Vegetables are freakin’ delicious. With increasing access to local produce, freshness is closer than ever.
Look past traumatizing canned vegetables and visit a chef that knows how to boost flavor. Quality produce, treated simply with respect, will also make you a fan.
We already wrote about the best salads, so they’re excluded from this list. Forget about drowning everything in cheese sauce (for now) and try one of these local veggie dishes.
Fried Cauliflower at 47 Scott
47 N. Scott Ave.
Cauliflower is so hot right now. But just the right amount of hot in the case of the 47 Scott’s Fried Cauliflower, fried in peanut oil and dressed buffalo style with a tangy, creamy cayenne pepper sauce. The house-made buttermilk dressing will make you forget about ranch — but omit it if you want the dish to be vegan.
For more information, call (520) 624-4747 or visit 47scott.com.
Smoked Beet Sandwich at 5 Points Market & Restaurant
756 S. Stone Ave.
The Smoked Beet Sandwich is straight fire. A generous pile of sliced smoked beets mingle with local pecan cheese, jalapeño cabbage slaw, and house-made organic ciabatta for a remarkable vegan sandwich.
For more information, call (520) 623-3888 or visit 5pointstucson.com.
Roasted Vegetables at Agustin Kitchen
100 S. Avenida del Convento #150
When restaurants simply label veggies as “vegetables” on a menu, it’s easy to expect a bland medley of frozen vegetables. When you have a restaurant that works as closely with farmers as Agustin Kitchen, you’re in for a treat. Our last order of the Roasted Vegetables had unusual goodies such as white asparagus and Romanesco, but expect the vegetables to change seasonally. The current dips are avocado crema and tomato aioli.
For more information, call (520) 398-5382 or visit agustinkitchen.com.
Seasonal Veggies at Anello
222 E. 6th St.
Anello often cooks their ever-changing Seasonal Veggies in their wood-fired pizza oven, which helps concentrate the sweetness in the caramelized exterior. A simple drizzle of quality olive oil and chopped garlic is also often enough for veggieuphoria.
For more information, visit anello.space.
Roasted Cauliflower at BIRD
7109 N. Oracle Rd.
Although BIRD has fried chicken, you’ll find yourself craving the Roasted Cauliflower. The roasting process brings out sweetness and nuttiness from the cauliflower, while black garlic adds a pleasant slight bitterness with savory depth complemented by the meaty-tasting eggplant nage. The slaw adds layers of texture with a touch of sweetness from golden raisins.
For more information, call (520) 441-9509 or visit fukushuconcepts.com.
BOCA Balls at BOCA
533 N. 4th Ave.
It would be cheating to include French fries and tater tots in a veggie list, but we’re making one fried potato exception for BOCA Balls. Chipotle mashed potatoes are rolled in panko bread crumbs, fried, and served with BOCA dipping sauce. Order it with some veggie tacos.
For more information, call (520) 777-8134 or visit bocatacos.com.
Jacques’ Magic Beans at The Coronet
402 E. 9th St.
Fee-fi-fo-fum, Jacques’ Magic Beans belongs in your tum. The hearty butter beans and roasted mushrooms are balanced with the sweetness, acidity, and umami of tomatoes and preserved lemon. Piave cheese and greens round out the meal.
For more information, visit cafecoronet.com.
The Game Changer Soup at DOWNTOWN Kitchen
135 S. 6th Ave.
The Game Changer is a rich, zesty soup composed of African yam, ginger, pineapple, peanut, lime, Cholula hot sauce. As it turns out, executive chef Janos Wilder obtained the recipe from his friend Torkin Wakefield, who runs a non-profit in Uganda called Bead for Life. A dollar from each sale of the Game Changer is donated to Bead for Life, which creates sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.
For more information, visit downtownkitchen.com.
Grilled Mushrooms Beurre Rouge at Ermanos
220 N. 4th Ave.
Ermanos’ Grilled Mushrooms Beurre Rouge features meaty sautéed cremini and shiitake mushrooms, little cubes of smoky house-made bacon, and a Dos Cabezas WineWorks red wine reduction. Pay the extra dollar to add a dollop of creamy, tangy goat cheese on top — the acidity helps balance the richness while also making the dish easier to spread on toast. Even though the mushrooms are cooked with wine, it’s also quite rich, so try pairing with a medium-bodied beer or sparkling wine.
This is the only dish on this list with meat, but we chose to include it because the mushrooms are undoubtedly the star.
For more information, call (520) 445-6625 or visit ermanosbrew.com.
Red Lentils (Beresen) at Queen Sheba
5553 E. Grant Rd.
Queen Sheba doesn’t have a veggie combo listed as an item, but you can order a few different veggie dishes on top of their spongy injera bread. Try the spicy Red Lentils, yellow split pea-based Alicha, chickpea-based Shero, and Green Spinach with cottage cheese.
For more information, call (520) 336-9736 or visit queenshebatucson.com.
Veggie Ramen at Raijin Ramen
2955 E. Speedway Blvd
Raijin’s Veggie Ramen features a veggie broth, medium curly noodles, zucchini, bok choy, green and yellow onion, seaweed, bean sprout, cabbage, onions, and pickled ginger. The vegan broth is creamy and complex, yet light enough that you won’t feel guilty after hastily slurping down a bowl.
For more information, call (520) 795-3123. Keep up with Raijin Ramen on Facebook.
