Austin may be known as the BBQ capital of Texas, but it’s certainly no stranger to the vegan and vegetarian food craze. The talented culinary creators of Austin take their vegan eats very seriously, and dish out nothing but the best when it comes to meatless fare. Even if you’re not a full-blown vegetarian, you’ll be blown away by the fantastically fresh flavors that these vegetarian eateries are whipping up! So from seitan hot dogs and vegan pizzas to dairy-free ice cream and veggie burgers, here’s a rundown of where to find the tastiest vegan and vegetarian eats in Austin!
Bouldin Creek Cafe
Recognizable by the unique wall murals surrounding its exterior, Bouldin Creek Cafe is a casual south Austin treasure known for its spacious dog-friendly patio, unique Austin digs and massive vegan and vegetarian food menu. They’ve also got a brag-worthy selection of coffees and beverages, including 25 different types of tea, beer and wine, locally roasted fair-trade coffee and something amazing called The Leveler, which is made with Guinness, espresso and chocolate. Locals flock to Bouldin for breakfast and lunch to nosh on veggie-forward dishes made from scratch with fancy sauces like basil aioli and pecan chipotle pesto. Bouldin Creek also frequently plays host to some of Austin’s hottest pop-up shops and community events that are open to the public. For breakfast, try the homemade Tofu Tacos or the Potato and Leaks Tofu Scramble (a local favorite). The breakfast and brunch line at Bouldin can get pretty long, so Yelpers recommend making a reservation in advance if you want to skip the wait.
Located in north central Austin, Citizen Eatery is a trendy plant-based eatery that prides itself on serving super fresh, earth-conscious, 100% meatless eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re craving a delicious plant-forward beverage, try something off Citizen Eatery’s craft cocktail menu, like the Lavender Underground with High Texas Gin, house lavender, rosemary and apple cider shrub or the Green Light with Monopolowa vodka and house-juiced cucumber. Folks love that you can order something scrumptious off the breakfast and brunch menu any time of day, whether you’re looking for something indulgent like vegan Flapjacks or something light like fresh granola and fruit. But if you want to see what all the fuss is really about, order one of Citizen Eatery’s meat free gourmet burgers like the curry-infused Assam Burger with rice, chickpea, potato, tomato and vegan aioli or the zesty Smoked Green Chile Burger made with a house-smoked hatch green chile patty, white beans, mushrooms, kale, herbs and spices. It’s also noteworthy that many of the dishes at Citizen Eatery come with gluten free options, including the burgers which can be substituted for a gluten free bun. Even meat-eaters will agree that Citizen Eatery has some fantastic flavors that make it hard to believe you’re eating vegan!
Parked outside Austin’s most popular bars, Arlo’s is an award-winning vegan food-truck that dishes out 100% plant-based bistro-style cuisine for the late-night eaters and hungry explorers of downtown. The binge-worthy grub at Arlo’s has been lovingly described as fresh, vegan fast food served with convenience – meaning it’s right outside the bar and there for you when you’re buzzed and craving some carbs! This roaming gourmet eatery can be found outside Spider House Cafe, Cheer Up Charlies and The Grackle whipping up some of Austin’s best vegan burgers and vegetarian comfort foods like Street Tacos with house-made burger crumbles, grilled pico de gallo and chipotle sauce and Chik’n Tacos with house-made seasoned Seitan. Try one of Arlo’s awesome meatless burgers like the BBQ Burger made with a soy and gluten free patty or the local favorite: The Bac’n Cheeze Burger, a vegan masterpiece with house-made seitan bac’n and melted “cheeze”. Some omnivores might even say this burger beats out many of its beefy rivals!
For all the pizza lovers of Austin who can’t – or won’t – eat meat – Lil Nonna’s serves up a superior vegetarian alternative to the beloved classic dish. Meat eaters and veggievores alike say that the pizzas at Lil Nonna’s put most traditional pizzas to shame, with inventive toppings, fresh-made crusts and larger-than-life portions. You can find this hidden gem parked outside The Buzzmill, where you can grab a locally roasted coffee, craft beer or house-made infused liquor. To get your tastebuds warmed up for a transcendent pizza experience, order the Crispy Sicilian Brussel Sprout appetizer with balsamic, shallots, capers and garlic. Then take your pick from a mouthwatering selection of 14″ NY style vegetarian pies and 10″ gluten free pies. For the pineapple pizza lovers, the Piña Jalapaño comes loaded with pickled jalapeños, roasted garlic and plenty of pineapple. And The Supreme is basically Lil Nonna’s version of the omnivore pizza with smoky tempeh, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives and shallots. The thick and square cut Sicilian Slice is a local favorite, with Italian San Marzano tomato sauce and 3-cheese blend. And every pizza can be made dairy-free by substituting the cheese blend for Lil Nonna’s house-made vegan mozzarella, which some would argue is even better than its cheesy counterpart.
