Vegan is not a scary word. Most people eat vegan products every day, including you! Do you like apples? What about potatoes? See, you’re eating like a vegan! All kidding aside, more and more restaurants are seeing a rise in demand for vegan options. Vegan means no animal-based products like milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, sour cream and, of course, meat. Plant-based items can be vegan, but some contain eggs and dairy. Adding these options to your menu isn’t difficult. Change out a few ingredients here and there and you’re well on your way to making your establishment a go-to option for all eaters. Here are some vegan restaurant menu ideas to get you started.
Vegan Breakfast Options
Sometimes a challenge for vegans, most breakfast fare includes eggs, cheese and meat. Impress your guests with some fluffy vegan pancakes for some morning comfort food, made with almond milk, flour, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Just make sure to use a separate cooking space to keep pancakes free from any residual animal products left on the grill. Here’s a great recipe from Tasty.
2. Tofu Scramble
Another popular option is tofu scramble. Crumble drained and pressed, firm tofu into a skillet and add whatever veggies and seasonings you’d like. Good options are spinach, tomato, onions, potato, salsa, zucchini and top with shredded vegan cheese. Quick and simple.
Vegan Lunch Options
3. Not Tuna Sandwich
Not every vegan meal has be fancy. Vegans like simple stuff, too. First up is a Chickpea (not tuna) Sandwich. Mix up mashed chickpeas, sliced onion, celery, chia seeds and vegan mayo. It’s simple and delicious. You can also serve it as a dip with pita chips or add to a green salad. Here’s a recipe from The Simple Veganista.
4. Pizza Burger
Pizza burger? Yes, please! Popular options are the Impossible™ Burger or the Beyond Burger®. You can even make your own veggie burger with lentils, mushrooms and veggies. Top with pizza sauce (check the ingredients), mushrooms, spinach and a slice of vegan mozzarella. Bravo!
5 -6. Nachos or Taco Salad
It’s easy to create your own vegan cheese sauce with cashews, carrots and potatoes, along with some flavorful seasonings. Once you have the vegan cheese sauce, crumble up some vegan chorizo or Beyond Beef® and make some nachos or a taco salad. Load either with tomatoes, jalapenos, guacamole, beans, black olives, green onions and lettuce. Some tortilla chips are not vegan so make sure to read the label to be sure. A lot of refried beans are cooked with lard, so black beans are a better option.
Vegan Tip: Keep in mind, when serving fried foods like French fries or tater tots on the side, you will need to use different oil that wasn’t used to cook animal products. A separate fryer is ideal.
Vegan Dinner Options
7. Portabella Mushroom Steak
Sauces and marinades make all the difference. Vegan Worcestershire or balsamic marinades are savory and always a crowd pleaser. Offer up a steak that’s not beef, but a portabella mushroom. Here’s an easy recipe to try from Vegan Huggs that you can make on an indoor or outdoor grill. Also, it pairs nicely with a side of veggies and the item at No. 8…
8. Macaroni and Cheese
You already made that vegan cheese sauce for the nachos at No. 5. Use it again on some elbow macaroni. Most dry pasta is vegan.
9. Veggie Pasta
Speaking of pasta, steamed veggies in a flavorful garlic sauce is an easy option. Or you can use the same marinade from the portabella mushroom recipe. Slice zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onions, squash, spinach and Brussels sprouts and toss them with some penne pasta. Sounds simple, but the right herbs and sauce is crucial. Be creative!
Vegan Dessert Option
10. Strawberry Cake
Vegan baking has come a long way in the past few years with so many recipes online for just about any dessert you can think of. When I visit a restaurant, I am always pleased to have a nice slice of vegan cake. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Check out this strawberry cake from Minimalist Baker. It’s also gluten free – bonus!
Bake your own desserts or better yet, team up with a local vegan baker in your area that specializes in vegan desserts. Your guests will not be disappointed. Most people won’t even realize it’s vegan. They’ll just know it’s delicious.
Whatever options you choose, your vegan customers will appreciate the effort. Vegans are used to eating side salads and plain baked potatoes, so the community is glad more people are becoming interested in vegan options and more restaurants are offering vegan fare. With a few simple recipes, you can create a memorable experience to make every guest feel welcome, included and respected.