People eat a plant-based diet for a number of reasons. Whether it’s for health, ethics, or to combat climate change, we could all benefit from cutting back on our carnivorous ways every now and then.
It’s 2019, so most restaurants in Charleston can accommodate vegan/vegetarian diners. There are a handful, though, that make eating plant-based dishes easier than others.
In advance of World Vegan Day this Fri. Nov. 1., we’ve rounded up 20 veg-friendly spots around town:
Start with SAVORY
For lunch or brunch at healthy hot spot Basic Kitchen grab a Rainbow Bowl with mung bean noodles, rainbow vegetables, snap peas, herbs, and Thai peanut sauce.
Butcher and Bee’s menu is full of fresh veggies and a lot of the dishes can be made vegan with just one substitution. Their Anson Mills rice bowl comes with seasoned vegetables, almond butter, and turmeric onion, just ask for no egg and you can add avocado. For some Lowcountry/vegan flavors, try the Okra and Shishitos with buckwheat tahini, sunflower dukkah, and golden raisin honey.
Chef Evan Gaudreau is known for getting creative with the menu at Renzo. The vegan Suarez pie is made with tomato sauce, kale, garlic, and nutritional yeast.
Pair it with vegan fritto misto with pickled okra, zucchini, kabocha squash, and Renzo hot sauce. Thanks to a rotating wine list, there’s always something new to sip on as well.
The Daily serves coffee and pastries for a quick bite, but they also have some hearty plates for breakfast and lunch. Try the Grain Bowl made with Anson Mills farro, veggies, turmeric pickled onion, apple ginger dressing, and sunflower seeds, just ask for no egg. There’s always something in the pastry box with that loyal “V” next to it, too, so grab yourself a treat and a coffee before you leave.
The entire menu at Gnome Cafe is vegan, so you can’t go wrong. One sandwich that stands out is the Mushroom BLT made with portobello “bacon,” lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and your choice of sourdough, bagel, or rye. In the morning, you can grab a Breakfast Burrito with tofu scramble, guacamole, mango salsa, and shredded greens.
Another joint dedicated to giving plant-based folks more options, Huriyali, has smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and more. For a heartier meal, they have a Sea Island sandwich with tomato, cucumber, sprouts, avocado, lettuce, pickled root vegetables, vegan walnut mayo, and creamy green goddess dressing on local sourdough bread.
The Gathering Cafe’s motto is “healthy food for a healthy community” and they’re not slacking on vegan options. The Tempeh Reuben has vegan mayo, tomato, sauerkraut, and avocado. For breakfast, they have Veggie Hash with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, red onions, and potatoes, just sub tofu scramble and no feta.
Dellz Uptown serves up large plates of flavorful vegan fare. Their Vegan Nachos are made with Daiya cheese, brown rice, black beans, mango salsa, avocado, banana sauce, goddess dressing, and vegan sour cream for a messy, satisfying plate.
Casual neighborhood joint Five Loaves often has vegan options like the Carolina Grain Salad with artisan greens, tri-colored quinoa, Carolina gold rice, marinated mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and golden raisins.
Verde is basically a salad bar on plant-based steroids and they always have an option to build your own. Try the Lentil Giant made with their power grain blend, kale, baby spinach, avocado, beets, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, and almonds with turmeric vinaigrette. For something a little heartier, check out the Mellow Bello with wild rice, baby spinach, kale, marinated tofu, roasted portobellos, edamame, shredded carrots, and power seeds with miso-cashew dressing.
Jack of Cups Saloon offers creative vegan options on Folly, like Autumn Rolls made with red leaf, cucumbers, bell pepper, apple, shallot, and quinoa wrapped in rice paper, served with turmeric honey mustard.
Co has a vegan section on their menu, where you can choose items like Tofu Summer Rolls with fresh herbs, lettuce, vermicelli, bean sprouts, and ginger miso. Their Spicy Udon is also vegan, a noodle bowl made with tofu, snow peas, bell peppers, white onions, scallions, carrots, celery, and jalapenos, topped with sweet mirin soy.
For a quick vegan lunch or casual dinner, look no further than Brown Dog Deli. Brown Dog has an entire vegetarian menu that can also be made with vegan bread options. Highlights include the veggie dog and the vegetarian sloppy joe.
Kwei Fei has a number of loud, hot, vibe-y vegan dishes on the their dinner and brunch menu. For dinner, try the vegan/spicy/local/gluten-free (ticks all the boxes!) Sea Island Noodle made with Rio Bertolini wheat noodles, Anson Mills sea island peas, Mepkin Abbey shiitake, mushroom broth, and chili oil.
Kid Cashew has an entire vegan menu with items like homemade hummus, quinoa stuffed avocado, beet and arugula salad, wood-fired portobello gyro, and more.
Leyla’s Lebanese menu has plenty of vegan options to choose from. Snack on Makdoos, small Italian eggplant stuffed with walnuts, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, chili, and aged in olive oil, or try an entree like the Lebanese Mousakka made with braised eggplant topped with seasoned onion and garbanzo beans in a savory tomato sauce, served with rice.
We’d be remiss not to mention plant-based food delivery service, Fairy Fresh Foods. Each week owner Shaquille Fontenot creates a new, inventive vegan menu with dishes ranging from breakfast tacos with vegan chorizo to lentil “meatloaf” with potatoes and green beans.
…end with SWEET
Even health-conscious eaters should indulge their sweet tooth and BKeD Donuts is here for their vegan friends. Under their menu’s special ‘Vegan’ tab you will find AppleFritter, LemonPoppy, MatchAlmond, and more to satisfy those donut cravings in a plant-based fashion.
Off Track Ice Cream serves both vegan and regular ice cream in cones, cups, flights, and shakes. Recent vegan flavors include pistachio, campfire s’mores, and caramel latte cookie crumble.
Harbinger Cafe has more vegan goodies than you can shake a stick at. Try the orange and sweet potato loaf with Charleston Breakfast Tea glaze and chocolate chunks or the banana bread with vanilla glaze, sesame crumble, and Best Friend topping.
Get your vegan donut fix on King St. at Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts with rotating flavors like chocolate coconut, sweet potato oat, and five spice apple cider. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
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