veg·an (vēgən,ˈvejən/) noun– a person who does not eat or use animal products.
This summer we decided to adopt a vegan diet, my mother in law looked at us with disbelief and asked “What are you going to grill…twigs??” For a year afterwards, our invitations for family dinners were met with skepticism and inquiries into each detail of the menu. The use of tofu as meat substitute, soy butter on bread, or almond milk in coffee needed to be discussed and compromises rendered before our nearest and dearest would brave our kitchen table. Thanksgiving at our home was the annual tradition, and as the holiday approached anxiety was increasing and relatives were organizing. The absence of meat on a plate seems to make people very uneasy. In his most recent book VB6 (Vegan Before 6:00), Mark Bittman notes that only 49% of Americans ate even one single salad in the past two weeks!
It’s been three years since the introduction of the word “vegan” into our family’s vocabulary, and as it turns out, I’m more of a flextarian with vegan aspirations. However, it does us, the planet, and our animal friends good to eat as many vegan meals as we can. According to Dosomething.org, over 10 billion animals are raised for dairy, eggs, and meat each year. Growing the crops to feed them uses fossil fuels that emit 90 million tons of C02 annually. The enormous amount of waste produced from these billions of animals is polluting our ground water. The more animal products we eat, the more factory farms will produce, and the more we damage our planet with each meal. Moreover, many animals raised for consumption live a terrible life, and as uncomfortable as this makes us, we aid in the abuse each time we choose an animal based meal.
For those of you who are conscious of your health and the health of your planet, here are some places where you have the choice to eat vegan dishes. Remember, every time you choose not to each animal products you are changing the world for the better.
Panera Bread, Dartmouth: Stop in for a piping hot bowl of their black bean or garden vegetable soups. Order a sour dough roll or French baguette for dunking! In fact, many of their breads are vegan. You can see all the ingredients for their menu items at www.panera nutrition.com. We applaud for Panera’s help in allowing us to make educated choices about the food we eat.
How on Earth, Mattapoisett: How on Earth is both a market and a restaurant, so if you like what you taste, you can purchase local ingredients to recreate recipes at home. Try the wild rice and plum salad with local greens, sweet potatoes and white balsamic vinaigrette or the orange cashew salad. If you are in the mood for a sandwich, they offer a vegan burger and vegetarian burrito that you can “veganize” by simply omitting the sour cream.
The Green Bean, New Bedford: Their coffees and specialty lattes can be made with soy milk, and they offer an extensive smoothie menu plus fresh fruit and veggie juices.
Mirasol’s Café, Dartmouth: Mirasol’s is a Latin American influenced café that makes some great vegan soups like their curry lentil and 16 bean soup. Their unique veggie wrap is made with black beans, scallion-cilantro hummus, Mirasol’s lettuce mix, tomatoes, and marinated onion (breath warning – not the sandwich you want to eat before a date or business meeting!). Consider some vegan treats from the kids menu like a peanut butter and cinnamon banana flauta. If you’re not eating, enjoy a flavored coffee with soy milk.
Spicy Lime Thai Cuisine, New Bedford: The Spicy Lime is a hidden gem you should not miss. Vegans can happily feast at this small but mighty restaurant. Vegan menu options include spring rolls, fresh rolls, spicy fried tofu, and numerous salads (the mango salad is excellent) and main courses which offer your choice of meat or tofu.
No Problemo Taqueria, New Bedford: Mexican restaurants are usually a safe choice for vegans, and No Problemo is a classic. They offer a host of delicious burritos, tacos, and salads which can be vegan if you just hold the cheese and sour cream. Double up on the guacamole instead – yum! Popular ingredients include beans, refried beans, roasted red peppers, spinach, salsa, cucumbers, red onions, cilantro, and lime. What more could you ask for?
Lebanese Pita Pocket, Dartmouth: Family owned and operated, this is a great stop for a quick and healthy vegan meal. It is always nice to be able to choose from more than a lettuce and tomato sandwich or a plain garden salad when you eat out. Here you can take your pick from many vegan options including pumpkin kibbeh (hold the yogurt), vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, hummus and tabbouli, mjadra (lentil beans, rice, sautéed onions and spices), and falafel.
Gone are the days when your polite refusal of an animal based plate evokes the puzzled response “But it’s not meat, it’s chicken!” Local restaurants are becoming more aware of the vegetarian and vegan consumer which means greater choices for us! Eat up and report back. We welcome your comments and additional recommendations for vegan eating on the South Coast.
Partners Village Store
Head Town Landing Country Store