I am back with the second part of my How to Order Vegan posts. You can find the first post here: How to Order Vegan Part 1.
In this installment of how to order vegan we are going to cover Mexican food, Mediterranean food, and Pizza.
Growing up on the Mexican border, I spent a fair amount of time eating in Mexico. I love Mexican food. That said, living this far North can make it a little tricky to find true Mexican food. Be that as it may, the variations including Tex-Mex share some similar features in recipes. These tips tend to be things that can carry over into all the types of Mexican and Tex-Mex you come across. There are always the obvious things: no cheese, no meat. Likely it will include no sour cream as well. This is especially important since most sour cream is not even vegetarian as it contains gelatin.
Other things to note:
-Rice can be cooked in chicken stock
-Beans can be cooked in an animal stock
-Mole is rendered with lard
-Tamales and Enchiladas can often be made vegan if they are made fresh. If they are made in advance they will often have cheese or beef stock in them.
-Tortillas can be fried in lard
-Double check that guacamole does not have cheese added to it
That said, there is almost always something that can be vegan at a Mexican/Mexican-like restaurant.
Enchiladas and tostadas from Nico's Taco Bar.(Drinks, food and patio! Woohoo!)
I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like. Probably a lot of people will say that. However, they likely won’t say that they try falafel everywhere they do get to go. I do. I love falafel and it’s many trappings- hummus, tahini, fresh chopped veggies.
*Art by Moonfruit Comics
Mediterranean Food is an excellent vegan food and it’s not too terrible for you either. I know it might seem that gyros(lamb), chicken, and beef dominate this type of cuisine but they most certainly do not have to.
Grilled veggies abound and a lot of things are based in chickpeas and sesame seeds. Eggplant is also a prevalent ingredient.
Things to check for include:
-Nearly all falafel is cooked in grapeseed oil or olive oil. It can also be baked(Egyptian style)-on occasion it is cooked with an animal stock in it.
-Greek salad is easily made vegan by leaving off feta cheese
-Avoiding things that have yogurt. Sometimes you can get tzatziki sauce without diary but not always. Definitely ask about this if this is what you want.
-I’ve on occasion run into hummus having gelatin in it. This is a rare occurrence but not impossible.
-Ask if rice is free of chicken stock
-Various types of samosas and dolmas are out there but you can run into ones having meat in them. It never hurts to double check.
Mediterranean food is an excellent way to dine out vegan. All the places I’ve tried falafel have their own way of making it from varying spices, cooking methods and sauces. I’ve even had it wrapped up with a thin tortilla type wrap, filled with hot sauce and grilled(yum).
I also find it to be great comfort food. If I am feeling especially bad, most places offer french fries as a side and dipping those in hummus that is usually fresh made can make anyone more cheerful.
Falafel from Holy Land in the Midtown Global Market.
The final part of this second installment we’ll go over everyone’s favorite: PIZZA!
It’s a great time to be vegan as more places than ever offer at least SOMETHING for an option. This has not always been the case, sadly.
If you go to a place like Pizza Nea or Pizza Luce around the Twin Cities you can even get alternative meat options including, at Pizza Nea, choices from the first vegan butcher shop, Herbivorous Butcher.
But, the reality is more often that there is not alternative meat or faux cheese options. That does not mean that you cannot have a delicious meal. One of my favorites in town is from Punch Pizza called the Gigi. It’s simply thin crust, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and basil. I often add mushrooms and artichoke hearts to it as well. It’s divine.
Things to look for:
-Ask if the crust is vegan because it can contain lard making it not even vegetarian. This tends to be true more for the cracker-style crust pizzas rather than Neapolitan-style or deep dish.
-Cheese can have rennet in it which is an enzyme that comes from animals, again making it not even vegetarian.
-Make sure sauce is meat and cheese free. Chunky tomato sauce tends to be a good bet if you’re unsure.
-Bianca sauce can be difficult to find vegan. Luckily for Minneapolis, you can go to Galactic Pizza and have their aromatic, melty perfection.
*An extra thing to note: If you have the option of a seasonal veggie pizza, I would go for it. This usually means the freshest possible ingredients. Minnesota has amazing mushroom pizzas for this very reason. If you haven’t had morels on a pizza you are missing out.
Gigi pizza from Punch Pizza.
I’m working on Part 3 which will include Indian food and it’s vast varieties! Happy EATING!