The first Veganuary was launched in 2014 by a UK non-profit and while the concept took a while to land in the UAE, restaurants are now falling all over themselves to get in on the Beyond Burger action. Special menus are all well and good, but whether the desire is to eat less meat is for reasons of health, animal welfare or global sustainability, diners need quality vegan options for the other 11 months of the year. Here are 10 to try:
Common Grounds vegan menu
In Veganuary and beyond Common Grounds, the destination cafe in Mall of the Emirates, pays full attention to vegans and the vegan-ish with a range of items including a dedicated starter menu featuring chunky Avo fries, Vietnamese rice wraps and crunchy cauliflower with ranch sauce. The main event has a number of options including an Avocado burger, crispy palm heart, lentil tacos and a zucchini, pea and green chilli linguini.
Beyond Bangers and Mash at PJs
You wouldn’t expect to find meat-free offerings at a meat-and-potato stalwart like PJ O’Reilly’s, located in Abu Dhabi’s Le Royal Meridien hotel. But times they are a-changing, and among other things, PJs is now offering Beyond Bangers and Mash. If you’ve ever tried a Beyond Burger, you know how much like actual meat they are and the Beyond Sausage is no different: full of flavour, dense and filling.
Teriyaki White Cabbage at Market Kitchen
While most people are doing cauliflower on the grill, this Veganuary Market Kitchen at Abu Dhabi’s Le Royal Meridien is firing up another ultra nutritious vegetable, one that offers a third of the Vitamin C you need in a day in just half a cup, along with Vitamins A and K, fiber, magnesium and more: the Teriyaki White Cabbage Steak.
Wrestler’s Choice at Catfish
Gbemi Giwa’s healthy West African concept Catfish has relaunched at Ripe Market in Academy Park, Dubai and is also available for home delivery through Chatfood. Wrestler’s Choice features either tofu or mushrooms, signature jollof rice, plantain, smashed avocado, mango slaw and salad mix. Like all Catfish’s bowls, it offers healthy vegetables, lean protein, carbs and good fats, all infused with nourishing and warming spices and aromatic herbs that have been used in African kitchens for centuries.
Breakfast in Lowlands at The Pangolin
If you’ve ever dined at an eatery helmed by Aussie chef Troy Payne, you are a) fortunate indeed and b) likely to have encountered dishes you might not be able to describe to a friend, no matter how delicious they are. The new breakfast menu at Lowlands, the groundfloor eatery in the new Dubai Sports City F&B concept The Pangolin has just such a dish: mixed mushroom Adana Kebabi, which is a mushroom-based kebab atop tofu scramble, spinach whip, pickled green tomatoes and rye pita.
Spectacolar at Bounty Beets
Veganuary brought the launch of a new plant-based menu at Bounty Beets, located in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. The must-try dish is dubbed the Spectacolar and features a zucchini taco shell filled with spiced vegan meat, slaw and guacamole topping.
Main mushrooms at Bagatelle
The Fairmont Hotel eatery Bagatelle has a variety of vegan offerings on its menu, but our eyes are on the luscious-looking Poule des Bois Roti, which lays Josper roasted Maitake Mushrooms on a bed of olive oil mash, lemon confit and herb dressing.
New vegan meal plans at Flow
The Dubai healthy eating hub has rolled out a vegan meal plan with low monthly prices, starting from Dh1,499. Head chef Christopher Kinsley has created a menu that features Flow Vegan Breakfast with sausage, scrambled tofu, Mexican beans, balsamic glazed cherry tomatoes and grilled portobello mushrooms for breakfast, avocado and grilled mushroom club sandwich with caramelized onion jam, slow roasted bell pepper and homemade BBQ sauce, for lunch and Mediterranean ragout pasta with herb roasted eggplant and basil oil for dinner. Snacks include cookie dough power balls and sliced avocado and beetroot hummus with house dukkha.
Tofu Tikka Masala at Punjab Grill
Punjab Grill, the fine dining Indian eatery tucked into Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi’s Venetian Village celebrates Veganuary with a new vegan menu. It features a range of starters and mains, including Tandoori Broccoli and Mushroom with sweet potato puree and coconut foam and Tofu Tikka Masala. For dessert? Jalebi Churros made with blueberry and coconut sorbet.
Truffle rice at Akira Back
Akira Back at W Dubai – The Palm offers a range of vegan dishes inspired by Japanese and Korean cuisine. Among them are inventive Beyond AB Tacos with Beyond Beef Bulgogi, roasted tomato ponzu, cilantro and jalapeno, Miso Eggplant and a creamy Truffle Rice Clay Pot.
• Check local websites and menus for pricing.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.