Interest continues to grow in plant-based options at both restaurants and fast-food spots. Whatever the reason for embracing vegetarian or vegan cuisine, here are some new items for diners to try.
Broken Yolk Cafe has collaborated with JUST Egg, America's fastest-growing egg brand made entirely of plants, for its first-ever plant-based menu item.
Launched last month, the spicy vegan bowl, which is available at all Broken Yolk Cafe locations, features scrambled JUST Egg along with spinach, mushrooms, onion, red and green bell pepper served over home fries and topped with plant-based Beyond Sausage hot Italian link, avocado and Sriracha.
The Habit Burger Grill introduced two new plant-based options — the original Impossible burger and the Impossible bistro burger — as part of its collaboration with Impossible Foods. After a smaller test last summer, the plant-based options are now available nationwide.
(Note that if you order them as designed, these burgers are vegetarian not vegan due to the inclusion of cheese on both.)
The original option is topped with savory caramelized onions, American cheese, fresh shredded lettuce and tomato on a toasted sesame bun. The Impossible bistro burger has The Habit's signature caramelized onions along with aged white cheddar cheese, green leaf lettuce, tomato and a special house-made tangy secret sauce all on a toasted sweet brioche bun.
Both are available for a limited time.
Speaking of burgers, earlier this summer, Wendy's started testing a spicy black bean burger, featuring a plant-based black bean patty made with a blend of spices, topped with tomatoes, onion slices, romaine lettuce, chipotle jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and a spicy chipotle sauce.
Its three test markets are in Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Pittsburgh.
Rather than go the route of other fast-food chains — like Burger King, Carl’s Jr. and White Castle, who have partnered with plant-based brands Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods — Wendy's opted to create its own creation.
"Demand for plant-based proteins has exploded during the past 10 years,” a Wendy’s spokesperson told VegNews.com. "As a company striving to meet our fans where they are and deliver incredible taste and flavor, we identified a culinary opportunity to craft a plant-based protein in a uniquely Wendy's way. Guided by our food vision, Fast Food Done Right, we've been carefully tracking the plant-based trend and exploring the best, most craveable way to introduce it to Wendy's fans."
Chipotle Mexican Grill recently announced it is testing a new plant-based chorizo for a limited time in Denver and Indianapolis.
This is the first new plant-based protein for Chipotle since it debuted its sofritas in 2014.
Made with a pea protein base, the chorizo is made from ancho chile and chipotle peppers, tomato paste, crushed garlic, smoked paprika and extra virgin olive oil. The product is certified vegan, the Newport Beach-based chain said, and provides 20 grams of protein per serving.
The company has been developing new items in recent years using its “Stage-Gate process,” and said that it would use that process to get customer feedback before deciding on a natural launch process for its plant-based chorizo, Restaurant Business Online reports.
Lucky customers in those test locations can try the chorizo with no delivery fees between now and Aug. 29.
Sprouts Farmers Market customers have additional plant-based options thanks to Tattooed Chef, which launched four entree bowls including two new flavors at Sprouts in more than 300 stores.
Options include the Buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese bowl, cauliflower florets covered in a creamy buffalo cheddar cheese sauce with a hint of ranch; spicy Thai bowl, with plant-based chicken mixed with brown rice, riced cauliflower, carrots, red cabbage, red bell peppers and green onion in a spicy Thai peanut sauce; egg roll bowl, with plant-based beef crumbles mixed with jasmine rice, riced cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, ginger, cilantro, and green onion in a sweet tamari chili sauce; and the pesto harvest bowl, which is a blend of quinoa and riced cauliflower mixed with zucchini, spinach, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and red bell peppers tossed in a vegan pesto.
Spicy Thai and Buffalo are the new bowl flavors, and the Buffalo is the only one that is not vegan due to the cheese sauce. All four bowls are gluten-free.
The local Sprouts is at 10650 Stockdale Highway.
And shoutout to completely plant-based local restaurant Vida Vegan (4530 Stine Road), which is currently offering a Taco Tuesday deal of a crunchy taco combo of three crunchy tacos and a side dish for $10. The deal is available from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays. Individual crunchy tacos are $2 each.