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Friday, September 17, 2021

Vegetarian and Meat-Free Dining Options Grow Around The Valley

Here's a list of some tasty meat-free dishes

Not long ago, meat-free dining was limited to unimaginative salads or ordering off of the side dish menu. Nowadays, vegan eateries have become more commonplace, and even mainstream restaurants are adding chef-driven main dishes to their menus. Meat alternatives have come a long way, using beans, nuts, grains, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables in lieu of flesh proteins. Here is a list of some tasty meat-free dining options around the Valley. 


Vegan Paella from T. Cook’s

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish typically packed with seafood, sausage, and chicken—but the chefs at T. Cook’s have created a version free of meat and full of flavor. The vegan paella is made with tofu “chicken,” black bean chorizo, mushrooms, tomatoes, red peppers, and English peas. $28 at www.royalpalmshotel.com


Pibil Jackfruit Tacos from Taco Guild

Taco Guild is well known for creating innovative tacos, including a couple of vegan options like the one made with pibil roasted jackfruit, hibiscus, pickled onion, cilantro, and jalapeño hot sauce. The bold contrast of flavors and textures in this taco will please vegans and meat-lovers alike. $6.50 each at www.tacoguild.com


Carbon Board from Ofrenda

This upscale Cave Creek eatery is serving south-of-the-border fare with flair. The carbon board is a vegetal delight featuring creamy hominy hummus, al carbon grilled vegetables, and freshly made guacamole. It is a shareable board served with warm tortillas, so diners can build their own veggie-filled tacos. $16 at www.theofrenda.com


Veggie Burger from Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers

This behemoth burger requires two hands to hold it—and it also doubles as a meat-free dining option too. The patty is made with brown rice, black beans, and oats. Once cooked, the burger is bathed in a sweet soy glaze and stacked with Swiss cheese (optional), lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions on a soft toasted bun. $14.50. Cold Beers and Cheeseburger also has a Beyond Burger, featuring a 6-oz. vegan patty with baby greens, caramelized onions, tomatoes, avocado and garlic oil on a vegan bun. $15.50 at www.coldbeers.com


Vegan Enchiladas from Los Sombreros

These vegan enchiladas are also gluten-free, making them a menu favorite. Vegan tortillas are stuffed with spinach, julienned zucchini, carrots, and broccoli, then blanketed in fresh salsa verde and topped with cucumber and specialty vegan cheese. The enchiladas are served with a choice of two sides, including rice, refried beans, black beans or vegetables. A portion of proceeds from this dish goes to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center, to support the free music, art, and dance classes available to Valley teens. $16 at www.lossombreros.com


Black Forbidden Rice and Tomato Stuffed Swiss Chard from Tarbell’s

Tarbell’s well-sourced, ingredient-driven menu features rotating vegetarian dishes based on the season. This summer, a Black Forbidden Rice and Tomato Stuffed Swiss Chard is on the menu, made with grilled artichoke, avocado and beet purées, topped with local Hypha Farms miner’s lettuce, and Crow’s Dairy feta. $24 at www.tarbells.com


Eggplant Parm Balls from The Sicilian Butcher  

The Sicilian Butcher is famous for its innovative variety of tasty meatballs made with everything from chicken and turkey to veal and sausage, but there is also a vegetarian-friendly option that’s ideal for meat-free dining. The Eggplant Parm Balls are made with roasted eggplant, basil, parmigiano cheese, fresh mozzarella, and herbed bread crumbs, and served with a choice of sauce and paired with pasta, creamy polenta, or risotto. $19 at www.thesicilianbutcher.com


Sinaloa Ceviche from GuacStar

This plant-based eatery features dishes made with meat alternatives such as seitan, Impossible Meat, beans, and mushrooms—and has a reputation for being one of the best meat-free dining options in the Valley today. The Sinaloa is a standout made with heart of palm, young coconut, avocado, lotus root, cucumber, red onion, and cilantro, and served with house-made corn tortilla chips. $11 at www.guacstar.com


Brussels Sprouts Bowl and Tacos from Diego Pops

Roasted Brussels sprouts are tossed with black beans, pickled onions, pepitas, chipotle aioli, and queso fresco to create a filling to be tucked into a warm corn tortilla for a tasty taco, or served atop rice and beans for a hearty bowl. Al la carte taco, $4.50; bowl, $11 at www.diegopops.com

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