Vegan: Five favorite vegan dishes on O‘ahu
Whether a sometime, full-time or never vegan, try these offerings from Peace Cafe, Da Falafel King, Licious Dishes, Kale's Deli, Yuzu.
Peace Cafe's Heart and Seoul.
PHOTO: RAE HUO
Whether you partake in Meatless Monday (along with other carnivores such as lardo-loving Mario Batali), are vegan, or are just looking to eat a little bit healthier this year, you might like these veggie dishes around the island. They’re some of my favorites. (And if being a sometime vegan has never crossed your mind, here's some food for thought.)
Heart and Seoul from Peace Cafe
A vegan take on bi bim bap, in which you have a choice between fresh tofu or TVP (textured vegetable protein). I always go for the soft-as-custard tofu to mix with the marinated shaved carrots, sesame doused kale, and miso paste that adds depth and spice to the plate.
$9.25, 2239 S. King St., 951-7555, peacecafehawaii.com
ONLY ONE OF THESE IS VEGAN: A FALAFEL PITA FROM DA FALAFEL KING
PHOTOS: MARTHA CHENG
Falafel from Da Falafel King
Heartiness in sandwich form: a soft pita stuffed with herby, crunchy, fried falafel, grilled eggplant, pickles, red cabbage and a creamy tahini sauce.
$8, Two locations: Waikiki Trade Center, 2255 Kuhio Ave, 223-7899 and 2535 S King St., 291-5282
Licious Dishes' living lasagna.
Living Lasagna from Licious Dishes
Vegan plus raw at Licious Dishes equals amazingly vibrant, fresh tastes. Meat wishes it could be this flavorful. Here, the "noodles" are thin slices of zucchini, layered with sundried tomato marinara, pesto and a macadamia nut "ricotta" that tastes like the real deal. (The tri-layer dip with a cashew "sour cream" is a favorite, too.)
$8.50, The Shops at Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Road Ste. 170, 536-9680
Kale's Deli's Cashew Tempeh Kabocha.
Cashew Tempeh Kabocha at Kale's Deli
The roasted sesame kabocha is the hook here. It's tossed with broccoli in a miso sauce and topped with cashews. I'm not a huge fan of soy products (except for tofu), but the tempeh adds a unique nuttiness. Add a bit of kale and Otsuji Farms red spinach for extra variety (and color!).
$9.50, inside Kale's Natural Foods, 377 Keahole St., 396-6993
Yuzu's veggie sushi sampler.
Veggie sushi sampler at Yuzu
Vegan sushi? Carrot "uni"? Tomato "tuna"? It may be an unusual vegan plate, but it's delicious in its whimsy. (Let the chefs know if you're vegan, so they can prepare bonito-free dashi.)
$14.95, Inside Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Dr., 943-1155, yuzuhawaii.com
Plus, a shout out to the Portabella Stache'wich at The Beet Box Cafe, with tangy sauteed portabella and zucchini, though it's vegan-disqualified by the feta and garlic aioli. But it's a step down the green, leafy brick road to vegetable health.
$10.50, Inside Celestial Natural Foods, 66-443 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, thebeetboxcafe.com.
And for dessert? Many of these eateries offer sweet treats (i.e. a vegan affogato at Peace Cafe, beet and berry mochi at Kale's, chocolate pudding pie at The Beet Box Cafe), but take a look at A Sweet Dash of Aloha, a mostly-dessert cookbook dedicated to vegan/gluten-free/healthier desserts such as lemon basil cupcakes and key lime pie. Sample treats from the cookbook Saturday, February 11 at Whole Foods, from 2 to 4 p.m.