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Sunday, October 24, 2021 — Houston, TX °

4 veggie friendly restaurants near campus to visit

Courtesy Sweetgreen

By Shiyu Miao     11/3/20 9:28pm

Living on campus and have limited options as vegetarians or vegans? Trying to live a healthier life? Here’s a list of vegetarian and vegan options around Rice’s campus. With such diverse food scenes in the city of Houston, you're sure to find an option you love.

Courtesy Field of Greens

Field of Greens is a restaurant specializing in gluten-free, soy-free and vegan cuisines. Customers are drawn in by its wide choices of sandwiches, salads and platters, including a few salmon and tuna dishes to accommodate pescatarians. Popular dishes include the Eden burger, made from soy chicken and crusted bean curd, topped with juicy mushroom, tomato, lettuce and sprouts. For a vegan option, try a macrobiotic platter made from steamed vegetables with organic brown rice, pickled daikon and a miso soup. As a first-time customer, I ordered a tomato avocado salad and an order of chips and guacamole — a must-have, with lime juice that adds a dash of freshness. The salad dressing made from pico de gallo and tofu picante was boldly flavorful and creamy, with delicious freshly sliced avocado and black beans at the bottom.

Located at 2320 W Alabama St., Field of Greens is a must-try detour on your way to the Galleria. Prices are reasonable — expect $6 for a starter and $10 to $12 for a salad, plate or burger. Both dine-in and contactless pickup are available, or you can get your meal delivered via various third-party food delivery platforms. 

Courtesy Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen, abbreviated as “sg” and located at 2551 Amherst St., is a great spot for organic salads, soup and bowls in Rice Village. Only a 15 minutes walk from campus, students can also take the Rice Village Shuttle or Greenbriar shuttle to get there. According to Sweetgreen’s website, this national chain is “a reflection of the community it’s a part of” by virtue of their locally sourced ingredients. With fresh produce delivered every morning, Sweetgreen’s dishes are as refreshing as the naturally lit, minimalist interior design at the Rice Village location. 

Customers can design their own bowls by using the “create your own” option, selecting from a wide variety of gluten-free bases like rice and quinoa, veggies, nuts, vegan-friendly proteins and made-in-house dressings. Their popular sides include spicy pesto sweet potatoes, made from roasted sweet potatoes and hot cashew pesto, and their veggie Caesar salad with kale and spicy broccoli is another must try. I personally recommend the Green Goddess avocado salad. The addition of raw beet gave the dish an extra hint of sweetness, and the ranch dressing for the salad was one of the best I've ever had.

Sweetgreen has a pickup shelf in-store where customers' food is sealed and put into a bag for contactless pickup, as well as tables for outdoor dining. Dishes can also be ordered through food delivery apps. If you use their own Sweetgreen app, you will get access to an online exclusive menu and earn rewards for purchases. Warm bowls, plates and salads cost around $12, while sides cost roughly $4.

Courtesy Trip Advisor

Tarka Indian Kitchen is a standout restaurant for its curries. Located at 3701 S Shepherd Dr. Suite A, just north of Highway 69, this Texan chain of Indian restaurants now has a detailed menu of vegetarian and vegan options on their website. Popular vegan dishes include their  vegetable samosas, pastry puffs stuffed with seasoned potatoes and green peas, and the coconut curry which includes a smooth onion sauce finished with coconut milk and tomato sauce

My favorite was the Malai Kofta, vegetable dumplings smothered in a rich tomato onion curry, which goes well with basmati rice. Their garlic naan is also one of the best I have ever tried, but for a completely vegan option, you may choose roti, an unleavened bread.

Outdoor dining and contactless pickup are available options. Delivery is also possible through its third-party partners. The food is very delicious and also affordable. Main dishes cost around $10, while soup and starters cost around $5 and fresh bread costs around $2.

Courtesy True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen, a nationwide chain serving health and eco-conscious fare, has its only Houston location at the corner of Post Oak Boulevard and San Felipe near The Galleria. Promoting their belief that “food should make you feel better, not worse,” True Food Kitchen serves a wide range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, like pizzas and salads. Dishes can also be customized to accommodate keto and paleo diets. A popular vegetarian option is edamame dumplings served with  truffle oil and dashi, a traditional Japanese stock. They also serve a vegan Korean noodle bowl, made from sweet potato glass noodles and vegetables like organic spinach. I was impressed by their “turkey bun,” made from flaxseed, which resembled real turkey meat both in terms of texture and flavor. The sides of roasted sweet potatoes and onions were also spectacular.

If you want to try out True Food Kitchen’s healthy dishes from the comfort of your home, delivery and takeout are both available through various food delivery apps and True Foods' own app. For dine-in, the indoor dining room has been adapted to ensure social distancing and the outdoor dining area has been expanded. Expect $15 to $20 for a main entrée and $11 for a starter.

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