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The 10 Best Vegan Dishes in Town

 

 

The 20 Best Vegan Dishes in Town


Veggie House’s Three Cups Sauce Lion’s Mane Mushrooms


The big puffballs known as lion’s mane mushrooms have one of the great textures of the plant kingdom. Seared, braised, or stir-fried, they absorb cooking juices but keep their meaty integrity and chew. Their flavor, however, has a bitter edge that can be off-putting. Not so at this vegetarian restaurant. The kitchen prepares inch-size chunks of the mushrooms in the style of Taiwanese Three Cups chicken, with plenty of soy sauce, cooking wine, and sesame oil. But there’s more: Tiny bits of cinnamon stick, fried ginger, and ginseng in the sauce make for such an evocative dance of flavors that the bitterness of the star ingredient becomes a background note. Nicely cooked chunks of zucchini, green beans, and ginkgo nuts keep your chopsticks busy. $15.95. 2109 S.


Skylark’s Sloppy Joe

Late-night bar menus are rarely vegan friendly, but this twist on the classic meat sandwich is made with crumbled soy protein, diced green peppers, and pickle chips that come together in a sweet sauce. It’ll hit the spot after a couple of drinks. $9. 2149 S.
Skylark’s Sloppy Joe


Art of Dosa’s Masala Dosa


It’s about time someone in Chicago strictly devoted themselves to the beauty that is the dosa, a regional specialty from southern India that consists of a thin, crisp pancake stuffed with a variety of fillings. In 2019, Ravi Nagubadi did just that, opening his stall at Revival Food Hall with wraps based on his mother’s recipes. The best is the masala dosa: Nagubadi’s stellar version is extra crisp and wrapped around a traditional potato curry. On the side for dipping: creamy coconut chutney; sambar, a hearty lentil vegetable soup; and gunpowder, a spicy, bright orange condiment made with a ton of ground chiles.

Art of Dosa’s Masala Dosa

Black-Eyed Peas with Shaved Broccoli from Lyra

Ask the staff at this contemporary Greek restaurant to replace the honey in the dressing with something vegan-friendly. It nevertheless tastes great this way because of the cut grapes and toasted almonds that give nutty, sweet accents. $17. 905 W.

Black-Eyed Peas with Shaved Broccoli from Lyra


Liberation Kitchen’s Lemon-Poppy Seed Doughnut

There are enough vegan doughnuts around to declare a top one, and this sweet-tart offering takes the, um, cake. Texture is often problematic in this endeavor, but founder Dan Staackmann, who is also behind the meat alternative company Upton’s Naturals, toiled in his home kitchen until he had a vanilla cake that was fluffy with a crispy outer layer. The shiny white glaze enlists real lemon juice and a generous speckling of poppy seeds. While the absence of eggs and cream makes the doughnut cholesterol-free, don’t kid yourself into calling it healthy: It’s got all the flour, sugar, and oil of its conventional counterparts. You should still treat yourself with abandon, though, because the company donates half the cost of this particular flavor to a rotation of nonprofits. $3.25. 2054 W. Grand Ave., West Town — CARLY BOERS


Defloured’s Vegan Almond-Date Bar

Ever try a millionaire bar — shortbread, caramel, topcoat of chocolate? This version — moist almond base, date filling, bittersweet chocolate, maple syrup — tastes like a million bucks with a couple of extra zeros added. $4.50. 1477 W
Defloured’s Vegan Almond-Date Bar


The Chicago Diner’s Cuban Sandwich



The housemade seitan is grilled, then layered with fried yucca chips, cheese, mustard, mayo, and pepperoncini on a ciabatta roll for a sandwich with an appealing range of textures. $15. 3411 N


Bloom Plant Based Kitchen’s Red Carrot Dumpling.

It would be difficult to find a greater display of vegetables' inherent beauty. Carrot-ginger kimchi is encased in a crisp wrapper made of young coconut that has been desiccated and red carrots, and it has a froth made of coconut milk that has been spiced with ginger. $13. 1559 N.


Galit’s Tehina Hummus

Zach Engel’s Middle Eastern spot serves three kinds of hummus, but this one, ridiculously creamy and topped with sumac, mint, and olive oil, is its finest. It’s served with warm rounds of pita so soft you could nap on them. Part of a $78 tasting menu. 2429 N.
Galit’s Tehina Hummus


Quesadilla La Reina del Sur’s Flor de Calabaza Quesadilla

The plant-based Mexican spot, which added a Pilsen location this year, offers 20 types of quesadillas. This one, stuffed with savory squash blossoms and cheese (ask for the vegan version), is the place to start. $11.75. 2237 N

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