Pick 6: Vegetarian Dishes that Satisfy

Radial Cafe's grain bowl (photo credit Chris Octa)
Caption
Radial Cafe's grain bowl (photo credit Chris Octa)

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

(photo credit: The Reynolds Group)
Caption
(photo credit: The Reynolds Group)

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

For some, seeing the word “vegetarian” on a menu is an instant turn-off. They imagine a miniscule plate of limp salad greens or spongy, tasteless tofu. But we’ve come a long way in the vegetable revolution, and vegetarian is mainstream. Although we live in the South, where fried chicken and shrimp and grits will hold their hierarchy, there are still plenty of vegetarian options around town. We’ve picked out a few spotlights and hope that vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will dig into these satisfying meals. 

Chai Pani

The dish: Chatpatta paneer sandwich

What's in it: paneer, cucumbers, onions, chaat masala, griddled buns with green chutney

Indian cuisine is known for having vegetarian options that satisfy. Chai Pani recently rolled out a new menu section of street-style sandwiches and this chaat paneer is the vegetarian star. Paneer is made from curd cheese and is tangy like goat cheese but chewy like mozzarella.

Green Sprout

The dish: Curry spring roll

What's in it: potato, taro, onion and curry sauce

Green Sprout is hidden in a strip mall in Ansley Park, but don’t let it fool you. The vegetarian menu is a no-frills offering of straightforward dishes. Taro, a starchy root vegetable has a texture and taste similar to potatoes, making the filling in these rolls taste like curried potatoes.

sesame "chicken" (photo credit Monica E.)
Caption
sesame "chicken" (photo credit Monica E.)

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Café sunflower 

The dish: Sesame chicken

What's in it: golden soy chicken with broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, snow peas, onions, peppers, brown rice

Soy chicken does indeed taste very similar to chicken and the fibrous texture mimics a moist slice of meat. When you toss it in a stir-fry, the umami flavors meld together and you’re fooled. Café Sunflower is one of Atlanta’s vegetarian-only cuisines, and their menu has a variety of vegetarian staples like tempeh, seitan and tofu.

R Thomas Deluxe Grill

The dish: R’s raw veggie dinner #1

What's in it: walnut sunflower loaf topped with chipotle sauce, broccoli cauliflower medley, raw veggie kraut, collard kale salad. Served with sweet potato chips, flax chips, guacamole

When vegetarians need a fourth meal at three in the morning, they flock to this 24-hour, wacky diner. The raw veggie dinner is not for the faint of heart- the plate is piled high with macrobiotic sides, like their veggie kraut. The “loaf” is similar to meatloaf, but made with walnuts and sunflowers, so it could fool you for a savory piece of nutty bread.

Radial Cafe's grain bowl (photo credit Chris Octa)
Caption
Radial Cafe's grain bowl (photo credit Chris Octa)

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

Radial Café

The dish: Grain bowl

What's in it: quinoa, farro, barley, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, Portobello mushroom

A savory, satisfying breakfast, this grain bowl packs high-protein and whole grains. With protein counts of 6 grams for quinoa, 7 grams for farro and 4 grams in barley (for ¼ cup) these will keep you full all morning. The meaty texture of Portobello mushrooms is a substitute for meat, and less calories per gram because it is a low energy density food.

Wrecking Bar Brewpub

A bonus is Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s weekly “Veggie Tuesdays”, where chef Terry Koval creates a menu of strictly vegetarian dishes. He uses the same creativity to push out forward-thinking entrees, and each week is something different.

Last week's entrée: Seitan loaf with house made tomato basil seitan, field pea hash, okra, sungold tomatoes, pardon peppers.