Easter 2017 is April 16. Lent started on March 1. Do people still give up things for Lent? Twitter's top 100 ideas of items to give up included Twitter, alcohol, chocolate, and meat. Obviously, life is not worth living without the first three — but meat's an easy one to skip. Here are 10 top restaurants in Dallas where you can enjoy a meatless meal.
Deep Ellum restaurant is a D.C. import whose menu centers on falafel, the crunchy fried Middle Eastern "meatball" made with chickpeas. At Amsterdam, you can get it stuffed into pita bread for a sandwich, or in a "bowl" version that you doctor with more than two dozen foodie-grade toppings — hummus, tahini, colorful pickled veggies, salsas — at a self-serve condiment bar. There's Dutch-style French fries, served in a cone. Beer and wine, late-night hours, and low prices make this place a win.
El Palote Panaderia
Family-run Mexican restaurant and bakery serves tacos and tamales with "carnitas" and "chiccharrones" that are actually made from soy, but have a meaty texture and spicy flavor so convincing, you'll swear you're eating the real thing. They make their own tortillas, which are satisfyingly thick, and their own tamales, which are moist and dense, yet light at the same time. The bakery is remarkable, with vegan renditions of doughnuts and sweetbreads.
New entry to Dallas comes from Arizona-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, owner of True Food Kitchen, which also accommodates vegetarian diners. But Flower Child, which opens in mid-March, has a veg-friendly menu that surpasses its siblings. Nearly everything starts out as vegetarian or vegan; you can add "proteins," if you must, such as chicken, grass-fed steak, salmon, or tofu. There are mix-and-match vegetable combos, plus bowls such as the Forbidden rice ($9), with black pearl rice and nutrient-dense vegetables like snap peas, broccoli, bok choy, and carrot.
HG Sply Co.
Better known as the Palace of Paleo, HG Sply Co. also has numerous options that are vegan, beginning with its stunning vegan version of queso. It's spicy, it's creamy, it has a big dollop of guacamole in the middle, and it's served with tortilla chips that are extra-thick. A housemade quinoa burger with ginger-garlic hummus comes on a toasted bun from excellent Empire Baking Co., and they do a clever veggie "pasta" made from zucchini. Many non-meat options are here.
A big sandpit has made this East Dallas restaurant-bar a popular choice for parents who want to tipple while their demon spawn run wild. But The Lot also has quite a few options for the meatless crowd. The appetizers category is especially fruitful, with fried cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, chipotle hummus, and thick, fluffy yuca fries. And sides such as sweet potato tots and fried okra are big enough for a table to share. If you want to duck the kids, head for the bar.
Loving Hut is an international vegan restaurant chain with branches in 35 countries, including 38 locations in the United States — one of which is in Addison. Although a chain, and with a mostly Asian theme, the menu is different at each location. Addison's runs the gamut from Chinese-style orange "chicken" to pad Thai. A lunch buffet that draws the budget crowd, but even at dinner, prices are cheap and portions are generous. Gorge on fried rice, pho, and even veggie burgers topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato.
Atlanta-based pizza chain with a hippie-ish vibe is so veggie-friendly, it has an entire standalone menu of vegan options to make them easier to find, whether that's pretzels (hold the butter) or a spinach salad, 86 the feta cheese. The pizza and calzone dough is vegan, and you can substitute Daiya cheese on pies such as the Thai dye, with tomatoes, onions, basil, curry tofu, and Thai chili sauce. The DFW area has 10 Mellows, including one on Henderson Avenue, in the former Hacienda on Henderson space.
Formerly known as Modmarket, this Colorado fast-casual chain has an easy-breezy sophistication, with low-priced wines by the glass, regular and half portions, and lots of menu options that make it feel practical and inclusive. Pizzas are a standout, with an exceptional whole-grain dough made in-house and upscale toppings. Meatless dining here is easy, from the cup of butternut soup to the pizza with cremini mushrooms and kale, to the sesame-crusted tofu. Find branches in Preston Hollow, Flower Mound, Las Colinas, Richardson, Plano, and Southlake.
Peak & Elm
Sweet Mexican restaurant is the companion eatery to La Popular Tamale House, and you can bet you'll find those tamales on the menu, usually with a vegetarian option in the lineup. While any Mexican restaurant serves guacamole, rice, and beans, P&E makes it easier for the meat abstainer, with its Deep Ellum tacos, filled with spicy soyrizo and beans, accompanied by a veggie medley of squash, peppers, and onions. Start with the unique "tamale balls" appetizer, fried masa orbs served with crema and salsa verde for dipping.
No "going meatless" list in Dallas is complete without Spiral Diner, the vegan trailblazer with branches in Dallas and Fort Worth, and a third on the way in Denton. In a cool diner setting with boomerang tabletops and vinyl booths, you'll find meatless versions of classics with a Tex-Mex twang, from taco salad to portabella quesadilla to the signature nachos, topped with black beans, olives, corn, jalapeños, nacho "cheese," and sour "cream." Don't miss the monthly blue plate specials — in March, it's crab cakes, gumbo, and a zucchini po'boy.