By Alison Bailin Batz
Come spring, many people seek lighter dishes – which can often mean vegetarian options – that don’t sacrifice flavor. Luckily, Valley chefs understand that vegetarian dishes don’t have to equal boring. Whether you’re a strict vegetarian or simply seeking an alternative to meaty dishes once in a while, plenty of options around town will satisfy on all levels.
Kovo Modern Mediterranean
Grilled eggplant and tomato is topped with a slice of grilled halloumi, drizzled with oil and balsamic reduction, and sprinkled with fresh herbs in this savory appetizer option. Halloumi, a popular cheese from Cyprus, Greece, has a high melting point, which makes it the perfect addition to this dish. $14. www.kovomedi.com.
Two Brothers Tap House and Brewery
One of the greatest meatless marvels in the world is the mushroom, as exemplified in Two Brothers’ mouthwatering portobello burger. Centered on a freshly baked brioche bun, the marinated mushroom is topped with grilled onions, creamy Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts. The final touch is a sweet balsamic glaze. $11. www.twobrothersbrewing.com.
La Senora at The Saguaro
Carrots … on a taco? Yes! For this decidedly unique dish, roasted heirloom carrots are tossed in an arbol chili sauce then paired with housemade requeson, which is a spreadable, ricotta-like cheese produced in Brazil and Portugal. The ingredients are piled onto a housemade tortilla and served with three to an order. $14. www.thesaguaro.com.
Meat-centric Brat Haus also offers a variety of vegetarian dishes including roasted cauliflower, which is both gluten-free and vegetarian. Florets of tender cauliflower are mixed with the Mediterranean flavors of tahini, fresh cilantro, and raisins for slight sweetness. To complete the dish, sumac (another spice) adds a tangy, lemony taste. $12. www.brathausaz.com.
This new-to-the-menu item makes a perfect power lunch, featuring Spanish-style cauliflower rice, sauteed tricolor peppers, avocado, and sauteed garlic Brussels sprouts paired with Roma tomatoes, black olives, and arbol salsa. There is also an option to add a protein (and queso). $13.95. www.tocayaorganica.com.
Farm & Craft
Inspired by the popular Thai dish, this chilled salad entree is built with spiralized zucchini and carrots, tossed in a housemade chili almond dressing, then piled high with bean sprouts, shredded Brussels sprouts, raw almonds, and a tamarind-honey drizzle. Guests have the option to top it with tofu for an extra hit of protein as well. $10. www.ilovefarmandcraft.com.
Yes, even barbecue joints can offer great vegetarian options beyond side dishes and desserts. Case in point: this fried green tomato sandwich, which is topped with lettuce and pimento cheese, a Southern favorite. There is a touch of smoke, a hit of zing from the tomato, and great creaminess from the cheese in every bite. $13. www.starlitebbq.com.
Taqueria Centro at Onmi Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
This taco dish pairs fresh squash blossoms
and raw cactus, two ingredients local to the Valley. These are wrapped in a locally made yellow corn tortilla and topped with Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, roasted corn, and avocado. Two tacos are served with Molcajete salsa and housemade seasonal escabeche. $15. www.omnihotels.com.
Spotted Donkey Cantina at Boulders Resort & Spa
With this dish, Arizona’s regional influences are embraced as it uses locally sourced artisanal ingredients. Fresh poblano chilies are stuffed with Spanish rice and a combination of cheddar and jack cheeses, and then covered with a rich basil tomato sauce. $16.95. www.theboulders.com.
The sweetness of the beets shines through in this snack from Postino, which is new to the menu in recent months. The beets are paired with curried pistachios, herbed ricotta, arugula and poppy seed vinaigrette, yielding simple yet fresh flavors. $10. www.postinowinecafe.com.
As one of the most popular specialty pizzas on the menu for vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike, this pizza is topped with fresh spinach, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and a secret blend of spices. Truly, the meat really isn’t missed! $10-$26. www.spinatospizzeria.com.
This dish, which is on the seasonal menu at each Pita Jungle, takes a variety of vegetables, adds quinoa, spices it up with house Sriracha, and tops it with kimchi for an Asian-inspired veggie bowl. $9.99. www.pitajungle.com.
The Vegan Poke Bowl is a crowd-pleaser for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. The dish is crafted with brown rice, marinated beets, avocado, pickled mushrooms, cucumbers, radishes, wasabi peas, smoked dulse, and spicy ponzu. $9.50. www.iamaflowerchild.com.