vegan chicken and waffles at Donut Villa Diner in Cambridge.
Vegan chicken and waffles | Image credit: Donut Villa Diner


(Offers a Vegan Section* on Their Menu)

Earl's offers a beautiful space for more of an upscale dining feel. I love that vegan items are clearly marked on the menu, and their website makes it easy to jump to the plant-based section. Grab some crispy tofu sushi tacos, vegan buffalo cauliflower, a vegan kale and mushroom pizza, or vegan street corn + avocado dip.

*One word of caution from a reader who was served dairy-based cheese in a "vegan" dish at Earl's. Please double or triple-check with the kitchen to make sure this doesn't happen to you!

Location: 800 Boylston Street, Unit 107, Boston + 698 Assembly Row, Unit 102, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: A great place to eat if dining with a group that has mixed preferences for omni, vegetarian, and vegan.

Vegan buffalo cauliflower bites from Earl's in Boston.
Photo credit: Earl's

(Offers a Vegan and Vegetarian Tasting Menu)

Located right outside of Harvard Square, Forage offers a five-course vegetarian and vegan tasting menu with wine pairings. They use locally grown produce and vegan cheeses to create a thoughtful progression of dishes. This charming spot is well-known for its excellent service and food. They do include meat on their menu but also observe meatless Mondays.

Location: 5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: Something right outside Harvard Square, a gorgeous and cozy interior, and great service.

A fiddlehead salad from Forage in Cambridge.
Fiddlehead salad with pickled spruce tips | Photo credit: Forage



Co-founded by Chef Mary Dumont, PlantPub is amazing. Located in Kendall Square, they offer dishes like buffalo cauliflower wings, a ramen bowl, and a few burgers. Try their classic, kimchi or bbq guac. They also offer a white truffle pizza and a few craft beers to wash it all down with.

Location: 675 West Kendall Street, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: Great gastropub-style food while in the Kendall Square area. Eat inside or outside!

A vegan burger at PlantPub in Cambridge.
PlantPub's Kimchi Burger is a gloriously messy and delicious vegan burger!

PLNT Burger


Launched by Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn, PLNT Burger offers nine vegan burgers, including a classic burger and cheeseburger, mushroom bbq bacon burger, vegan chicken sandwich, and a vegan fish sandwich. Grab some vegan chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, and a milkshake while you're there. Everything is made 100% from plants! There is only one location in Boston, and we hope to see more soon!

Location: 348 Harrison Ave, Boston (Located inside Whole Foods Market)

Great if you are looking for: Delicious, classic vegan burgers and plant-based, fast-food fare to share with your vegan or non-vegan friends and family.

A vegan mushroom bacon bbq burger from Plnt Burger in Boston.
Mushroom Bacon BBQ Burger | Photo credit: Plnt Burger

Red Lentil

(Vegan and Vegetarian)

Located in Watertown, Red Lentil is a little further out from Cambridge, but definitely worth going out a few extra miles. Its globally-inspired menu offers brunch, lunch, and dinner items like Chimichurri Seitan, Chesapeake Crabless Cakes, TexMex Enchilada, and vegan pancakes and waffles.

Location: 600 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown

Great to visit if you are looking for: Globally-inspired food with lots of options, and consistency in its dishes. A great place for everyone to enjoy something in a casual, cozy atmosphere.

Vegan shephard's pie from Red Lentil restaurant.
Vegan shephard's pie | Photo credit: Red Lentil

Rhythm 'N Wraps


Upon entry to Rhythm 'N Wraps, you'll be greeted with a beautifully fun and vibrant menu on its walls. Choose from items like their "Big Shug" burger, which is an Impossible Burger topped with their homemade mac and cheeze. Their sandwiches include a tempeh bacon club, chickpea tuna, buffalo jackfruit, and a Philly cheesesteak.

If you're in the mood for a wrap, go with their "Gangsta" (smoked apple sage sausage with spicy jerk hoisin, and goddess dressing), spicy or Italian sausage wrap, or go super healthy with their raw wrap. It's filled with arugula, purple cabbage, marinated red onions, and spicy almond satay. They also offer awesome weekend brunch items!

Location: 1096 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A diverse menu loaded with creative and delicious choices, from indulgent to healthy.

A vegan mc and cheese burger from Rhythm 'n Wraps in Boston.
Vegan mac and cheese burger | Photo credit: Rhythm 'n Wraps

(Vegan and Vegetarian)

Known for its hand-cut fries and poutine, everything at Saus is vegetarian, but can be made vegan upon request. Top off your poutine with vegan mac and cheese, crispy shallots, and truffled mushrooms. Choose from homemade sauces like smoky chipotle, garlic chickpea, and avo goddess to dip your fries in. And don't forget to make room for their vegan burgers, made with Impossible Beef, scallion jam, and garlic mayo. Wash everything down with a New England beer or hard kombucha!

Location: 33 Union Street, Boston + 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: Rich and indulgent food with creamy and spicy sauces, friendly service, and easy-to-order vegan food.

Hand-cut fries from Saus  in Boston.
Hand-cut fries | Photo credit: Saus

Stoked Pizza Company

(Offers a Separate Vegan Menu)

Located near Harvard Square with an additional location near the Washington Square T stop in Brookline, Stoked Pizza offers a generous and diverse separate vegan menu. Choose from dishes like vegan meatballs and marinara, waffle fries with chipotle aioli, General Tso's cauliflower bites, vegan pepperoni pizza, an Impossible cheeseburger pizza, and a vegan meatball pizza. Their vegan pizzas are also customizable, so you can also top them with whatever you'd like!

Location: 1611 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: A casual and cozy pizza restaurant with great, customizable vegan options, great appetizers, and beer.

A vegan mushroom and onion pizza from Stoked Pizza in Brookline.
Vegan mushroom and onion pizza | Photo credit: Stoked Pizza
True Bistro


Nestled in Teele Square, True Bistro is a highly acclaimed vegan restaurant that offers innovative plant-based cuisine. With an inviting ambiance and modern décor, this warm and welcoming atmosphere is perfect for intimate dinners or gathering with friends and family.

This spot is perfect for a special occasion, offering thoughtful small plates (the crispy oyster mushrooms are a must!) and gorgeous large plates for dinner, like Thai Red Curry and Rice Cake (so good!). Be sure to try their brunch menu for a memorable meal with loved ones.

Location: 1153 Broadway, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: Something on the fancier side, a minimal yet gorgeous menu, a small and intimate space, great service, and a full bar.

The oyster mushroom small plate at True Bistro.
True Bistro's crispy oyster mushrooms with guajillo chili sauce and horseradish-dill aioli. Perfection!

