by Elizabeth Dowds
Ask anybody in Oklahoma City, and theyâ€™re probably pretty enthusiastic about meat. A thick cowboy accent in a Cattlemenâ€™s commercial reminds me anytime the TV is on that â€œthis is cattle country.â€ A foodie friend Iâ€™m talking to concurs: â€œThis is Oklahoma. You have to eat beef.â€ By this I mean to say that I feel a bit outnumbered as a vegetarian. Sure, OKC is a great place to get a steak or BBQ (I guess), but donâ€™t worry! OKCâ€™s local restaurants have a lot to offer vegetarians, even if it takes a little trial and error to find your favorites.
Here are a few of my favorite vegetarian go-tos.
Mediterranean Deli (56th & May):
This place is amazing. Half grocery and half lunch deli, you can either pick up ingredients to make Mediterranean specialties or order from their deli counter. Save yourself the three hours and try the stuffed grape leaves on their Vegetarian Platter, which also comes with hummus, falafel balls, and spanikopita (flaky spinach pastry). My favorite menu item is the Falafel Sandwich, which comes in a pita stuffed with homemade falafels and delicious pickled vegetables.
Local Mexican Restaurants:
My three favorites are San Marcos (40th & May), La Catrina (23rd & Douglas), and La Salsa Grille (23rd & Meridian). All three of these family-owned establishments make a fantastic chile relleno with cheese. Spinach enchiladas or quesadillas are always great, as are vegetarian appetizers like botanas. Extra points to La Salsa Grille for using oil, not lard.
Taj (23rd & Douglas) separates their buffet so that all the vegetarian items are grouped. Try vegetable korma, paneer masala & panak masala (light, homemade cheese in tomato or spinach sauce), or whatever dishes theyâ€™re serving at the time. Itâ€™s all delicious. Indian food is a godsend for vegetarians.
You can check for our full review here.
The Wedge (230 N.E. 1st) is my favorite vegetarian-friendly pizza place. I put together a pizza with pesto sauce and goat cheese, spinach, and roasted red onion, and was very satisfied with the result. They also offer a great appetizer of flatbread served homemade olive tapenade, roasted red bell pepper hummus, and grilled artichoke hearts. Tip: On Monday nights you can get two pizzas for the price of one with a Keep it Local card, which makes dining there totally affordable.
Super Cao Nyugen:
This Vietnamese supergrocery has local tofu from Thanhâ€™s Tofu, an extensive produce section, and entire aisles dedicated to sauces. I like to make my own Thai curry with Panang curry paste, coconut milk, and vegetables. Another favorite is Sesame tofu using the already-fried tofu from Thanhâ€™s (such a time saver!), sauteed broccoli crowns, and sauce made with toasted sesame oil, honey, and spicy chili.
Itâ€™s not difficult to be a vegetarian, of course. The worst case scenario is going out to eat and finding that the only thing you can eat is potato side dishes prepared in various ways – an experience many vegetarians have had. What I love about the above restaurants is that they offer the Okie vegetarian something so many take for granted: options. As such, they have won my faithful patronage.
What are your favorite vegetarian dishes and restaurants?