Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants

Twin Cities Vegetarian Restaurants | Kale and Ale

Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

I’ve wanted to write about my favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis, St. Paul and beyond) in one spot for a long time.

Recently, the Eater article “18 Essential Restaurants for Vegetarians in Minneapolis and St. Paul” was published, and featured a spot with steak in the name. Reading the name on a list aimed at vegetarian spots was a disappointment and gave me a long pause, so I decided it is time to finally write my post about my favorite veg-friendly spots. Whether you are visiting from out of town, new to eating a plant-based diet or are looking for somewhere different to eat, think of this as a good starting point.

Below are restaurants I recommend along with a short reason why it’s included. To be on the list, the restaurant need not be plant-based, but must focus on plants, seasonal and local food, and have veggie options very clearly marked. These are restaurants I’ve been to myself that I would recommend, listed in alphabetical order. This post will be updated as I try new spots, as I don’t eat out often so I’m slow to try new restaurants.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Note: I’m professional writer, editor and content creator; if Eater or anyone is looking for a vegetarian to write about hot or new Twin Cities spots or plant-based trends, contact me for writing opportunities at Valerie@KaleAndAle.com.

Agra CultureThis fast-casual restaurant features healthy, simple food where meals are built a la cart and protein can be substituted.

The Bad WaitressThe menu at the two locations varies slightly, but both have a good variety of solid diner food that can be made vegetarian or vegan and is clearly marked.

The Depot TavernA solid choice if you are downtown or before a show at First Avenue, you will find classics like burgers and sandwiches with fries, tots or salad, that will keep you full through the encore. Tip: You can request half fries and half tots as your side, and the veg BLT is very filling.

French Meadow CafeIt focuses on special diets and local, fresh and organic food. I have been here for dinner, and I know breakfast and the airport location are both very popular options.

Hard Times CafeThis might be my favorite veggie restaurant, everything I’ve had is good and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is very no frills (I don’t think they have a website and only accept cash, how punk of them!) It’s just greasy spoon food, my favorite kind. What’s good? Everything I’ve had!

The Herbivorous ButcherNot a restaurant, this vegan butcher offers meat-free meats and cheese to go, and features sandwiches, soups and a nice selection of shelf-based treats. Read my recipe for Herbivorous Butcher pulled pork stuffed avocado.

Hola ArepaFresh, Latin food found in Minneapolis. Simple dishes that are clearly marked what are or can be made vegetarian or vegan.

J. Selby’sThey make the food meat-eaters crave, but are all plant-based. Popular items include are soyclones and cauliflower “buffalo” wings (a dish I can’t stop thinking about).

Milkjam Creamery: An ice cream shop with unique flavors where the owners are lactose intolerant, so there are always a handful of dairy-free options. Tip: Each scoop is very filling.

Pizza LuceService salads, sandwiches and pizzas, where many can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. It has unique combos, a seasonal menu and a solid brunch. It took me about five visits before I even had a pizza because the salads and sandwiches are so good.

Pizza NeaNeapolitan pizza with lots of ingredients, including many veggie meat options from Herbivorous Butcher, and vegan cheese so everyone can have what they want.

ReverieFlavorful dishes line the menu where ingredients are prepared in-house daily. They can run out of popular dishes, so it’s a reason to return. Read my review of Reverie Cafe + Bar dinner and breakfast.

Seward CafeVery no-frills cafe with flavorful food, a classic spot.

Spoonriver: Higher-end vegetarian restaurant serving contemporary food in a nice setting.

Triple Rock Social ClubVery veg friendly to grab a bite of classic bar food before a show or when you are out and about in the neighborhood. I have heard great things about breakfast but haven’t had it.

World Street KitchenA food truck and restaurant that focuses on world food, it features fresh flavors and veggie options.

What restaurant would you recommend I eat at and add to this list? Leave a note in the comments below.

Restaurant review: Reverie Cafe + Bar, Minneapolis

Reverie menu | Kale and Ale

Reverie counter and menu

I recently visited Reverie Cafe + Bar in Minneapolis,  a casual all-day café with a coffee shop vibe. It’s an all-vegan establishment except for milk for coffee, and the newest kid on the block for veg food, located at the intersection of Franklin and Nicollet. The cafe opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 on weekends, closing when the show that night is over, 1 a.m. at the latest.

While the menu isn’t large, it’s flavorful and touches the basics. The menu evolves, focusing on flavorful and filling soups, salads, sandwiches and appetizers.

Reverie Jackfruit Cubano | Kale and Ale

Reverie Jackfruit Cubano

I was excited to try the jackfruit Cuban, which was very good, but Aaron’s seitan BBQ had a nice zingy kick that made me slightly question my meal choice, but neither would steer you wrong. The fact that the menu is changing and expanding is great, as it’s a reason to go back and try more. And the local beer options are plentiful, so it was great picking new beers to wash down the delicious food.

