October 1st marks World Vegetarian Day, a commitment to dining meat free. Throughout the month of October, diners can find that their meals don’t always need meat to be complete. Started as a way to showcase the benefits of vegetarianism, those looking to be healthier, save animals’ lives and preserve the Earth can celebrate by trying out esteemed vegetarian restaurants across the country. While you will find plenty of celebrity favorites in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, some smaller cities and towns across the country offer just as noteworthy vegetarian options. If you are looking to take your meals a bit off the beaten path, here are a few vegetarian restaurants that know how to make vegetable based entrees sing for supper.
In a landscape like Boulder with its hippie vibe, you would expect the mountain town to be flooded with vegetarian options. However, Leaf is one of the college town’s few vegetarian restaurants. Dedicated to creating outstanding and creative vegetarian fare, Leaf differs from some other vegetarian restaurants in that it offers dishes comprised of the freshest local ingredients, straight from the Three Leaf Farm. Located in Lafayette, CO, the restaurant-created farm lends Leaf organic, freshly harvested products and herbs to make dishes all the more tasty. Diners can feast on small plates like mint gnocchi and mushroom pate along with notable entrees like Jamaican jerk tempeh and smoked beet fettuccine. Leaf offers a three-course prix fix menu for $28.
In terms of vegetarian restaurants, Salt Lake City might not come to mind. However, the city is home to one of the country’s best vegetarian offerings at Sage’s Café. Led by Chef Ian Brandt, the restaurant opened in 1999 as one of the only vegetarian options in town. Now a 15-year tradition, Safe’s Café serves up daily specials, seasonal small plates and a full cocktail menu. Dinner entrees include toastados vegetarianos and seared portabella and brown rice risotto. Sage’s recently moved into a new location in the Central 9th Business District.
It comes as no surprise that Portland is home to a favorite vegetarian restaurant, Natural Selection. The restaurant built on vegetables, fruits and grains lends finely crafted meals paired with choice wines and spirits. Guests appreciate a warm European style setting where many of the flavors borrow from France, Italy and Spain. Natural Selection offers a four course fixed price dinner menu of $45 where you can slurp up items like caramelized onion and sweet potato soup, oyster mushroom with carrots and banana and peanut butter parfait.
Led by chef Jason Sellers of Candle 79 in New York City fame, Plant in Asheville, North Carolina proudly takes interest not just in serving delicious food but also stresses the politics behind how and what we eat. Plant is a vegan restaurant that has quickly become one of the top restaurants in town. Each dish reflects a multicultural influence with the best spices, vegetables and techniques. The dinner menu consists of such favorites like smashed avocado Caesar salad, seitan chile con queso and applewood smoke porto’house. Desserts are equally as tasty with options like lemon-saffron crème brulee and the chocolate peanut butter fudge Blackout Pie.