Over spring break, I went down south to the warm humid state of Louisiana. As soon as we stepped onto the streets of New Orleans, I immediently realized how different the culture was from what I was used to. One of the biggest differences was the food served. Being a vegetarian can be a little difficult when adventuring into a new city that has many seafood options. Here are some staples for New Orleans’ cuisine and some fun places you should try that include vegetarian and vegan options.
1.) The Gazebo Cafe
The muffuletta spread is an Italian dish loaded with green olives and red peppers and it is absolutely delicious. I could have bought thirty jars of it home with me if it would have fit in my suitcase. While there are many places you can get a muffuletta at several places throughout New Orleans, but I chowed down on mine at the Gazebo Cafe which had a live jazz band performing in the background.
On one of the last nights of our trip, we ventured out to this fancy restaurant to be treated and fed like royalty. An elevator took us to our seats and the waiters quickly pulled our chairs out for us so we could sit down. Needless to say the atmosphere was charming and elegant. I ordered the vegetarian medley and the butternut squash salad. Both were absolutely mouthwatering. For desert I ordered the creme brûlée. Which was not vegan, but they did have a vegan option of sorbet. I just really wanted to try the creme brûlée. After I got two bites into it I knew it was a great choice.
Jambalaya is everywhere is New Orleans. Most places who served jambalaya were willing to take the meat out of it for me. They might look a little confused when you order the shrimp jambalya without shrimp, but it will be totally worth it. Usually Jambalya has onions, celery, bell peppers, and of course rice, but every place you go serves it differently. No one can eat the make the same jambalaya twice. Definitely a must try for New Orleans.
5.) The Heart Cafe
I found this gem at the French Market one day while we were strolling through, and I came back three times afterwards. If you are looking for vegan food, this is the place to find it.Not to mention the service was amazing. The workers are friendly and helpful. They even suggested other vegan/vegetarian restaurants to me in the area. The vegan gumbo was spectacularly authentic, and I was so happy to finally get to dive into the New Orleans traditional dish. I came back the next day for some black bean soup, which was equally good not to mention the sweet vegan treats they offered.
The Green Goddess
The Green Goddess is heaven for a vegan. The menu is clearly marked what food items are specifically vegan and vegetarian. There are even some creole style dishes offered. It is a great way to get a vegan taste of New Orleans.
El Gato Negro
At first I was hesitant of going to a Mexican restaurant in New Orleans. However, even typical Spanish dishes here seemed to have a New Orleans twist. They have several vegan and vegetarian option, such as the vegetarian fajitas and salad with sautéed veggies. I also loved that the decor incorporated New Orleans theme, creating a cultural and exciting environment for all those eating there.
Hope you all of you reading this get a chance to eat all of these wonderful foods I have been able to taste over spring break.