One of Austin’s most buzz-worthy brunch spots, Counter Culture is a master of unique vegan-friendly comfort foods. This ultra fresh cafe got its humble beginnings as a food trailer focused on serving house-made, locally sourced cuisine that carnivores and vegetarians alike could enjoy. Now Counter Culture is approaching its 10-year anniversary, and they never stop working to build-on and improve their responsibly sourced menu. Every day there’s a delicious new food special, which usually includes a craft pizza such as the Asian BBQ Pizza with asian bbq sauce, local spinach, bell pepper pineapple and onion. Local vegan foodies can’t get enough of Counter Culture’s weekend brunch menu, which is brimming with hearty stick-to-your-ribs plates such as County Biscuit Bowls with tofu scramble, Eastside Quesadillas with cashew cheeze and seitan, and the towering Pancake Platter served with tofu rancheros and a side of organic maple syrup. If you’re hungry for something more, sink your teeth into one of Counter Culture’s sandwiches like the Beet Mushroom Walnut Burger or the Tempeh Reuben. Or go all out and order one of the customer favorites like the savory Lentil Loaf topped with house-made ketchup or the Gluten Free Mac & Cheeze, which is baked with broccoli in a cashew cheeze sauce and topped with gluten free bread crumbs. It’s like your favorite childhood meal but with some majorly tasty upgrades.
Revolution Vegan Kitchen
Parked in the quaint Midway food park in south Austin, Revolution Vegan Kitchen is a tiny vegan food trailer that serves a variety of meatless, gluten free and vegetarian snack foods. This family and dog friendly food park is a great place to have an outdoor picnic and nosh on a veritable vegan buffet of tacos, hot wings, burgers and more! Revolution Vegan Kitchen markets itself as a food trailer with “all the flavor, minus the cruelty.” And the vegan chefs at Revolution are experts at creating a menu that is fresh, responsibly made, sustainable and delicious af! Some favorite menu picks include the Fried Notzarella Sticks, the dairy free Mac N Cheeze and the meatless Buffalo Chick’n Wrap. Try one of Revolution Vegan Kitchen’s creative burgers like the Vaquero made with a wheat protein patty, bbq sauce, cheddar cheeze and onion rings or the Texan with seitan bacon, jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and cilantro. But where this veggie-focused food trailer really stands out is their homemade vegetarian tacos, made with fresh made brown rice tortillas zesty spices. The gluten free Barbacoa taco has jack fruit, chipotle, onions and cilantro and the customer favorite Al Pastor taco has jackfruit, pineapple, chipotle, cilantro and pickled onion.
The Vegan Nom
Known as Texas’s first all-vegan taco truck, The Vegan Nom is dedicated to serving delicious, plant-based tacos that improve animal welfare and health. This eco-friendly taco truck can be found parked on popular east Cesar Chavez making some of the freshest and most inventive vegan Tex mex in town! Everything on the menu is cooked using all natural grape seed oil, and just about everything on the menu – except the flour tortillas, breaded fish and chorizo – is gluten free. Start off with a spicy bowl of Jalapeño Mac n’ Cheese, which is made with gluten free noodles, or dip your tortilla chips into a velvety bowl of “liquid gold” known as the Rockin Vegan Queso. Then choose from a teasing selection of Classic Tacos like the Nueva Onda with caramelized sweet potato hash brown, organic tofu scramble and avocado or the Gracias Madre with housemade vegan chorizo, organic tofu scramble and vegan pepper jack cheese. And if you really wanna wow your stomach, try one of The Vegan Nom’s Signature Tacos which include the Grilled Avocado Reale with grilled avocados, caramelized onion, kale, pepper jack cheese, black beans, salsa verde and cilantro-lime crema and El Chicharron, a vegan, cruelty-free take on our favorite deep fried snack made with salsa picosa soy curl chicharrones and caramelized onions. While some people like to take a walk on the wild side when it comes to their tacos, others prefer to stick to the basics. Which is why The Vegan Nom also serves their more traditional breakfast tacos all day long, from Potato and Organic Tofu Scramble to the Refried Black Bean and Vegan Chorizo. With so many tacos to try, The Vegan Nom deserves multiple visits just so you can sample them all and see which is your fav!
One of Austin’s recent additions to the vegan food scene, Plow Burger is quickly making a name for themselves thanks to their plant-based, guilt-free burgers that feed your belly and your soul! Made with soy and gluten free, non-gmo burger patties from local protein producers Beyond Meat, every bite of these juicy burgers is not only spectacular but also helps to reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce water usage, protect our environment and improve animal and human welfare alike! It’s hard to believe they can fit all that philanthropy into one Burger, but somehow they manage and it’s delicious! The menu at Plow Burger usually includes a rotating burger of the week and vegan shake of the week provided by the small-batch vegan ice cream experts at Sweet Ritual. If you’re an white-bread, American cheese kinda burger lover, then try the Original Plow Burger, which tastes just like a Backyard cookout with a beyond patty, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, red onions and some special Plow sauce. Or add some mesquite flavor to your meal and get the Campfire Burger with fried shoestring onions and zesty barbecue sauce. And the best part is you can skip the line and order straight from your phone and have deliciousness delivered in mere minutes.
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food
Open just one night a week in East Austin, Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food offers a sinfully delicious way to get yer greens. This finger-licking food truck, owned and operated by the incomparable Andrea Dawson, is packed with personality and pizzazz. Mixing Cajun, southern and Mexican flavors, Sassy’s brings something completely new to the vegetarian table. Fill up on the Vegan Pokechop Sandwich made with a special ground mushroom/wheatmeat/soy blend, savory pork chop flavorings, mustard and Vi’s Piccilli Relish or chow down on the popular Chicon Basket with crispy fried seitan tossed in Sassy’s traditional family seasonings and served with Hot Lemon Pepper, Asian Orange or Caribbean Jerk sauce. But perhaps the best part of visiting this quirky kiosk is the chance to chat with Andrea and her super friendly team. You’ll leave Sassy’s with a belly full of vegetarian goodness and a few new friends to boot!