Eating out? 10 delicious meatless dishes to order

Dindin Reyes
Not sure what to order when you've sworn off meat? Here are a few savory guilt-free dishes to enjoy
All photos by Dindin Reyes/Rappler

If you’ve taken on the no-meat challenge for whichever reason, I can tell you now it doesn’t have to be a hardship. Whether for Lent or for wellness, having to say no to your usual menu of sisig, burgers, lechon and liempo means you get to say yes to a healthy serving of veggies, seafood, fruits and all other yummy things. 

For the meat-lovers who are stumped when it comes to ordering out when you’ve sworn off meat for a while, here are 10 meatless dishes one might almost call sinful, all found in restaurants in the metro.

1. Balsamic mushroom chickpea sandwich and eggplant tuna curry sandwich from Go! Salads (sandwiches at P140 each)

Located in Katipunan, Eastwood and Ortigas, Go! Salads is an easy source for a fast, healthy meal. For days when the daily grind rules your schedule, visit them for salads, sandwiches, soup, and smoothies that are affordable, quick to prepare, and can be eaten on the go.

Get their Balsamic Mushroom Chickpea sandwich that has a vegetarian patty made with chickpeas, and is complemented by a sweet honey basil sauce.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF FAST FOOD. For quick, healthy meals visit Go! Salads. The balsamic mushroom chickpea sandwich and the eggplant tuna curry sandwich are the bottom two. Photo by Dindin Reyes

 

Another option is the Eggplant Tuna Curry sandwich flavored with Mediterranean spices that add bite to your everyday eggplant and tuna.

2. Sweet potato tops and kesong puti ravioli at Earth Kitchen (P370)

Earth Kitchen is proud believer in the Filipino farmer. Almost all of the food you eat here comes directly from farmers and farmers’ organizations all over the country, making their harvests sustainable and making your meal worthwhile. It follows that all the dishes in Earth Kitchen are creative presentations of well-loved Filipino produce.

FILIPINO RAVIOLI. A Filipino twist on the Italian ravioli made with homegrown ingredients like camote and pili nuts. Photo by Dindin Reyes

One of their best sellers is the sweet potato tops and kesong puti ravioli. In this dish, good old camote tops are paired with pomodoro sauce, white cheese, parmesan cheese, and pili nuts. It’s a sumptuous Filipino ravioli that will make you rethink the kamote you grew up eating. 

3. Uni Negra risotto at Earth Kitchen (P390)

Another must-try at this homey restaurant in White Plains is the Uni Negra risotto. Loaded with squid ink, uni butter, beans and seared local scallops, you won’t think twice about diving into this black-as-night dish. What makes it extra special is the unique uni butter made from a creamy combination of eels and butter.  

LOCAL GOODNESS. The seafood in Earth Kitchen are usually sourced from fishermen in Visayas and the Saranggani area. Photo by Dindin Reyes

4. Szechuan chili coconut prawns with yang chow fried rice at The Vegetarian Kitchen (P312) 

If you’re looking to go meatless, the menu at The Vegetarian Kitchen might confuse you. They’ve got meals like grilled steak sandwiches, caldereta, Spanish lengua, fried chicken and so on. Don’t worry, temptation has not come to follow you. All their “meat” dishes are actually made with veggie meat!

A sign of their years of experience, some of their dishes are made with their very own veggie meat (also known as vegemeat) from different substitutes like whole wheat flour and soya. 

Veggie meat though it may be, it’s hard to tell the difference between real meat and what you’re eating. A good example is the Szechuan chili coconut prawns with yang chow fried rice. Underneath the rich tang and slight sweetness of the flavoring, you’d never know the prawns are made with veggie meat substitutes and the yang chow’s scrambled egg is actually tofu egg. 

Enjoy the “prawns!” 

VEGGIE MEAT. All the meat dishes at The Vegetarian Kitchen aren’t actually meat. All you’re eating is pure vegetable. Photo by Dindin Reyes

5. Savory vegetable kofta in tomato sauce at The Vegetarian Kitchen (P298)

Savory is the perfect word to describe this dish served at The Vegetarian Kitchen. The rich tomato sauce for the kofta balls is drizzled with a creamy homemade yogurt dressing, making for a good contrast in looks, taste, and texture.  