Veggie Crust

(Vegan and Vegetarian Options)

Located in Somerville with additional locations outside of the city, Veggie Crust offers unique signature and customizable pizzas, and offers vegan cheese. Choose a soy meat BBQ pizza, falafel pizza, and an Impossible pizza, among others.

Location: 445 Somerville Avenue, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: Unique pizzas with classic and Indian-inspired pizza toppings.

Veggie Cauliflower Manchurian Pizza from Veggie Crust.
Veggie cauliflower Manchurian pizza | Photo credit: Veggie Crust
Veggie Galaxy Boston

(Vegan and Vegetarian)

We love Veggie Galaxy, located in Central Square in Cambridge. This retro diner has a massive menu that's vegan and vegetarian, but most vegetarian items can be made vegan. They serve breakfast all day, with dishes like biscuits with mushroom gravy (one of my favorites), pancakes, hashbrowns, and tempeh bacon. For lunch and dinner, choose from their Big Mac Mac and Cheese with Beyond Burger and special sauce, portobello patty melt, vegan clam strips (made with fried oyster mushrooms), and Nashville hot chicken, to name just a few.

Location: 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: Super laid-back vegan diner comfort food with breakfast served all day, conveniently located right on Mass Ave in Central Square.

The Blue Plate Special at Veggie Galaxy Boston in Cambridge.
The Blue Plate Special (vegan fish sandwich) | Photo credit: Veggie Galaxy

Veggie Grill Harvard Square


I first started going to Veggie Grill when we lived in California and missed not having one when we moved back to Boston. I didn't have to wait long for the news that a location was popping up in Harvard Square and loved having some of my favorite options available again. Their creamy vegan mac and cheese, vegan fish tacos, vibrant salads, Koreatown tacos, and carrot cake were here, and just as good as on the West Coast. Its menu is completely vegan and gloriously extensive!

Location: 57 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge

Great if you are looking for: Globally inspired, casual vegan fast food in Harvard Square. Has a fast-food feel, but offers fresh and vibrant components in each dish.

The Seoul Bowl at Veggie Grill.
The Seoul Bowl at Veggie Grill is so filling and fresh!

Best Vegan East Asian Restaurants

If you love East Asian cuisine, you're in luck because there are some fantastic options in Boston and Cambridge. From noodles and rice to mock meats and tofu, these restaurants will add some freshness and spice. Grab some chopsticks and get ready for some amazing vegan dishes!


(Vegan-friendly options)

This East Asian restaurant offers dishes influenced by Malaysian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, and Chinese cuisine. Their vegetarian menu is mostly vegan, with items like fried tofu with shallots, cilantro, and peanut sauce, Thai red curry with lychee, okra, and basil, and Singapore chili tofu, with salted black bean paste, ginger, and black fungus mushroom. Just double-check with the server to make sure the item is vegan.

Location: 1790 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great if you are looking for: A nice selection of vegan starters and entrees with an East Asian feel in a warm and cozy atmosphere near Porter Square.

Balinese Gado-Gado salad from Chalawan.
Vegan Balinese Gado-Gado salad | Photo credit: Chalawan



Located in Allston, Grasshopper is the place to go for vegan Chinese cuisine. Their extensive 100% vegan menu includes appetizers like scallion pancakes and and vegan tempura. If noodles is your thing, they have so many options, and be sure to try their seitan dishes, which are excellent! My favorite is Grasshopper's No Name, which I tried to recreate in this Sweet and Sour Soy Curls recipe (came pretty close). Grasshopper will hit the spot if you like big portions, mock meat, and consistency with your favorite dishes!

Location: 1 North Beacon Street, Allston

Great if you are looking for: A super casual atmosphere with excellent vegan Chinese food, consistency in preparation, huge portions, and great service.

Sugar & Spice


Sugar & Spice is a Thai restaurant located in Porter Square offering a vegan-friendly lunch and dinner menu. Order the Thai veggie dumpling, vegan gyoza, vegan kow yum (rice-based salad with fresh Thai herbs), and sub tofu for meat in several curries, rice, soup, and noodle dishes.

Location: 1933 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: Legit Thai food with tons of vegan options. I love the way the menu categorizes the dishes based on their specific regions of origin in Thailand.

Vegan spring rolls for Sugar and Spice Thai restaurant in Cambridge.
Photo credit: Sugar & Spice

My Thai


This all-vegan Thai restaurant offers a ton of options, with amazing faux meats like chicken, beef, shrimp, lobster, and duck. Their massive menu includes fried rice, stir-fried noodles, Thai curry, vegan seafood platters. Take a stroll around Chinatown before or after, and take in all of the sights of the beautiful and vibrant part of the city.

Location: 3 Beach Street #2, Boston

Great if you are looking for: Thai food with tons of options and loads of faux meats. If you are in Chinatown, this is super easy to find and truly a gem to discover!

Myers + Chang

(Offers Vegan and Vegetarian Options)

Myers + Chang is an excellent option for Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Thai food. Although they serve meat, they also offer delicious vegan options that are clearly marked on the menu. Choose from dishes like Taiwanese cool Dan Dan noodles, edamame and wasabi dumplings, wok-charred udon noodles with tofu and bok choy, ginger scallion bok choy, and spring rolls with duck sauce. They do share grills and oil with non-vegan food, so if that bothers you, you may want to choose from another choice on this list!

Location: 1145 Washington Street, Boston

Great if you are looking for: A great option for those with mixed dietary preferences but a love of East Asian cuisine.

Vegan grilled mushroom longevity noodles at Myers + Chang in Boston.
Vegan grilled mushroom longevity noodles | Photo credit: Myers + Chang

Ramen O'Bowl


Located between Porter and Harvard Square, Ramen O' Bowl offers hot ramen like shoyu ramen and spicy ramen. Or you can choose cold ramen, like sesame tahini or their very spicy mala cold ramen. If you prefer, you can choose a rice bowl with soy protein, Japanese pickles, avocado, seaweed salad, and more. Everything is vegan!

Location: 1668 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: 100% vegan ramen in the Central Square area, that offers hot and cold ramen.

A bowl of vegan ramen from Ramen O'Bowl in Cambridge.
Smoked seitan bowl with vegan eel sauce | Photo credit: Ramen O'Bowl


If you find yourself on Newbury Street, dropping in to REDWHITE RAMEN is a must! My favorite is their Dragon Breath, but you can choose a less fiery version and go with their classic ramen, ginger curry, yuzu sesame, or truffle salt options. Their portions are huge, so plan to come hungry. The interior is cozy but casual, and the staff is friendly and helpful.

Location: 294 Newbury St, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A huge bowl of ramen any time of the year, with stellar options to please any palate. Their rich, hearty broth is bursting with umami and bold flavor, making this a solid choice for ramen lovers.

