New Orleans isn’t exactly known for its vegetarian and vegan cuisine. However, with a little bit of research, you can find some delicious veg takes on creole classics. Here are just some of the options available in New Orleans, primarily in or nearby the French Quarter.
This small cafe is tucked into an alley between Royal Street and Chartres. The interior leads directly into the kitchen, so just pick a nice day and have a seat outside. I had the Rolled Uttapam, an Indian pancake stuffed with vegan curry. The grilled local lemongrass tofu po boy was also tempting, but I’d just been to Killer Poboys (see below) the night before.
I wandered into the Laura’s Candies location on Decatur, looking for the vegan creole pralines I’d heard about. After a couple confused looks I was sent to their other nearby location on Chartres Street, where these are available. The creole pralines were not advertised as vegan but I was able to see the ingredients listed out and try a sample. They are incredibly sugary and absolutely amazing. The other flavors looked great too, but none of those are currently made vegan.
This is one of my top recommendations for authentic New Orleans cuisine made with all vegan ingredients. The Gumbo Shop offers a vegetarian option every day (when I went it was a vegan white bean soup), but the real secret is the vegan gumbo. It’s not on the menu, but if you ask for it, they’ll know what you’re talking about.
Just south of the French Quarter is one of the city’s all vegan, “garden-based” restaurants, Seed. The southern fried nuggets (tofu deep fried in chickpea batter and served with the dipping sauce of your choice) is an absolute must. This was one of my favorite food items during my time in the Big Easy. I’d skip the gluten free sandwiches, as the flatbread left a little to be desired, but overall this place was great. My omnivore husband and skeptic friend Melanie also gave it positive reviews.
This gem on Royal Street serves African fare that can please both vegans and omnivores. Check out the Ngi-Nouka Vegetables section of their menu for an array of options (think of African comfort foods such as black eyed peas, jambalaya, and fried plantains). Also, any menu item marked with asterisks can be made meat-free and servers are knowledgeable about which options are vegan.
Need a break from some of the New Orleans comfort food? Stop by 9 Roses Cafe, a small but mighty Vietnamese place on Conti Street. As long as you’re a fan of tofu, there are a handful of vegan options. Keep in mind that this restaurant is closed on Sundays.
I visited their gritty, punk rock inspired location on Dauphine and indulged in a roasted sweet potato po boy complete with black eyed pea and pecan spread. I normally stay away from gluten, but couldn’t resist trying a vegan version of this NOLA classic. Don’t expect a ton of vegan options (it seems there are 1-2 on the menu at any given time), but this is still a great stop, especially for lunch.
There’s not a bad spot to sit in this fancy, authentic Cajun restaurant, with beautiful seating both inside and on the patio. While vegetarian and vegan options are nil, there is a vegetarian jambalaya that they knock out of the park. Do be prepared to spend more than the other restaurants on this list, with veg entrees ranging from $17-26.
This upbeat taqueria has a few locations in New Orleans and is now expanding into Florida and Massachusetts. Think of it as a few steps up from Chipotle or Qdoba, with a similar concept but fresher ingredients and better ambiance (at least at their French Quarter location). Stop by for lunch or for great happy hour deals that are offered daily. Mojito Monday? Yes please.
This all-vegan cafe is tucked away under Swan River Yoga in Mid-City. Use the side entrance to get into the cafe without disrupting a yoga class above. I opted for the Bramha Salad topped with a fire burger, and a vegan & gluten-free donut to go. The meal was good and made with fresh, quality ingredients, but the donut I had the next morning was the real star. Fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, and tea, are also available in spades, along with more filling entrees like the Malaysian Curry Bowl and Teriyaki Tofu Wrap.
I’ll admit that when I was exploring the French Market, I had already eaten and decided to bypass the cute counter of Meals from the Heart. With a menu featuring vegan shakes, vegan crab cake po boys, and vegan gumbo, this place is at the top of my list for my next visit. Let me know in the comments what I should order!
After one of your meals, head to the Pontchartrain Hotel and take the elevator to Hot Tin on the top floor. Their outdoor balcony has some of the best views of New Orleans. Add a signature cocktail and you’re all set for a fun night out.
What veg-friendly spots did I miss? Post your suggestions in the comments below!