Take it from a 10-plus year pescitarian, it is not hard to find delicious non-meat meals in New Orleans. On your next visit, ditch the meat-inspired itinerary and take advantage of this city’s burgeoning green scene. Trust us, whether you’re just staying for the weekend or residing permanently, you won’t have any issues finding meat-free fare. So don’t worry about passing on the chicken gumbo and boudin because we’ve rounded up all of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants the Big Easy has to offer.
Breads on Oak
Bakery, Restaurant, American, $$$
Courtesy of Breads on Oak
Vegans rejoice! The folks at Breads on Oak make everything by hand, from scratch. With a mission to make New Orleans the greatest bread city in America (we’re on board), this Uptown bakery uses organic flours, local produce and half the sugar as traditional sweets, so you can enjoy guilt free. With gluten free and vegan options, Breads on Oak is ideal for breakfast or lunch to enjoy fresh breads, sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads, organic tea biscuits, and sweets. Spoiler alert: there’s even a vegan BLT on the menu!
Serving fresh food and good vibes, this mid-city eatery has upped its hours and is now serving clean eating options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located in the same building as Swan River Yoga, the folks at Good Karma offer visitors homemade vegan plates, fruit smoothies, fair trade organic coffee, and house-brewed tea. Our go-to dish is the Good Karma plate, made fresh and served daily. This plate gives you a little taste of everything: the soup and veggie of the day, brown or basmati rice, and karma salad. Pro tip: ask for an extra salad dressing. We literally wouldn’t judge you if you bathed in it, it tastes that good. With 100 percent vegan food, Good Karma is always hustling to put the love in every meal it serves.
This mediterranean eatery got its start roaming the streets of NOLA as the Fat Falafel food truck, but we couldn’t be more excited that the owners found a brick and mortar locale right off of Esplanade. Does it get any cuter than taking your silverware out of a drawer at the table you’re sitting at? Though this place is tight on space, it’s big on flavors. If you have to wait for a table, relax with a glass of wine at Swirl Wine Bar next door. If you’ve got a couple of friends, go ahead and order the feast. You won’t be disappointed. With flavors like cilantro chile, garlic, and sesame paired with piping hot flatbread, the food is out of this world.
If you find yourself in the French Quarter on your next visit to Louisiana (which should be as soon as possible), make your way to Exchange Alley to get some grub at Green Goddess for lunch or dinner. If the weather’s nice, grab a table in the courtyard. While you may think going with a vegetarian or vegan restaurant might limit your flavor palette, that’s not a problem at Green Goddess, where all of the dishes are rooted in traditional New Orleans flavors. With an array of options, Green Goddess caters to the dietary trifecta: vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free. No matter what you decide to order, be sure to save room for the sweet potato biscuits. To die for!
With a variety of crispy toasts for you to try (avocado’s our favorite), savory grain bowls, salads, cold-pressed juices, and smoothies, The Daily Beet’s tasty, fresh vegetarian creations can be found downtown on Girod or in a brightly lit stall in St. Roch Market. The only thing that’s more pleasing than the delish food is the collection of bright and beautiful photos on The Daily Beet’s Instagram. Stay in the neighborhood a while and try out another incredible restaurant for dinner.
The flavors of Southeast Asia, West Africa, the Caribbean, and South America come together at Carmo, a tropical café and bar serving innovative, vegan-friendly fare with tropical flavors. This NOLA-based open-kitchen eatery, founded in 2010, prides itself on its “commitment to providing vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike with healthy and affordable” dining options in a laid-back atmosphere. Menu favorites include the Carmo Salad, the Rico Sandwich and any of the appetizers featuring avocado, of course.
Another local favorite, Satsuma is a hipster-friendly coffeehouse that’s been serving up cold-pressed organic juices, breakfasts, and lunches since 2009. Inspired by a philosophy of making “great food with fresh ingredients in a community-based environment,” this joint offers visitors a set menu, as well one-day special options, all made from scratch. Our advice: If you walk into Satsuma and it has a specialty pancake featured, definitely order it! Other favorites include the Mexican breakfast plate and bagel plate, but you really can’t go wrong getting anything at this must-stop brunch spot. With two convenient locations (one in New Orleans’ Bywater district and the other Uptown on Maple Street), Satsuma is open daily from 7am to 5pm.
Sneaky Pickle is a restaurant that serves vegan and vegetarian meals made in the New Orleans style. With a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that changes on a daily basis, this café features creative, farm-fresh plates that range from a vegan Reuben sandwich to fried tofu and fried cauliflower buffalo salad. Though it offers both meat and meatless options, Sneaky Pickle is careful to make sure these ingredients never touch; a little gesture that goes a long way with vegans and vegetarians alike. You know the food’s going to be good when everything is made from scratch in house.
Quite honestly, Bao & Noodle is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the whole city. Not only does it have plenty of vegetarian options, there are also daily specials, seasonal vegetables, and daily dumplings cooked to perfection. You can’t go here without ordering the steamed vegan bao, scallion pancakes, Burmese tea salad, and the strange flavored peanuts. As if the food isn’t enough of a reason to make your way to the Marigny district, the fact that Bao & Noodle allows patrons to BYOB definitely is.
Located in the Lower Garden District, Seed is a modern vegan bistro serving its customers Southern comfort-food classics from grits and grillades (pronounced gree-yhads) to fried tofu po-boys. The best thing about Seed is that non-meat eaters can get a taste of all the traditional New Orleans items like beignets and gumbo. If you’re traveling with folks who don’t appreciate vegan fare, there are plenty of restaurants in the Garden District with meat options.