Vegan Eats: 20 dishes to try for spring/summer 2022

Vegan nachos, meatless pizzas, Lentil Sloppy Joe's, dairy-free pancakes & more. There is a little bit of somethin' for everyone on this list.

Last year, we reached out to Tucson’s popular and creative local Instagrammer, Hannah Hernandez. Many know her as Death Free Foodie and many are aware of the fact that her posts of vegan and vegetarian bites make even the pickiest of eaters curious.

Lentil Sloppy Joe at Urban Fresh

Lentil Sloppy Joe at Urban Fresh (Photo courtesy of Hannah Hernandez)

Hernandez has been vegan for a few years now and she uses the platform for a few reasons: To share her discoveries with others, showcase meat alternatives, and educate eaters on what Tucson has to offer in the world of vegetarianism and vegan cuisine.

In 2021, Hernandez highlighted her top 20 picks for the summer. Now, we’ve got a sequel.

Del Cielo Tamales

3073 N. Campbell Ave.

You may recognize their warm smiles and delicious food from past local farmers markets. Now, get ready for the full experience that is Del Cielo Tamales. Their recently opened restaurant features a full vegan section on their menu. My current favorites? Vegan Nachos and Vegan Machaca and Tamale Plate. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

For more information, visit delcielotamales.com

Red Captain Coffee Company

4004 N. Stone Ave.

Local soyrizo, potatoes, onion, and vegan cheese. Red Captain Coffee Company’s breakfast burritos are always a good idea. Can’t leave without a high-quality coffee and a couple of Houlden’s Rise Above work-of-art pastries.

For more information, follow Red Captain Coffee on Instagram.

Café Maggie 

745 N. Fourth Ave.

What time is it? Doesn’t matter. You’ll find the fluffiest vegan pancakes at Café Maggie where breakfast is served all day. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

For more information, visit Café Maggie on Instagram

Mian Sichuan Noodle Shop

4695 N. Oracle Rd. #105

It’s always exciting to see a clearly labeled vegan section on a restaurant menu. Mian Sichuan Noodle Shop doesn’t disappoint. Their Vegan Volcano Noodle soup and Vegan Dan Dan Noodle bowl are my big favorites.

For more information, visit miansichuan.com.

Urban Fresh

73 E. Pennington St.

Urban Fresh’s daily specials are always winners. Pictured is their Lentil Sloppy Joe special and their always available Green Chili Tofu Mushroom Burger. Ask for a Hyper Monkey if you’re a blended coffee lover.

For more information, visit urbanfreshaz.com.

The Sweet & Savory Kitchen

613 E. Delano St.

The Sweet & Savory Kitchen Fried Chik’n Creative Soul Food plate is a daymaker. Flavorful mixed greens, creamy Mac ‘n Cheeze, cornbread, and crispy lemon Cajun fried mushrooms.

For more information, follow The Sweet & Savory Kitchen on Instagram

You Sly Dog

Multiple Locations (food truck)

When’s the last time you had a vegan Sonoran Hot Dog? You Sly Dog makes them perfectly and I’m forever grateful. The vegan version of The Baloney is also a favorite of mine. Most of Ramon’s specialty dogs can be made vegan upon request.

For more information, visit youslydog.com

Yoshimatsu Japanese Eatery

2741 N. Campbell Ave.

Here’s a close-up for the mushroom lovers. Yoshimatsu’s Mushroom Ginger Ramen is a forever favorite. Ask for rice or tofu noodles to make your ramen completely vegan.

For more information, visit yoshimatsuaz.com.

Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Cafe

2530 N. First Ave.

I know where I want to be, every morning, this summer — eating Nopales Tacos and sipping the most impressive sweet cinnamon iced tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. You’ll have many options to choose from in Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Café’s vegan menu section.

For more information, follow Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Cafe on Instagram

520 Taco Stop

10290 E. Speedway Blvd.

With the juiciest Vegan Quesabirria Tacos, 520 Taco Stop continuously raises the bar with their unforgettable, mouthwatering jackfruit. You’re sure to be a fan after your first bite.

For more information, visit 520 Taco Stop on Instagram

Substance Diner

1015 S. Park Ave.

If you’re new to Substance Diner, here’s a pro tip from me to you: When ordering a Substance Burger and Diner Fries, add beer mushrooms to your burger and ask for ranch and ketchup for your fries. Hands down, the best vegan ranch ever created. Grab a local beer and sit out on the dog-friendly patio. Substance Diner’s menu is now fully vegan.

For more information, visit substancediner.com

Falora

3000 E. Broadway Blvd.

All of Falora’s vegan dishes are excellent, but the La Cauliflora pizza and Hazelnut Gnocchi have my heart.

For more information, visit falora.com

Tito & Pep

4122 E. Speedway Blvd.

Comfort in a bowl. Tito and Pep’s Spring Vegetable Posole Verde features only the freshest and the best seasonal ingredients. Never fails to impress.

For more information, visit titoandpep.com

Ensenada Street Food

1602 S. Park Ave.

Ensenada’s Vegan Chilaquiles and Vegan Pastor Tacos are perfect for any time of the day. You’re almost always guaranteed to find me sitting at their beautifully painted hot pink table every time I visit.

For more information, visit Ensenada Street Food on Instagram

Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink

101 E. Pennington St. • 7262 N. Oracle Rd.

With a gorgeous space and delicious dishes, Reilly’s Vegan Pizza is always one of my top picks for a perfectly crisp pizza. Add nutritional yeast for a subtle cheesy taste and make sure to start your visit with their flavor-packed house-made bread (ask for no butter to make it vegan).

For more information, visit reillypizza.com

Beaut Burger

267 S. Avenida del Convento

There’s no such thing as a wrong choice when ordering off of Beaut Burgers’ 100% vegan menu, but I highly recommend their B8 Burger. Frizzled onions, tomato, smoked tomato aioli, and pickled poblano is the combination I didn’t know I needed.

For more information, visit beautburger.com

Midtown Vegan Deli & Market

5071 E. Fifth St.

Crispy fries topped with juicy soy curls, Franks, and ranch drizzle — Midtown Vegan Deli and Market’s Buffalo-Style Fries will keep you coming back for more. Grab a reusable bag and shop their 100% vegan groceries while you’re there.

For more information, visit midtownvegandeli.com

Ciao Down

Multiple locations (food truck) • 3230 N. Dodge Blvd., Suite E. (coming soon)

Ciao Down’s vegan/gluten-free pizzas are loaded with amazing flavor combinations and quality toppings. Current favorite: The Desert Dweller featuring soyrizo, roasted poblano, corn, black beans, vegan cheese, and micro cilantro.

For more information, visit ciaodownpizza.com

Aqua Vita Natural Food Market

2801 N. Country Club Rd.

Aqua Vita’s menu features mostly vegan items with many gluten-free choices. You decide if you want your entrees to be mild, medium, or spicy. My favorite order: Samosa Chaat, #3 combo plate with Channa Masala and Mixed Vegetables. Order their Vegan Chai for a lightly sweet treat.

For more information, visit aquavitanaturals.com

Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria

2707 E. Broadway Blvd.

Rocco’s Fungus Humungous deep dish pizza will make any mushroom lover’s day. Always add an order of Spicy Hot Sticks with pizza sauce on the side for the perfect combo.

For more information, visit roccoslittlechicago.com

Think we missed a vegan dish or two? Let us know below.

Hannah Hernandez is the creator of Death Free Foodie on Instagram, a local guide dedicated to the many vegan options Tucson has to offer.

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