Wining & Dining
Vegan Eats of SWLA
10/2/2017 10:51:39 PM

Veganism isn’t a new concept, but it’s receiving a lot more attention lately. It seems you can’t dine, research a recipe, turn on a cooking show, or even open your favorite social media app without hearing or reading the term "vegan”.

So what does it mean to be vegan? Veganism is a way of eating and living that excludes the exploitation of and cruelty to animals as much as possible. A dietary vegan refrains from consuming any animal products like meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy. The diet is popular both for its ethical implications, as well as its health benefits. A well-planned vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain kinds of cancer. 

The health benefits of the diet have made it the latest rage in Hollywood and sports, but veganism isn’t only for supermodels, celebities, and professional athletes anymore. With local restaurants working to fill every dietary niche possible, it’s becoming easier than ever to eat a vegan or vegetable based diet in Southwest Louisiana. Here are a few local vegan favorites to make your taste buds happy and keep your body healthy. 

Many people assume that eating vegan means you have to give up favorite food staples like sushi, but Let the Good Nosh Roll has you covered. Let The Good Nosh Roll hand rolls their vegan/paleo-friendly rice-less nori rolls in Lake Charles every Tuesday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at The Cash and Carry Farmers Market. Substituting organic cauliflower for rice, their OG Nosh Roll also includes cashews, avocado, cucumbers, pickled red onions, and sprouts. With prices ranging from $10-$12, Good Nosh Roll is a quick and easy dinner, or vegan lunchbox option. 

Craving a good old fashioned American hot dog, but don’t want the meat? Head to Botsky’s in Lake Charles. Botsky’s wheat protein "sausage” dog, made with apples, sage, Yukon Gold potatoes and a hint of hickory smoke might make you forget that you’re not eating meat at all. For extra veggie value, pair it with one of their incredible cabbage wraps instead of a bun, and load it down with fruit and veggie toppings like pineapple, onion and jalapeno. Don’t forget a side of sweet potato fries dipped in fresh sugar cane syrup. 

We all complained when our parents tried to get us to eat our vegetables. Salads have long been regarded as some of the most boring items on any menu, but Garden Path Groceries is changing that perception with fresh creative ingredient combinations in their weekly Buddha Bowls. You can find them Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the courtyard at The Historic Calcasieu Marine Bank in downtown Lake Charles. The Buddha Bowl changes from week to week, so you never get the same one twice, and each weekly menu typically features two bowls with staples like roasted sweet potatoes or eggplant, fresh greens and peppers, and quinoa. Dine al-fresco in the beautiful courtyard or, if the weather is inclement, inside the historic rotunda of the bank. Short on time? You can place a to-go order over the phone.

When you think of food that goes with beer, the last thing that comes to mind is plant based foods, but one of the largest and tastiest vegan menus in Southwest Louisiana belongs to a tiny silver trailer of a food truck called The Velvet Pig that’s typically found outside Crying Eagle Brewing. The Velvet Pig serves deliciousness like black bean egg rolls, vegan white lasagna, veggie burgers, vegetable-based Thai inspired dishes and sandwiches that pair well with Crying Eagle’s growing tap list. Interested in learning how to make your own amazing dishes? The Velvet Pig offers frequent cooking classes at Walnut Grove with focuses on international cuisines like French and Thai. You can also find them on Tuesdays at The Cash and Carry Farmers Market, 4:00-6:00 p.m. 

This list is by no means comprehensive. Every day more and more local restaurants and eateries are catching on to the growing vegan trend and adding delectable foods to this list. The days of resorting to side salads and steamed vegetables are over. Going meatless in Southwest Louisiana never tasted so good.
Posted by: John O'Donnell | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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