It's no secret that the south isn't exactly known for it's vegetarianism. When most people think about southern food, it's normally something like fried chicken and biscuits or BBQ - something that sticks to your ribs and packs a protein punch. There are restaurants, however, that break the mold of southern meat-eating and do it in delicious style. Check out these surprise gems on our list of the top vegan restaurants in the south.
Carolina restaurant Plant, headed by chef Jason Sellers, is a dining experience that could impress the most adamant of local carnivores. Well-crafted dishes, such as the walnut-encrusted seitan with cauliflower and caper raisin sauce, deliver strong and complex flavors with a home-style southern touch. Other dishes, like the red curry tofu with jasmine rice send your mouth across the world. Not impressed yet? Try the non-dairy maple-smoked pecan ice cream, a treat with the zest of the Appalachian mountains. Plantisfood.com
You can take the cow out of a Texas restaurant, but by-God they will have their protein! Walking distance from the University of Texas, Veggie Heaven offers affordable Asian cuisine that is topped with a particularly large assortment of one-of-a-kind meat substitutes. One of their most famous dishes is the Protein 2000. This bad boy is made of crispy, fried chunks of soybean nugget (kind of like a chicken nugget with a less sketchy food source). Veggie Heaven is all about offering full dishes that are easy on the wallet. And as if the folks behind this spot weren't cool enough, they even offer spicy tofu to the homeless in their community. Veggieheavenaustin.com
The Wild Cow
Located in the heart of East Nashville, The Wild Cow is a casual dining experience with top-notch ingredients. They are proud to say they neither own a microwave nor a freezer (except a tiny one for frosting beer mugs) and all their dishes and sauces are made in house from locally grown crops. One of their staples, OG Beans and Greens, is made of garlicky kale, pinto beans, garlic aioli and even come in a buffalo and ranch style. They've also created a zinger for a reuben sandwich out of grilled tofu and vegan cheese with thousand island, sauerkraut, spicy mustard and carrots. On top of all this, The Wild Cow throws a fundraising event for a different charity every month. Thewildcow.com
San Antonio, TX
It isn't east to pull off a successful veggie restaurant in the beef capital of the world. Vegeria, however, goes one step further to create a legit, all-vegan, gluten-free TexMex experience. Crowdfunded through a campaign on Indiegogo, Vegeria blossomed into a hit right in the heart of meat-ville. From the quinoa and pineapple chipotle bowl to the sun-dried tomato and sweet potato enchiladas, Vegeria blends the flavor of Texas with a gluten-free cherry on top. Myvegeria.com
This laid-back, southern cafe has been serving vegan and vegetarian dishes since the 90's and has become a staple in the Atlanta area for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The menu is an electric blend of tastes from around the world, most notably Asian, Caribbean, and Mediterranean meals. Local favorites include the Macro Stir Fry, an assortment of veggies cooked with tempeh in a tamari miso sauce, and the oven-baked Stuffed Acorn Squash, featuring a mix of navy beans, dried cranberries, wild rice, and walnuts. Cafe Sunflower may be the best on our list, as it was voted the number one vegetarian restaurant in the south by Vegetarian Times. Cafesunflower.com
Writer Bio: Jared Rigsby is a writer and graphic designer with a BA in Writing/Literature from Middle Tennessee State University. A longtime freelancer, he is published monthly through Dish Magazine (dishmag.com) and develops logos and websites through Neochromatic.com.
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