20 World-Famous Dishes You Can Finally Eat as a Vegetarian
Global cuisine has many iconic dishes, but rarely are they something a vegetarian can eat. We scoured the planet to find national dishes that veggie globetrotters can tuck into on their next trip. Feast your eyes on these mouthwatering, nonmeat menu items—some of them found in surprising places.
Scotland is known for its famous haggis dish, which contains sheep’s organs with spices and minced onion stuffed inside the casing of the animal’s stomach. Fear not; if you really want that experience (and not everyone does), there’s a vegetarian version served at the Carlton George Hotel in Glasgow that features beans, lentils, oats, and vegetables topped with a poached egg and gravy. The best way to find veggie haggis (among other local dishes) in Scottish cities is to go through a guided vacations company like Brendan Vacations that specializes in individual tours and knows where to find the highest-quality vegetarian and vegan Scottish dishes.
Traditional Irish stew
In County Clare, Ireland, Dromoland Castle is known for its fine cuisine. Chef David McCann even makes a vegetarian version of traditional Irish stew. His creation comes chock-full of hearty produce like Rooster potatoes, leeks, onions, carrots, and pearl barley prepared in a vegetable stock. Read about 8 nutrients you may be missing if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Spend one evening at Manta—the Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant at the Cape, a Thompson Hotel, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico—and you will be hooked on this black bean–infused ramen bowl. Chef Enrique Olvera’s take on it features mushrooms, epazote, beans, and pasilla mixe chili. The spices combined with the earthy and herbal notes give this vegetarian ramen a strong kick of flavor.
Peruvian cuisine is all the rage these days, but if you are vegetarian you may miss out on some of its famous dishes while traveling in Peru. Not so if you dine at Maras, a foodie haven at the Westin Lima Hotel and Convention Center, where the vegan ceviche is served with artichoke, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes all marinated in the famous “milk of the tiger” (otherwise known as ceviche sauce). The sauce includes cilantro, lime, ginger, onion, and yellow pepper sauce. Check out why Peru is on the list of top South American destinations.
Chinese Peking duck
A visit to the Dome at lebua in Bangkok, Thailand, a venue featuring first-rate rooftop restaurants, means you’ll be treated like royalty. Vegetarians get even more attention at lebua’s Breeze restaurant, where the chef prepares a special version of traditional Peking duck by using tofu instead of duck meat. The taste and texture are surprisingly authentic, especially when you use the dipping sauces. If lebua’s beautiful rooftop setting looks familiar, it’s probably because you saw it in the movie The Hangover Part II, which was filmed here. Ask to try the “Hangovertini” cocktail, inspired by one of the movie’s directors, at the famous Sky Bar.
American barbecue ribs
American pit master and author of nine cookbooks Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe will debut a new restaurant, Dr. BBQ, this fall in St. Petersburg, Florida. The latest venture from Roger and Suzanne Perry, co-owners of the Datz Group, it will include traditional American barbecue favorites, plus a veggie barbecue-ribs dish made from portobello mushrooms, which feature a meaty texture and plenty of smoky flavor. Check out these 14 delectable vegetarian dinner recipes.
French Riviera fruits de mer
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Crossroads in Los Angeles, a celebrity favorite, has been a strong proponent of plant-based dining. Pretend you are in the South of France with a traditional fruits de mer platter—except that this seafood tower is stacked with kelp caviar, hearts of palm calamari, tempura-battered lobster mushrooms, signature artichoke oysters, and shiitake oyster shooters.
Southern pulled pork sandwich
This iconic Southern dish is as close as it gets to the real thing without meat. At the Assemblage NoMad in New York City, the Pulled Porkcini Sandwich is vegan and gluten-free: It’s made with house-smoked enoki and porcini mushrooms, barbecue sauce, Carolina slaw, gluten-free sourdough, and maple-balsamic mixed greens. Find out why these 18 vegan appetizers aren’t just for vegans.
At the Westin Jekyll Island Resort and Spa in Georgia, paella does not have to be off-limits for vegetarians. The chef makes a superfood version of the classic Spanish dish using quinoa and vegetables and even manages to perfect the art of “socarrat,” in which the quinoa (traditionally rice) on the bottom becomes slightly crunchy.
