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It’s no surprise that Boulder is home to an awesome assortment of plant-based restaurants. The city is all about that healthy and eco-conscious vibe. There are farmers markets, trails for days, and no shortage of ways to eat well. So, if you’re looking for a veg-forward menu, your search will be a short one in Boulder.
Of course, that’s because you’re likely to find a vegetarian or vegan item on just about every menu in Boulder. But we’ve taken things a step further by laying out the spots that totally get the veg-loving lifestyle.
This fully plant-based fast-casual spot may not be Boulder-born, but it is a favorite among veggie-lovers. And just because they’ve expanded across the country doesn’t mean they pack their menu full of pre-made packaged food. Nope, they focus on fresh and healthy eats made in-house. All soy is non-GMO and the menu changes with the seasons to reflect what’s fresh. Score a dish at 29th Street mall.
This uber-healthy fast-casual spot with happy hippy vibes has finally made their way to Boulder. From the brains behind True Food Kitchen, Flower Child focuses on fresh, making every last deliciously healthy bite from scratch. They’re all about the plants, and there are loads of clearly-marked vegan and vegetarian options throughout the menu. Get ready to find your happy place at 2580 Arapahoe Ave.
The kitchen at Shine is completely gluten- and GMO-free. Fact: their kitchen works wonders. Vegan and vegetarian items are numerous. And delicious. Shine is committed to sourcing sustainable and local ingredients from the Front Range. Its kitchen scraps are even composted to feed the soil and the animals at several of Boulder’s local farms. Take it from us, start with the Probiotic Slaw Sampler or local mushroom bisque with cashew cream. Meanwhile, the coconut curry—with sprouted quinoa, seasonal vegetables, and house-cultured carrots—is a favorite of meat-eaters and veg-heads alike. Check out their spot on Canyon Blvd!
Chautauqua Dining Hall shares roots with Leaf (see what we did there?) and is also supplied by Three Leaf Farm. The menu reflects the seasonal supply of local produce. Grilled tofu can be added to any of its hearty salads, and its garden burger is actually fresh from the garden. If you see something enticing, just ask. They are happy to make modifications for vegans and vegetarians when feasible. After that, it’s just feastable.
It’s no secret that Whole Foods has a legit healthy prepared foods area. The salad bar, coffee bar, juice bar — we could hang out there all day. Even more reason for veggie-lovers to visit? The Beyond Burger Bar—a whole kiosk dedicated to meatless burgers. Beyond Burgers have earned quite the following for their GMO- and soy-free pea-based patties that taste pretty damn close the the real thing. Stack ’em up how you like ’em at the burger bar. You can even grab one on a Kim & Jake’s gluten-free bun!
Spicing up Walnut St., near the Pearl Street Mall, The Med is known for its delicious dishes from every corner of the Mediterranean Basin — Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Morocco, and Lebanon. Unlike many restaurants, they don’t just have one token vegan or vegetarian dish (we’re talking about you, mushroom risotto). Trust us — you’ll have some hard decisions to make: Eggplant Fattah, Vegetable Paella or Kebabs, or one of the Med’s many salads, pastas, or pizzas.
Check out Jill’s at the St. Julien for the Vegan Friday lunch buffet. Every Friday from 11:30am to 2pm, Jill’s crafts an amazing, and always changing, spread of vegan dishes. Jill’s doesn’t just want to bring in the non-animal-eaters, but to show its regular lunch crowd how delicious vegan food can be. We know you’re wondering, and yes, the restaurant encourages sustainable, organic farming practices.
This spot on the Pearl Street Mall has some of the freshest food around. That’s because they’re supplied by their own farm. Black Cat Farm is certified organic and grows 250 heirloom and heritage plants. So you know it’s real. What seals the deal for veg-heads? The menu at Bramble and Hare is creatively seasonal and always considers the non-meat-eaters. Just keep an open mind as it changes frequently.
Whole Sо̄l Blend Bar made its debut in Denver at Union Station, and now they’re landing at 1420 Pearl this November. Their 100% vegetarian (and gluten-free) menu is loaded with super-nourishing plant-based bо̄ls, salads, and toasts. Top your bowl with vegan cookie dough or mix some vegan protein into that smoothie. Go savory with the bruschetta pesto toast (hemp pesto, tree nut cheese, tomato, balsamic glaze on local Kim & Jake’s bread!) or the tofu scramble (it’s loaded with veggies). If you do eggs, they’ve got those too. And yes, they’re organic.
The philosophy at Fresh Thymes is simple, “eat like your grandma.” This doesn’t mean casseroles and jello salad, it means that they embrace the simple and clean food system of the good ol’ days. Head to the Steelyards and try the Dragon Tacos with marinated mushrooms, house-made kimchi, carrot cucumber slaw, and sriracha aioli. And we go loco for the spinach falafel burger with a side of cashew cream mac and cheese.
Here’s another place that’s so passionate about fresh, local ingredients, that they created a farm. Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette allows Leaf to provide organic, freshly harvested produce and herbs, and free-range eggs. Everything here is vegetarian and most items also vegan and gluten-free. Try the Millet Tamales with lentil-spinach filling, or buffalo cauliflower tacos — they’re bomb. You have a lot of options on Pearl Street Mall, but Leaf is one you must check out.
Open daily at 15th and Arapahoe, get to Thrive for a light and healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. Everything is raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free and soy-free, but you don’t need to be a follower of any of those diets to enjoy the food at Thrive. Try the Inner Flame salad, loaded with veggies, sprouted beans, and avocado, or Thrive’s version of pad thai, with a base of spiralized zucchini, marinated broccoli, and mushrooms.
Nepal Cuisine always has a legit selection of vegetarian items on its menu, but for an even more unique experience, check out its Monday vegan lunch buffet. The kitchen is transformed and absolutely no animal products are served during this time. Honestly, after a bite, you’ll sort of forget all about animals. This cozy and authentic spot is on Table Mesa Dr. in South Boulder.
Embodying all things health, Zeal caters to folks who are gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, juice-obsessed, and of course, plant-based. Try the Conscious Garden Wrap with sprouted lentils, carrots, avocado, cucumber, marinated beets, hummus, and pesto, all stuffed in a collard green leaf. Or build your own bowl, with quinoa or cauliflower rice, fresh veggies, and a choice of a variety of plant-based proteins and sauces. Whether or not you are vegetarian or vegan, come hungry to their food truck around Boulder or their Junction Place hub (opening summer 2019) for healthy fare.
India meets… Mexico? That’s right. Roxie’s fuses the fun flavors of two cuisines at its taco shop on The Hill. The menu is simple — choose tacos, nachos, a burrito, or a bowl. Then top it with your choice of chutney and curry and their famous kale slaw. Many options are vegan, and everything is made with healthy, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients. Portions are generous and flavors are bold. You’re gonna love it.
**Updated by Hillary Bennetts, September 2018