INDIAN MONTH. The Vegetarian Kitchen picks a theme every month and adds special dishes to their already international menu based on the theme. For March 2015 the special cuisine is Indian. Photo by Dindin Reyes

6. Falafel soft tacos at Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar (P215) 

For those who want their taco fix, try one with falafel instead. At Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar you can try a flavorful Falafel Soft Taco that tastes as yummy as it looks.  

Topped off with garlic yogurt, the falafel balls are served with cilantro brown rice, black beans, and pesto. Definitely enough for a full meal, the falafel is “meaty” enough to make you forget meat. Complement the strong garlic taste with a juice or a drink like the Hillside Green smoothie that has spinach, malunggay, coconut meat, chia seeds and other ingredients refreshing to the palate.

GOOD FOOD FOR ME TIME. A quiet restaurant along Mother Ignacia, Hillside Cafe and Juice Bar can be your healthy haven in the busy city. Photo by Dindin Reyes

7. Veggie meat Banh Mi at Wabi Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery (Half, P75, whole P150)

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, get your meatless fix at the Wabi Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery in Tomas Morato and Malugay street in Makati. Their Banh Mi’s barbecue veggie meat is made from soy and seaweed – two ingredients friendly to your meatless diet. They heap on the veggie meat in generous portions and offset the barbecue flavor with fresh vegetables. You can eat it plain, or with sauces like a spicy vinegar or chili. 

MAKE IT A MEAL. On the side, you can eat Wabi Sabi’s lighter dishes like the Sweet Corn Tempura, the Veggie Unagi and the Chahan. by Dindin Reyes

Eat it half or whole, enjoying the crunch to the bread and the uniqueness of the veggie meat.

8. Crispy catfish salad and Quinoa gold salad at Juju Eats (Half, P145 whole, P265, with quinoa, half P185, whole P345)

Who says you can’t pair a salad with a salad? Definitely not at Juju Eats.

At Juju Eats, you can be the master of your food journey and create your own salad or you can choose from their signature salads to get you started. A great combination is the Crispy Catfish and the Quinoa Gold. The slightly salty catfish, the sour green mango and the fresh basil work well with the simpler taste of the Quinoa Gold and its grainy feel. The grainy texture comes from the sundried tomatoes, grilled asparagus and quinoa, a superfood abundant in protein and fiber. 

If salads aren’t exactly your thing, go ahead and make the salad a wrap! All their salads can be turned into wraps. For the vegetarians and vegans, you can replace the meat with other veggies and veggie meat.

YEAH SALAD. The salads at Juju Eats are not just for vegetarians and vegans. They’ve got a salad variationfor everyone plus other things like pasta, gluten-free pastries, and a number of juices to choose from. Photo by Dindin Reyes

9. Ultimate F2T lasagna at Green Pastures (P600)

Aside from ingredients that aren’t produced in the Philippines, all their food is sourced from farms, ranches, and fisheries chef Robby Goco has known of or visited during his travels in the country. Goco turns locally sourced food into masterpieces that could definitely turn you on to the farm to table movement. 

For those going meatless, one thing to try is their Ultimate F2T Lasagna. Yup you guessed it, F2T = farm to table. Good for vegetarians or just those who want to take a break from meat, the lasagna is rich with 3 cheeses, roasted carrot puree and juicy mushrooms. There’s no way you’ll feel like your sacrifice is painful by choosing this rich dish. 

STRAIGHT FROM THE FARM. Enjoy food you know is sourced responsibly at Green Pastures. Photo by Dindin Reyes

 

10. Yellow fin tuna fillet burger at Green Pastures (P530)

Bigger and more filling than some red meat burgers out there is the yellow fin tuna fillet burger at Green Pastures. When it lands on the table the first thing you’ll notice is the thick tuna “patty,” the star of the dish. Biting into the potato bun, the fillet is slightly crispy on the outside but tender and incredibly juicy on the inside. The distinct tuna taste is topped of with Asian slaw with fries on the side. Prepare to eat with your hands for this luxury of a meal. 

STRAIGHT FROM THE FARM. Enjoy food you know is sourced responsibly at Green Pastures. Photo by Dindin Reyes

Look at this as a golden opportunity to expand your food pickings beyond your red meat regulars. If you’re a true blue meat lover, you might find that the alternatives are just as excellent. – Rappler.com


Whether you are on a diet or simply looking for healthy alternatives, these meatless dishes will surely satiate your gastronomic cravings. Click here for the biggest food deals and discounts everyday!