Vegan Pizza in Texas

Cartoon by Matthew Diffee

So I get this cartoon. Really. Texas is a wasteland of BBQ and chicken fried steak. Except it isn’t, exactly. Don’t get me wrong. You can drive along miles and miles of highway seeing signs advertising brisket and chicken fried chicken, and Texas isn’t exactly known for its fresh produce or vegetarian cuisine. But this cartoon always makes me a little wistful, because people who think like this are missing out on some great vegan pizza.

Here in Austin you can find vegan New York-style, deep dish, Detroit-style, Italian wood oven-baked, and French bread pizzas, among the many many options. That’s a lot of vegan pizza.

So partly in honor of this cartoon and partly in honor of the fact that “vegan pizza in _____” is always one of my top search terms, here are links to vegan pizzas around Texas.

Austin, by Red Hot Vegans
Dallas-Fort Worth, by Dallas Vegan
Houston by Vegan Houston
San Antonio: Fraolo’s Art of Pizza and ZPizza via San Antonio Vegans

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I have a few favorite vegan pizzas in Austin that didn’t make the Red Hot Vegans list. The Spicy Vegan at Brick Oven on 35th (not to be confused with Brick Oven) for some reason doesn’t get much love. Maybe because there’s no cheese on the pizza. But there’s chipotle pesto, which I think is even better. FYI you can also get the chipotle pesto on pasta (ask for no cream).

Sagra also makes some great vegan pizzas, and recently they started making pistachio cheese for their vegan pies. The pizzas are Italian-style, not the Italian-American pizzas which are the norm in the U.S., which means you get more creative vegetable toppings including arugula, truffle oil, and asparagus. Their menu changes seasonally.

Vegan Guide to Arlington, Texas

I grew up in Arlington, and my family still lives there. So I have lots of opportunities to visit. Arlington is surprisingly vegan-friendly. Besides these restaurants, there are the usual veg-friendly places like Taco Bell and Subway, but I’d save those for road trip emergencies. Check Vegan Eating Out to find out what’s vegan at your local chain restaurant. I’m also sure that other international restaurants (Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, Indian, and so on) have vegan options that I haven’t discovered yet. Have something to add to the list? Leave a comment below, and I’ll keep the guide updated.

Restaurants
Al Amir — Mediterranean food in central Arlington. Recommended by UTA Vegan Club.

Andalous Mediterranean — There are a number of Mediterranean restaurants on this list, but I think this one has the widest selection of vegetable dishes. Besides the usual suspects, there is za’atar bread, purple-and-white potato salad, couscous salad, kidney and garbanzo bean salad, Egyptian baby eggplant, and more. The food is served cafeteria-style. Like Luby’s for a more enlightened generation.

Beiruit Rock Cafe — Near UTA, and recommended by folks in the UTA Vegan Club.

Chipotle — Chipotle is a vegan’s best friend. The black beans and rice are vegan, and you can even sneak in a few vegetables. And vegetable entrees get a free scoop of guacamole. This is the place to go if you’re in a hurry or you’re with friends who are allergic to non-chain restaurants.

Denny’s — You won’t be blown away with the food here, but you might get dragged here at 3 AM after a late night knitting session. Or whatever the kids do these days. (If someone tries to drag you to IHOP at 3 AM instead, I hope you like water and pickles.) Get the veggie burger (no butter on the bun) and go crazy and add some avocado or a side of broccoli. If only breakfast will do, go with grits or oatmeal.

Digg’s Tacos — A fast casual Tex-Mex joint near UTA. According to Broccoli Bulletin, most items ordered with the veggie mix can made vegan by leaving out the frequent offenders (cheese, butter, sour cream). Read her review for more info on customizing vegan dishes.

Freebirds — Freebirds is another great bean and rice option. They recently sat down with some Austin vegans to chat about adding more vegan options to the menu, so keep your eye out for some good changes.

Genghis Grill — Mongolian grill. You choose the ingredients, and they cook them. If the communal grill bothers you, places like this will often either clean it before cooking your food or cook your meal on a separate wok.

Health and Harmony Coffee House. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

 

 

Good Karma Kitchen —This gluten-free vegetarian food truck makes stops at UTA on Mondays. Check their current schedule on their website.

Health and Harmony Coffee House — Near UTA, this independent coffee shop is very vegan friendly. They have soy and almond milk for their drinks, and they host community events including vegan potlucks. They’re planning to add more vegan items to their cafe menu, and I’ll update this when I find out what they are. CLOSED

Istanbul Grill — Mediterranean food is always a good choice for vegans, but the atmosphere and the food at this Turkish restaurant are extra nice. Split the mezze plate with someone, and you’ll leave happy. (Some items on the plate need to be subbed to make the platter vegan.)

Kababji Mediterranean Grill and Cafe — This Mediterranean restaurant is in the tiny Arlington suburb Pantego. They have a variety of vegan dishes, including chickpea salad, lentil soup, couscous, potatoes, lentils and rice, cauliflower, and hummus

La Blue Casa — This Mexican restaurant located near UTA is transitioning to an entirely vegan menu after seeing Cowspiracy. How cool is that? In the meantime, they have vegan options for everything on the menu.

Sloppy Jenny at Loving Hut. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Loving Hut — Arlington’s all-vegan restaurant. One of the few all-vegan restaurants in DFW, even. The food is good, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Plus, vegan baked goods! Currently their food is a mixture of sandwiches, Asian-inspired bowls, and pizzas, with a few odds and ends to round things out.

