The 7 Best Vegan Dishes in Chicago

By Staff in Food on Aug 21, 2013 6:00PM

We're indiscriminate omnivores here at Chicagoist. Last week we listed our choices for the best butchers in Chicago, which got the attention of meat eaters. This week we cater to the herbivores.

By their nature, Vegans can be a very particular lot, given they cut out meat, dairy and even eggs from their diets. But that doesn't mean they need to sustain on only dull brown rice and tofu all the time.

Following are seven dishes we believe are the best to find in Chicago. We know we may have missed some and that you will have your opinions, so leave them in the comments.

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Amitabul's "Cure-all" soup.
Former Jim's Grill owner Dave Choi left Lakeview before the skyrocketing rents forced his hand and relocated to the far reaches of the Northwest Side with Amitabul, a "no meat, no egg, no dairy" restaurant that still attracts a loyal clientele. My favorite dish on Amitabul's menu is the "cure-all" soup, a spicy broth teeming with mushrooms, tofu, noodles, seaweed and vegetables can help rid the eater of cold, flu and hangovers. It is a tasty soup and you will sweat through every layer of clothing you're wearing eating it, but you leave feeling better than you did sitting down. Choi may be on to something with this vegan thing. —Chuck Sudo

Amitabul is at 6207 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Bi Bim Bop At Mana Food Bar
As an avowed meat eater, I never thought a vegan dish would become a guilty pleasure. After my first dinner at Mana Food Bar, I knew that I had been far, far off the mark. Their entire menu of Korean-inspired vegan dishes is drool-worthy, but I'm a particular fan of the Bi Bim Bop. Spicy hot pepper miso, brown rice and fresh vegetables, all mixed together and so delicious that you won't just not miss the meat, you'll be too busy stuffing your face to care. —Anthony Todd

Mana Food Bar is located at 1742 W. Division St.

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Blind Faith Café's fajitas. (Photo cia Blind Faith Café's Facebook page.)

Blind Faith Café's Fajitas Platter
We love us some seitan when red meat has us feeling the need for a cleanse or, at the very least, some healthy eating. This dish from one of the better vegetarian restaurants in the area fits the bill. The seitan in this dish is marinated, grilled and served on a sizzling platter with sautéed onions, mushrooms, poblano peppers, tortillas and guacamole. Hold the sour cream and you have a wonderful vegan feast. —Chuck Sudo

Blind Faith Café is located at 525 Dempster St. in Evanston.

Roasted Portobello Root Vegetable Hash at Karyn's on Green
I'm not a huge fan of meat substitutes, so while I'm sure the "crab" cakes and "chicken" legs at Karyn's on Green are delicious, I usually head straight for the roasted portobello root vegetable hash. A hash is one of my favorite ways to cook up a quick vegan-friendly dish at home, and this one, topped with sauteed leeks and drizzled with a Tempranillo reduction, blows my home-cooked version out of the water. —Anthony Todd

Karyn's on Green is located at 130 S. Green St.

BBQ Protein Tidbits At Original Soul Vegetarian
Despite the garish name, these tasty morsels of barbequed tofu are a great appetizer at this Chatham landmark and possibly a meal in itself if you order more than one. —Chuck Sudo

Original Soul Vegetarian is located at 205 E. 75th St.

Roasted Vegetable Polenta At Chicago Diner
This dish, a recent addition to the menu at the popular Boys Town and Logan Square restaurant, features olive oil roasted veggies, tender polenta served on a bed of marinara sauce with fresh rosemary and thyme. In addition to being vegan, it's also gluten- and soy-free. Chomp, y'all. —Chuck Sudo

Chicago Diner is located at 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 3411 N. Halsted St.

Lemon Mojito Cupcake From Azucar Vegan Bakery
Enjoy a taste of summer with this wonderfully moist lemon cupcake topped with mint frosting and lemon zest shavings. Azucar also provides cupcakes and other desserts for Quesadilla La Reyna del Sur, where most of the dishes are vegan or can be prepared for vegan diets.

Azucar Vegan Bakery and Quesadilla La Reyna del Sur is located at 2235 N. Western Ave.