Despite Houston's image as a city famed for luxurious meat and cheese-drenched offerings, the city's diverse and burgeoning food scene also lends itself to a wide spectrum of quality vegan options. Read on to learn about eight vegan dishes around Houston that you need to sample whether you're a die-hard carnivore or long-time herbivore.
Adrienne's Vegan Pizza from Bar Boheme: With a base of muhammara (a textured hummus-like spread with a base of red peppers, walnuts, and olive oil) and topped with arugula, oyster mushrooms, onion, roasted tomato, basil and Moroccan olives, you won't miss the cheese on this gourmet pizza. Like all of Boheme's pizzas, this one comes with on thin flatbread crust that makes for a lighter pizza eating that won't send you straight into a food coma.
Vegan Taco Salad from Local Foods: Vegan and craving taco meat? Crave no more! The vegan taco salad at Local Foods consists of a base of mixed greens, roasted corn, avocado, pickled onion and tortilla strips and is topped with a highly flavorful and satisfying portion of vegan taco "meat." This salad is only available at the Kirby location, where you can also find other irresistible vegan options like the garden sammie, falafel sandwich, and veggie burger (all of which are served on vegan bread from Slow Dough Bread Co).
Vegetable Pot Pie from Sinfull Bakery: You generally have to hurry to snag one of these cozy pot pies from the vegan bakery's stand at the farmer’s market on the weekends—an abundance of organic carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, nutritional yeast and spices mingle in a creamy filling tucked inside a thick, flaky pie crust that you can reheat at home. It's ultimate vegan comfort food at its finest.
Masala Dosa from Pondicheri: While many dishes on Pondicheri's menu can easily be tweaked to be vegan, the masala dosa is a naturally vegan dish that pops with flavor. The spiced potato mash stuffed inside a rice and lentil crepe is one of many dishes you'll find on their recurring meatless Mondays menu.
Jackfruit Carnitas from Ripe Cuisine: Chef Stephanie Hoban makes vegan eating look effortless when you look at her jackfruit "carnitas," a pile of smoked, shredded jackfruit that takes on the appearance and flavor of shredded meat after being tossed in a flavorful marinade and smoked. Piled atop tortillas along with roasted corn, pickled red onions, cilantro and a spicy sauce, this is one of the most interesting vegan tacos in Houston. If the carnitas aren't on offer, try sampling jackfruit in Hoban's other creations like jackfruit quesadillas or the smoked barbecue jackfruit sandwich.
Saigon Crispy Tofu from Loving Hut: This vegan chain restaurant is one of the more well-known spots for vegan Asian food and for good reason—their Saigon crispy tofu is among the tastiest fried tofu I've had in Houston. The batter surrounding each block of tofu is thick and well-seasoned, and so expertly fried that it holds its crunch even under a layer of sauce.
Not So Butter Chicken from The Doshi House: Nearly every day of the week, The Doshi House offers a vegan "evening meal" for $6.95 starting at 6pm until they run out. Saturdays mark their vegan not-so-butter chicken, their vegan take on the renowned Indian dish. Both the price and flavor can't be beat in this dish, though you should also stop by on other days of the week to sample their vegan red beans and rice, Thai red curry and more.
Tofu Banh Mi at Les Givral's: As long as you leave off the mayo, the tofu banh mi at this small sandwich and noodle shop is an extremely filling and satisfying way to get your vegan sandwich fix—just a few blocks of fried tofu, fresh shredded carrots, cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro stuffed inside a boat of French bread that is often remarkably fresh. Plus, this sandwich is one of the most economical in the city—one sandwich will run you right around $3.