Vegan cuisine, in all of its kale and granola glory has come a long way in the past few years. The proverbial questioning (“where do you get your protein?) and teasing during the holidays are now outweighed by the fact that vegan food can actually taste really good.
Tucson is lucky to have splendid vegan options. Below are 12 picks that should please vegans and non-vegans alike. Enjoy!
Owners André Newman and David Krummenacker are both dads and two seriously cool dudes bringing the best of anti-oxidant magic to Tucson. When it comes to fueling for health, trust this team: André is an acrobat and David is a former Olympiad. Their all-organic Açai Blends are non-GMO and made to order at their bright purple food truck beginning in November.
Jackfruit Fajitas with Pico de Gallo and Pepitas Sour Cream
The newest addition in delicious and seriously creative vegan food comes from Chef Erik of Veg-In-A-Box. Catch up with his bright green food truck on weekends and support his commitment to options that are organic, soy-free, non-GMO and gluten-free.
Weekly Market Salad
The produce section at Time Market is Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Seriously, go stare through the huge front windows and ogle the fresh kale, the figs, the escarole and the ruby red Jimmy Nardello peppers. Weekly salad specials are incredibly fresh and usually include some type of fresh cheese; you can ask them to swap it out with Tree Line nut cheeses, which are now available for purchase in their cheese case. Thank the produce manager while you are there, because they have seriously got it going on.
Liquid Lunch Organic Juice
Whether you think juice is a meal or not, giving your liver a break from the Congress Street haul is a good idea! Plus, Urban Fresh is the only place in Tucson offering juices made from fresh, Certified Organic produce.
Carrot & Avocado Soup
If you want a bowl of sunshine, visit The Tasteful Kitchen for their raw and vegan soup. Creamy, refreshing, and the exact hue of orange the sky turns during sunset. Call ahead if you are planning a visit, because this liquid gold is in high demand.
Coconut Chia Pudding with Figs
The perfect way to bridge breakfast and dessert is with sugary local figs and creamy chia pudding. FYI if you don’t eat bee products, ask for an alternate sweetener. What a treat to dine in a lovely setting where ambiance and a commitment to organic and locally-sourced ingredients are honored.
The Larga with Sweet Potato Stir Fry, Nopalitos and Verdolagas
Family owned and operated, Mexico in Season is one of the best places for healthy Mexican fare. If your family is a lovely mix of vegans and carnivores, go here and everybody will be happy! Ask for vegan-friendly toppings like avocado, vegan sour crema and fresh watercress.
Veggie Sampler of Yemisir Kay Wat, Shiro, and Foussulia
It’s a party in your mouth! The Berbere spices in African dishes can be intensely flavorful, but mellows when served with Injera. Ask for a side of greens if you are a light eater. The veggie sampler is available at both locations during lunch and dinner.
Sushi Garden or RA Sushi
To my fellow vegans: it’s inevitable that at some point, your friends will invite you to sushi (whether they get the whole vegan thing or not). May I suggest working the situation to your social advantage? Ask for Kinpira, a dish that is made from gently simmering burdock (gobo), root veggies, and lotus. Ask for a bowl of miso soup and a side of seaweed salad. Don’t forget to sweeten the situation with Momo Kawa.
Fresh Berry Crepes
Crepes are magic, because of eggs. And magic can still happen if you mimic eggs. The sweet crepes made by Sana Raw are filled with macadamia and fresh vanilla bean cream, and topped by fresh berries and coconut. If you are jonesin’ for a gluten-free dessert (or breakfast) that is also sugar-free, you will be delighted. Coming soon to the Food Conspiracy Co Op and Urban Fresh.
Paneer Tikki Masala
The quality of spices is beyond fantastic, and dishes are salted using mineral-rich Himalayan Pink Salt. That’s code for get yourself to the Heirloom Farmer’s Market at Rillito Park on Sundays, stand in the long line, and pick up the veggie version of Tikki Masala.
One word: Porcini. It’s always refreshing to see a trendy brasserie include a vegan option (and more than just salad). This sourdough sandwich is made from a lentil patty of golden raisins, almond and porcini with dijon and fixings, and served with crispy fries. If you are on a hot date, choose a seat in the open air courtyard and sip a Glass Eye or Sugar Triangle with Kubler Absinthe — the anise and hyssop balances well with the woody porcini’s.