Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants Provide Comfort on a Plate

By: Toni Cunningham | October 17, 2013

During my short-lived stint as a vegetarian (it was a cheeseburger that broke this camel’s back), I basically ate the same three items. Not because they were terrifically good, but because most places don’t offer much variety when it comes to vegetarian or vegan food.

Instead of choosing from a (very small) handful of items starred as “vegan” on a regular restaurant menu, why not peruse a menu that has nothing but vegetarian and vegan fare? Let’s take it a step further. Why not peruse a menu that has nothing but hearty vegan and vegan fare?

If you choose to refrain from consuming animal products or have a dietary restriction that doesn’t allow you to do so, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice flavor. You’re not alone in your quest for tasty vegetarian and vegan food, either. The following Metro Detroit restaurants serve up food so flavorful, you’ll hardly notice you’re eating tofu instead of beef.

Detroit Vegan Soul, 8029 Agnes St., Detroit, is a 100 percent plant-based vegan café, and caters to all kinds of special dietary needs. All meals are prepared free of hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, dairy, egg and lactose.

Sunday Breakfast items include Homestyle Breakfast (scrambled tofu, veggie sausage, potatoes and onions, served with cinnamon raisin toast) and Catfish Tofu & Grits (signature “catfish” tofu served with polenta vegan cheese grits and sautéed spinach).

Main courses have plenty of southern flair, like the Soul Platter (mac n’ cheese, collards, yams, black eyed peas and cornbread muffins), BBQ Tofu (with house-made BBQ sauce, corn on the cob and sweet baked beans) and Southern Fried Tofu Bites (specially seasoned and served with BBQ sauce or ketchup).

The menu includes all sorts of vegan soul side dishes, including sesame broccoli, steamed kale, cole slaw and more. If you’re trying to keep it on the light side, try the Sesame Kale Salad, which is served with homemade sesame dressing and tossed with sun-dried tomatoes and sesame seeds.

Detroit Vegan Soul is open for dine in and carryout Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jazzy Veggie, 108 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, is all about vegan comfort food, and the menu includes everything from greens to burgers to main entrees. There are six different burgers on the menu—more varieties than you’d find on a typical burger bar menu! The Sweet Pea Quinoa burger is made of a sweet potato/red quinoa patty with roasted garlic, fresh herbs, red onions, lettuce and red curry dressing.

Since comfort food is the main focus here, all of the dishes are hearty and will keep you full for hours. Mushroom Spinach Alfredo (with a cashew cream basil sauce), Pasta Rosa (chipotle vegan sausage with sautéed onions and peppers), or Krab Cakes (made of soy and veggie cutlets and served with remoulade sauce) are all great choices.

Since the weather is getting colder, each night Jazzy Veggie features a different comfort dinner special.

Jazzy Veggie is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Southern Nosh, 29540 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, is a southern vegetarian soul food/pescetarian eatery—meaning the food they serve includes both vegetables and seafood. All items are available for dine in and carryout, and include the best flavors of southern cooking, without the meat. Lunch and dinner options include small plates, soy wheat protein entrees and an array of side dishes.

Small plates are great for sharing, and include everything from Louisiana Style Gumbo, Fried Green Tomatoes and a Vegetarian Quesadilla (a tortilla stuffed with meatless strips, Portobello mushrooms, onions and mozzarella cheese).

There are several main entrée choices, including Jerk Grilled Protein (seasoned with jerk sauce and served with pineapple mango relish), Sloppy Joe (meatless crumbles tossed with BBQ sauce and served with grilled onions and pickles), and Buttermilk Fried Filet Sandwich (topped with lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, tomato and Frank’s Red Hot sauce).

Each entrée is served with your choice of one side—and there are over a dozen to choose from, like honey glazed carrots, Italian pasta salad, garlic string beans and fruit salad.

Southern Nosh is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or a meat eater looking for something new to try on Meatless Mondays, hearty healthy food is the way to go. Enjoy!