Mexican restaurants offer hearty bean burritos, tostadas, enchiladas, and tacos– all of which provide good protein. Cheese and vegetable quesadillas are delicious. Veggie fajitas (steamed and seasoned vegetables strips served with a thin tortilla and toppings of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and cheese) are a good choice. Most beans (pinto, black, and refried) are now made with vegetable oil, but some restaurants may use lard, so confirm with the restaurant that no lard or meat seasonings, such as chicken stock or bacon, have been used. Nachos can be prepared with beans instead of meat. Spanish restaurants, found only in certain locales, are quite distinct from Mexican eateries and frequently have several vegetarian items.
Fast food burger places will often make a cheese sandwich if asked (a bun, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles). French fries are a standby, and onion rings, pitas sandwiches, salads, and some bread products are very often made with all lacto-vegetarian ingredients. Many better restaurant chains carry a vegetable or gluten-based burger on the menu. Most fast food restaurants have printed consumer-material that gives details on all the items on their menu.
Pizza has many non-meat combinations of toppings. Many Italian restaurants offer a range of items such as fried mozzarella sticks (although please check the ingredients of the batter unfortunately sometimes they use eggs), spaghetti with meat-free marinara or alfredo sauce, and grilled portabello mushrooms. Check to assure that the pasta is eggless.
Sandwich and subs shops often have subs, veggie pitas and “wraps” filled with a variety of veggies, black olives, and cheese, and served either hot or cold.
Greek or Middle-East restaurants generally serve falafel ground, spiced, fried chickpea (garbanzo bean) patties that are served hot, stuffed into a pita, and topped with a smooth tahini sauce. Hummus and baba ganouj are also vegetarian alternatives. Add a Greek salad with chunks of feta cheese and ripe olives.
Natural food restaurants cater to vegetarians and will have a great assortment of dishes.
Chinese restaurants offer a wide variety of vegetable stir-fry dishes, and bean curd (tofu) specialties that can be made without meat or animal products. One delicious dish is fried tofu with broccoli in a scrumptious garlic sauce. It’s out of this world! Other tasty Chinese dishes include vegetable lo mein and chow mein. In terms of appetizers, we can recommend vegetarian spring rolls (please check that the wrap is eggless) and scallion pancakes.
Buffets and salad bars are available at many mainstream restaurants. Many also have special dietary options which may include low-fat, heart-healthy, or vegetarian items.
Indian restaurants offer soups, side dishes, and many main courses that are strictly vegetarian. Some Indian restaurants are entirely vegetarian.
Learn more about the vegetarian diet and lifestyle including recipes. Join our VeggieFest page on Facebook. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to join.
Find More Vegetarian Recipe Articles