Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Fare in Indianapolis

With the start of the new year, many people are making the resolution to eat healthier by cutting out fat and carbs or choosing to eliminate meat entirely. I’m definitely trying to do my part by moderating what good and bad foods I eat, and so I’m choosing the asparagus and eggplant options at restaurants instead of the New York Strip. These are a few places I’ve found to complement my approach to dining that any vegetarian or vegan would be impressed with.

Gorgonzola Salad with Mushroom Soup

Gorgonzola Salad with Mushroom Soup

Tulip Noir – Some of the best restaurants are hidden in the most plain and disguising strip malls in town, and Tulip Noir is one of them. Located near 86th and Ditch Road, this small cafe is a treasure of soups, salads and sandwiches that won’t disappoint your need for creative vegetarian options. Enjoy a weekend brunch with their gluten-free, vegan Gingerbread Buckwheat Waffle or go for a weekday lunch and grab a vegetarian Black Bean Quesadilla.  Just don’t ask for a Diet Coke – they prefer to sell hot or iced teas than sodas!

Cheese board with pickled veggies, marinated olives, goat cheese, pretzel rolls and edamame hummus

Cheese board with pickled veggies, marinated olives, goat cheese, pretzel rolls and edamame hummus

Zest Exciting Food Creations – This place is perfect for a relaxed lunch or a date night dinner. The cheese board appetizer is full of surprises like… blueberry cheese. It was beautiful and delicious. Pommes frites with white truffle oil and asiago cheese are impossible to resist, but don’t fill up too much because the entrees are of healthy proportions. I ordered the Chiles Rellenos, a vegetarian plate of a roasted poblano with creamy mac and cheese stuffed inside, perfectly seasoned black beans, rice and tortilla crumbles with a slightly sweet tomato sauce. Or, go for something lighter like the Veggie Burger with herbed cashew cream and kale or the Tempeh Bahn Mi with asian pickles and sweet chili aioli.

SoBro Cafe – Known for their various assortments of pancakes, SoBro Cafe has become one of my new favorite lunch spots. I love their take on savory pancakes, with The Mushroom (mushrooms, sweet corn, tomato and cheese) or the The Popeye (spinach, sautéed red pepper and swiss). Have I said before how much I love anything on pretzel rolls? SoBro Cafe won me over with The Good Burger, which has avocado, tomato, sprouts and garlic aioli in between two soft, sweet pretzel rolls. Soon I’m going to go back for dinner so I can try their Bar-B-Q Lentil Stew and the Sweet and Sour Cabbage. Okay, maybe two more visits.

House salad with Creamy Potato Soup

House salad with Creamy Potato Soup

Taste Cafe & Marketplace – Just next door to SoBro Cafe is Taste Cafe, with an equally exciting menu that can be eaten there or taken home for later. I’m always impressed by the amount of items Taste offers for breakfast, lunch and “after-taste” dinner on Wednesday and Thursday. Just like Zest, the Pommes Frites are irresistible and topped with herbs and enjoyed with a basil aioli. I frequent between two sandwiches, The Veggie with roasted portobello and The Erin with asparagus and sprouts, or their sweet creamy potato soup with a house salad packed with fresh veggies.

Yats – I have to admit that one of my favorite things about the cajun creole food at Yats is that it’s fast, good and cheap. Black beans with caramelized corn and spinach and mushroom etouffee are two of my favorites. Got a big appetite or can’t decide what to get? Get a half & half with both! And you absolutely MUST get extra bread. That was the first tip I ever left on Foursquare and it’s the highest rated one with no surprise to me. You just have to get extra pieces to sop it all up.

Duos Truck – My first experience with Duos was at Dig Indiana, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Duos Hoppin John is a hearty dish of black eyed peas, rice and stewed tomatoes, perfect for these rainy Indianapolis winter days. Duos strives to have several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes, including desserts. Follow them on Twitter to see where they’ll be hanging out next!

What exciting and unique vegetarian or vegan options have you found in Indianapolis?

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  • jc46202

    I love all the veggie options at Three Sisters in Broad Ripple and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Broad Ripple Brew Pub also has quite a few veggie dishes to enjoy.

  • Benjamin Hunt

    I don’t really consider Yats to be healthy, but options for Vegan/Vegetarians in Indy are slim on the surface.

    Here is my list of places to find veg options:

    Spice Nation (formerly Udupi, Passage to India) 38th & Lafayette
    Naisa (tofu replacement all dishes, vegetarian Hot & Sour Soup is incredible) Fountain Square
    Brass Ring Lounge (offers Seitan to replace meat on all dishes) Fountain Square
    Sesame Chinese (offer Seitan/Tofu replacement on all dishes) 86th & Ditch
    Siam Square (tofu replacement and veggie dishes) Fountain Square

    Abyssinia (Ethiopian menus are largely vegetarian) 38th & MollerMajor Restaurant (Ethiopian again) West Washington & 465
    Pogue’s Run Co-op (Deli counter has grab & go veggie deli selections as well as made to order) 10th & Rural
    … that’s just a start.