Many people would tell you that the south, and especially New Orleans with its Cajun food (that seems to include seafood and meat in every dish), will have nothing to offer to vegans but boy are they wrong.
It is exactly because of New Orleans’ unique cuisine that there must have vegan options to cater to all the tourists arriving there and it’s because of this city’s cuisine that the options for vegan are even more special than in other cities in the U.S. In New Orleans you will find a that NOLA twist on traditional dishes that will make you come back for more!
And here’s another tip. Apart from this extensive list of vegan places don’t be afraid to go to fancy restaurants that do not have vegan items specified in the menu. Famous places such as Commanders Palace has a vegan risotto dish that is not specified in the menu but made especially for us vegans. In other occasions, after mentioning I was vegan I got a special dish made by the chef just for me and trust me they were amazinggggg!
Here are 2 examples of delicious vegan dishes I got specially made for me in non- vegan restaurants with no vegan items in the menu:
OK, so let’s dive in, here’s my list of the top vegan and vegetarian restaurants in New Orleans:
1000 Figs: for the Middle Eastern flavors
Coming from Israel, I’m never too happy to eat middle eastern food anywhere else… the humus is always inferior, the salads are never the same and the deserts are usually stale in comparison with the “real thing” I have in my home country. But let me tell you, 1000 figs was an amazing surprise! It’s definitely my number 1 place to go to in NOLA for vegan food, middle eastern food and in general!
The restaurant is not vegan but their vegan dishes are the best! From their different platters with unique falafel bowls and their amazing garlic paste. But waittttt! Their bread!!! One of the most crucial items in a good middle eastern meal. You will not find a pita bread there, but a unique flatbread served hot, crispy in the ends soft in its center. Trust you will order some more to take back home.
Meals from the heart cafe
This casual dining spot is found in the French Quarter market. They have limited sitting at the bar or you can just grab your order and take it to the main sitting area. I wanted to go there to have my traditional American breakfast of blueberries pancakes butttt the best news came the day before I went there. The famous Impossible Burger made it to New Orleans and Meals from the Heart serves it! I went nuts!
For those of you who don’t know the Impossible Burger was developed for over 5 years by scientists with the goal of improving the environment (by minimizing the damage created by the meat industry). It’s only available in about 20 locations across the U.S. I tried to get it when I was in California but with no luck (you can read more about it here). And all the buzz was justified! The burger looked so real (even had the bloody effect to it) that I had to make sure it’s vegan. Take my word for it! if you’re there you must have it!
Bearcat: catering to every one of your food allergies or restrictions
I stumbled across this restaurant that serves breakfast and launch as I was going through my list of places to try before leaving the States and thank god I made it because this place was nothing short of amazing!
Bearcat offers “good cat”/”bad cat” style of dishes that offer vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and gluten-free options. Basically, they can cater to your every need. Just to show you how far they can go… they found a dish for my vegan, gluten-free friend that is allergic to garlic, onion, and soy!!! So yeah if you have any dietary restrictions or just want some yummy food this is the place to go!
I was so excited about the dishes there (knowing I won’t have a chance to come again since those were my last days in the States) that I ordered too much food! First was their Queso, a vegan take on the American classic with creamy cashew cheese. Then I had their tofu scramble with potatoes, that I couldn’t even finish of course. And even though I was completely full I had to have they chia bowl for dessert! Of course, I took all my leftovers home and enjoyed them for the next day as well.
Cafe Carmo: for the Latin flavors
New Orleans does not only excel in their cajun kitchen but also their Carribean and Latin influences. Cafe Carmo is the place to go to for some Latin flavors. They have Porto Rican, Haitian dish and of course, my favorite, Brazilian food! The place is not vegan but has vegan and gluten-free options!
I have to say the one thing you have to order is Pão de Queijo! This Brazilian dish is basically round bolls of bread filled with cheese! They have them in gluten-free options and they are simply delicious!
You might not recognize the names of other dishes but just ask and feel free to take a risk and try something new. Who knows maybe this food will shape your decision on where to travel next ( ;
This vegan place offers casual dining and fresh healthy bowls of salad and other dishes rich with legumes and protein adds on. Their food is light yet filling and the restaurant is super cute (which I wish I had known before taken a takeout).