50 Vegan Foods to Try in Texas: Part 1

There’s a huge variety of vegan food in Texas, and I know I’ve only nibbled a fraction of it. With a few recommendations from friends, I’ve made a list of 50 Must Try vegan foods that represent the best our state has to offer. I’ve split the list into parts for my sanity and your suspense. In no particular order…

1. “The Mitch” Tofu Club from Spiral Diner (Dallas or Fort Worth): A club sandwich that even Mitch Hedberg is allowed to eat. Three slices of bread, grilled tofu, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo (you know, because we’re in Texas), and bac’n bits all held together with frilly toothpicks. The combination of the chipotle mayo and the bac’n bits adds just the right amount of smokiness. The potato salad on the side is mashed and bright yellow. I can never decide if I like it or not, yet I always eat every bite. (True story: last night I had a dream that I had a gallon of this potato salad in my fridge and couldn’t decide whether to eat it or not.)

Arlo's Bac'n Cheez Burger. Source: mollyjade

2. Bac’n Cheese Burger from Arlo’s Food Truck (Austin): This cheeseburger is like its greasy counterpart at a national fast food chain, except healthier and free of animal products. Instead of beef, the homemade patty sports lentils with plenty of gluten to hold everything together. Add cheese, seitan bac’n, lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, and lettuce, and you might be humming that song all night long.

Chole Bhature at Shri Balaji Bhavan. Source: Vegan Houston

3. Chole bhature at Shri Balaji Bhavan (Houston). Vegan Houston calls this “the best on the planet,” which is pretty high praise. If you’ve never had this dish before, it’s North Indian chickpea stew with fried bread, and it’s as awesome as that sounds.

4. Chimichurri seitan wrap from Conscious Cravings (Austin): The quality of this wrap varies. On its good days, it’s my favorite sandwich. But even on its bad days, it’s worth eating. Chewy chunks of seitan dressed with chimichurri sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, vegan mozzarella, and a squirt of sriracha, all baked up in a wrap that gets a bit crispy.

5. Neftacos Feliz from Zombie’s Food Truck (Fort Worth and Dallas): Named after Ranger’s pitcher Neftali Feliz, these tacos are the fan favorite at Zombie’s. Shredded seitan is served in a tortilla with all the fixings, including a drizzle of pepper pineapple ranch.

Vegan Platter at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Source: madam.furie

6. Pancakes at Kerbey Lane (Austin). Kerbey Lane isn’t the kind of place that makes you feel like family or the kind of place that leaves you writing embarrassing love notes about your meal on Yelp. It’s the kind of place where you can get vegan pancakes at 3 AM and slather them with Grade B maple syrup. And really, what else do you need from pancakes?

7. Kale salad from Central Market (Austin, Dallas, Forth Worth, Houston, Plano, San Antonio). Sold at the prepared food counter, this sweet, tangy, and crunchy salad is now a permanent part of my family’s holiday meals. The salad has inspired many copycat recipes, including this one from Hail Merry.

8. Pretzel bread from Tough Cookie Bakery (Bastrop and Dallas). This rich bread is great for sandwiches, though truthfully, I usually end up pulling off large chunks and find myself surprised that it’s all gone before I even got a chance to put avocado and tomato between two slices. For now, you can find Tough Cookie at farmer’s markets in Dallas and Bastrop, though they have plans to distribute to Austin soon.

Peach Kolache. Source: mollyjade

9. Fruit kolaches from Sinfull Bakery (Houston). The kolache is one of Texas’s iconic foods, but no city embraces the kolache like Houston does. You’ll find kolaches filled with everything from migas to barbecue. So it’s no surprise that Houston has the first vegan kolaches. Generally sticking to more traditional fillings, Sinfull Bakery’s fruit kolache fillings are all homemade and often local and organic.

Holiday Sundae at Sweet Ritual. Source: mollyjade

10. Sundae from Sweet Ritual (Austin). The ladies at Sweet Ritual make all their own syrups, and it shows in their sundaes. There’s nothing wrong with a milkshake or cone, but if you really want to get the full Sweet Ritual effect, start with a homemade waffle cone or bowl and end with a drizzle of salted caramel or chocolate sauce.