The Dragon Breath Ramen from REDWHITE Ramen in Boston.
REDWHITE RAMEN'S Dragon Breath is perfect if you like spicy, umami, and gigantic portions.


(Vegan-friendly Options)

This upscale Chinese restaurant located in Cambridge offers authentic Hunan Cuisine. They serve meat but also offer lots of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options on their menu. Select Shaoshan cabbage with garlic, dried chili, and aged vinegar, Impossible Beef on fire, and salt and pepper Impossible chicken nuggets with scallions and longhorn pepper ring.

Location: 270 Third St, Cambridge

Great if you are looking for: Authentic Hunan cuisine in an upscale atmosphere.

Vegan Impossible Beef on Fire dish at Sumiao in Cambridge.
The Vegan Impossible Beef on fire | Photo credit: Sumiao

Zhu Vegan Kitchen


This fully-vegan casual Asian restaurant offers lots of great soy-based protein dishes. Choose from dishes like black pepper seitan, Malaysian curry stew, basil soy protein, and General Tso's soy protein. They have great appetizers, including fried king oyster mushrooms, tempura vegetables, sweet yam fries, and soy skewers. There are plenty of rice and noodles on the menu as well!

Location: 166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington

Great if you are looking for: Casual Asian food that's completely vegan, with gluten-free and hot and spicy options.

Best Vegan-Friendly Ethiopian Restaurants in Boston

Vegan Ethiopian cuisine captivates with its abundance of rich flavors, vibrant colors, and diverse textures. The aromatic spices and emphasis on using fresh, seasonal ingredients in both vegetarian and vegan dishes create an alluring dining experience for those fortunate enough to experience it.

Blue Nile


This small and cozy restaurant located in Jamaica Plain has a vegetarian section of its menu. Most vegetarian Ethiopian dishes are naturally vegan, but you can always double-check with the staff if you are unsure about an item. Enjoy the shiro wet, a spicy ground chickpea stew with traditional berbere sauce, ginger, and garlic. Their Veggie Revenge is delicious and includes tikil gomen wat, gomen wat, shiro wat, yekik alicha, misir wat, and yatakilt wat.

Location: 389 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

Great to visit if you are looking for: A small and cozy restaurant with delicious Ethiopian food, friendly staff, and beer and wine if you'd like.

Koshari Mama


Specializing in Egyptian vegan street food, Koshari Mama is founded and run by a mother-daughter team. Koshari is Egypt's national dish which is hearty and layered with rice, lentils, pasta, deep-fried onions, and chickpeas. It's served with sauce options ranging from a no-heat tangy sauce (NuNu) to a fiery super hot sauce (Narr). Try small plates like baba ghanoush, marinated eggplant, and falafel, and move on to dinner options like mushroom shawerma, moussaka, and Egyptian "meatballs", which all happen to be gluten-free.

Egyptian red lentils from Koshari Mama.
Egyptian Lentils | Photo credit: Koshari Mama

Location: 585 Somerville Avenue, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: Exceptional Egyptian vegan street food, with friendly staff and a charming atmosphere. Plus, it's women-owned. (Run by a mother-daughter team!)

Lucy Ethiopian Cafe

(Vegan Friendly)

Located near Symphony Hall, Lucy Ethiopian Cafe is a small and cozy spot for Ethiopian food. Offering vegan and vegetarian dishes that are clearly marked, Lucy Ethiopian has lots of meat- and dairy-free options. Enjoy soft and fluffy inerja, lentil-based options, and vegetables with vibrant spices and flavors.

Location: 334 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: Vegan Ethiopian food that's perfectly seasoned in a small and cozy setting with great service.

A vegan combo plate at Lucy Ethiopian in Boston.
Veggie combo platter | Photo credit: Lucy Ethiopian

Vegan Indian Restaurants in Harvard Square

Boston offers lots of great vegetarian and vegan options that celebrate the diverse and flavorful tastes of India. Prepare to savor zesty chutneys, tangy pickles, hearty lentil-based dishes, and aromatic spiced curries that bring together a perfect blend of traditional recipes and creative innovations.

Whether you're a devoted fan of Indian cuisine or a curious food explorer in the city, Boston's vegan Indian eateries promise a heady array of mouthwatering, plant-based delicacies. From the northern regions to the southern coasts, this culinary scene offers a flavorful experience that will leave your taste buds craving more.

Madras Dosa

(Vegan Friendly)

Located in Harvard Square with an additional location in Boston, Madras Dosa offers fast-casual custom Indian dosas. Order a dosa, a thin lentil crepe, and fill it with items like spicy potatoes, onion, spicy podi, and mixed veggies. Choose sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew) or rasam (a South Indian traditional soup made with tamarind, tomatoes, and warm spices and herbs) on the side. Or go with their Paani puri chaat, kind of like Indian nachos with spiced savory mashed potatoes with chutney.

Location: 22 Eliot Street, Cambridge + 55 Boston Wharf Road, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: Outstanding dosas in Harvard Square that can be customized to your liking. Vegan items are clearly marked for easy ordering!

Dosa from Madras Dosa with chutneys.
Dosa with chutneys | Photo credit: Madras Dosa
Nirvana Taste of India

(Vegan Friendly)

Located between Harvard and Porter Squares, Nirvana offers clearly labeled vegan dishes, which include appetizers and curries. They offer delicious tofu saag, aloo palak, shahi aloo gobhi, and many others. Enjoy the food in a spacious and welcoming atmosphere.

Location: 1680 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: Great Ethiopian food near Harvard Square with lots of great, clearly marked vegan items.

Best Vegan and Vegetarian Mexican Restaurants in Cambridge

Boston and Cambridge offer an array of vegan Mexican restaurants that celebrate the rich and diverse flavors of Mexico. Experience zesty salsas, tangy guacamole, hearty bean-based dishes, and smoky-spiced tacos that offer a fusion of traditional and innovative creations.

Whether you're already familiar with what's available or are visiting the city and looking to explore new and exciting venues, these places will satisfy your cravings for mouthwatering, plant-based Mexican cuisine.

Across The Border

(Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly)

Located in Jamaica Plain, Across The Border is a Tex-Mex style restaurant that offers vegan and vegetarian options, as well as vegan beef, chicken, and sour cream. Jump to the vegan section of their menu for their black bean bowl with all the classic fixins or a vegan burrito with vegan steak, nacho cheese, sour cream, corn and guac. Grab vegan tacos, their Vegan Boston Bowl (with tater tots!) or their vegan sweet chili Dorito burrito with all of the lovely burrito fillings, made vegan. If you are not in the mood for Mexican, try their black bean patty or vegan fried chicken sandwich!

