25 must-try meat-free dishes in Charlotte

25 must-try meat-free dishes in Charlotte
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We don’t just eat leaves.

Vegetarian combo at La Shish Kabob

Hummus, tabbouleh, salad, baba ghannouj, falafel and yalanji served with pita ($7.99)

la shish kabob falafel

Black bean burger on a pretzel roll at VBGB

The buttery pretzel roll is a game changer. You’ll never eat another sad, sorry bun. Unfortunately, doesn’t come with a side so definitely order sweet potato fries. ($8)


Tofu You at Rhino Market

BBQ tofu, pickled veggies, lettuce and vegannaise on sourdough. Even Andrew, lover of meat, likes it. ($7.49)

Tofu wings at Seoul Food Meat Company

Go with the soy garlic sauce. Fried tofu is fried tofu but I love that Seoul offers this option so vegetarians can fully participate in the shareable small plate experience. Don’t skip the potato tornado.

The Dale Jr. at Fūd at Salud

The vegan version of The Intimidator features vegan pimento cheese, tempeh bacon and tomatoes pressed on sourdough. ($8.50)

Manicotti at Living Kitchen

They retired the Lunasagna but the raw, vegan manicotti has a similar flavor profile with thin zucchini ribbons stuffed with creamy ricotta cashew cheese. ($13)

living kitchen southpark

Meatless loaf at The Diamond

A hearty meal served with veggie gravy, rice milk mashed potatoes, cornbread and a side. ($8.95)

Chia Bagel at Owen’s Bagel

Veggie cream cheese, swiss cheese, avocado, lettuce and sprouts on a sesame bagel. Vegan? Drop the swiss and swap in vegan cream cheese. ($4.25)

Cauliflower Po’boy at Namastay Kitchen

Y2 Yoga’s on-site restaurant offers a number of veg-friendly dishes, including this creative take on a po’boy with maple Sriracha-glazed cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, chopped pickles and smoked paprika aioli. ($12)

South Indian thali at Woodlands

A tray of rice, dal (lentils), rice, vegetables, yogurt and chutney. One of my absolute favorite meals. ($18.95)

Chili mac at Lupie’s

Spicy vegetarian chili served over your choice of spaghetti noodles or macaroni and cheese

Tofu banh mi at Yummi Banh Mi

Several banh mi spots offer meat-free menu options, but Yummi’s version with pan-fried tofu is one of my favorites. ($7)

Redneck Parm at Pinky’s Westside Grill

A straight mess. Fried squash topped with pimento cheese and veggie chili served on a hoagie roll. ($7.25)

Fried cauliflower steak at Haberdish

People definitely come here for the fried chicken, but they’re missing out on this perfectly crispy slab of cauliflower topped with herbaceous chimichurri. The art is in the brine. ($11)

The Mediterranean at Pure Pizza

Spinach, olives, tomatoes and pickled onion topped with feta (or sub vegan cheese). ($12 – $21)

Vegan cinnamon rolls at Fern

Listen. I know cinnamon rolls are, by definition, meat free. But it’s worth pointing out that these at Fern, an all-vegetarian restaurant, are also vegan. Go get you a skillet. Available at weekend brunch only. ($10)

Niwa ramen at Futo Buta

A vegan version with roasted organic mushrooms, bok choy, leeks and arugula ($12)

Quinoa-stuffed avocado at Viva Chicken

The way a “salad” should be — a whole avocado stuffed with organic quinoa and topped with rocoto mayo and balsamic vinaigrette

Veggie dog at JJ’s Red Hots

You can sub a veggie dog for any of their signature hot dogs. I like the Chicago-style Joliet Jake with tomatoes, sport peppers, diced onions, pickle relish, mustard, celery salt and a pickle spear. No ketchup, you maniac. ($3.99)

JJ's Redhots hotdog

Spinach burek at Intermezzo

A traditional Serbian dish with house-made phyllo dough stuffed with spinach and cheese

Build Your Own Bowl at Yafo

They have tons of meat-free options. I like to go with a 1/2 hummus, 1/2 rice bowl topped with assorted salads and falafel. ($10.99)

Vegan cheesesteak at Zizi’s Awesome Vegan 2 Go

An animal-free impossibility is realized with this variation featuring chopped seitan, vegan cheese and grilled onions ($7.25)

Lemongrass tofu at Ben Thanh

A generous pile of rice noodles, fresh veggies and fried tofu. I eat this about once a week.

Black bean burger at Bang Bang Burgers

One of my favorite veggie burgers in the city. I appreciate that it’s a thin, manageable patty rather than a two-inch brick of black beans, as is the case for many others.

Cowboy Burger at Bean Vegan

Honestly, anything at Bean is a must try. They have a way of making impossible dishes meat free — like their meatless fish filet. The Cowboy Burger is stacked high with seitan Bacon, Daiya cheddar, onion rings, pickles, BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.

Header photo by Poprock Photography via Facebook

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