posted October 17, 2023
As a Vegan married to an omnivore, I consider myself well-versed in choosing restaurants that work for the both of us.
I live in New Jersey, just a few miles outside midtown Manhattan. While there are many vegan restaurants in Manhattan, I have only one vegan restaurant and one vegan bakery close by. However, several local restaurants have vegan options.
Some of My Local Omnivore Favorites for Vegan Options
The Cheesecake Factory has a Vegan Cobb Salad with grilled asparagus, avocado, roasted beets, green beans, tomato, cucumber, carrot, quinoa, farro, almonds and toasted pepitas. They also offer an Impossible burger and a few other vegan mains, along with many appetizers and salads. Some dishes require removing an ingredient or two to make it vegan.
Chipotle offers Sofritas made from tofu blended with spices, chipotle chilies, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Their brown and white rice, black and pinto beans, tortilla wraps, veggies, fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, and guacamole are all vegan.
Panera offers nothing vegan on their menu, but you can veganize their offerings. For example, order a Baja Bowl without feta cheese or Greek yogurt. The cilantro lime brown rice and quinoa blend, black bean and corn salsa, salsa verde, grape tomatoes, and fresh avocado in that dish are vegan and delish!
They also have a Mediterranean Bowl with the same grain blend, arugula, grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, hummus, and lemon tahini dressing. Just order it without the feta and Greek yogurt to enjoy it vegan.
But that’s not all—there are so many other places omnivores and Vegans can dine together. The Hard Rock Cafe has an Impossible burger. California Pizza Kitchen’s Veggie Pizza is incredible without cheese. You can order a plain baked potato at Wendy’s. Burger King also has an Impossible burger. Check out VegOut magazine for more options.
Other Types of Restaurants for Vegan Dining
Here are some things I like to order when out with omnivores:
Enjoy a vegan burger and a plain baked potato. At my local kosher deli, the “butter” is vegan.
Order a veggie pizza without cheese. I ask for spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms in addition to the usual onions and peppers. Why not create your own?
Diners usually have a few vegan options. A veggie wrap (no cheese) and many salads (remove the unwanted items) are popular. A local diner we go to has a sweet potato and black bean vegan burger (made fresh). They will serve it with salad or vegetables (grilled or steamed).
Vegans can order tofu (often called bean curd) and veggies from almost every Chinese restaurant. Or just get a vegetable dish with rice. Vegetable dumplings and some spring rolls are often vegan as well.
Falafel is great option. Baba ghanoush (grilled or roasted eggplant) and hummus are usually vegan (just check to make sure they don’t add dairy to them).
Pub restaurants generally have a couple of salad options. Simply ask them to remove the chicken and cheese, for example, and ask them to substitute something else, like avocado.
Many stadiums have vegan options across the country. At the Mets baseball games at Citifield in Queens, New York, I can get a veggie dog or vegan burger. But be careful, many hamburger buns are not vegan. I always ask for a vegan bun, regular bread, or eat it plain.
I was pleasantly surprised at a recent wedding to have a vegan vegetable option.
Tips for Vegan Dining Out
Check out the Menu Before you Go
Most restaurants have their menus online now, or you can call and ask with their options are.
Eat Something Before Going Out
This way I don’t stress that the place others have chosen does not work for me. I simply order a green salad, a baked potato, or some veggies enjoy while socializing.
Check out some Vegan Apps
There are so many apps and websites to find vegan and veg-friendly restaurants. I love VeggL . Instead of listing vegan restaurants like other apps, this site lists what the restaurant offers, including non-vegan meals, that can be easily veganized.
Dining out Vegan with an omnivore is doable. It may take a little pre-planning, but our feathered and furry friends are worth it.
Cherie Hans holds certifications from Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution and Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition programs. She holds a Master of Science in Bilingual Education from St. John’s University, NY, and a Bachelor of Arts from the City University of NY: Queens College in English and Spanish, and currently teaches adults in English as a Second Language. After graduating from Main Street Vegan Academy, Cherie started the blog Fit and Fifties Vegan. She is from Queens, New York, but now resides in New Jersey with her husband and many rescued cats.