Location: 378 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

Great to visit if you are looking for: Great Tex-Mex classics, made vegan with creative use of Sweet Chili Doritos in some of their dishes. Indoor seating is limited, but additional spots are available outside.

Across the Border vegan Sweet Chili Dorito Burrito.
Vegan Sweet Chuli Dorito Burrito | Image credit: Across the Border
El Pelón Taquería

(Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly)

If you are looking for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortas, and more, this taqueria can make most items vegetarian and can sub vegan cheese upon request. Their chips and guac are amazing! Seating is limited, so plan to find another place to sit, or just plan to order food here as takeout.

Location: 92 Peterborough Street, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: Authentic tacos where beans can be subbed for meat, and vegan cheese can be subbed—with a small extra charge.

A hand holding up tortillas from El Pelon Taqueria in Boston.
Photo credit: El Pelon Taqueria

Más Veggies Taqueria


Located in Harvard Square, Más Veggies Taquiera is referred to as its "little sister" by Veggie Grill, which is located in the same building. Billed as 100% plant-based and delicious, it delivers bold flavors and a wide range of choices. Choose from burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, and salads. Browse choices like the carne asada burrito, crispy baja fish bowl, chickn' tinga taco, and chipotle crunch taco salad. If there's room left, order a side of chips and guac, queso, or salsa.

Location: 57 John F. Kennedy Street Drive, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: A vegan Mexican spot in Harvard Square, with a 100% vegan menu, with tons of choices. It's pick-up only, so be sure to plan accordingly!

Vegan Mexican menu items from Mas Veggies Taquiera.
Photo credit: Mas Veggies Taquiera

Taco Party


I have a really soft spot in my heart for Taco Party. It's a small and unassuming spot that offers bangin' tacos that remind me of the vegan taco choices we had in Los Angeles. Their menu is always rotating, but you can expect tacos filled with crispy tofu (one of my favorites), chimichurri tempeh, lentils Al Pastor, and jackfruit tinga. They are modestly adorned with just the right ratio of fillings to taco and drizzled with flavorful sauces. You can also order their nachos, which is a perfectly respectable meal by itself if you ask me.

Location: 711 Broadway, Somerville

Great to visit if you are looking for: A great place for innovative and delicious tacos in Ball Square. There is very limited seating and lots of folks just order and pick up there.

Vegan nachos at Taco Party.
The vegan nachos at Taco Party are so delicious!

Healthy Plant-Based Restaurants

Health-conscious folks can indulge in an expansive array of plant-based restaurants in Boston and Cambridge. The increased demand for nutritious and sustainable dining options has allowed healthy establishments to grow and flourish.

From creative juice bars showcasing innovative plant-based fare to charming cafes serving wholesome and locally-sourced ingredients, there's no shortage of delicious and nourishing choices for those seeking a greener, more sustainable way to dine in the Greater Boston area.



This grab-and-go establishment offers an array of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, seed "mylks," smoothie and breakfast grain bowls, raw snacks, and salads. In addition to being all-vegan, they are 100% organic, mostly GMO-free, and use locally sourced ingredients.

Location: 100 City Hall Plaza, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A healthy meal or just a boost from fresh juices or smoothies. It's take-out only.

An acai bowl from Cocobeet in Boston.
Acai bowls | Photo credit: Cocobeet

Life Alive

I love Life Alive. They have several locations from Back Bay to Salem, offering super healthy, organic, and nourishing grain bowls, fresh salads, wraps, noodles, and açai bowls. My favorite is their Buddha Bowl, which is packed with avocado, beets, kale, shiitake, lemon-cilantro rice, and quinoa with a ginger-tamari sauce. Try some of their hot teas or lattés (their spicy turmeric latté is perfect!) and smoothies—all made fresh and super healthy!

Location: 431 Boylston Street, Boston, plus eight other locations

Great to visit if you are looking for: A large array of salads to please any palate. Not all salads are vegan, but everything is clearly marked. Each location has a fun and welcoming vibe, with lots of choices on the menu!

An arrangement of bowls from Life Alive in Boston.
Photo credit: Life Alive

Lulu Green


This all-vegan, organic, Lebanese-inspired restaurant has become a very popular spot in South Boston with good reason. Their menu is creative, healthy, expansive, and organic. Try their popular quinoa bowl or vegan Caesar salad. For a more indulgent option, try their seitan asada tacos with guacamole, crema, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. The Lulu chicken sandwich with house-made vegan chili honey and bbq cauliflower sandwich is amazing. For dessert, move on to vegan macarons, chocolate cheesecake, or banana bread.

Location: 246 West Broadway, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A super cute and friendly restaurant that has a 100% vegan menu, with great comfort food and healthy fare options in South Boston.

The vegan crispy chicken sandwich with chili honey at Lulu Green in Boston.
The crispy vegan chicken sandwich with chili honey and cream slaw from Lulu is killer!

Mother Juice


Mother Juice offers superfood smoothies, acai bowls, avocado toast, salads, and grain bowls. Build your own grain bowl with plenty of choices like quinoa, avocado, vegan queso, and beets. Get your daily servings of fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts to feel your best throughout the day. Some smoothies contain honey.

Location: 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge + more locations in Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A super healthy spot with lots of options and multiple locations in Cambridge and Boston.

An arrangement of healthy salads from Mother Juice in Boston.
Photo credit: Mother Juice

Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor


Located in the four corners neighborhood of Dorchester, Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor offers a diverse selection of Ethiopian and South Asian dishes, wraps, and a juice bar. Choose from grains like wheat bulgar and African couscous, stew options like Ethiopian lentils (miser wat) and spicy veggie korma, and veggies like curry cabbage and seasoned kale to build your own plate.

You can also choose from signature dishes like the African pot bowl and the Oasis Vegan burrito bowl. Their wraps come with melted vegan cheese, grains, lentils, mushrooms, and more. Wash the huge portions down with fresh-squeezed juice infused with ingredients like ginger root, spirulina, moringa, and turmeric root.

Location: 340 Washington Street, Dorchester

Great to visit if you are looking for: Huge portions of healthy comfort food that beautifully blend Ethiopian and South Asian flavors.

A noodle salad bowl from Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor in Dorchester.
Photo credit: Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor

Revolution Health Kitchen


Located in Boston's Back Bay area, Revolution Health Kitchen offers a variety of healthy items like juices, smoothies, toasts, bowls, soups, salads, wraps, and sandwiches. They also offer grab-and-go items for busy days. Choose from items like sweet potato satay, Mediterranean wrap, berry blue smoothie, acai bowls, avocado toast, spinach and chickpea salad, and split pea soup.

Location: 150 Huntington Avenue, Boston

Great to visit if you are looking for: A restaurant with healthy, all-vegan menu items, with sit-down or grab-and-go options.

