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It’s time to talk about how to eat out as a vegan! It used to be really difficult to find somewhere that didn’t mean scouring the whole menu to find something that wasn’t salad!
Part of this was because I had been used to going wherever I wanted and just picking something that sounded tasty, but as a vegan, you have to consider what goes into that dish to make it tasty! The other reason, is that when I first became vegan, not a lot of restaurants were catering for people like me.
Now that veganism is becoming a bit of a trend, more restaurants and supermarkets are adding vegan options to their menus and shelves.
Which is great news for us!
Eating out as a vegan is becoming easier than ever, and I’m going to tell you how to manage it like a boss!
When I first became vegan, I dreaded anyone asking me to go out for food if they weren’t vegan. Most restaurants didn’t cater for us then. So my social outing would become a mission to find out what the restaurant in question did offer that I may be able to eat; or eating first, and then making excuses about not being hungry when I went out – if I went out at all.
A lot of places offered chips, or salad as the only option available to those of us on a plant based diet. One extreme to the other, do we go unhealthy, or super healthy (and hungry)?
It was an uncomfortable time, because you would inevitably get the question: ‘Is it going to hurt to have cheese just this once?’ And the answer is no, probably not, but I didn’t want to eat cheese. I made a decision based on what I believe to be right, and I wasn’t willing to waver on that just so that I could eat cheese!
Of course nowadays, it’s a different picture. Not only has the rise in veganism forced the big chain restaurants to up their game; but also dietary requirements too. Lots of people are dairy intolerant, so they have to consider those customers too. It only makes sense to develop a vegan menu.
Ultimately, though, you can always just ask for the vegetarian options without dairy or dressings. (Within reason, you can’t expect them to de-cheese the lasagne!)
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Here are some of the places that I personally love to eat out with friends.
A small disclaimer before we start: I live in the UK, so these places are UK based. However, as I said above, you can ask for the vegetarian options to be veganised. Most restaurants these days will happily oblige.
Most of them offer both vegan and non vegan options which is ideal if your social circle haven’t all turned to the green side yet!
Pizza Express – all pizza express restaurants now offer a vegan alternative which includes their vegan mozzarella. You can eat pizza pretty much anywhere by just requesting no cheese; but places that offer vegan cheese are on my holy grail list! Pizza Express also do a small range of vegan dessert which is extra awesome!
Zizzi’s – part of the pizza express family of restaurants, Zizzis is an Italian restaurant that have a whole vegan menu, filled with pasta delights and pizza, also with their own vegan cheese too. Their desserts are delicious and aren’t just restricted to sorbet!
Ask Italian – although a little on the pricey side, my husband and I found this one on our holiday in Wells. They have restaurants all over the UK and offer a small vegan menu alongside their regular one. Their pizzas are delicious, and they also offer vegan dough balls as a starter. We also tried the vegan chocolate orange dessert and it was mouth-watering!
Rabbit – this is a vegan restaurant in Exeter. They offer an amazing range of vegan food that is just fantastic. From sandwiches to burgers and everything in between, you can also sample their vegan salad dressings, Caesar salad anyone?
Herbies – a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Exeter. They have soups, curries, salads and much more. You can request pretty much all of it as a vegan option, and the food is delicious.
Samphire Brasserie – a vegan restaurant in Plymouth, Samphire Brasserie offer all plant based foods, served on rustic wooden plates and boards, which gives a homely feel. The restaurant itself is lovely and cosy and the staff are super friendly.
The Accidental Vegan – a new arrival in my town of Honiton! Brightly lit and colourful, you just want to sit in here whether you’re eating or not; it’s so inviting! The food is delicious and you can order a sharing platter for you and your friends to sample all that the menu has to offer!
Wetherspoons Restaurants – most Wetherspoons have a vegan option on their menu. It can differ by restaurant and day as to what you can order though so it’s worth checking ahead.
Nandos – yes believe it or not, the home of peri-peri chicken offers a vegan range of food too! You may just have to check the sauces and request some items without cheese. But I’m liking the effort!
Warrens Bakery – although not actually a restaurant, they do deserve a special mention. If you like the odd pasty at lunch time, Warrens have recently introduced 2 vegan options. A winter vegetable pasty and a Thai curry pasty. Both are delicious, and they also have vegan cake slices too!
My top tips how to eat out as a vegan:
- Check for vegetarian options you can request without sauces or cheese
- Jacket potatoes don’t have to be served with beans and cheese!
- Always ask if the veggie burger is vegan – sometimes they have egg or cheese actually in them
- Chips can be your best friend if nothing else is available!
- Check the soup options, there is usually a vegan friendly one available, just ask for the bread with no butter
- Don’t be afraid to tell your friends if there is absolutely nothing you can eat. They invited you because they want to spend time with you – and presumably they know you’re vegan!
You should definitely be able to find something you like from one of the above places! It’s a really exciting time to be vegan, with all these big chain and independent businesses stepping up their game. It means we can stop being the ‘fussy’ eater friend and just say ‘yes’ when we get invited out now!
I find it both surprising and heart warming to hear of the amount of people who are turning to plant based foods. No matter what their reasons, it’s a good thing in my book!
The less meat and dairy we consume, the less demand there will be for the thoughtless slaughter and ill treatment of animals. Our planet will be healthier for our future generations, and we will become healthier in our own bodies.
Don’t forget to grab your tastecard membership FREE for the first 30 days, and save yourself a ton of money at participating restaurants!
Have you got any favourite places to eat vegan? Let us know in the comments below!