Italian pasta alla gricia
Forget the traditional version of pasta alla gricia (the famous Roman pasta dish with cured pork jowl, otherwise known as guanciale in Italian). At the First Hotel Roma by the Pavilions in Rome, guests can sample a vegetarian version that uses caramelized onions instead of pork to mimic the same texture. If you’re looking for pasta alternatives, check out these options.
Try the broccoli Reuben sandwich at La Cantera Resort & Spa, a Destination Hotel, in San Antonio, Texas. Charred broccoli with an authentic smoky flavor replaces the traditional slices of meat, along with lots of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and a spicy Thousand Island dressing. It’s all piled high on German rye bread.
The classic Arabic comfort food, shawarma, is made in a whole new way for vegetarians at Ana at District Winery in Washington, DC. Instead of roasted meat shaved into delicate slices, the chef uses summer vegetables and green chickpea hummus served atop lavash bread. It’s all rolled together for savory deliciousness. Find out more healthy food swaps you haven’t considered yet.
Mid-Atlantic crab cakes
The veggie version of the traditional crab cakes at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida’s Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa consists of hearts of palm, chickpeas, pickled cauliflower, and nori garnished with arugula aioli and a lemon chip. The nori gives it the kick it needs for that “fresh from the sea” flavor. Prepare yourself for arguments with carnivorous friends with these 11 reasons why going vegan isn’t crazy.
There’s no comfort food quite like poutine, best enjoyed after a long night of hitting the town. Traditional poutine, most often enjoyed in Quebec, features crispy fries topped with fresh cheese curd and meaty brown gravy. The vegan poutine at Montreal, Canada’s Restaurant LOV is made with delicious fries, kale chips, homemade vegan cheese with a coconut oil base, and a sauce made with roasted vegetables, mushrooms, and plenty of local Massawippi miso.
Irish afternoon tea
Ireland’s Adare Manor has a lovely vegan afternoon tea, a signature Irish experience where some of the meat and seafood finger sandwiches have been replaced with pickled beetroot and candied walnut, cucumber and lemon, roasted red pepper and avocado, and tomato and basil options. The experience, with pinky fingers held high, is one of pomp and circumstance, as an elegant afternoon tea should be. Check out these 14 facts about vegan weight loss.
British beef Wellington
The vegetarian version of beef Wellington at the Flemings Mayfair Hotel London in England is a unique spin on this favorite of carnivores. Its main ingredients are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms, spinach, and crepe with a butternut beurre blanc sauce. Find out where the name “beef Wellington” comes from, along with the names of 15 other iconic foods.
If you’re a fan of currywurst but are put off by the meat inside, try the vegan currywurst at Blatt Beer & Table in Omaha, Nebraska. It has a meatlike texture and is topped with caraway kraut and German rosemary mustard and served on a pretzel bun. It has all the traditional currywurst flavors, such as smoked paprika, cumin, and, of course, curry. Read more about international destinations for foodies.
The stunning Aria Hotel Budapest, part of the Library Hotel Collection, in Hungary serves traditional Hungarian lecsó in vegetarian form. It is a traditional stew containing fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and, of course, paprika. Normally, it comes with sausage and can be sautéed in bacon fat, but the skilled chef at the hotel makes a delicious version for vegetarians. Here are some healthy foods that are more nutritious than you thought.
American Big Mac
The Big Mac may be a signature McDonald’s dish, but it is certainly not for vegetarians. Luckily, Canada’s Chef Doomie at Vegandale Brewery in Toronto has created one that will appeal to them. Known as the Classic, it is a vegan riff on the fast-food favorite. It is made with two soy-based patties, special sauce, lettuce, vegan cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun.
The Philly cheesesteak is a classic American sandwich, but its very name indicates that it is not for vegetarians. Not so at Spiral Diner in Fort Worth, Texas, which makes a veggie version of the sandwich using marinated and grilled seitan topped with melted cheese and grilled veggies on a ciabatta hoagie roll. Now find out the 17 healthy-eating secrets from top nutritionists.