Think Outside the Veggie Burger 

It's easy to go meatless in SLC

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If you’re stuck in the ’90s, thinking that vegetarian food is nothing more than tofu and salads, you are so wrong—especially in Salt Lake City. We’ve got a surprising variety of vegetarian/vegan restaurants serving up mind-changing fare, and scores of “regular” restaurants dishing up superlative vegan/vegetarian options. Whether you’re dabbling in meat-free cuisine or are just plain hungry, these eateries have what it takes to delight your palate.

Buds
Irresistible hearty sandwiches make up the bulk of the menu here, along with meal-worthy salads. Be sure to try the pesto sub: soy “chicken,” creamy pesto and a drizzle of balsamic on a toasted sourdough hoagie; it’ll keep you coming back for more. Buds is fast and inexpensive, and makes an ideal lunch spot. 509 E. 300 South, 801-521-4522, BudsSLC.com

Tin Angel Cafe
This funky, cheerful restaurant serves elegant small plates, and has a soft spot for local vegetables. Try the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas: paprika, cumin and turmeric mingling with roasted cauliflower and tender chickpeas, served with bits of toasted ciabatta that are perfect for soaking up the savory sauce. 365 E. 400 South, 801-328-4155, TheTinAngel.com


Este Pizza
Thanks to Este, vegans don’t have to feel left out when the gang decides to go out for a pie. Beyond its crowd-pleasing New York-style pizza, Este also offers several vegan options—try the vegan white pizza, with melty vegan cheese, olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano, red onions and tomatoes, or maybe the stromboli: pizza dough baked around three ingredients of your choice—maybe vegan cheese, meatless meatballs, oregano and fresh garlic? You’ll thank us later. 156 E. 200 South, 801-363-2366; 2148 S. 900 East, 801-485-3699, EstePizzaCo.com

Zest Kitchen & Bar
Specializing in vegetarian fare along with innovative hand-crafted cocktails, Zest is one of Salt Lake City’s most distinctive bars. And don’t forget about dessert. The chocolate beet cake is a dense, moist chocolate cake covered with oh-so-rich chocolate-avocado mousse. It’s a vegan revelation—it’s way healthier than it tastes, and each bite brings you a little closer to heaven. 275 S. 200 West, 801-433-0589, ZestSLC.com

Red Iguana
One of Salt Lake City’s most famous restaurants offers mouth-watering vegetarian options, marked on the menu by a little green leaf. Everything is delicious, but we’re especially fond of the flavorful enmoladas: tasty corn tortillas folded into triangles, stuffed with refried beans, smothered with mole negro and topped with cotija cheese and tart pickled red onions. 736 W. North Temple, 801-322-1489; 866 W. South Temple, 801-214-6050, City Creek Center Food Court, 28 S. State, 801-214-6350, RedIguana.com

Saffron Valley
Awesome vegetable dishes are expected at Indian restaurants, and Saffron Valley does not disappoint. Try the lunch buffet to sample delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes. If you’re ordering off the menu, make sure to get the dosas—lentil and rice crepes stuffed with flavorful, savory potatoes and veggies, served with coconut and tomato chutneys. There are two Saffron locations to choose from, so great Indian food is never more than 20 minutes away. 1098 W. South Jordan Parkway, South Jordan, 801-438-4823; 26 E St., 801-203-3325, SaffronValley.com

Sage’s Cafe & the Jade Room
Salt Lake City’s oldest vegan restaurant relocated in 2013 to a mid-century Chinese restaurant. The new Sage’s still offers old favorites like brunch and Tuesday pizza night, but the new location is also a little bit funkier, with more parking, a wok station and the swanky Jade Room in the back serving cocktails. 234 W. 900 South, SagesCafe.com

Frisch Compassionate Eatery
A visit to Frisch will sate your vegan cravings, healthy or naughty. With options ranging from the colorful kale salad to creamy macaroni & cheese, you can’t go wrong. Cakewalk Baking Company sells its vegan pastries and infamous Dillos (vegan twinkies) in-house, so you can sample the bright vegan flavors and pick up some killer pastries to go. 779 S. 500 East, 801-532-2216, FrischEats.com

Oasis Cafe
One of the first veg-friendly spots in the city, Oasis Cafe’s menu is clearly marked with dishes that are vegetarian or can be made vegan. The Oasis Reuben is made with a roasted portobello mushroom and is loaded with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese; it’s so rich, it’s almost sinful. Try it with the vegan roasted tomato & fennel soup, and you’ll have an extremely satisfying lunch—and you can likely skip dinner! 151 S. 500 East, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com


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