A vegan green smoothie bowl from Revolution Health Kitchen in Boston.
A vegan green smoothie bowl | Photo credit: Revolution Health Kitchen

Thrive Juice Cafe


Located in Arlington, Thrive Juice Cafe offers an array of hearty and healthy plant-based items. For breakfast, try their smashed avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches with JUST Egg, vegan sausage, and cheese, or house-whipped plant ricotta and avo toast. Choose from lots of rolls and wraps filled with vegetables, tofu, seitan, and falafel. They have salads, grain bowls, acai and pitaya bowls, fresh smoothies, and cold-pressed juices.

Location: 169 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington

Great place to visit if you are looking for: Plant-based fare with fresh and wholesome ingredients and dishes, located in Arlington.

Fresh vegan spring rolls from Thrive Juice Cafe in Arlington.
Photo credit: Thrive Juice Cafe

Vegan Bakeries and Ice Cream in Cambridge and Boston

No restaurant guide could be complete without a sweet ending, and these establishments offer dairy-free delights, from traditional flavors to the truly unexpected. Indulge in decadent vegan cakes, cookies, and donuts, or treat yourself to creamy and luscious vegan ice cream with unique, creative toppings and mix-ins. Whether you follow a vegan lifestyle or are veg-curious, these vegan bakeries and ice cream shops show that dairy isn't a requirement when making rich and creamy desserts.

Emack & Bolio's


While not completely vegan (they also serve frozen yogurt and use milk in other ice creams), Emack & Bolio's offers small-batch vegan ice cream. Indulge in flavors like cappuccino fudge swirl, raspberry chocolate krispy rice, and a few sorbets.

Location: 290 Newbury Street, Boston + an additional location in Charlestown

Great to visit if you are looking for: An ice cream shop on Newbury Street that serves both vegan and dairy-based ice cream for pleasing a mixed group or crowd.

A vegan Oreo ice cream cone from Mack & Bolio's in Boston.
Photo credit: Emack & Boilo's



Located in Boston's South End, Fomu is loved for its unique signature ice cream flavors like cold brew, birthday cake, and grasshopper pie. They offer seasonal flavors (my favorite is their salted caramel), as well as frappes, sundaes, ice cream cakes, and baked goods.

Location: 655 Tremont Street, Boston (with a couple more locations)

Great to visit if you are looking for: An all-vegan ice cream shop where you can test their ice cream before making a decision. There's nothing better than grabbing a cone and taking a stroll through Boston with your ice-cold, creamy dessert!

FoMu's vegan Magic Bar ice cream.
Photo credit: FoMu

Veggie Galaxy Bakery


If you've been to Veggie Galaxy Diner, the first thing you pass as you enter is a large, cylindrical bakery case. It's filled with vegan cakes and pies, all beautifully constructed and decorated. Desserts change frequently, so you've never sure what you are going to get! I'm a huge fan of their Boston Cream Pie, and their doughnuts are top-notch. To buy whole cakes, place an order and prepared to be wowed with the results!

Location: 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Great to visit if you are looking for: A legit, I-can't-believe-it's-vegan assortment of cakes, donuts, and more, just begging to be sampled after you've stuffed yourself silly in their diner.

A vegan cookies and cream cake from Veggie Galaxy Boston.
Vegan cookies and cream cake | Photo credit: Veggie Galaxy

Great Boston Vegan Instagram Accounts to Follow

Follow these Instagram accounts to stay updated on what's new and exciting in the Boston and Cambridge vegan food scene!

Vegan Kween

Erica's Instagram is an amazing resource for vegan food finds in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond. Her beautiful photos, informative opinions, and fun reels will introduce you to some amazing vegan food finds!

Boston Herbivore

Brittani of Boston Herbivore also has an absolutely beautiful feed packed with food from vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond. Planning a trip to Rhode Island or Maine? Brittani has tasted and captured some of the amazing vegan food finds out there as well. So many options!

Vegan Kween vegan restaurant reviews in Boston and Cambridge. Boston Herbivore instagram account for Boston Vegan Food Guides.

More Vegan-Friendly Food Options in Boston and Cambridge

While the city offers plenty of vegan options, some restaurants may not make it as clear on their menus. I aim to move some of these establishments to the main list once they either create a dedicated vegan menu section or expand upon their current vegan offerings. The demand for vegan options is on the rise in both Cambridge and Boston, and seeing more places embracing this compassionate choice is so exciting!

  • Boloco (Boston, multiple locations) – This build-your-own burrito, bowl, salad, or quesadilla offers seasoned Impossible meat or baked tofu as a protein, with tons of veggies to choose from as toppings.
  • Bonjour Cafe (Boston) – They offer lots of omelet options made with JUST Egg and offer plant-based sausage.
  • Brooklyn Bagel Factory (Cambridge) – Enjoy a vegan steamed bagel sandwich with savory filling options like vegan sausage and cheese, hummus, and sweet fillings like vegan cream cheese, fig jam, and fruit.
  • The Burren (Somerville) – This Irish pub offers a few vegan options on its menu that are clearly marked. Some of the vegetarian items can be made vegan upon request.
  • Cafe Beirut (Jamaica Plain) – This Lebanese cafe offers lots of naturally vegan items like hummus, tabbouleh salad, and falafel. They also have a vegan combo plate with falafel, vegetarian grape leaves, baba ghannooj, hummus, tabbouleh, rice pilaf, and pickles.
  • The Friendly Toast (Boston + Cambridge) – Their Vegan Breakfast Burrito is filled with black beans, vegan sausage, and an avocado-cilantro sauce. You can also order a Beyond Burger with vegan cheese.
  • Gypsy Place (Cambridge) – This cozy and bright coffeehouse offers some vegan acai bowls and smoothies with nut milk as an option.
  • Nu Kitchen (Somerville) – They offer a vegan breakfast Sandwich with JUST Egg and vegan mozz, a burrito with Impossible sausage, and a couple of vegan chicken wraps.
  • Pavement Coffeehouse (Boston + Cambridge) – Order their Vegan Sunrise, Vegan Egg and Cheese, or Vegan Tequila Sunrise, made with JUST Egg.
  • Roxy's Grilled Cheese (Cambridge) – This restaurant uses Daiya to make a vegan grilled cheese and tomato, buffalo tofu melt, and a cheesy caramelized onion sandwich.
  • Tresca (Boston) – Located in the North End, they offer vegan daily specials, a vegan pizza, and ravioli.
FAQs Is Boston good for vegans?

Boston is considered a good city for vegans. The plant-based dining scene has been steadily growing, and there are numerous restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that cater specifically to vegans and offer a wide variety of delicious and creative vegan dishes.

