Earth Day, which lands on April 22 this year, provides us with the opportunity to think deeply about our impact on the environment and what more we can do to protect our planet. One of the most impactful ways in which we can contribute less towards environmental degradation to is to consume more plant-based meals.
While plant-based foods may sound uninspiring, cooking with a focus on vegetables has become quite the trend. In D.C. not only are there a wide variety of plant-based options in many restaurants, but the city is even home to a plethora of entirely, and almost entirely, plant-based restaurants. In these venues, chefs have concocted innovative and delicious dishes comprised of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and grains.
In honor of Earth Day, here is a spotlight on seven spectacular dishes from D.C.’s best plant-forward dining venues.
Beefsteak’s Mushroom Mapo
“Vegetables, unleashed” is the motto of José Andrés’ fast-casual Beefsteak. A variety of bowls and salads are available, but the mushroom mapo is a recent addition, and boasts tasty Asian-influenced flavors. Mushrooms, bok choy, cucumbers and pea shoots come tossed in a silky miso dressing and crowned with crispy onions, sesame seeds and crunchy cabbage slaw. Every bite is a mouthful of umami. 800 22nd St. NW, DC; beefsteakveggies.com // @beefsteakveggies
D.C. Vegan Deli’s Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
It’s true, D.C. even has its own vegan deli. From king trumpet mushroom calamari to a root vegetable hoagie to a jackfruit cheesesteak, there is something for everyone at this P Street establishment. The cauliflower wings reign supreme, largely due to the smoky, paprika infused buffalo seasoning the cauliflower is cooked in. Dense and chewy, these nuggets are served with homemade ranch sauce and a side of celery and are ideal for sharing with a dining partner. 1633 P St. NW, DC; dc-vegan.com // @dcvegancatering
Fancy Radish’s Rutabaga Fondue
For a fine-dining plant-based restaurant, look no further than Fancy Radish. With dishes ranging from hearty vegan dan dan noodles to a portobello steak, you will be overwhelmed with the variety options on the menu. The one not-too-be-missed-no-matter-what dish is the rutabaga fondue. Creamy, buttery and savory, with the velvety texture of melted cheese, this fondue will leave you begging for more. Served with a loaf of salty pretzel bread for dipping, all you need to complete this dish is a glass of wine. 600 H St. NE, DC; fancyradishdc.com // @fancyradishdc
Pow Pow’s Trolley Fries
This H Street bistro serves up Asian-inspired bowls and rolls, but the dish you will get every single time you come will be the trolley fries. It’s comprised of a pile of crispy fries smothered in melted cashew cheese, drizzled with sweet and spicy Korean ketchup, and adorned with scallions and seaweed. It is a whirlwind of flavor and fun. 1253 H St. NE, DC; eatpowpow.com // @eatpowpow
Shouk’s Sausage Pita
Ran Nussbacher and Dennis Friedman, the creative duo behind the Israeli fast-casual venue Shouk, recently launched the Shouk sausage. It looks like a sausage and tastes like a sausage, but is made entirely of vegetables. Served in a pita with tart pickled cabbage and sweet roasted tomatoes, and doused with a heady harissa mayo, the Shouk sausage is the sausage of the future. 655 K St. NW, DC; shouk.com // @shoukfood
Sticky Fingers Diner’s Chickpea Steak Platter
It’s hard to imagine vegan diner food, but Sticky Fingers Diner does it, and does it well. The chickpea steak platter is a local favorite, featuring meaty seitan enrobed in a crunchy, garlicky crust. Served with potatoes and a rich, aromatic gravy, this is a plant-based dish that will appeal to even the most committed carnivore. 406 H St. NE, DC; stickyfingersdiner.com // @stickyfingersdiner
Sweet Sosumba Jamaican Vegan Café’s Jerk Ital Stew
This small spot elevates plant-based Caribbean food to the next level. Their bold jerk ital stew consists of slow-cooked black and kidney beans with hearty carrots and potatoes, coconut curry and a feisty jerk sauce made with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, garlic and allspice. 3607 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; sweetsosumba.com // @sweetsosumba