Mellow Mushroom — Mellow Mushroom is a chain with pizza, salad, and sandwiches. I love their tempeh sandwich. The Arlington location carries Daiya vegan cheese.

Palio’s Pizza — Palio’s recently added vegan cheese as an option on their pizzas. The crust is crispier and chewier than Mellow Mushroom. A good place to go for pizza with someone who’s squeamish about so-called weird vegan food. This place is located just outside of Arlington in Mansfield, but that part of Cooper St is close enough we won’t quibble.

Pei Wei — Casual chain Chinese restaurant near the Parks Mall. Lots of vegan options, and the spicy dishes are actually spicy.

P.F. Chang — Upscale Chinese restaurant by the same folks as Pei Wei. Good vegan options. I love the eggplant and curry.

Pho 95 — This Vietnamese restaurant has a polished interior and a vegetarian section on the menu, so it’s great for date night The tofu ban mi is tasty and cheap (ask for no mayo and add sriracha).

Potager — Potager is the new darling of the Arlington restaurant scene. The restaurant is dedicated to sustainable and local food. Which means you might have to put up with some happy meat discussion. The menu varies from day to day. They always have vegetarian options, but if you want a vegan meal, it’s probably best to call ahead to see if they can accommodate you. [closed as of July 2015 with a possibility of reopening]

Smiling Moose Deli — This is a chain restaurant near UTA. The Broccoli Bulletin gives a thumbs up to the soup and says that any of the vegetarian dishes can be ordered vegan if you leave out the dairy.[now closed]

Souper Salad — Salad bar with some vegan options, including several salad dressings and croutons. Yes, croutons! The plain cornbread is vegan, too. Check out their vegan items on their website.

Sweet Tomatoes — Yeah, it’s another chain, but they get credit for clearly marking vegan food. Sweet Tomatoes is a buffet with soups, salads, and pasta. They are always a few vegan options. They post the menu online ahead of time, so you can see if any of the day’s specials appeal to you.

Star India — This is recommended by the Black Vegetarian Society of Texas, and I haven’t visited since I went vegan. According to BVST, half of the buffet is plant-based and much of that is dairy free. But it’s always a good idea to ask if anything contains ghee or yogurt.

Taste of Thai — Also recommended by Black Vegetarian Society as a good date spot. The menu states that any ingredient can be left out by request, but be sure to enquire about shrimp paste and fish sauce in any sauces.

Thai House — This is my family’s standby Thai restaurant. Stir-fries (labeled “main dishes” on the menu) and fried rice can be made vegan by request. Some of the noodle dishes can be made vegan as well. All of the curries contain fish sauce.

Ton’s Mongolian Grill — Same concept as Genghis Grill.

Grocery Stores
Arlington Farmer’s Market — Fresh produce grown by your neighbors. This market is still pretty new and small, but I expect it will keep growing rapidly.

Arlington Farmers’ Market in May. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

Cho Saigon Asian Market — Asian staples and inexpensive produce.

Costco — Costo has good deals on vegetables, veggie burgers, hummus, snack foods, grains, canned goods, almond butter, and frozen parbaked roti and pita–so long as you don’t mind buying large quantities. I also think they have the best natural peanut butter. What they have varies from month-to-month.

Green’s Plants and Produce
— This is a garden center and food store with a nice supply of locally grown produce and locally made products. Because of the local focus, what they have on hand changes from day to day.

Halal Import Food Market — You’ll find lots of inexpensive international ingredients here. Indian snack foods, canned goods, grains, beans, fresh baked pita.

Hong Kong Market — Great for vegan-friendly Asian staples. Rice, canned veg duck, cheap produce, fresh tofu, soy milk, canned jackfruit, cheap soy sauce, rice paper wrappers. You can even find vegan buns or wonton and eggroll wrappers in the freezer cases if you’re willing to wade through lots of ingredients lists.

Kroger — they carry lots of vegan-friendly specialty items, including Daiya cheese and Gardein, two hot new vegan products. The freezer case is pretty well stocked with quick meals, too. And of course, every grocery store has a giant vegan section called the produce department! How well-stocked the special diet section is may depend on what part of town you’re in. This review is based on the South Cooper location.

Sprouts — This small grocery store has a freezer and refrigerator sections well-stocked with vegan-friendly items, as well as lots of good produce and vitamins. Prices are generally a bit high as they carry organic and natural brands.

Tom Thumb — same as Kroger. They have a surprising amount of vegan specialty items.

Whole Foods — vegan mecca for lots of cities, the Arlington Whole Foods carries prepared vegan foods and baked goods, along with lots of vegan staples.

[Updated September 2015]

San Antonio Vegan Food Guide

My friend E lives in San Antonio. Whenever I visit, we go back and forth, “where do you think we should eat?” “Where do YOU think we should eat.” Partly, we’re really indecisive, but partly, neither of us knows anything about vegan food options in San Antonio.

Well that’s all fixed now. Anna from Carrot and Potato Time gives us the scoop on the best vegan eats in San Antonio. I’m excited to try vegan night at The Cove! Or maybe Indian food! I’d better ask E what she thinks…

Part 1
Part 2

Update: Part 3 of the guide features vegan pizza and Italian food. Y’all! There’s a place in San Antonio that will putt pizza toppings (including Daiya!) on a portobello mushroom. I’m in mushroom heaven.