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.
Fried Cauliflower at 47 Scott (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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
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.
Roasted Vegetables at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
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.
Roasted Cauliflower at BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
BOCA Balls at BOCA Tacos y Tequila (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Jacques’ Magic Beans at The Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
The Game Changer at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Grilled Mushrooms Beurre Rouge at Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Combination of dishes from Queen Sheba (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Veggie Ramen at Raijin Ramen (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
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.
Lettuce Taco Board at Renee’s Organic Oven (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
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.
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.
Miso Eggplant at the Tasteful Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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 (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Kale & Chèvre Pizza at Time Market (Credit: Time Market)
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.
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.
Mason Jar at Union (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
Green Chile Burger at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)
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.
A burrito at a diner is an unintuitive choice, but trust us here. Welcome Diner’s Three Sisters Burrito features a vegan blend of tempura squash, corn, Tepary beans, smoked pecan cheese, ranchero, and pico de gallo. The trio of squash, beans, and squash happens to grow well in unison next to each other — they also provide all eight essential amino acids, making it one of the healthiest burritos you’ll ever put in your filthy mouth.
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.
With the recently-opened Westbound and brand-new Beaut Burger, the MSA Annex is bound to become one of Tucson’s most popular destinations. The plant-based burger joint features a 100% vegan menu with...
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