If you’re looking to cut out or cut down on meat and animal products as we head into 2019, whether for health or environmental reasons, you’re not alone – and January is the perfect month to do it.
According to reports, a third of all British people now describe themselves as vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian – a largely vegetable-based diet supplemented occasionally with meat. The Veganuary campaign, which encourages people to go vegan for a month, has more than doubled in size every year with over 250,000 people signing up to take part in 2019.
Manchester’s become a vegan hotspot in recent years, with street food pop-ups and markets as well as mainstream restaurants and grocers embracing quality vegan options. Even Greggs has got in on the action, with their launch of a vegan sausage roll.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s our guide on where to try great vegan food in the city – for Veganuary and beyond.
GRUB’s free three-day festival will offer Latin American food from Yakumama, patisserie from Chou Choux, waffles from Sugar Spun Sisters, kebabs from Seitan’s Kebab and vegan junk food from local traders Wholesome Junkies, who appeared on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu. There will also be 14 lines of 100% vegan beers from local breweries on cask and keg plus wines, ciders, hand made sodas, soft drinks, hot drinks and spirits. 25th-27th January, Fairfield Social Club.
Newly opened Mamucium has launched a dedicated vegan menu created by Manchester-born chef, Andrew Green. Starters include roast vine tomato soup or chickpea fritters, with hearty mains of pasta with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, wild mushroom buckwheat risotto and butternut squash, and spinach and chickpea curry. For dessert, there’s seasonal fruit with maple syrup and toasted coconut, fruit sorbets, or bramley apple and caramel crumble.
Newly opened in The Royal Exchange Manchester, Vertigo’s menu is entirely plant-based and consists of healthy salads, sandwiches, stews, curries and smoothies. It’s a welcoming space, with dishes including a quarter pound ‘cheezburger’ (a soy patty on a pretzel bun), red lentil daal with wholegrain rice and crunchy fried chickpeas, sourdough toasties and soup of the day freshly made on site.
With its menu of Gujurat-inspired street food and craft beer, all the dishes at Bundobust are vegetarian – and plenty are vegan, too. From spiced okra fries or onion, broccoli and kale bhajis to bhel puri (samosa pastry, puffed rice, peas, red onion and tomato tossed in tamarind chutney), massala dosa with lentil, aubergine and bottle gourd soup, and our favourite, ragda pethis – spicy mushy pea and potato cakes – there’s plenty to choose from.
This Vietnamese restaurant in the Corn Exchange has a dedicated vegan menu, offering all sorts from crispy spring rolls and rice bowls topped with peppers, tofu and wok-fried Chinese leaf to fragrant Vietnamese curry. A healthy specials menu served until the end of February 2019 has new additions including rice paper rolls filled with crunchy veg, enoki and vermicelli, pho made with courgette noodles and tofu in a spicy veggie broth, and cauliflower rice bowls.
Lunya offers a little corner of Catalunya in the beautiful Barton Arcade, and has a dedicated vegan menu. The plant-based options include Catalan bread and deli platters, vegan paella, and tapas like patatas bravas, chargrilled peppers, aubergines, onions and courgettes on toasted sourdough with Romesco sauce, roasted cauliflower and cumin fritters, and woodland mushrooms fried in Arbequina olive oil.
Albert’s Shed in Castlefield and Albert’s Worsley have a dedicated vegan menu. Start with pan fried garlic mushrooms and truffle oil on toasted gluten free bread or tomato and basil bruschetta, followed by charred spinach and cauliflower curry, or balsamic beetroot and butternut squash salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Puddings include dark chocolate and fig tart with rum syrup, or mango and coconut cheesecake.
This vegan Lebanese feasting menu offers a mezze of two starters, a main and a dessert for £12.95 in January. Mezze options include red pepper hommos and quinoa tabbouleh with lemon and olive oil dressing, while mains offer a choice of couscous salad with grilled peppers, roasted squash and nuts, or baked baby aubergine in tomato and chickpea sauce. For dessert there’s a new take on a traditional Lebanese pudding, made using coconut milk and toasted pistachios.
The Spinningfields Thai street food favourites have a number of vegan choices, with all curries from green to jungle available in vegetable or tofu options. Several of the stir fries can be made with organic tofu, and there are also dumplings, spring rolls, salads and noodle dishes to try. If you want to recreate the dishes yourself at home, they’re sharing a weekly recipe.
Award-winning vegan restaurant The Allotment moved from Stockport to the city centre at the end of last year, offering plant-based tasting menus of seven or ten courses. Think celeriac shawarma with coconut, mint and orange, or slow roasted squash with fried oyster mushroom rosti and smoked aubergine. There’s also a special three course Veganuary menu available Monday to Friday.
Get your noodle soup fix with Shoryu’s vegan ramen options. Try the ‘white natural’ version – tonyu soy milk, miso, konbu and shiitake broth with atsuage fried tofu, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, menma bamboo shoots and nori seaweed. A hotter version includes spicy miso sauce, broccoli and garlic mayu. For £18 you get a detox mocktail, white ramen and salad side until 31st January.
Manchester’s first free-from cafe has opened in The Royal Exchange Arcade, with dishes free from a selection of inflammatory ingredients. Vegan-friendly options include a nourish bowl filled with chickpeas, butternut and black rice dressed in maple, chilli and herbs, or you can build your own graze board. Ice cream is dairy-free.
There are branches of this healthy fast food joint in Ancoats, Salford and First Street – and you can dine-in, take-out or even order their meal prep delivery service. Start the day the vegan way with smashed avocado, chilli, radish and watercress on toast or breakfast tacos. Later, opt for nachos with vegan cheese, sesame tofu skewers, or a healthy acai bowl with cashews, vegan cream cheese and coconut yoghurt garnished with toasted coconut, granola and fruits.
With a branch in the Corn Exchange and one soon to open on Oxford Road, Indian street food restaurant Mowgli has a dedicated vegan menu. Try fenugreek kissed fries, tea steeped chickpeas, green ginger and rhubarb dhal, or vegan showstopper holy chow: spiced chickpea, potato, spinach, fresh ginger and mango served in a loaf. If you can’t decide, try a vegan tiffin box.
Vegan Caribbean dishes at Turtle Bay include salads, curries, and their first vegan burger which is made with sweetcorn and spices. Or mix and match with small plates such as crispy chickpeas, Caribbean hummus, smashed avo, chilli pineapple salad, sunshine quinoa, supergreen salad, sweet potato or spiced fries, coconut rice‘n’peas, sweet plantain and creamy coconut. For pudding there’s salted caramel brownie with coconut ice-cream.