Trending Dishes on Vegan Menus: 5 Finds We’re Loving


Living in relatively tiny Portland isolates me from the rest of the vegan world. Yet, it’s a wonderful city for foodies such as myself. When I was researching trending items on vegan menus, I felt a bit like a food critic on a mission–a very tasty mission. I didn’t go so far as to whip out a pad of paper and a pen, but I did tote along my camera to capture some of the goodness I discovered and devoured. Join me, why don’t you?

5 Trending Vegan Menu Items We’re Loving

1. Shawarma

I had no idea what shawarma was until about a month ago. Commonly served as street food, shawarma is a Middle Eastern-style wrap filled with shaved meat, sauces, and toppings. Two places in Portland have recently started offering a vegan version on their menus and that was enough to pique my curiosity. The shawarma here contains soy curls marinated in spices and is served in a pita with tabbouleh, fattoush, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba (a tangy pickled mango sauce).

I tried the newly created vegan shawarma from Falafel House at Slabtown in NW Portland. Everything is made from scratch which makes this delightful concoction all the more authentic–minus the side of tots.


Photo by Amy Gedgaudas

2. Celeriac/Celery Root

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is harvested in the late fall. The flavor is refreshing–reminiscent of a cross between celery and parsley. I’ve seen it on menus in many forms: pureed for soups and pizza spreads, smoked and turned into pickles, shredded for slaws or garnishing salads, mixed with potatoes for a gratin, and roasted or fried for chips.


Photo by Roland Tanglao via Flickr

3. Beets

Beets, of course, are not a new discovery on restaurant menus, but lately I’m seeing them get used in more unique applications–ravioli filling, pickles, tartare, vinaigrettes, chips, and gnocci.

More recognizable beet-centric menu items include burgers, juice, and soup (both hot and cold). Below is Portobello‘s beloved Beet Burger, a classic, with all the fixings.

Beet Burger!

Photo by Amy Gedgaudas

4. Pickles

Pickles are popping up everywhere–as sides to main dishes, dolloped on top of salads, and tucked into sandwiches. And it isn’t just cucumbers being pickled. Fiddlehead ferns, fennel, shiitakes, carrots, cauliflower, beets, radishes, cabbage, lemons, peppers, and even tofu (yes, tofu!) are taking on new flavors from the pickling process.


Photo by Amy Gedgaudas

5. Cauliflower Steaks

If you have a sharp enough knife, muscles, and some patience, making cauliflower steaks at home is relatively easy. But going out to enjoy them is an even better option! If you aren’t familiar, cauliflower steaks are thick slabs of cauliflower that are seasoned and roasted (sometimes caramelized). I managed to find cauliflower steaks on Portobello‘s menu, herb-roasted and served with cauliflower puree and pasta in a white wine cashew cream sauce. Fancy!

Cauliflower Steak 01

Photo by Amy Gedgaudas

What trending vegan foods have you discovered on menus lately?

1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth

    At NY Veg Fest back in March, Taft Food Masters debuted the first ever vegan spitroast – a shawarma and gyro seitan so authentic that they actually had stack of the sliced seitan on spit that they carved vertically like real shawarma. It was badass. I found a photo of it on this blog (not mine):

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