Fellow blogger and vegan Laura at 1 Girl 2 Cities recently posted a dessert from there that looked a-mazing!

Reverie has #vegan chocolate peanut butter truffles OMG

A post shared by Laura VZ (@1girl2cities) on

 

If you have been to Reverie, please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to know what you got and thought. I can’t wait to go back!

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocado

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and AleThis weekend I made pulled pork stuffed avocados, and they were a tasty, vegan and gluten free success. Yes, you read that right. That’s because my pulled pork is made of jackfruit, a popular food that had The Guardian asking last year if it’s the next big food craze, and includes a recipe on how to prepare it.

Pulled Pork from Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and AleJackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, native to South Asia and is a popular food in tropical regions around the world. Often sold in the U.S. in cans at Asian markeets, it is becoming a popular substitution for meats. My pulled pork (with gluten-free chipotle sauce) came from the first vegan butcher in the U.S., Minneapolis’ own Herbivorous Butcher. If you haven’t been and you are in the area, GO! If you aren’t in the area, COME VISIT! If neither of those is possible, you could substitute with real pork (if you eat pork), this jackfruit recipe, this seitan reipce, this stewed carrots recipe or this eggplant recipe.

OK, so now we know what jackfruit is and have a pulled whatever planned. This recipe works because there aren’t many ingredients, it’s quick to assemble (perfect for a weeknight), has fresh flavor and feels more difficult/fancy than it is.

Sauteed avocado | Kale and Ale
Seriously, the flavor is popping, thanks to unexpected surprises like giving avocado a saute in coconut oil to enhance the buttery flavor and a crisp texture, and a tangy vinaigrette to balance the smoothness of the pork and avocado. This recipe really involves heating things through and blending the vinaigrette, and then stacking for a flavor explosion.

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and Ale
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados
Print Recipe
This meal is quick to pull together on a busy night and features bursts of flavor.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and Ale
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados
Print Recipe
This meal is quick to pull together on a busy night and features bursts of flavor.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Pulled Pork Avocado
Cilantro Vinigrette
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Use a cast-iron skillet if you have it, it will help the avocado to get the best crust.
  2. Season the avocado to taste. Put it into the heated skillet, browning a few minutes per side. When done, set it on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  3. Turn the heat to low. Saute the onions until translucent, about three minutes.
  4. Add the pork to the pan and heat through. Set aside.
  5. For the vinaigrette, place all items in a blender and blend until smooth.
  6. Place two avocado slices on a plate, add half the pork mix and top with cilantro vinaigrette. You will have leftover vinaigrette, which is delicious with corn chips.
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Cookbook Review: Party Grub, Thug Kitchen (With Recipe)

This post contains affiliate links, where I may get a small portion of sales to fund this blog.

I love Thug Kitchen, a duo of vegans who were writing a blog a few years ago and got a book deal. They use salty language and flavorful recipes to get their message across that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring or only for certain people:

“Everyone deserves to feel a part of our push toward a healthier diet, not just people with disposable incomes who speak a certain way. So we’re here to help.”

Their second book “Party Grub” is, not surprisingly, a slam dunk, just like their first book “Thug Kitchen.” I own both and they are among the first cookbooks I reach for when looking for recipes and cooking inspiration. The first book has solid recipes, and the second book is all about party and social gathering food. While I love light meals and apps, I was surprised to find the book contains a lot of  dishes that are hearty, meal-worthy fare. There are more than 100 dishes for any time of celebration or get-together, and the pages are packed with mouth-watering fare and fun tips.

I’m always looking for a good vegan cheese, and their Queso-ish Dip is a great creamy dip for Mexican flavors, with tomatoes making it seem kind of creamy, flavorful and chunky with a little kick all at once.

Thug Kitchen Queso-ish Dip Recipe | Kale and Ale

Thug Kitchen Queso-ish Dip

When I ate the enchiladas (with the easiest homemade sauce I’ve ever made) I had to remind myself they were vegan, I totally forgot! That’s a ringing endorsement right there, since I love the cheese to hold everything together. And they were so filling, stuffed full with goodness and the flavorful sauce.

The book features chapters on brunch grub, small bites, salads and sides, potluck necessities and desserts and drinks, so the entire range of party food is covered. This book has a variety of flavorful dishes and makes me want to grab a group of friends and get in the kitchen and cook and eat.

