Plant-based people, unite 🌿

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Rosewood Market

8 local veg go-to’s from a registered dietitian.

When I moved to Columbia seven years ago, it seemed like the only options for casual dining were burgers and barbecue. Now, don’t get me wrong. Despite being a dietitian, I’m all about a good burger when the mood strikes – preferably one involving bacon and pimento cheese – but sometimes I feel like grabbing a casual bite with friends without spending the rest of the afternoon in a food coma.

Thankfully, in the years since I’ve moved to Columbia, dozens of new restaurants have opened offering healthier cuisine than the usual bar fare. I’ve also discovered a few local gems that were there all along.

If you’re looking for a fresh and tasty meal on the plant-based side of the spectrum, I’ve put together a list of eight of my favorite vegan meals in Columbia. 👇

Vegan Banh Mi | Rosewood Market & Deli | $10.95

This spicy sandwich swaps pan-seared seitan for the traditional pork and paté, and I promise, you won’t miss the meat.

Rosewood Market

Photo by @rosewoodmarketsc

Mushroom Potato with Romesco Taco | White Duck Taco | $3.45 each

Hold the feta to make this one vegan, and enjoy with a side of watermelon and mint – and a fresh margarita.

White Duck Taco Shop

Photo by @rachaelhartleyrd

Veggie Plate | Lamb’s Bread Vegan Café | $13 for large or $10 for small

Vegan soul food is a thing, and it’s really, really good. Don’t miss the yams.

Lambs Bread Vegan Cafe

Photo by @lambsbreadvegancafe

Raw Tacos | Good Life Café | $10.95 for two or $13.95 for three

If you’re not in the mood for tacos, try literally anything else on the menu – the entire restaurant is vegan!

Good Life Cafe

Photo by @columbia_veg + @goodlifecaferaw

Tofu Bibimbap | Blue Cactus Café | $7.50

Hold the egg, add the tofu, and don’t skimp on the spicy chili sauce.

Blue Cactus Cafe

Photo by @annewolfepostic

Coconut Quinoa and Kale Salad | Publico | $7.99

You didn’t think we were going to make it through a list of vegan meals without at least one salad, did you?

Publico

Photo by @enthusiast_oflife

Falafel Sandwich | Boeshreen | $5.99

It would be impossible to survive as a vegan without falafel.

Boeshreen

Photo via Boeshreen – Columbia, SC Facebook page

Veggie Combo Platter | Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant | $11

Try delicious vegetable stews over injera bread. Plus, who doesn’t love eating with their hands?

Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant

Photo by @djlakegang

If you have strict dietary restrictions (rather than someone omnivorous who’s craving a plant-based meal), be sure to ask your server about your dish, as ingredients can change.

For those who have other dietary restrictions, like gluten free or food allergies, check out Good Life Café, Poké Bros for a make your own poke bowl, Basil or Grill Marks for plenty of options. And shoutout to Gorilla Boost, a new vegan + food-allergy friendly vendor at Soda City.

Pro tip: For ongoing info + conversation, join the local Facebook group Columbia Veg.

Reader tip: COLAToday reader Charlene encourages Cola vegans to check out Black Bean Co. in the Vista – and order the Green Festival Wrap with tofu + a vegan chocolate chip cookie. 

Rachael Hartley, RL, LD, CDE, CLT

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