Every Thanksgiving, I am my family’s head chef.
Sides usually include Yotam Ottolenghi’s roasted sweet potato dish with fig, red chili, goat’s cheese and a balsamic reduction. Shredded Brussels sprouts with apple, pomegranate, sumac and a honey lemon vinaigrette come together as Deb Perelman’s sharp reprieve from the comforts of a good Thanksgiving spread, such as Ella Quittner’s pumpkin mac and cheese that’s heavy on the sharp cheddar and pungent Pecorino Romano. For dessert, I always make spiced brown butter pumpkin pies (at least two), with homemade crust and whipped cream.
I used to wet brine the centerpiece, but my family tells me dry brining makes for an equally — if not more — juicy turkey. (Plus it’s so much less work.) I then stuff it with lemon and a small garden’s worth of rosemary, thyme, sage and other herbs. The skin comes out a crispy, burnished brown from the butter I rub into it.
And each year, I eat everything but the turkey.
This is my way of saying — confessing — that your neighbourhood food and restaurant reporter doesn’t usually eat meat: I’m on the pescatarian side of the spectrum. Call it an ethical dilemma, or a heavy preference for vegetables and sushi.
That said, I am always and graciously willing to try what is offered to me. Since I took this job, I’ve eaten Peking duck, pork dumplings and burgers. There is a taco guide in The Daily Herald’s future, which means birria, carne asada, carnitas, and maybe even buche if I can ‘stomach’ it.
This probably isn’t the best introduction to a vegan guide.
It’s just my way of saying how truly excited I was to receive so many reader requests for a list of restaurants that serve plant-based dishes.
I combed through Facebook groups, Google maps, past news stories and more to bring you this Snohomish County vegan guide, though it is by no means an exhaustive list.
Be sure to check prices in-store or on online ordering platforms, as restaurant website menus may sometimes be outdated. I’ve rounded the prices on many of the dishes here.
It never hurts to call the restaurant to ensure a dish is vegan, and some may be able to accommodate you (omitting fish sauce in a Thai dish, or ensuring the pho broth is vegan, for example).
Thank you for reading my novella. Now, let’s get to the meat of this story:
2918 Hoyt Ave., Everett
Cafe Wylde is what I’d consider the classic vegan restaurant. Their smoothies are in the $9 to $10 range (the sage mint and nutty chocolaty sesame ones both appeal to me.) They also have fresh-blended juices ($6 to $10), loose leaf tea, raw cheesecake ($8) and several jackfruit dishes. Like I said, classic vegan. Their dishes show a great appreciation for fresh ingredients, flavour and a rainbow of fruits and veggies.
Any grilled cheese (or rather, cheez) with caramelized onions my ideal sandwich ($15). Plus it comes with a red pepper and tomato bisque.
They also have a sense of humour: Cafe Wylde’s description for their kelp and zucchini pesto noodle dish ($16) reads, “No noodles were hurt in the making of this dish; but your sense of true pasta might be.”
The Bayside Cafe
1717 Hewitt Ave., Everett
Vegan options have historically been lettuce-based. I’ve seen “veggie” sandwiches that are literally just the LT of a BLT. No vegan mayo. The other option is hastily thrown together salads, sometimes dry if the restaurant’s dressings all contain dairy.
Funny enough, The Bayside Cafe has no salads. It’s the kind of place you’d go after a hockey game (Bayside is right across from the Everett Silvertips hockey club and ice rink) for a burger, a brat and a beer.
The food just happens to be plant-based.
Co-owners Ryan Housner and Jasper Mosbacher opened Bayside — their homage to animals and dive bars — during Year 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s grown organically since.
For the burgers, you can choose from three brands: Impossible (the most meat-like, in my opinion), Beyond (my go-to brand when grocery shopping) and Field Roast, the least akin to meat and preferred by folks who like a good ol’ veggie-packed patty. Gluten-free buns are available.
They also have “chickun” sliders from Seattle-based Rebellyous Foods, Beyond brats, pulled porkless BBQ sandwiches and a Good Catch fish burger. All of these come with a side of regular fries, curly fries or tots (no upcharge for the latter two). Appetizers include pretzel sticks, saucy buffalo wingz, nachitos and fried pickles. Mains range from $11 to $14 and appetizers start at $6.
Bayside also started serving breakfast on Sundays, with tofu scrambles, chicken and “scramm” egg sliders and more. Missed breakfast? Get their breakfast sandwich that’s always on the menu. The egg, from JUST, tastes like a good scrambled egg. And the cheese isn’t weirdly glue-y like some brands.
Bayside also has a rotating selection of local beer and cider to help wash it all down.
El Nopal Mexican Food
12720 4th Ave. W., Suite D, Everett
Some taco places in Snohomish County have vegan options (Taco Bell comes to mind), but I wanted something that was more than just beans and rice, or even a solid veggie burrito (such as in Marysville, where Tacos Guaymas stuffs its vegan burritos with zucchini, potatoes, spinach, beans and rice).
Enter El Nopal. The Mexican eatery is sandwiched between a tattoo parlour and a vape shop in a little strip mall, and it had exactly what I was looking for.
