Each day it seems to get easier to find good vegan and vegetarian options in Houston. You’ll find anything from all-vegan restaurants to well thought out vegetarian menus at popular restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch, food to take home from the market or dinner worthy of a special occasion, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite places to find vegan and/or vegetarian food in Houston.
This Museum District restaurant serves vegan burgers and paninis, as well as fresh pressed raw juices, smoothies and raw vegan meals. Favorites include the Dirty Burque, a buckwheat patty topped with green chillies, arugula, avocado, tomato, onion mayo and mustard served on a wheat bun. On the panini menu, try the Latini, chipotle-flavored tempeh topped with avocado, tomatoes, and chipotle aioli, or the Tosh, maple jerk tempeh with grilled plantains, spinach and jerk aioli.
Guudbelly is less than a year old but its tamales have gained a loyal following of fans. Founders L and Vic Arroyo use local and mostly organic ingredients for their weekly changing men.. Try the veggie-loaded Mighty Veggie or the Double Beam, a black and pinto bean tamale that packs a little punch. And don’t miss their delicious hazelnut milk horchata. You can find them at the Urban Harvest Eastside and City Hall farmers markets and at the East End Market.
Anita Jaisinghani’s casual Indian eatery serves a good selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the Vishnu thali -- a sampler with brussels sprouts, smoked eggplant, greens and carrot roti -- to a green dosa, fermented lentil and rice crepe served for breakfast. Every Monday, the restaurant refrains from serving meat and offers a meatless menu made up of the vegetarian and vegan dishes it serves regularly and other dishes reserved exclusively for Meatless Mondays.
At his namesake restaurant, chef Hugo Ortega has put together a thoughtful vegetarian menu rooted in regional Mexican cuisine. And we’re not talking just a few items; the menu offers a variety of vegetarian appetizers, entrees and sides with a few vegan options. Enjoy a hearty roasted cauliflower salad served with carrots, beets, queso fresco, smoked almonds and romesco puree, or try dishes such as plantain and refried bean empanadas, vegetable-stuffed poblano peppers, and their variety of vegetable tacos.
Stephanie Hoban started her vegan food truck in 2014 to bring more healthy, plant-based dining options to Houston. Her menu changes weekly but you’ll find items like an organic lentil-mushroom burger with cashew ‘chevre’, arugula, tomato, caramelized onions and housemade pickles, and a caprese melt prepared with cashew mozzarella. You’ll find her truck at Rice University, Inversion Coffee, Axelrad Beer Garden and City Hall Farmers Market. On Saturdays, Hoban serves brunch at the Eastside Farmers Market.
Shri Balaji Bhavan
The dishes at this South Indian vegetarian restaurant are listed without descriptions, so go with an adventurous mind and be ready to taste to find what you like. Located on the corner of Hillcroft and Harwin, Shri Balaji Bhavan serves a wide selection of puri and chaat (snacks) at affordable prices. Try the samosa chaat, vegetable biryani or the chole bhature, a combination of spicy curried chickpeas and bhatura, a classic Indian puffed bread.
James Beard-award winner chef Justin Yu is known for his unique veggie-focused dishes. At his downtown restaurant, he serves a six-course garden tasting menu that’ll give you a taste for his masterful use of vegetables. The menu changes seasonally but may include dishes such as winter greens crystal dumplings served with kohlrabi broth and a grains porridge with Texas wheat, cauliflower and orange. Cost for the garden menu is $75 plus $45 if you want wine pairings.
This coffeehouse, gathering place and cafe in the Third Ward serves affordable but tasty vegetarian eats. For lunch, choose from the soup of the day and three vegetarian paninis. The Mumbai Streets, for example, comes with curried potatoes and peas, sauteed onions and muenster cheese. For dinner, the cafe serves a different dish each night starting at 5 p.m. So you can be eating vegan “not so butter chicken” on Saturday, vegan posole on Friday, and a lentil-based stew on Thursday. Doshi House also serves coffee, tea and freshly made juices.
Enjoy a variety of Mediterranean treats at this Montrose counter-service restaurant. Choose from their various vegetarian mezze, -- hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush -- fresh salads, and platters. The falafel platter comes with five pieces of falafel and your choice of two sides. Then grab some of their freshly baked pita bread and order a freshly pressed juice to complete your meal. You’ll get plenty of good food here to fill you up.
At his Northern and Northeastern Thai restaurant in the Heights, chef PJ Stoops offers a small selection of vegetarian dishes. From stuffed sticky rice -- grilled coconut rice filled with sweet potato -- to a vegetarian version of khao soi, a coconut and curry flavored noodle soup prepared in this case with vegetables and tofu. Don’t miss the tasty crispy fried herbs served with a spicy peanut sauce.
When you’re craving Vietnamese food, head over to Cafe TH. This cozy cafe in the East End is known for its báhn mì but it also offers a vegan menu that’s sure to please its plant-eating customers. Where else can you get vegan pho? Other dishes include stir-fried tofu, fried tofu served with vermicelli, and a yellow vegetable curry served with cauliflower, potatoes, green beans and baby carrots.
Find an impressive selection of Asian-style vegan eats at this Upper Kirby restaurant. Its menu offers soups, dumplings, fried rice and noodle dishes, as well as vegan versions of meat-based favorites. Think General Tso’s vegan chicken, sweet and sour vegan fish sticks and smoked vegan duck fillet. If you go, try their lunch buffet. It’ll give you the best taste of their dishes, and on weekends it gets bigger and better, also offering vegan sushi and other specialty dishes.
Just like at sister restaurant, Hugo’s, vegetarians will find plenty of options at Caracol. Hugo Ortega’s Galleria-area restaurant focuses on Mexican coastal cuisine. On the vegetarian menu, you’ll find dishes like a coctel de vegetales, tamal Azteca topped with mushrooms and huitlacoche (corn truffles), veggie-stuffed enchiladas and fried avocado tostadas.