Brussels Sprouts at Reilly
101 E. Pennington St.
The Brussels Sprouts are one of the most famous dishes on this list, and for good reason. The nutty fried sprouts are dressed with the house hot sauce, sherry vinegar, and pecan brittle crumbs for an addictive combination of sweet and sour.
For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.
Lettuce Taco Board at Renee’s
7065 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Crisp romaine serve as a replacement for tortillas in Renee’s Lettuce Taco Board — fill the leaves up with your custom proportion of organic black bean hummus, zucchini, salsa fresca, and avocado for a light and refreshing take on tacos.
For more information, call (520) 886-0484 or visit reneesorganicoven.com.
Cauliflower Rollies Tacos at Rollies
4573 S 12th Ave
Even as a young restaurant with a few weeks under its belt, Rollies Mexican Patio is making a splash with its fun menu. Its flagship item, Rollies, are rolled tacos with some flair. We recommend ordering the cauliflower version with rojo sauce, cabbage, crema, pickled onion, and cotija cheese. But the queso sauce version is delicious too.
Keep up with Rollies Mexican Patio on Facebook.
Crispy Avocado Taco Platter at Seis
100 S. Avenida del Convento #100 • 1765 E. River Rd. #131
Guacamole fiends will love the Baja-inspired Crispy Avocado taco platter. Avocados are dipped in Modelo Especial beer batter, fried crispy, and served with cabbage, cilantro, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack, and Seis-style chipotle crema on house-made corn tortillas.
For more information, visit seiskitchen.com.
Navratan Korma at Sher-E-Punjab
853 E. Grant Rd.
Homemade paneer and vegetables meld with a creamy, subtly spicy curry to form Sher-E-Punjab’s Navratan Korma. Scarf it down with some naan or Vegetable Biryani.
Keep up with Sher-E-Punjab on Facebook
Miso Eggplant at The Tasteful Kitchen
722 N. Stone Ave.
While the menu at the Tasteful Kitchen is entirely vegetarian, there’s no shortage in umami. The Miso Eggplant features eggplant medallions with a savory miso glaze, coconut black rice, green curry sauce, and Asian greens for an eye-opening cornucopia of flavors.
Verdure al Forno Isola at Tavolino
2890 E. Skyline Dr.
Gourmands who appreciate anchovies and gratuitous garlic will fall in love with the Verdure al Forno Isola, which features wood-roasted vegetables with goat cheese, roasted garlic, and bagna cauda dressing. Tavolino might be the only place in Tucson to have the obscure Piedmontese sauce, which calls for a head of garlic per person in a traditional recipe. Don’t miss out.
For more information, call (520) 531-1913 or visit tavolinoristorante.com.
Kale & Chèvre Pizza at Time Market
444 E. University Blvd.
Pizza might not be a “veggie dish,” but the Kale & Chèvre Pizza at Time Market is probably the healthiest pizza that we still love. The quality of the ingredients and the dough makes all the difference. The combination of organic kale, Sierra Nevada goat cheese, balsamic cherry tomatoes, shiitake, mozzarella, Grana Padano, garlic, and sea salt hit a wide spectrum of flavors without the usual “I feel like garbage” sentiment from indulging on a meat lover’s pizza.
For more information, call (520) 622-0761 or visit timemarket.xyz.
Tamales at Tumerico
2526 E. 6th St.
While Tumerico’s chalkboard menu changes daily, you can always count on the Butternut Squash Tamales. They’re available to eat in the restaurant or refrigerated to-go. Only organic GMO-free corn is used, and it’s also vegan and gluten-free, so it’s a safe bet regardless of most dietary restrictions. All the improvised tamales have been drooly-worth as well.
For more information, call (520) 270-2055 or visit tumerico.com.
Mason Jar at Union
4340 N. Campbell Ave.
Don’t eat the mason jar itself, just the pickled contents within. Assorted vegetables and olives are pickled in a traditional brine including coriander seeds, mustard, and cumin. Also, ignore the blurred out chicken and waffles in the background of the photo above.
Green Chile Burger at Urban Fresh
73 E. Pennington St.
Urban Fresh’s plant-based menu features the Green Chile Burger with a half-pound patty made of tofu, mushrooms, flax, and panko baked and topped with Merchant’s Garden lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado, and roasted green chile on a sesame seed bun. The spicy sauce and pickle help amp up the heat without being overbearing. Don’t expect the patty to taste beefy — but it is flavorful, enjoyable, and hearty.
For more information, call (520) 792-9355 or visit urbanfreshtucson.com.
Three Sisters Burrito at Welcome Diner
902 E. Broadway Blvd.
For more information, call (520) 622-5100 or visit welcomediner.net.
Veggie Okonomiyaki at Yoshimatsu
2741 N. Campbell Ave.
If you’re not familiar with okonomiyaki, don’t sweat it. Yoshimatsu might be the only restaurant in Tucson to offer it. The savory pancake, a popular street food in Japan, is comprised of a flour-based batter, cabbage, egg, ginger, green onion, and mushroom broth. The drizzle of Japanese mayo and a thick sweet-savory brown sauce carries the mishmash of flavors over the top. While the seafood version is popular, the veggie version is absolutely worth eating.
For more information, visit yoshimatsuaz.com.
Does our best veggie dish in Tucson list include your favorite? Let us know in the comments.