When the temperature rises above 80°, it’s hard to not want something that’s light, refreshing, and keeps our bodies running at optimum speed. In honor of it being prime vegetable season here in the Garden State, here are some noteworthy vegan restaurants that will even impress a carnivore.
From Seed to Sprout, Fair Haven and Avon-By-the-Sea
Yes, we’ve spoken about this spot before, but when you’re talking notable New Jersey vegan restaurants, it’s pretty much impossible not to include From Seed to Sprout. With two locations offering filling, tasty dishes (my favorite is the taco salad bowl and the grilled avocado sandwich), brunch, Thursday night dinners, Friday night pizza, and now custom-order vegan cakes, it’s easy to see why co-owners Alex Mazzucca and Cara Pescatore have a cult-like following.
Good Karma Café, Red Bank
Organic and vegan? A winning combination in our book and Good Karma Vegan Café in Red Bank definitely gets a chapter. They’re known for enticing locals and visitors to their storefront thanks to a wide range of menu items that focus on bringing together the best that the earth has to offer. Dishes include tofu, fresh vegetables, and whole grains, all compiled into salads, sandwiches, and entrees. And don’t miss out on Taco Tuesday. You’ll never look at Mexican food the same way again.
Kaya’s Kitchen, Belmar
A true original, Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar has been serving authentic vegan dishes for over a decade. Owner, Omer Basetemur, has convinced thousands of diners that vegan dishes are not just for vegans. Dishes are inspired by Thai, Asian, and Mexican cuisine and range from the Acapulco Loco (a personal favorite), to the coconut pineapple curry, and even buffalo wings (below).
Mundo Vegan, Montclair (pictured at top)
Enter the world of Mundo Vegan in Montclair, where owners and longtime Montclair residents, Fanny Fuentes-Phalon and Tracey Phalon have brought their love of health, the planet, and of course, flavorful homemade food, with a tinge of Latin flair, to their business. Sides change weekly and entrees reflect the seasons. Highly recommended: vegan ceviche!
In addition to its sandwiches that feature everything from the Da Schnitzel (a pretzel bun and a spicy house-made mustard) to the Drunkn’ Chickn (a chickpea patty and tangy BBQ sauce), PositiviTea has successfully mastered a multitude of vegan tricks. Do not miss out on the waffles (especially the S’Moregasbord—basically vegan dessert for breakfast) or the Nice Kream. You’ll feel extra proud of yourself as you delve into scoops of vegan ice cream including the Pothole. Oh, and attention burger enthusiasts: PositiviTea recently won first place for burger supremacy.
Simply Juiced, Hoboken
This 100% organic restaurant in Hoboken entices those looking to up their veggie intake, but it’s also the perfect spot for anyone who’s just in the market for good, healthy dishes. Simply Juiced is quickly making a name for itself, thanks to dishes like Ceviche Cubano (filled with everything from coconut to capers and avocado) to Pica Pickle (a sandwich with all the fixings including a pickled jalapeno) that represent their simple philosophy—“to the wealth of your health.” If this is the picture of health, then I’m all in.
Twisted Tree Café, Asbury Park
Recently reopened by new owners, Twisted Tree Café finds itself right in the midst of the culinary uprising of Asbury Park, and they’ve held their own thanks to their from-scratch menu. I’m a huge fan of their salads, tofu meatball wrap and not-to-be-missed chai lattes. Not to be outdone by their food, the décor reflects the food—simple and fresh. There’s nothing more satisfying then sipping on a latte in the corner booth, flooded with light, surrounded by plants, wood work, and good friends.
Veganized, New Brunswick
It’s no wonder that one of the tastiest New Jersey vegan restaurants opened up just down the street from Rutgers University. Veganized successfully takes vegan dishes to a new level, using 95% organic ingredients for dishes that are made fresh and to order. Specials are big here, and they’ve not only veganized the classic hot dog, but they even went and veganized the Philly cheesesteak. And it’s good. So, so good.
Wildflower Earthly Vegan Fare, Millville
Besides from the “earthy” name, Wildflower Earthly Vegan Fare not only stands out as a culinary favorite in South Jersey, but it also reinvents its menu daily to showcase the staff’s culinary skills. Talk about freshness. Featuring Jersey Fresh vegetables in all of its dishes and fruit in some of the can’t-miss desserts, there’s something for everyone—including gluten-free doggie treats for your four-legged buddy.
All photos are courtesy of their respective restaurants.