Thug Kitchen Loaded Nachos Recipe

Thug Kitchen was kind enough to share a recipe from their new book with Kale and Ale readers! They let us in on how to make loaded creamy nachos with the dip I preview above. Remember, there is salty NSFW language, but it’s worth it to get to the loaded nachos.

Reprinted from “Thug Kitchen Party Grub” by Thug Kitchen. Copyright (c) 2015 by Thug Kitchen. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.


Thug Kitchen Nachos Butternut Squash Queso
Loaded Nachos
Print Recipe
OK, this is less of a recipe and more of a recommendation for you to get your shit together and make some fucking nachos. A plate of these gorgeous motherfuckers just screams party so much that it was almost our cover shot. We give you an idea below on how to pile your shit correctly, but take the damn queso and run with it. #nachobusiness
Servings
4 to 6 people
Servings
4 to 6 people
Thug Kitchen Nachos Butternut Squash Queso
Loaded Nachos
Print Recipe
OK, this is less of a recipe and more of a recommendation for you to get your shit together and make some fucking nachos. A plate of these gorgeous motherfuckers just screams party so much that it was almost our cover shot. We give you an idea below on how to pile your shit correctly, but take the damn queso and run with it. #nachobusiness
Servings
4 to 6 people
Servings
4 to 6 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. You know how nachos work, so you can pile this shit on however you like and leave off or add whatever the fuck you want. We like to put the warm chips out in a thin layer on a tray or giant plate. A huge pile of chips where you end up with a shit-ton of dry chips at the bottom is a fucking bummer. Thin layer is the way to go.
  2. Scatter the black beans and cabbage over that, then drizzle the queso all over the chips. Glob on nice spoonfuls of guacamole and salsa all over the platter then sprinkle with the jalapeno and cilantro. Drizzle over some hot sauce if you roll like that.
  3. Serve that shit right up to the happy crowd.
Recipe Notes

* Warming not required, but this shows commitment to the nacho cause. Just throw the chips in a microwave for a few seconds, or cover and put in a 250°F oven for 10 minutes.

** Or a 15-ounce can of beans, rinsed and drained.

*** The Mid-Summer Salsa from our first book would be dope here.

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Mint chocolate cocoa and tropical Eco Lips balm

I received four complimentary samples of Eco Lips balm to review for my blog. I was already a fan of the company and, as always, opinions are my own. Contains affiliate link.

Hot cocoa Eco Lips Kale and AleI’m a dry person. When we are talking wine or humor, it’s enjoyable. When we mean my skin and lips in a Minnesota winter, it’s anything but enjoyable. And with the high this week hovering around zero degrees, having chapped skin is a real concern.

As I get older and have moved back to a climate lower in humidity, I’m spending more time, resources and thought into my skincare routine. This includes avoiding dry lips.

I’m always hesitant of new lotions and balms, as many dry out my already cracked skin. I need something super hydrating yet not seeming too medical. I’m becoming more mindful of what I’m using, and being natural is important to me. Eco Lips fills all these needs, and then some.

Eco Lips Kale and AleThe company is based in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I had the opportunity to stop in and talk with them a few years ago, and I love that what drives and motivates the company is their passion for good quality products. According to its website, Eco Lips has been first to market with several innovative organic lip care products and packages. It doesn’t test its products on animals and offers clearly marked vegan lip balms. A fun feature is that anyone can create his or her own lip balm at My Eco Lips.

The vegan lip balms go on smooth and stay put for a while, which is great because I always want to feel balm on my lips. The flavors are fun, consisting of lemon-lime, superfruit, mint and unscented. All flavors taste and smell real, like the flavorings and ingredients are real, taking me to a warmer climate (until I bundle up to step outside). I’m really happy with the products, their commitment to a quality item and supporting a hometown company. Purchase Eco Lips.

To compliment the tropical flavors of the balm while warming up in the winter, a great mint hot chocolate pairs well to stay warm but drift away to a warmer place.Hot cocoa ingredients Kale and Ale

Mint chocolate cocoa
Print Recipe
The addition to mint (real or in schnapps form) is a nod to a warmer location while warming up in the cold winter months.
Servings
1 person
Servings
1 person
Mint chocolate cocoa
Print Recipe
The addition to mint (real or in schnapps form) is a nod to a warmer location while warming up in the cold winter months.
Servings
1 person
Servings
1 person
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar I used a sugar substitute to save calories, amount to sub will be listed on package
  • pinch Salt
  • 6 leaves mint torn in half or bruised
  • 1 cup milk I used coconut (which makes it vegan), use any style you prefer
Optional
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except milk (and any optional items) into a sauce pan and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to make sure there are no clumps.
  2. Heat over medium, stirring, until hot.
  3. Take out mint leaves. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and add any optional ingredients, if using.
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