My brother always says he's a vegan between meals. Yes, in fact, the air we breathe is vegan. But beyond that, in 2016 it's easier than ever to eat a plant-based diet, and we're not just talking about salad or veggie burgers.
It's not that there's been some massive proliferation of vegan restaurants in Cleveland. Sadly, we lost two of my favorite standbys this year, Pure and Supreme and the Flaming Ice Cube. Newer spots like Cleveland Vegan and Helio Terra have filled the vegan restaurant void admirably. But what's most encouraging is how many Cleveland chefs are getting creative with plants at their restaurants. They produce some fantastic dishes worthy of ordering regardless of your dietary restrictions.
I've traveled the country eating some the best vegan food and I can proudly say that Cleveland stacks up with the finest of them. I've compiled a comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive, list of my favorite vegan meals around town. I encourage you to try them all. You'll discover that vegan food has come a long way in this meat and potatoes town.
Avocado Toast #2 at Restore. Get it with extra tomato.
Chicken Fried Cauliflower at Pura Vida. Vegan soul food. Start with the vegan nachos.
Rice Sticks at 811. This unique dish is smothered in an Asian buffalo sauce of some kind.
Vegan Pizza at Cowell and Hubbard. Tofu mozzarella and crumbled seitan.
Reuben at Helio Terra. A Cleveland classic without the meat.
Freakin' Rican at Tea House Noodles. Who knew tofu and olives could be friends?
Pho at Pho Thang. Just ask for the vegan pho. Perfect for a wintery day.
Jackfruit Fajitas at Johnny Mango. Jackfruit is so hot right now. If they don't have it, get the pad Thai.
Buffalo Chickpea Pierogi at Jukebox. Cleveland standby with a New-World twist. Dip in vegan ranch.
The Bravocado at Beet Jar. Coconut. Bacon. Take a ginger shot to warm up the belly.
Coconut Curry Soup at Tea Revival. Sip on a housemade kombucha.
Tom Jerd Soup at Banana Blossom. All of their curry dishes are phenomenal.
Vietnamese Stir Fry at Minh Anh. Order with no egg and peanut sauce instead of fish sauce. Get a tofu spring roll to start.
Green Bean Salad at Frank's Falafel. You will need a mint after eating this due to all the garlic.
The Vegan Burrito at Graffiti. This is not on the menu; just ask for it. Polenta should be on every burrito.
The Very Vegan at Local West. Indescribably delicious. They deliver.
Spinach and Tofu Lasagna at Clifton Wine Bar. Huge vegan menu is perfect for date night.
Sweet Potato and Kale Burrito at Taco Tonto's. Go El Biggo or go home.
Vegan Chicken Gyro at Jammy Buggars. We all need our gyro fix.
Biscuits and Gravy at Cleveland Vegan. Comfort food at its finest.
Calzone at Root Cafe. A steamy pocket of goodness.
Zen Cuisine at Szechuan Garden. They have every kind of faux meat possible.
Vegan Chicken and Waffles at Forage Public House. Brunch so hard.
Vegan Slop Night at Now That's Class. You never know what you're going to get.
Tempeh Hoagie at Mellow Mushroom. Their marinated tempeh is to die for.
Yama Gobo at Ginko. The only place to find pickled burdock root in Cleveland.
Vegan Tasting Menu at Dante. For those special occasions.
Veggie Bowl at Chapati Indian Grill. Trendy fast-casual joint caters to all.
Veggie General Tso's Chicken at Emperor's Palace. Unlike anything you've ever eaten.
Vegetarian Combo at Empress Taytu. Eat with your hands and stay for a few hours.
Taco Salad at Tommy's. Made with textured veggie protein. Top with meatless chili for a massive feast.
What did we miss?