I’d seen positive reviews for El Nopal’s soy meat taco, but what I was really interested in was their namesake: the nopal asado, or grilled cactus. I ordered both, and I honestly prefer the latter. The grilled cactus is a bit tart and almost like okra in texture. An overall super satisfying bite with good chew factor.
Both were dressed simply with onion and cilantro, and they came with a green and a red sauce, both smooth. The green is spicier and I could taste the tomatillo, while the red was smoky from the chipotle. Each taco costs $2.75 and is contained by two corn tortillas, so you know it’s legit. They are on the smaller side, so be sure to order a few.
12502 Mukilteo Speedway, Unit 104, Mukilteo
This Mukilteo find has a separate vegan/vegetarian menu, where you can find crispy tofu katsu ($13), veggie or tofu yakisoba ($11 to $12), vegan pineapple fried rice ($12), veggie gyoza ($7), kung pao tofu ($14) and more. Many of their vegan dishes are soy-based (tofu).
Be sure to get an almond milk-based bubble tea (around $6 after tax) to wash it down.
23830 Highway 99, Suite 115, Edmonds
I have yet to try the steamed, hand-wrapped goodness that owner Hu Sui has created for the last eight years at her Edmonds restaurant.
Many of Sui’s dishes — especially the dumplings and noodles — originate from her home province of Liaoning, in northeastern China.
Her vibrant vegetarian dishes include spicy cold noodles, vegan dumplings, vegetable hot pot, pineapple fried rice and a host of mains like bok choy and garlic, tofu and napa cabbage and spicy bean sprouts. Those dishes range from $10 to $18. Vegetarian options are indicated on the menu.
1105 Hewitt Ave., Everett
Build your own vegan bibimbap bowl ($11) and choose between four plant-based proteins at this Everett cafe: vegan beef, chicken, jackfruit or tofu. They have a variety of toppings and sauces to choose from, as well as a cauliflower rice or romaine base as an alternative to brown or white rice.
The real treat at K Fresh, in my sweet-toothed opinion, is the dessert. Not only are their root beer floats ($4) and shakes ($5) vegan, they are also gluten-free. Shake flavours range from classic chocolate and strawberry to matcha, raspberry and even eggnog.
Vietnamese (specifically tofu banh mi)
I found several eateries in Everett and beyond that serve tofu banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich topped with pickled vegetables, cilantro and sliced jalapeno (and usually meat-stuffed).
I’ll list a few here, along with other veggie-packed options from Vietnam, Japan and China. For the pho and other soups, call ahead to ensure the broth is vegan.
6125 Evergreen Way, Everett
Janbo also serves hot and sour soup ($4-$11 depending on size), wok-fried veggies ($17) and salt and pepper tofu ($10.50).
Yummy Banh Mi
1606 Hewitt Ave., Everett
Tofu fried rice, lemongrass tofu vermicelli and tofu yakisoba, all $13, are some other plant-based options at Yummy Banh Mi.
Pho Mai Noodles Vietnamese Restaurant (Happy Pho)
5129 Evergreen Way, Suite A, Everett
One Google Review of Phở Mai Noodles read: “Tofu Bahn Mi and Vegetable Pho!! Yum!! Traveled well too! Perfect.” Another stated the vegan pho was “amazing.”
Good Pho You
402 164th St. SW, Lynnwood
On top of its tofu banh mi, Good Pho You also serves fresh tofu rolls, hot and sour veggie pho and other veggie dishes.
Indian cuisine is a wonderful playground for vegetarians. Not all veggie dishes are vegan, however, such as those cooked in a cream, butter or yogurt sauce. Some of my favourite and typically plant-based Indian dishes include aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), gobi palak (cauliflower and spinach), bhindi masala (spiced okra), chana masala (chickpeas cooked in a spiced onion and tomato gravy) and baingan bharta (smoky, spiced eggplant).
Indian restaurants usually have a dedicated vegetarian menu, including the eateries listed below:
Cafe India Eastern Indian Cuisine
19817 44th Ave. W., Lynnwood
7318 Evergreen Way No. 101, Everett
Curries also specifies which dishes are vegan, not just vegetarian.
Other Vegan Bites
10209 270th St. NW, Stanwood
Speaking of banh mi, if you’re way up north in Snohomish County, stop by SAAL for their vegan take on the Vietnamese sandwich. They also serve falafel gyros, curried chickpea dip and soyrizo tacos.
Grilla Bites Cafe
1020 1st St., No. 104, Snohomish
A solid option for the eastern part of Snohomish County, Grilla Bites offers tofu sandwiches ($6 for half, around $10 for whole), portobello burgers (around $11), hummus, smoothies, juices and other vegan dishes.
2804 Grand Ave., Everett
Sisters serves two types of plant-based burgers (a black bean, corn and soyrizo option, $12, or an Impossible patty, $14).
Patrons can veganize their breakfast burrito ($13.50) and meatball sub ($14). Other plates include their chickpea salad sandwich ($11.50 whole, $8.50 half) and taco salad ($13 whole, $10 half).
Major League Pizza
2811 Colby Ave., Everett
The Everett pizza joint offers a vegan pie called the Shoeless Joe with basil, garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms, olives, soy cheese and Roma tomatoes.
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