New Orleans is one of my favorite places in America – actually, it’s one of my favorite places in the world (but don’t tell the other cities I’ve written about so far, I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings). The history, the architecture, the music… the food!
That last one tends to surprise people. When I’m gushing about New Orleans (which is often) usually the first thing I hear is, “But what do you eat there?” Cajun, Creole, and Southern cuisine are generally not known to be easy for vegans with such an emphasis on meat, eggs, and dairy, and I’ve heard from a lot of vegan and vegetarian friends who have had a lot of trouble eating around NOLA. But, with this little guide and a little planning ahead, I’m hoping you can enjoy this city as much as I do.
With a bright, casual atmosphere, Seed is one of the few entirely vegan restaurants in New Orleans.
Along with featuring veganised versions of local favorites like poboys, crab cakes, and even bignets, it boasts an impressive emphasis on sustainability. They focus on local and organic produce, composting, and solar energy, as well as donate to Project Orangutan and the Humane Society of Louisiana.
Plus, the food is delicious!
My favourites are: Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad, Artichoke Cakes, Southern Fried Poboy, and Chocolate Mousse
Get hungry and plan your visit at www.seedyourhealth.com
This is an absolute gem, and if you do nothing else with your life, make sure you go to the Sneaky Pickle at least once (or every day, forever, if you’re lucky).
With a laid back and unassuming atmosphere, the aesthetic fulfills all my Southern restaurant fantasies and includes indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar, and a truly delicious menu that is both locally sourced and surprisingly affordable.
The menu is mostly vegan and includes a variety of comfort foods from a vegan rueben to vegan mac & cheese, as well as revolving specials.
My favourites are: Fried Tofu & Fried Cauliflower Buffalo Salad, Tofu Flatbread, and Vegan Mac & Cheese
Get hungry and plan your visit at www.yoursneakypickle.com
As soon as you set foot in bright and colourful Carmo, you are instantly transported into a mini tropical paradise. Intentionally avoiding the popular Creole favorites, they instead focus on cuisine from Southeast Asia, West Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and beyond, sharing global flavors with local ingredients.
The menu is very friendly towards vegans and vegetarians (and clearly marked – thank you!) and offers a rich variety of options that uniquely blend flavours through dishes and recipes I’ve never before experienced.
It’s not just the food that is impressive: sustainability is an important part of their business, with thought being given to details like take out containers, cleaning supplies, and where they source their produce.
My favourites are: Vietnamese Banquette Bread, Kotu Rotti, Rico
Get hungry and plan your visit at www.cafecarmo.com
This southern food hall and wine bar offers an amazing variety of vendors to curb just about any craving, from Thai to Mexican to Cajun and beyond. With over a dozen small independent restaurants, it’s a great place to grab a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely meal with friends (I recommend both!).
While somewhat limited, there definitely are vegan options – and interesting ones, too. This was my first time trying Haitian food!
My favourites are: Mushroom Tofu Fritai, Sweet Plantains with Avocado Dip, Avocado Toast
Get hungry and plan your visit at www.strochmarket.com
Here’s my honest review: the setting is lovely, the location is incredibly convenient in the French Quarter, and the food is…. fine. I think perhaps I ordered the wrong thing.
The menu offers a refreshing number of vegan and vegetarian options, and I’ve heard from many friends who have wonderful things to say about this charming cafe, so I’m assuming my experience is the exception, not the rule.
If nothing else, it’s a wonderful place to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine.
Get hungry and plan your visit (better than I did) at www.greengoddessrestaurant.com
Finding vegan crepes anywhere can be a bit of challenge so I was thrilled to discover this quaint and casual restaurant offering a variety of vegan and gluten-free options for both seekers of sweet or savory (or both, if you’re like me).
They boast a pet-friendly atmosphere and really affordable prices. My only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to try more!
My favourite for now is: Fruit & Cream (with strawberries)
Get hungry and plan your visit at www.bywaterhideout.com
New Orleans offers more than just vegan food; it’s home to two vegan shops as well!
Conveniently located right next door to Seed, artist Ally Burguieres creates darling prints, apparel, and gifts with animal-friendly messages so you can skip the kitschy souvenirs.
Plan your visit at www.cocoally.com
One of my favorite fair trade clothing brands is actually based in the Bywater. All of their designs are in 100% cotton (with some organic options), and feature colourful prints and comfortable styles, especially for those hot New Orleans summers.
Plan your visit at www.passionlilie.com
There are probably a dozen more vegan-friendly spots I haven’t made it to yet, so check out Vegan New Orleans Facebook page if you’re looking for more options, and be sure to share any places I missed in the comments below.
Photos by author unless otherwise noted