Dining out as vegan is easier when you make a plan in advance. You don’t need to be an out-and-out vegan to pick up a few tips on choosing plant-based cuisine when eating out.
Whether cutting out animal products is a dietary requirement for you, whether veganism is a lifestyle choice or whether you just feel you need a break from burgers and animal products, you can eat out with family and friends without feeling like you’re missing out.
As you’re about to find out, if you think that a vegan diet is restrictive and comprises only rice and beans, it simply isn’t the case.
With the following tips, you can still go out on a Friday night or order in your favorite takeaway without renouncing the vegan diet.
Tips for Dining Out as Vegan
Browse the menu in advance
Look at the menu online before you go out. By seeing what’s available in advance, you can determine which options to steer clear of. It will be much easier if you can select three or four options from which to choose when at the venue.
Knowing what’s vegan ahead of time will enable you to enjoy the dining experience more. You will spend less time trying to make a decision on the spot when there will be distractions.
This is often more appropriate for evenings out with friends, but there are numerous other occasions where this could be helpful, such as meat-free breakfasts or vegan afternoon teas.
Of course, this is made easier if ordering in as seeing the menu in advance is a given and, in turn, ordering in has become much easier with the proliferation of food delivery services such as Deliveroo. By downloading apps or going online, you can compare the menus and weigh up the vegan options in advance, ensuring you can stick to your guns without spending hours searching or complicating dining with friends.
Going vegetarian… start veggie
Going vegetarian for the night is a far easier proposition than being a fully-fledged vegan, especially if the restaurant is amenable.
They can often accommodate requests for substitutions such as replacing butter with olive oil. Sometimes, however, when an ingredient is removed, it misses some flavor.
Browse the menu, and see if there’s something that you could request to be added to your dish.
If you’re going without sour cream, for example, you could ask for guacamole as an alternative.
If you’re having to omit cheese, there’s always chopped nuts instead which helps to keep the flavor and texture intact.
Delicious salads and fruity desserts
You can exchange dressings on a salad for the standard vegan vinegar and oil.
It can be a bit plain, however, so you could always ask the restaurant to make some avocado-lime dressing or lemon-tahini dressing.
Each is simple enough to make and, despite the lack of cream, both are deliciously creamy.
Many desserts are rife with dairy products. Instead, browse the menu for fruit options – at least you’ll know that it will fall into your fiery guidelines.
If you feel the fruit you enjoy won’t be in season, you can consider ordering a sorbet. They also tend to be vegan-friendly.
Fortunately, as plant-based diets have become increasingly popular, the majority of eateries have become accustomed to catering for vegans.
Many chefs have even cooked up substitutions and special dinners purely for vegan eaters.
Difference between vegan and vegetarian
It’s a personal choice how to eat but there are labels which clearly define vegan and vegetarian. While both avoid animal products, vegans also avoid eggs, dairy products and processed foods containing these ingredients. An example is gelatin.
The best way to ensure your success dining out as a vegan is to come with a plan. You may want to be sure to eat a little something before you go. In this way, you won’t be famished and fall into temptation.
The next time your friends ask you to go out for dinner or away for the weekend, fear not. You will be prepared.