Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes to Enjoy in 2018

Vegan wild mushroom pizza at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.; Photo Credit: Tara Lee

With the New Year, many of us resolve to shift the way we eat. I, for example, am endeavouring to incorporate more plant-based cooking into my daily routine. Fortunately, unlike other resolutions, this one will be fairly easy to keep!

Vancouver has many exclusively vegetarian/vegan restaurants, such as The Acorn (3995 Main Street) and The Naam (2724 West 4th Avenue). In addition, numerous restaurants in the city are also working to shift their menus to include vegetarian and vegan options for diners. I recently tried dishes at two establishments that are well worth recommending for delicious plant-based eating in 2018.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. (1876 West 1st Avenue, 4186 Main Street) has long been a beloved fixture on the Vancouver dining scene for its handcrafted pizzas that showcase local, organic, free range, and Ocean Wise ingredients, as well as its community and family-focused ethos.

More recently, they have launched a plant-based vegan menu that is every bit as good as their other menu offerings.

Appetizers include roasted local mushrooms cups stuffed with sundried tomato hummus with organic tomato dipping sauce, as well as bruschetta that features organic bread with diced marinated tomatoes and basil.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

A stand out salad is one with beets, arugula, fennel, sundried cranberries, toasted hemp seeds, and orange and ginger vinaigrette.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

And the pizzas! I was at first skeptical about vegan flatbreads since I adore cheese. However, after much tinkering in the kitchen, Rocky Mountain has come up with a “Cau” cheese that incorporates cauliflower, nutritional yeast, organic apple cider, lemon juice, and garlic. It’s an incredibly tasty vegan substitute that really does the trick.

Out of the pizzas that I tried, the wild mushrooms pizza was by far my favourite, with a garlic oil base, spinach, mixed BC wild dried and fresh mushrooms, Cau cheese, and parsley. It was an earthy combination. Also, standout was the Harvest pizza with organic tomato sauce, kale, crimini mushrooms, seasonal squash, cherry tomatoes, three herb pesto, and Cau cheese drizzle.

Harvest Pizza; Photo Credit: Tara Lee

If you’re craving pasta, they have vegan mushroom ragout rotini with mixed BC wild dried and fresh mushrooms, spinach, Cau cheese drizzle, and parsley.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

Note: all the above vegan options can also be made vegetarian (ie with non-vegan cheeses).

Harvest Community Foods

On a rainy day, I was feeling the January blues and was in need of some comfort. I headed to Harvest Community Foods (243 Union Street): part grocery store, part noodle bar, and part community celebrant. Chef/owner Andrea Carlson creates elevated Japanese-inspired noodle bowls. In addition to meat options, there are two vegan items, as well as a vegetarian one. Vegan-wise, you can order udon noodles with shiso, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and green onion; as well as saucy rice noodles with almond, hazelnut, and charred chili, and braising greens. Their daily noodle bowl is also often vegetarian or vegan. For example, they recently served up coconut curry udon with puffed tofu, mushrooms, and greens.

I opted for their famous vegetarian ramen, absolutely loving the squash miso broth, in addition to the accompanying nori, scallions, radish, sesame, and watercress.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

The broth had wonderful depth of flavour, a mixture of savoury and sweet, with a hit of umami from the miso. The noodles had just the right spring to them, and the peppery notes from the watercress and radish enlivened the dish. Overall, it was a well-executed and very satisfying plant-based bowl.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

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