If getting lean and going green are among your goals for 2016, why not combine for some alternate edibles at some of the Valley’s best restaurants for vegetarian and healthy eating?
As varied as the salads tossed for eating green are a mouthful of delicious options for those choosing leafy over meaty in their adventures in dining. Taste for yourself. Check out what these Valley restaurants are serving up for vegetarian visitors.
There are probably few better places to start than Green if you’re looking to eat green. With two locations in the Valley — one in Phoenix and one in Tempe — Green takes pride in offering what it calls New American comfort food, focusing on organic ingredients such as unrefined cane sugar, vegan cheeses and mock meats whenever possible. Green considers itself a “crossover vegan restaurant” boasting delicious dishes that even meat eaters will enjoy. Consider the restaurant’s vegan wings, which have been voted among the top 10 wings in the nation. Green’s BBQ chicken sandwich was also named best faux chicken sandwich in the country, and its bigWac burger is a Green visitor favorite. Vegetarians can also lean on Green during the meat-heavy holiday season. The restaurant offers a special thanksLIVING holiday dinner menu on Thanksgiving and will even prepare meal orders ahead of time for pick-up and takeout.
Green Phoenix, 2022 N. 7th St., Phoenix AZ 85004 (602) 258-1870 | Green Tempe, 2240 N Scottsdale Rd., Tempe AZ 85281 (480) 941-9003
Gluten-free, if you please, makes Nourish a top eating-out choice for vegans and health conscious diners in the Valley. Owner Kirstin Carey’s own battle with Celiac disease translates into conscientious food offerings for her customers with the promise that everything Nourish produces is 100% free of gluten, soy, peanuts and other ingredients that Carey, a certified holistic nutritionist, describes as “nonsense.” Nourish also has customer-customized meal plans that can be picked up at either of the restaurant’s two locations in Tempe and Gilbert. Nourish menu favorites include its vegan protein burger; a sweet potato and avocado salad; a Teriyaki rice bowl; and a hemp tofu scramble.
Nourish Tempe, 2152 E. Broadway Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282 (480) 222-9600| Nourish Gilbert, 1495 N Higley Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296 (480) 525-1345
Sweet and savory come in vegan too. The Pomegranate Cafe in Ahwatukee offers a wide array of flavors among its menu items that range from the cafe’s popular Raw Tacos Vivos — made with walnut taco “meat,” baja sauce and cashew sour cream — to a pastry case of indulgently healthy sweets, all organic, vegan and made from scratch. Also try liquid flavors at Pom’s full espresso, juice and smoothie bar. Delicious food and a neighborhood vibe keeps visitors coming back. Mother and daughter co-owners Cassie and Marlene Tolman say patrons “leave feeling satisfied when they realize they just ate a meal that was vegan/vegetarian and organic.” Pomegranate also caters with advance notice and partners with other local businesses for special events revolving around healthy eating and living.
Pomegranate Cafe, 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., #28 Phoenix, AZ 85048 (480) 706-7472
In the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Vegan House promises the highest quality in local ingredients to create fresh vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes using meat substitute and soy products. Try Vegan House’s spaghetti green curry seafood dish that comes with vegan shrimp, vegan fish and vegetables dressed in curry sauce. The Orange Soy Chicken and tofu also draws praise from pleased palates as does the pumpkin peanut curry dish, green curry dumplings and veggie roll appetizers. The decor is comfortable and seats about 50 people in between booths and tables. Street parking spaces are available through the City of the Phoenix, so before feeding your stomach, you’ll also need to feed the meter.
Vegan House, 20 Adams St., Phoenix, AZ 85003, (602) 258-3426
With three locations across the Valley, the Loving Hut has established itself as a recognizable go-to for vegans and vegetarians on the hunt for substitute takes on popular meat dishes such as sweet and sour pork, steak and potatoes, spicy shrimp and lemongrass chicken. Desserts are varied too, with vegan cheesecakes, red velvet and banana cakes, ice cream and milkshakes among the menu must-trys. Dishes vary from location-to-location, so explore and try them all. Visit Loving Hut locations in the Valley in Glendale, Phoenix and Tempe. Some Loving Huts even cater to pets, offering vegan dog food with all natural ingredients. Check the website or call ahead to see if your favorite Loving Hut has snacks for Scooby in stock.
Loving Hut Glendale, 3515 W. Union Hills Dr., Ste. 123, Glendale, AZ 85308 (602) 978-0393 | Loving Hut Phoenix, 3239 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018 (602) 264-3480 | Loving Hut Tempe, 405 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281, (480) 968-4096
Green Restaurant’s affection for confection has given way to Nami, a vegan-vegetarian brunch and dessert place Green calls its “sweet” little sister. Short for tSoynami, which is also the name of a soy-based Nami ice-cream treat, the restaurant caters to the vegan sweet tooth using organic ingredients and sensory-scintillating flavors — nummy! Try Nami’s cookies ‘n’ cream, coffee coco loco, or gluten-free clunky monkey among its other tSoynami soft serve ice cream delights. Sunday brunch serves up french toast, huevos rancheros, eggs benedict among other vegan vittles.
Nami, 2014 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85006 (602) 258-6264
Putting a vegetarian spin on Vietnamese food is what Fresh Mint does best. This Scottsdale eatery places emphasis on flavors, herbs and spices in healthy cuisine created for vegetarian, vegan and kosher dining. Fresh Mint also offers a gluten-free menu that features seasoned eggplant, mushroom and tofu veggie kabobs, stir fried noodles, curry vegetables and a mango coconut tapioca for dessert. The full menu includes soy beef and chicken dishes as well as vegetarian spare rib and black pepper steak servings.
Fresh Mint, 13802 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste. 161, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (480) 443-2556
Persian Garden Cafe
There are plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans and health-focused meat eaters at the Persian Garden Cafe. Every dish on the menu promises an adventure in taste drawing from fresh herbs and Persian influences. Persian Garden’s Purple Shoot dish, an exotic combination of braised asparagus, grilled eggplant and sautéed onion, is a favorite among vegetarian visitors. Gluten-free options such as the gyros platter and grilled wild salmon are also among the restaurant’s healthy meat and seafood entrees.
Persian Garden Cafe, 1335 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85013 (602) 263-1915
– Suzanne Wilson, Phoenix.org