From shiitake mushroom ramen bowls to quinoa taco salads, these vegan dishes are innovative and delicious.
The days of vegans lurking in the shadows of organic health stores are in the past. Veganism has made its way into the mainstream and taken on a life of its own. New vegan restaurants have popped up around Bend and older restaurants have adapted to this trend with dishes much more creative than merely substituting tofu for meat. Whether you prefer shiitake mushroom ramen, collard green wraps or curry basil noodles, Bend has a little something for you.
Ramen 123: #2 Combo Ramen Bowl
Aside from the veggie Top Ramen, vegan ramen is not an easy find. Ramen is traditionally accompanied by pork, or some kind of meat, and an egg—that’s what makes the vegan ramen bowl at 123 Ramen such a treat. Located on 2nd Street in Midtown Bend, 123 Ramen opened almost two years ago and offers a diverse menu for ramen seekers in Bend. The vegan bowl features sake-braised shiitake mushrooms from Top Hat Mushrooms in the Willamette Valley and roasted cauliflower, grown a mere twelve miles away from Bend at Radical Roots Farm. The bowl comes with a house-made side of pickled veggies. Enjoy this steaming meal in the cozy, hip space.
Fix & Repeat: Chickpea and Millennial Toast
Artisanal toast has become a delicious staple of millennial culture, with restaurants popping up around the country devoted to the trend. The Millennial Toast at Fix & Repeat, one of Bend’s new plant-based restaurants, is one restaurant that has jumped on the bandwagon and offered its own take. Unlike many restaurants, Fix & Repeat, located in the Box Factory between downtown and the Old Mill District, does not skimp on the avocado. A hefty portion is topped with a simple pinch of garlic, olive oil, chili flake and sea salt. If you’re looking for a more filling meal, add the chickpea toast to your order. Styled as an open-faced deli sandwich, this toast boasts chickpeas, red peppers, celery, scallions, fennel, parsley, tarragon, dijon and soy-free veganaise all on a bed of arugula and sliced cucumber. Take your pick of bread from Sparrow Bakery’s miche bread or the Little Northern Bakehouse’s gluten-free bread.
Pure Joy Kitchen: Mexican Nacho Plate
Spice up your palate with the Mexican nacho plate at Pure Joy Kitchen. Opened last year, Pure Joy Kitchen has a menu of organic, plant-based foods serving vegan and gluten-free options. Unlike most nacho plates, drenched in pools of cheese, this plate features all vegan ingredients, but is delicious all the same. Sunflower refried “beans,” a meat substitute made from carrots, sun dried tomatoes and coconut sour “cream” sit on a bed of romaine lettuce and organic blue corn chips, topped with Mexican seasoning, guacamole and salsa. After this plate of nachos, you won’t be missing the cheese.
Salud Raw Foods: Island Wrap
Salud Raw Foods has some of the freshest and healthiest options in Bend. You may have a hard time choosing what to order at this raw, plant-based cafe and juice bar. The good news is, no matter what you order, you really can’t go wrong. Try out the island wrap, one of several collard greens wraps, consisting of bell peppers, carrots, red cabbage, mango, mint and cilantro, drizzled over with house-made ginger-cashew pesto and almond-pina drizzle. This surprising flavor combination makes for a fresh, crisp taste and is amazingly hearty. Served with a side of sweet potato chips, this dish is absolutely delectable.
Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats: Curry Basil Noodles
Wild Rose is one of the most popular restaurants in town, and for good reason. Don’t expect to find any pad thai or peanut sauce here; these are strictly Northern Thai meals, all derived from the owner’s family recipes. A popular menu item, the curry basil noodles are easily made vegan upon request. The dish is comprised of delicious wide rice noodles stir fried in a yellow curry seasoning with basil, tomato, onion, carrots, mushrooms and a choice of tofu or extra vegetables. Either choose to keep it mild or amp up the spice level and let this dish’s authentic flavor and the restaurant’s eclectic decorations transport you to the streets of Chiang Mai.
Kebaba: Falafel Sandwich
It is always a gamble ordering falafel. In the hands of a skilled cook, falafel is a revolutionary take on the garbanzo bean, deliciously breaded and crisp packed with flavor. Falafel done wrong, however, is near inedible; it can taste like a crunchy ball of sand that falls apart at the mere touch that no amount of tahini can resurrect. Needless to say, Kebaba, one of the few restaurants that brings traditional Middle Eastern cuisine to Central Oregon, offers a falafel sandwich cooked just right, not too dry or salty, two characteristics that falafel often falls victim to. It is rolled in homemade pita accompanied by a lathering of tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and pickled onion. The sandwich comes with your choice of zataar fries, soup, taboule or Israeli couscous salad.
Bethlyn’s Global Fusion: Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl
A true melting pot for dishes from all different cultures, Bethlyn’s Global Fusion caters to both carnivores and omnivores alike. It is the kind of place a vegan can take their meat-eating family and not hear any complaints. A popular item on the menu, the Thai coconut curry noodle bowl is just one pick out of a handful of vegan options. The dish consists of rice noodles and seasonal vegetables, oftentimes broccoli, carrots and potatoes, doused in creamy coconut curry sauce. An assortment of bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and cilantro come sprinkled on top. With these fresh farm-to-table ingredients, Global Fusion is bound to please the entire family.
Plantd: Buddha Bowl
Plantd is the newest gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian cafe and marketplace in Bend, rooted in the former location of Fearless Bakery on Division Street. Opened by two nutritionists, Plantd offers clean and organic order in and grab-n-go meals. All ingredients are sourced from small and sustainable farms. The Buddha bowl incorporates a wealth of vibrantly-colored vegetables and is high in fiber, nutrient-dense and rich with a variety of minerals and vitamins. The dish has an abundance of seasonal veggies, such as roasted yams, beets and summer squash, housemade chickpeas, tricolor quinoa and Oregon blueberries, topped with sunflower seeds, micro sprouts, lemon parsley and tahini sauce.
Ma’ama Jama’s: Quinoa Taco Salad
Rooted in one of Bend’s new food truck pods the Podski, Ma’ama Jama’s is a plant-based smoothie and snack bar. The truck, now at its first permanent location, offers gluten, corn and soy-free options, as well as paleo-friendly dishes. The quinoa taco salad is a filling option for vegan and gluten-free diners. It includes seasoned quinoa, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, fresh greens, radish, scallions, raw carrot noodles and avocado topped with cilantro, siete grain-free chips and sunflower poblano sauce. Also try one of Ma’ama Jama’s hand-pressed coconut mylk smoothies.
CHOW: Warm Multigrain Salad
Breakfast is perhaps the most difficult meal of the day to eat vegan, with overpriced oatmeal and granola oftentimes being the only options. Nevertheless, CHOW, a popular breakfast destination, caters to vegan and vegetarians and has carefully crafted a menu that appeals to a wide variety of dietary needs. The warm multigrain salad, listed on the lunch menu, makes for a hearty vegan breakfast. It comes with organic farro, quinoa, spinach, black beans, tamari, lemon and garlic, but adding on roasted sweet potatoes and avocado will be well worth your while. Not all of the vegan options are listed on the menu, so make sure to check in with your server to hear all of the options.