I won’t lie to you — I was worried about how giving up meat and cutting down on dairy would affect my experiences when I go out to eat.
More specifically, I was worried that there wouldn’t be much for me to choose from.
Going out for food is something I do quite a lot and catching up with friends or family over a good meal is one of life’s joys, so I was never going to stop doing it; I just need to adapt.
It’s been an interesting eye-opener, to say the least.
Some restaurants have plenty of interesting vegetarian options. A few Turkish restaurants have recently opened in Kent and they have a whole veggie section on the menu, so I love going there because I can choose something different every time. (My favourite dish is the vegetarian dolma, which is peppers, aubergines and vine leaves stuffed with tomatoes and rice. So good.)
Others leave a lot to be desired. We’re often being told that vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, which is wonderful, but restaurant menus don’t always reflect this. (I’m a pescatarian, so I could choose fish-based meals if I wanted to, but I would rather order vegetarian options to show a demand for it.)
Today I’m sharing three vegetarian meals I’ve had whilst out and about.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
I’m lucky that my hometown has its own vegetarian cafe and it was about time I investigated, so Mumma Toasty and I paid them a visit one Saturday lunchtime when we needed to grab some food.
It was chilly outside so I went for the roasted cauliflower soup, one of their vegan dishes. Creamy, filling, and full of flavour, it was served with two slices of proper chunky wholemeal bread and is one of the best lunches I’ve had. You can’t beat a good soup on a cold winter day.
Wild Mushroom Lasagne
Some restaurants have a limited range of vegetarian options but I can almost forgive them (almost!) when they think outside the box.
(On that note, may I say how bored I am of seeing burgers with portobello mushrooms and halloumi on vegetarian menus? They’re everywhere at the moment.)
Earlier this week we stopped at a country pub and instead of the usual vegetable lasagne, which I love but don’t want to eat constantly, there was a wild mushroom version on the menu. It was a little bit oily for my liking, but the homemade pesto packed a punch and there were tonnes of mushrooms sandwiched between the layers of pasta. Not bad at all!
Winter Vegetable Crumble
Unfortunately, there are still several restaurants where vegetarian options are few and far in between. Most of them contain vast amounts of cheese, which I try and stay away from.
I had this winter vegetable crumble for dinner one evening (which is why the picture quality is shocking) and it was… okay. The veggies themselves were beautifully roasted and the red cabbage on the side was delicious, but the crumble topping was dry and made the honey and mustard sauce quite claggy, so I didn’t finish it.
The best thing about that meal by far was the homemade bread with olive oil and basalmic vinegar dips. Bread will never let me down!
What have your experiences with vegetarian meals out been like? Are there any places you’d recommend (or recommend that I avoid)? Let me know in the comments!
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.