Additionally, many non-vegan restaurants in Boston also have vegan options on their menus, making it easier for vegans to find suitable choices throughout the city. However, it's important to note that the dining landscape can change over time, so it's always a good idea to check for the latest updates and reviews to ensure you have the best vegan dining experience in Boston.

Is Boston a vegan-friendly city?

The Boston area, including Cambridge, is undeniably a vegan-friendly city, catering to a diverse range of culinary preferences within the plant-based community. Whether you're looking for American comfort food, Mexican flavors, Indian spices, East Asian cuisine, or more, you'll find numerous vegan restaurants and eateries to satisfy your cravings.

The strong presence of vegan-friendly restaurants in Boston and Cambridge reflects the growing demand for plant-based dining options in the region. As more people adopt plant-based diets for health, environmental, and ethical reasons, the culinary landscape continues to evolve, providing a delicious and satisfying experience for vegans and anyone looking to explore tasty and wholesome plant-based meals.

What are some of the best vegan restaurants in Cambridge?

Veggie Galaxy, Clover Food Lab, Sugar & Spice, Veggie Crust, Life Alive, and Stoked Pizza Company are a few of the growing number of vegan restaurants in the Cambridge area. These restaurants cater to vegans and vegetarians with creative and flavorful dishes, ranging from classic comfort foods to innovative vegan pizzas.

With a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and compassionate, animal-free fare, these eateries have become popular destinations for those seeking delicious and sustainable plant-based meals in Cambridge.

The post Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Boston appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

Olives for Dinner
Thu, 29 Jun 2023 21:03:30 +0000

18 Best Vegan Summer Dinner Recipes

Looking for the best vegan summer dinner recipes? Look no further: these 18 vegan summer meals are perfect for sharing with one another, serving at a small get-together, or bringing to a barbecue! These vegan summer recipes are the perfect way to celebrate the season and beat the heat!

Hands holding a vegan pulled pork burger.

Summer is here. With the rising temperatures and increase in summer activities, you may come up short on vegan menu ideas. No worries, I have you covered! Here are 25 vegan summer meals that are perfect for the season.

Vegan Summer Dinner Ideas

Planning meals during the summer can be a daunting task, especially when juggling a busy schedule. As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, finding the inspiration to create delicious vegan summer recipes can feel like an uphill battle.

These vegan summer dinner ideas will allow you to breeze through your meal planning with easy and fun vegan dinner ideas perfect for get-togethers, barbecues, or intimate gatherings. Say goodbye to your summer dinner dilemmas and hello to a season filled with delicious plant-based meals!

Vegan Summer Sandwiches, Wraps, and Tacos

Vegan summer dinner recipes featuring sandwiches and wraps are a delicious and easy choice for summer gatherings. These handheld recipes offer a diverse combination of fresh ingredients, flavors, and textures, making them a crowd-pleasing option. Whether it's a casual picnic, beach outing, or get-together, the versatility and portability of sandwiches and wraps allow for easy customization and a fun dining experience. Embrace these vibrant flavors with the carby goodness of bread!

Soft Tacos with Jackfruit

Indulge in the sensational flavors of these jackfruit soft tacos, a delicious and easy-to-make plant-based dish that's simply perfect for summer. These tacos feature tender jackfruit infused with savory spices, nestled in warm tortillas, and topped with crisp radish and carrots.

Versatile and customizable, these soft tacos bring freshness and heartiness to your summer and are a great choice for a relaxed dinner on the patio!

Two soft tacos on a white plate with seasoned jackfruit.

Tofu Banh Mi

This tofu bahn mi hits the spot on a warm summer day. A fresh baguette is critical for this recipe! Marinated tofu mingles with crisp, pickled vegetables while a creamy and spicy vegan mayo pulls it all together. Making these sandwiches is a fun process and this may become your favorite go-to summer sandwich!

A tofu banh mi sandwich.

BBQ Tempeh Avocado Sandwich (by Kathy Pataksky)

Kathy Patalsky always hits it out of the park with her creations, and this sandwich is no exception! Smoky tempeh, creamy avocado, and crisp red onion are piled high on a sandwich that's perfect for summer. It's filling, has a brightness to it, and is easy to assemble at get-togethers or busy days at the pool.

A vegan bbq tempeh avocado sandwich.
Recipe and photo by Kathy Patalsky

Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Grab a few cans of young jackfruit packed in brine and a bottle of bbq sauce and this mouthwatering vegan summer barbecue sandwich is yours! Crisp red cabbage slaw and buttery toasted buns make this an easy summer favorite. It smells fantastic, and watching the jackfruit transform its texture will blow your mind!

A vegan bbq pulled pork sandwich made with jackfruit.

Farro and Beet Burgers

If you love Beyond Burgers or Impossible Burgers but want something more wholesome, give these farro and beet burgers a try! Pre-ground farro and beets combine to make a sturdy burger that's perfect for grilling or pan frying. Serve it with traditional fixings or make kimchi mayo for a creamy, spicy sauce. And don't forget to toast your buns for an awesome burger!

A hand-formed, hand-made farro and beet burger.

Vegan Lobster Roll

If you are looking for vegan seafood ideas, these vegan lobster rolls are a great choice! Made with hearts of palm, Old Bay seasoning, crisp celery and red onion, capers, and chives, this will hit the spot on the warmest of days.

Two hands holding a vegan lobster roll against a dark background.

Vegan Summer Skewers

Skewers offer a great way to showcase an array of colorful vegetables, plant-based proteins, and delicious marinades. Whether you're grilling them on the barbecue, roasting them in the oven, or even cooking them on a stovetop grill pan, skewers are incredibly simple to prepare.

The beauty lies in the flexibility they provide, allowing you to customize your skewers with your favorite ingredients and seasonings. Not only do skewers cook quickly, making them ideal for hot summer days when you want to spend less time in the kitchen, but they also add a festive and interactive element to your gatherings.

Sambal Seitan Skewers

If hot and spicy is what you crave, these faux-meaty skewers will deliver! Go old school and make your own seitan from scratch or buy it prepared. Slathered in a mixture of sambal, vegan Worcestershire, brown sugar, and ginger, these seitan chunks develop a wonderful, caramelized char when grilled. Offer guests plenty of napkins … these are delightfully messy and perfect with a cold beer!

Two skewers with sambal seitan chunks.

Tempeh Veggie Skewers (by Vegan Yack Attack)

Jackie over at Vegan Yack Attack kills it with all of her creations, but her summer creations are exceptionally stunning. Marinated tempeh, mushrooms, bell pepper, and zucchini are threaded onto skewers for a colorful and oh-so-summery masterpiece!