Vegan Tex-Mex in DFW

Vegan enchiladas in the Metroplex. Photo by tofutti break. Licensed under creative commons

The folks at Dallas Vegan have been putting a lot of work into their website lately. They’ve added several new food guides, including this list of vegan Tex-Mex options in DFW. The list tells you the vegan status of beans, tortillas, rice, and sauces at restaurants. With that info, you can create just about any vegan Tex-Mex restaurant dish. The info is crowd sourced, so be sure to let Dallas Vegan know about your favorite Tex-Mex spot in the Metroplex.

Austin: The Best Bread You’re Not Eating

This photo serves no other purpose than to have something pretty at the top of the page and to show you these awesome looking brownies by Capital City Bakery.

Did you know there’s another vegan bakery in the Austin area you probably haven’t even heard of? Ridiculous, no?

Celeste’s Best satisfies our pb cup and cookie dough needs. Red Rabbit is filling us up with doughnutty goodness. Sugar Tooth is about to unleash tasty desserts on downtown Austin. The Happy Vegan Bakery makes some wonderful gluten-free (and nongluten-free) goods. And Capital City Bakery has been blowing us away with pies and brownies.

But have you heard of Tough Cookie Bakery? Probably not.

Tough Cookie Pepperoni Pretzel Bites. I tried to find a photo of their bread or a pretzel dog. Instead I found this incredibly awesome vegan pepperoni pretzel bite. Photo by Dallas Vegan.

They bake out of Bastrop, Texas, and sell their goods at the Bastrop Farmers’ Market as well as some farmers’ markets in DFW. (Yes, DFW.) Despite the name, what they are famous for is their pretzel bread. They also do pretzel dogs with Tofurky sausages as the innards. But unless you drive out to (or live in) Bastrop or DFW, or you caught them at Texas VegFest, you’ve probably never tried their bread. And that is sad.

It’s delicious. A friend (hi there!) bought some for me because she thought it tasted like what challah sounds like. (She’s never had challah, and I’m on a lifetime quest to find a perfect vegan challah). And while it’s not quite challah, it’s the closest thing to rich eggy challah that I’ve had in a long time. It makes delicious sandwhiches and French toast. And inspired by the challah comparison, we ate some of the bread dipped in agave nectar.

Alas, I haven’t had it since. I’m too lazy to drive out to Bastrop very often just for a loaf of bread. Even really great bread. I’m guessing you are, too. Which is why I was very excited to see this cryptic message on Tough Cookie’s Facebook page today:

Howdy Friends! We are now stocking out pretzel bread, pretzels, brats, and other vegan goodies at Producers Market in Cedar Creek. We also have some exciting news about Austin Faves picking up our goodies as well, we will keep you posted! source

“Austin Faves” could mean lots of things. My mind is racing with the possibilities. Wheastville Coop and Whole Foods are both high on the list, since they tend to work with small local businesses. But it could be coffee houses, restaurants, food carts, Rabbit Food Grocery, Greenling, that guy who brings food to my house for no apparent reason (note, that guy might be fictional, but wouldn’t that be awesome?).

So now you know what you’ve been missing, Austinites. And you can wait anxiously with me to see where you’ll be buying your next pretzel dog.


The subject of Sunday brunch usually brings to mind dishes like eggs Benedict, French toast, and cleverly named omelets, none of which are options on a vegan diet, so many of us have become quite accustomed to settling for boring and/or fatty side dishes just to join friends for Sunday mimosas. Luckily, that is not the case at Taverna! Having learned of their $5 bottomless mimosas and bellinis, and remembering past vegan adventures at other Lombardi restaurants, my vegetarian friend Sara and I were excited to catch up over Sunday brunch at Taverna’s Knox-Henderson location in Dallas. Although Sara’s vegetarian diet allowed her to order from the brunch menu, we both ultimately ordered a fantastic butternut squash gnocci dish from Taverna’s regular lunch menu. The Gnocci di Zucca, normally drenched in an Asiago cream sauce with fresh sage, was prepared with a tomato and basil sauce and served with a large focaccia flat bread topped with rosemary and olive oil. We both added a salad of mixed greens that was well worth the additional $2. Sara selected a full bodied chardonnay to accompany her meal, but I decided to stay true to my Sunday ritual and chase my meal with bottomless mimosas!

Check out Taverna’s locations in Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth for weekly specials.