Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Meatless Monday with Mindy #27 Going Meatless at Restaurants

We hosted our daughters first baby shower at our house this weekend, and what fun it was to decorate with all things pink and tiny. As Kidlet #1 is eating plant strong as well these days (a vegetarian, who is lactose intolerant), I made sure to fill the table with foods she didn't have to wonder about what was in them. She could pick what she wanted and eat without hesitation. Even the cupcakes from Pure DeLite in Strongsville were vegan, and oh so good.

I was on my feet for several days before the shower, shopping for decorations, foods and baby items, and although I enjoyed every single minute, it wiped me out. Today I crashed. I lazed around on the couch most of the day and when it was time for supper, I just wasn't up to standing more or cooking and taking pictures (sorry).

What I did do was order from our favorite Mexican restaurant in town called Fiesta Jalapeños and ran out to pick it up. 

It is often difficult to find vegetarian fare at restaurants, let alone vegan, but with some creative ordering I can usually find something to eat. I eat plant strong here at home (similar to vegan), but when I'm out I try not to make a fuss and just go vegetarian. I have to admit, I don't ask what type of broth they use (meat vs vegetable) or if they use butter, etc. When I think about it, I ask them not to add cheese if it's an obvious thing. But, I'm not that strict and am certainly not standing up for a cause, I am just trying to make the best and healthiest choices available to me. A restaurant dinner is a treat, and I treat it as such. Just like eating a chocolate cake, I don't do it every day, every meal, but once in awhile, I splurge.

So tonight I ordered Fiesta Jalapeños vegetarian spinach enchiladas which are topped with chile con queso, rice and refried beans. I typically ask them to add mushrooms but just recently they started offering an addition of grilled vegetables (zucchini, squash, mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers)  for just $2.00 more, so that is what I ordered tonight and asked them to put them inside the enchiladas. 

Here are some other ways to make healthier choices when going out to eat. If you want to go the extra mile, suggestions in italics are made. Thanks to the Vegan Backpacker for these ideas!

Vegetable curry, samosas, pakoras, dhal and papadums
Specify no butter or ghee (traditional Indian clarified butter)
Vegetable sushi rolls (cucumber, avocado, tofu, etc.), inari, wakame salad, miso soup (without bonito fish flakes), vegetable tempura, and edamame
Specify no fish sauce, 
roe (fish eggs), and no egg in tempura batter
Pad Thai without egg and shrimp, coconut curry, rice wraps, and sticky rice with mango
Specify no fish or oyster sauce
Stir fried vegetables, noodle dishes, fried tofu, and vegetable soups
Specify no meat or fish in the sauces and stock
Pasta with tomato sauce or pizza without cheese
Specify no egg in the pasta

Middle Eastern
Falafel, couscous, and tabbouleh salad
Specify no dairy or yogurt sauce
Injera bread with bean and vegetable toppings
Specify no meat or egg
Bean burritos, fajitas, and corn chips & salsa
Specify no cheese, beans cooked with meat, guacamole made with sour cream, or tortillas made with animal products
Some big food chains offer options for eating Meatless too.  For example; 
* "Arby's offers a baked potato and a garden salad or side salad with Italian dressing. Finish it all off with an apple or cherry turnover.
A delicious vegetarian Boca burger and a fresh garden salad are your options at Bennigan's as well as Burger KingBurger King's BK Veggie™—a flame-broiled vegetarian burger (contains dairy products ask for no sauce or just ketchup or mustard)—has enjoyed continued success. Every time a customer sees "BK Veggie™," it is a reminder that "having it your way" doesn't have to mean taking a bite out of Bessie. 
At Chili's, you can have the tostada chips and salsa as appetizers, followed by the veggie quesadillas—replacing the cheese and sour cream with extra vegetables—or the Cadillac Fajitas without the meat.
Chipotle offers a vegetarian fajita burrito, but be sure to order it with black beans—the pinto beans are cooked with bacon
Denny's—known for its traditional breakfasts, lunches, and dinners—has some vegan options. Denny's vegan foods include oatmeal, English muffins, bagels, grits, applesauce, fresh fruit, vegetable plates, seasoned French fries, baked potatoes with several vegetable toppings, garden salads with light Italian or oil-and-vinegar dressing, and sandwiches that can be made with several vegetable options. It also serves a vegetarian burger.
Hard Rock Cafe offers a vegetarian burger, a veggie sandwich, and salads
The pizza sauce and dough at Little Caesars, and Papa John's are vegan, while Pizza Hut uses vegan sauce, and its Thin 'n Crispy and dessert crusts are vegan. By omitting the cheese and choosing your favorite vegetable toppings, you can easily make a delicious vegan pizza.
Starbucks has a sesame noodles dish, made with noodles, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, snap peas, tofu, pickled cucumbers, and sesame peanuts. The dish comes with a bar of Starbucks dark chocolate for dessert.
Subway's Veggie Delite—on Italian bread and without cheese and mayo—is delish! Want to spice things up a bit? After visiting Subway, visit the nearest grocery store, purchase some fake lunch meats, and load up your sub
Head to Wendy's for a plain baked potato, the Deluxe Garden Salad with red Italian dressing and no cheese, or French fries. You can also ask for a veggie sandwich, which includes everything that would normally be on the burger except the meat—there's even a button for it on the cash register." * Source from Eating Vegan at Fast Food Restaurants
I've recently been eating Panera's pick 2 and order the vegetarian Tomato soup and the BBQ Chopped Chicken salad when I'm out and about.  I ask them for no chicken and extra beans and corn on the salad and then I don't eat the croutons which have cheese baked into them. It's not only good, but filling too. 

Hopefully I've passed along some information to help you make smarter choices for you Meatless Monday's as well as any other day you choose to go meatless.

Where do you find Meatless options?

I'll be posting over at The Recipe Renovator and sharing these ideas with other Meatless Bloggers on the Meatless Monday blog hop

Official Meatless Monday Blogger 

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Good ... Thursday! The baby shower is/was BEAUTIFUL! And, all the foods were very tasty :)
I have never been to an ethiopian restaurant, but that sounds yummy - I want to try now!
I heard a rumor (haven't checked it out yet) that Chipolte's pinto beans will now be veggie friendly. That'd be great!
I never knew Starbucks had real food? Interesting. Not sure if I'm willing to put up with the coffee smell to try it though.

At big chains, I think you listed any options that I know about. I have found that some restaurants have chefs that enjoy being presented with the challenge to cook a veggie meal when you ask. Others, you just get pasta and marinara sauce.

Monday... I made a soup with Butternut squash, Sweet and white potato and apple. It was pretty good and very simple (crock pots! I love them!)
However, my star recipe I made last night: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo. YUM! It even got a thumbs up from the hubby, who hasn't been overly impressed with spaghetti squash as of yet. Here's the link:
My changes, because I almost always make them... :
I used a whole can of beans. Who only wants to use half? When it comes to beans and veggies, I say the more the merrier!
I used a rounded measure of nutmeg
The others not so mentionable, I used pure olive oil (not spray), almond milk instead of soy, 2 cloves of garlic minced instead of the pre-chopped stuff, and white flour instead of wheat.
Wow! It now feels like I re-wrote the recipe, but I didn't! It took some time to make, but was very simple, and again, quite yummy!