Tempeh veggie skewers, stacked on a plate.
Recipe and photo by Vegan Yack Attack

Tofu Satay With Spicy Peanut Sauce

This tofu is marinated in a blend of Indonesian satay seasoning, garlic, and soy sauce to create a brightly-hued and deeply fragrant protein that's perfect for skewers! A homemade peanut sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges for a dinner that smells and tastes amazing!

Grilled Tofu on a skewer, propped up.

Tofu Skewers with Blueberry BBQ Sauce (by the First Mess)

Tofu, peaches, and zucchini are threaded onto skewers and slathered with a thick and sticky blueberry bbq sauce. This creation by Laura over at The First Mess looks so incredibly fresh and bright. It's so perfect for summer, and embraces all of the goodness the season has to offer!

A tray of tofu skewers with blueberry bbq sauce.
Recipe and photo by The First Mess

Vegan Summer Salads

These salads are a celebration of all that summer has to offer, showcasing an array of bright colors and crisp textures. With an abundance of seasonal produce like juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sweet berries, and leafy greens, these salads offer a cool respite from the summer heat.

Whether it's a backyard barbecue, a picnic in the park, or a poolside gathering, vegan summer salads are a fantastic choice for summer gatherings. They not only nourish and hydrate but also provide a refreshing and vibrant addition to the spread.

Embrace the coolness, crispness, and vibrant flavors of these salads, and let them be the star of your summer table, bringing joy and deliciousness to every bite.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

This salad features crispy breaded and baked cauliflower that's been drenched in buffalo sauce. Serve it with peppery arugula, juicy cherry tomatoes, sharp red onion, creamy avocado, and clean-tasting celery for an amazing summertime salad. Vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing on the side is always a good idea!

A top-down shot of a buffalo cauliflower salad.

Mixed Berry Salad with Sweet Lime Dressing

Sometimes it's just too hot to turn on the oven. Having this fresh fruit salad as part of your vegan summer dinner repertoire will hit the spot when you feel tired but hungry from a busy day of summer activities. This berry salad also goes with practically any meal, so make room for this easy, lime-kissed salad that will leave you feeling refreshed!

A top-down shot of a bowl of mixed berries in a prep bowl.

Watermelon Tuna Poke Bowl

Watermelon is a summer staple for good reason. It's hydrating, delicious, and refreshing! It can also be baked to create a vegan tuna. Now, this vegan tuna doesn't taste like fish, but it does have a very interesting texture that's perfect for this vegan poke bowl.

Sushi rice, creamy avocado, pickled cucumbers, spicy vegan mayo, funky seaweed, amaranth caviar, and scallions come together to create this fun and playful dish!

A top-down view of a watermelon tuna poke bowl.

Grilled Green Beans

Ok, so this isn't technically a salad, but it does make a lovely vegetable side if you have already fired up the grill. If you like spicy food, this dish will hit the spot! Sesame oil, sambal, and soy sauce create an earthy, spicy, and salty sauce for these charred and smoky green beans.

A plate of spicy green beans.

Vegan Summer Desserts

Ok, these aren't technically recipes for dinner, although they could be! These are perfect companions to these vegan summer dinner ideas!

Vegan summer desserts are a welcome addition to the warm and lazy days of the season. These desserts offer a refreshing indulgence that's perfect for relaxed afternoons spent under the sun. With vibrant flavors and enticing textures, vegan summer desserts provide a satisfying and invigorating respite from the heat. Whether it's a cool and fruity creation or a creamy delight, these plant-based desserts bring a sense of lightness and joy to summer.

Creamy Chia Pudding with a Fresh Berry Compote

This dessert is great for summer because it's something that can be whipped up the night before, creating a cold and refreshing treat for the next day. A mixture of cooked-down fruit mixed with fresh offers an interesting contrast to the chia pudding texture. Plus, it's red, white, and blue—perfect for July 4th!

Vegan chia pudding with berries.

Vegan Caramel Blizzard

This blizzard can be made with your favorite vegan ice cream. What makes this one so special is the topping, which is a salted cashew caramel sauce. Once it hits cold ice cream, it creates a sort of shell, which is fun to tap and crack while you reach for that next bite.

Vegan caramel blizzard in a mason jar.

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream (by Jessica in the Kitchen)

This homemade chocolate avocado ice cream by Jessica is amazing! She uses avocado in place of heavy cream and eggs to create a beautifully rich and creamy chocolate ice cream that's perfect for summer. Grab a cone or a cup and prepare to be wowed by this creation!

Vegan chocolate ice cream cones.
Recipe and Photo by Jessica in the Kitchen

Lychee Boba Drink

If you can find fresh lychees, this dessert is a great way to use them! Rich and creamy coconut milk and vanilla bean combine to create a cozy and rich base while the tapioca pearls and a nice texture that will keep you reaching for that next scoop or sip!

Two glasses with lychee boba drink.

That's it! I hope you've been able to find some good vegan summer dinner ideas for this season. Come back for more summer vegan recipes in the next couple of months. For even more vegan menu ideas, check out my vegan summer recipes archive!

The post 18 Best Vegan Summer Dinner Recipes appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

Olives for Dinner
Tue, 06 Jun 2023 13:04:18 +0000

Toasted Muesli Recipe

This homemade toasted muesli recipe is easy meal prep for a busy week. Fragrant toasted oats, nuts and seeds come together with dried fruit for a hearty and subtly sweet breakfast. Serve with vegan yogurt or a splash of plant-based milk for a wholesome, healthy and filling breakfast!

Two hands holding up jars of toasted muesli.

I have gotten into the bad habit of waiting until I'm super hangry before eating something for breakfast. By the time I find something to eat, it's either something processed or not very healthy. So I started buying commercially prepared muesli in an attempt to begin my day with something more wholesome. After eating it every weekday morning for months, I felt better overall and was full for longer in the morning.

Since muesli is just oats, nuts and seeds with dried fruit, it's easier and cheaper to make it myself than buying it prepared. Plus I can swap dried fruits and other components out to make a muesli with flavors I crave. This version has a blend of blueberries, cherries and goldenberries. They are so sweet and tart together, and perfect served with vegan yogurt.

Toasted muesli in bowl with vegan yogurt.

Key Muesli Ingredients Ingredients for making homemade toasted muesli.

This recipe starts with a base of thick rolled oats, chopped nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Toasting the oats and nuts brings out their beautiful aroma! I baked the oats and toasted the nuts and seeds in a preheated, dry, cast-iron skillet. Toasting the nuts and seeds in a dry pan was an easier way to keep an eye on them. You want them toasted and fragrant, but not browned.

This muesli is oil-free and gluten-free (just check your oat's package or bulk bin to ensure they are not produced on shared equipment).

