According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, feeding your children a plant-based diet comes with several benefits. Kids who eat fruits and vegetables every day grow up healthy and strong. They may also have a lower risk of food-related conditions like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
Choosing to feed your family a plant-based diet is a big decision, and with a bit of planning and practice, you and the kids will reach your goals. Use this guide to help you find great vegetarian and vegan restaurants when you’re on the go so you can stay on target even when you’re away from the kitchen.
Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill
Image via Flickr by thedlkr Licensed CC0 1.0
Blue Corn Harvest’s founders, Carlos Manzano and Santos Garcia, started with a passion for Southwestern cuisine and grew that love of authentic food into their trio of wonderfully casual, family-friendly restaurants. With three neighborhood locations, in Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Leander, it’s easy to get a delicious plant-based meal all over the area.
Blue Corn Harvest is a proud member of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Go Texan program that promotes the use of local products. The chefs at this eatery use organic produce freshly harvested from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Isle Acre Farms. Its moderately priced menu features loads of vegetarian and gluten-free favorites like avocado and black bean nachos, the roasted veggie burrito, a stacked wild mushroom enchilada, or the vegan beet avocado salad.
Mom and dad can order a cocktail, wine, or beer from Blue Corn’s full-service bar, then have a seat on the beautiful tree-covered patio. It’s the perfect place to sip a margarita and enjoy a warm Texas evening.
The owners of the Texican Cafe know how to do vegan right. With its trio of local destinations, including its lakeside spot on Pecan Park Boulevard, it’s one restaurant you have to discover. The chef stuffed the savory veggie quesadilla with fresh ingredients like spinach, onions, and mushrooms.
If you incorporate a bit of cheese into your diet, get the queso a la Parilla. It’s a made-to-order combination of sauteed vegetables drizzled with white cheese, then served in a sizzling hot skillet next to a side of homemade tortillas.
The vegan taco salad is a large fried tortilla shell filled with your favorite greens, diced tomatoes, a sprinkle of cheese, and a dollop of guacamole or the classic fajitas, sans the meat, with grilled plants like mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers. There are even plant-based options for your little Ninos 12 and under, like the bean and cheese nachos or the spinach enchiladas with Verde sauce.
Chada Thai Traditional Taste
Since 2015, the cooks at Chada Thai have been serving up yummy traditional Thai cuisine. The dishes from this locally owned, family-run business deliver the most unique flavors from around the world. Start with a crispy, deep-fried egg roll. They stuffed it with bead thread noodles, green cabbage, carrot, and celery marinated in a special soy sauce, plus a sweet and sour dip.
Of course, one of the best things about Thai food is its classic noodle soup. Chada cooks its version in broth and beansprouts, then topped with green onion, fried garlic, and cilantro. If you enjoy tofu, try the summer roll. Its fresh rice paper rolled with green leaf lettuce, carrots, vermicelli noodles, and Thai basil, then seasoned with peanut sauce.
The housemade Chada salad is a hearty meal all by itself. You’ll dig into a bowl full of leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, rice vermicelli noodles, with a helping of fried tofu and sliced hard-boiled egg on top. Don’t forget to check the menu for seasonal goodies, like the sweet sticky rice and mango dessert that you can get between April and October.
Damiano’s Italian Restaurant
Damiano’s Italian Restaurant on West Parmer Lane is a comfortable, family-owned spot for yummy plant-based fare. Its menu of delicious food comes with a warm and welcoming environment. The caring staff here provides parents with a place to relax that’s worlds away from the rushed and impersonal feeling you get from many Cedar Park eateries.
If you’re stopping in for a light meal, consider soup and salad. The vegetarian minestrone and a tossed salad will satisfy your mid-day cravings. If you want something more filling, try the veggies stromboli with peppers, black olives, and mushrooms. The mozzarella cheese spaghetti is another hearty choice, as is the eggplant parmigiana.
One reason to take your vegan family to Damiano’s is its New York-style pizzas. This restaurant touts three plant-based options on the menu: Spinach, Broccoli, and the Margherita. All are topped with fresh toppings that even your pickiest toddlers will devour. There’s also an excellent selection of traditional Italian wines for the adults.
Foxhole Culinary Tavern
Head to the Foxhole Tavern on US-183 in Austin for its modern, upscale vibe, inviting patio, and an extensive menu of plant-based delights. The chefs here are committed to quality and community, and it shows. The team uses only locally sourced ingredients when possible, plus it offers a nice selection of craft beers and delectable cocktails.
For something light, try a small plate like the crisped Brussels sprouts. This disc comes with butternut squash, caramelized onions, Fresno peppers, Georgia peaches, candied-spiced almonds, aged gouda, and drizzled with a pomegranate gastrique.
The Mexican Jumping Bean Burger is a meatless patty grilled over a wood fire, topped with crispy tortilla strips, red leaf lettuce, pico de gallo, and housemade guacamole all perched on a bistro bun smeared with chipotlennaise dressing. The Foxhole also offers several large dinner salads from the King Caesar to the ginormous Texas Wedge.
Well, there you have it, the city’s five best plant-based restaurants that you and your kids can try together. What do you think of the places we choose to include? Let us know if we forgot your family’s favorite place to eat vegan. Drop us a line! We’ll add your suggestions to our next guide.