It’s time to swap your chicken nuggets for falafel bites as National Vegetarian Week rolls around again. Starting on the 13th of May, people all over the country will be making a conscious attempt to cut down on their meat consumption.
We hear what you’re saying… “the bloody vegans are at it again!”. But meatless doesn’t have to mean tasteless, and the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle may be more interesting than you think.
Not only is it healthier, as it also forces you to think what you’re actually putting into your body, but it helps the planet too! And it’s pretty cool too, just look at David Attenborough.
So try a meat-free week and see where it gets you. And if you can’t think of anything to cook, here’s twelve places that’ll serve some tasty meat-free dishes so you don’t have to.
It would be almost insulting not to include V Rev Vegan Diner in this list. The American-inspired eatery serves up some of the tastiest of burgers, sandwiches and loaded fries, all 100% guilt free. The menu is completely vegan, using seitan and tofu instead of chicken, pork and fish, and even includes some glorious vegan milkshakes. Located on Edge Street in Northern Quarter, V Revs is the poster child for vegan restaurants in Manchester, and boasts a super quirky interior too. Make sure to try the ‘Kevin Bacon’ burger – a seitan ‘chckn’ burger with ‘cheez’, ‘baecon’ and salad, delish!
While it would be assumed that the oldest independently-owned Italian restaurant in Manchester would stick to traditions, Don Giovanni are embracing the new with their brand new ‘Vegano’ menu. A complete range of vegan pizza, pastas, risottos and even desserts now grace their tables, with options including a chickpea and roasted cherry tomato salad, an aubergine and vegan mozzarella lasagne and an amaretto-infused lemon sorbet. All the same high quality Italian food, made with the freshest ingredients as always, just without the meat!
Ranked as one of the city’s best casual dining restaurants, underground eatery Bundobust serves dazzling Indian street food bursting with flavour. You cannot leave without trying their famous ‘Okra Fries’, whether you’re eating meat or not. Some of the tastiest dishes on the menu include onion, broccoli and kale bhajis, Gobi Mushroom Manchurian (mushroom and cauliflower pakora in a curry sauce) and Idli Sambhar (a lentil and aubergine soup served with rice cakes). And yes, they taste as good as they sound.
After releasing a vegan pizza special last summer, Pizza Parlour-slash-bar Crazy Pedro’s soon received high demand for a permanent vegan fixture on the menu. So they gave us two! Dig in to the Holy Cluck! pizza (bbq ‘not’ chicken, peppers, mango salsa and bbq sauce) and the Giuseppe’s Not Sloppy, He’s Vegan pizza (hot chilli ‘not’ beef, green peppers, onions, jalapeños and vegan cheese). For the veggies who just can’t live without cheese, Crazy Pedro’s also serve a blueberry and feta cheese pizza, and a chilli, jack cheese and nacho pizza, all following the same delicious recipe to bring you that tomatoey goodness Peds is so famous for.
Heart, soul and a lot of love goes into making each dish at Earth Cafe. With all the food made totally from scratch, this is veggie food you can feel good eating. And combined with the rustic decoration of the cafe, which is situated underneath, you really feel at home here, too. Be sure to try the Caribbean stir-fry and the black-eyed-pea and sweet potato pie for a taste of some proper veggie flavours. Each recipe is created in the same kitchen its made, crafting new spice sensations with every dish, and they make their own smoothies too!
Passionate about Italian cuisine, the chefs at the Pasta Factory believe that the greatest moments happen around the dinner table. So why should family members miss out on these moments simply due to their food preferences? The Pasta Factory definitely doesn’t believe so! This is why they have several veggie and vegan options on the menu, so there’s choice for all the family. And, keeping up with the Italian tradition, these options even have their very own homemade vegan Parmesan!
At first look, Solita Bar and Grill may not appear veggie-friendly. Burgers, steaks and chicken wings reign over the menu, alarming to the common vegetarians of Manchester. However, keep scouring to find their very own ‘veggie + vegan’ section, dedicated to their meat-free guests. Munch on the much-loved vegan hotdog, served traditionally with ketchup and mustard, and the Hallou me? burger is a must-try, combing chargrilled halloumi with breaded portobello mushrooms.
Allotment Vegan Eatery
Who ever said you had to slum it to eat veggie? The Allotment Vegan Eatery has arrived to change all that, offering an elegant meal without the meat. The restaurant is perfect for vegans who prefer their food a little more upmarket, or for veggie-lovers who want to celebrate this National Vegetarian Week with a bit of fine cuisine! The roasted cauliflower with sweet potato fondant and kale chimichurri is absolutely to die for, and is perfectly finished off with Allotment’s homemade chocolate, hibiscus and pistachio tiffin. Go on, treat yourself.
For something a little more chilled-out, Wahaca is renowned for their incredibly tasty food, most of which doesn’t include meat. Almost a Mexican version of tapas, Wahaca serves dishes in smaller sizes, so you can try lots of the menu and don’t feel guilty about ordering double! That’s what makes this the perfect place for a relaxed family meal, or a quick bite to eat with pals. Be sure to try the roasted chilli quesadilla, the sweet potato and feta taquito, and, most importantly, the dreamy mushroom and cheese tacos *drools*
For weekend munching, visit GRUB as they bring to you Europe’s first ever weekly vegan street food market, called ‘Plant-powered Sundays’. From 12pm to 6pm every Sunday, the finest vegan street vendors gather at Mayfield Gatehouse to serve you some of the most delicious veggie-friendly food you could possibly serve from a truck. The event is completely free, you just pay for what you fancy! The vendors change every week so who knows what tasty treats could be up for grabs? Keep your eyes peeled on their social media pages to see what’s on the menu.
Veggie Pret a Manger
Having arrived on Deansgate Road just last October, our Manchester Veggie Pret is the first venue outside of London that has a completely vegetarian menu. Not a cow in sight! Perfect for those quick lunches and on-the-go hunger fixes, look out for the famous green sign that shouts: “healthy food found here”. Must-haves from the menu are: the butternut pesto and roasted tomato flatbread, vegan ‘mac and greens’ and the halloumi, red pepper and basil toastie.
Looking for some tasty brunch options? Music venue and bar Gorilla is ideal. Offering both veggie and vegan breakfast options, guests are spoiled for choice. And when you’re feeling super hungry, upgrade to the Royal Vegetarian breakfast with three Quorn sausages, two homemade hashbrowns, two fried eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, chilli and sweet potato hash, and extra toast. Brunch is served every day up until 4pm, so you’ve got plenty of time. But, if you do miss it, Gorilla have plenty of other veggie options on their main menu, too. Indulge in the three-cheese, sun-blushed tomato and garlic grilled cheese sourdough for that greasy hangover fix, or – for something a bit more peculiar – try tofu tacos with mushroom dashi, crispy seaweed and kimchi mayo.
Last but not least is the ultimate noodle bar, Shoryu Ramen, who this year are celebrating National Vegetarian week with an extra special set menu for veggies to enjoy. On the menu is a special edition Quorn mince ramen, matcha tea steamed buns and your choice of some tasty desserts. For those attending after the 19th of May, be sure to get your chopsticks into their White Natural Ramen, made with soy milk, miso and shiitake mushrooms, and full to the top with veggies, tofu, bamboo shoots and seaweed. If that doesn’t sound like superfood, then what is?