Selecting Your Oats

Thick rolled oats: Also known as old-fashioned oats, these oats begin as whole oat groats, which are the hulled oat grains. These groats then go through a process called "rolling," where they're gently flattened with large rollers to create those signature flat and thick flakes. This process retains their natural chewiness and texture, making their texture perfect.

Rolled oats are much different than quick oats, which have been finely chopped to cook faster. Steel-cut oats, on the other hand, are whole oat groats that have been sliced into smaller pieces but remain intact. Neither of these varieties are substitutions for this recipe! Thick rolled oats maintain their shape and size, yet are soft enough to provide a nice texture.

When it comes to health benefits, thick rolled oats are superior to quick oats. They're loaded with dietary fiber which supports digestive health and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer periods. Plus, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making them an excellent choice for sustained energy throughout the day.

These oats are also a great source of complex carbohydrates. These carbs provide a steady release of energy, keeping you fueled and focused throughout your day. Goodbye hangriness! Thick rolled oats are also rich in essential minerals like manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain antioxidants that fight inflammation. All good stuff, right?

Choosing Your Nuts

Chopped almonds: Almonds are a superstar ingredient that offer a multitude of health benefits. They an excellent source of plant-based protein, and are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber. Like thick rolled oats, almonds are also rich in antioxidants.

Almond trees are grown in orchards, and when they blossom, beautiful flowers appear. Honeybees play a crucial role in the pollination process, as these flowers need to be pollinated. Once this happens, the flowers transform into green, fuzzy pods that eventually mature and split open to reveal the almond shells. After the shells are cracked, the edible almond kernel is harvested and can be enjoyed in various forms: whole, sliced, roasted, or turned into creamy almond butter. Keep reading below for substitutions for almonds in this muesli recipe.

Sourcing Your Seeds

Pepitas: Not to be confused with pumpkin seeds, pepitas are the hulled and roasted seeds of specific pumpkin varieties, while pumpkin seeds refer to the entire seed, including the hull.

Pepitas are packed with essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc. They're a fantastic plant-based source of protein, and add a perfect flavor and crunch to this muesli.

Sunflower seeds: The sunflower seed production process involves harvesting mature sunflower heads and allowing them to dry. Once dry, the seeds are extracted from the flower head. They can be eaten raw or roasted for added flavor.

Sunflower seeds offer an array of health benefits. These tiny seeds are packed with nutrients, including healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are particularly rich in vitamin Eand phytosterols, which contribute to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, they provide an excellent source of magnesium, which plays a vital role in bone health, muscle function, and overall well-being.

Finding Your Fruit

Dried fruit: Dried fruits are created by dehydrating fresh fruits, resulting in a concentrated, chewy, and nutrient-dense snack. Dehydration methods like air drying or the use of specialized dehydrators allow for the removal of most of the fruit's moisture while preserving its natural sugars, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I used a blend of blueberries, cherries and goldenberries here. The blueberries add a perfect pop of flavor, the cherries add some tartness, and the goldenberries add a super tangy and citrus flavor. I like them all together here, but feel free to add these other components in place of them:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
How To Prep This Toasted Muesli Recipe

To make this recipe, you'll need a baking sheet, large cast iron pan and a large prep bowl. Distribute the oats onto a dry baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Give it a stir halfway through to promote even cooking.

Toast your nuts and seeds in a large, dry, cat iron pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally to prevent burning. You want them fragrant, but not browned.

Toasted oats and nuts in a prep bowl. Adding dried fruit to toasted muesli.

Add the toasted oats, nuts and seeds to a large prep bowl and stir. Toss in the dried fruit and salt and stir again.

Toasted muesli in a prep bowl.

Allow the oats to cool completely, then transfer to sealed jars or other containers and use throughout the week for super healthy breakfasts. No more hangry mornings!

Toasted muesli stored in glass jars on a windowsill.

Ingredient Swaps

Go nuts! If you don't want to use almonds here, try pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts or pistachios. Just give them a rough chop and toast in a dry pan on the stovetop to keep a close eye on them and prevent burning.

Mix it up! I used sunflower and pepitas together here because I like their flavor and textures, but other options are hemp and sesame seeds.

Feel free to experiment with the ratio of nuts to seeds. This recipe is super non-fussy and you can calibrate the ratios to create a muesli that you love.

Hands holding two jars of vegan muesli.

How To Serve This Toasted Muesli

Once you've toasted and combined your ingredients, it's ready to be enjoyed! Portion out the amount you'd like, and store the rest in air-tight containers. Feel free to serve or top with any of the suggestions below:

  • Serve in a bowl with plant-based milk of your choice
  • Use as a topping over vegan yogurt
  • Top with fresh fruit like cherries, apples, plums, berries or bananas
  • Drizzle pure maple syrup over the top
  • Add spices to the oatmeal during the baking time, like cinnamon, cloves or cardamom
Use This Muesli Recipe to Make Overnight Oats

For a cold breakfast (perfect for summer), place 3/4 cup of this muesli into a container or jar, then add enough plant-based milk to cover, then add a few more inches. Cover and place into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, you'll have a creamy, dreamy breakfast that's packed with flavor and is super convenient.

Overnight oats can also be made with untoasted ingredients; however, toasting them does add a nice touch of flavor. Check out these overnight oats for more ideas!

For More Breakfast Ideas, Check These Recipes Out!

These recipes use oats and other ingredients that are commonly found in your grocer's bulk bins. They are easy to make, nutritious and so delicious.

Print Two hands holding up jars of toasted muesli. Toasted Muesli Recipe

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Print Recipe Pin Recipe Description

This homemade toasted muesli recipe is perfect for meal prep. Simply toast plain oats and nuts, then combine with dried fruits of your choice! Serve with vegan yogurt or a splash of plant-based milk for a nutritious and filling breakfast!

  • 4 cups of thick rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup golden berries
  • 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Distribute the oats onto a large baking sheet in an even layer.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring it halfway between baking time. The oats are done when fragrant, but not browned.
  4. Preheat a large, dry cast iron pan over  medium heat. Add the nuts and seeds and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally. The nuts are done when you cam smell them, but not browned.
  5. Transfer the toasted oats and nuts into a large prep bowl and stir.
  6. While still warm, add the dried fruit and sprinkle with the salt. Stir again.
  7. Allow the muesli to cool completely and transfer to jars or containers for easy meal prep throughout the week.
  8. The muesli lasts about a month in a sealed container.

Feel free to sub the nuts, seeds and dried fruit with anything you prefer! See post for more ideas and substitutions.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast, Snack
  • Method: Baked, Toasted
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: easy muesli, overnight oats, vegan breakfast, healthy muesli

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @olivesfordinner on Instagram … we'd love to see it!

The post Toasted Muesli Recipe appeared first on Olives for Dinner.

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