The Simple Test To Tell If A Bar Has Decent Vegan Food

While veganism and flexitarianism may be on the rise, finding vegan options when you're out with your friends still isn't a guarantee — especially if you're just heading to a local bar. But, even though Impossible and Beyond burgers have become standard options at most burger joints and pubs, they don't necessarily indicate that you'll have good quality vegan options, or vegan options at all. Besides the fact that most restaurants cook vegan burger patties on the same grills as beef-based ones, which many people consider not vegan, plant-based eaters can grow tired of being served the same things everywhere they go.

With all the alternatives available now, there's no reason why restaurants can't get more creative. Fortunately, there are a few out there that are — you just have to know how to find them. Rather than scouring Yelp, there are a couple of items you can look for on the menu before you go somewhere: vegan cheese, sauces, and alternative proteins. With the addition of those three things, your menu options expand much more, making your dining experience much more memorable than a basic veggie burger — and that's especially true if you follow the 11 tips for ordering a vegan meal, too.

Vegan cheese, sauces, and alternative proteins

As veganism becomes more popular and the alternatives available at grocery stores expand, so should the options that restaurants offer. So from now on, instead of settling for your everyday veggie burger or salad when you go to the bar with your buddies, look for places that offer a little something extra. A dairy alternative, vegan cheese option is usually a good signifier that you'll get an excellent vegan bar meal — and that goes for pizza and Mexican restaurants too. Vegan cheese can easily be added or substituted in vegetarian dishes that normally contain cheese to make them completely plant-based.

The same thing can be said about sauces too — and no, ketchup and mustard do not count. Yes, they're vegan, but they're standard. What you should look for are vegan versions of other traditionally non-vegan sauces, such as ranch, aiolis, yogurt sauces, and cremas. Similar to vegan cheese, having a vegan sauce option on the menu opens up many more possibilities for plant-based eaters who can substitute or add them to dishes of their choosing. Obviously, these menu options really only work for vegans if there's some sort of vegan protein or meat alternative available on the menu as well. 

While Beyond burgers are delicious, a good vegan spot will also offer alternatives that have been prepared from scratch. Keep a special eye out for alternatives made from bases of seaweeds, mushrooms, eggplant, tempeh, tofu, and other legumes, as they tend to demonstrate a deeper understanding of plant-based eating.