Tips for Dining Out Vegan Style

 One of the first questions you may ask yourself when you are adopting a plant-based diet is: “What can I order from the menu at my favorite restaurant?” Good question. Here are a few helpful tips.

When you are dining out while traveling, vacationing, or just taking a break from cooking at home, you may think you are ordering vegetarian fare, but in many non-vegan restaurants, that may not be the fact. When looking to eat a completely vegan meal, always ask for your meal to be made without the use of any animal products. Ask your waiter to make sure that no dairy products, chicken, beef, or fish broths are being used in anything you order such as your “vegetable soup or pasta primavera!”

If there are no vegan choices listed on the menu, many eateries are now happy to accommodate, by preparing a simple vegan dish from items they stock in their kitchen. Start by asking for pasta topped with steamed veggies or served with a simple primavera or marinara sauce. When all else fails I order several vegetable side dishes as my main course. Baked potatoes are often a good stand by in a pinch. Sometimes a side of beans for extra protein may be readily available.

So, the next time you check out the menu at a restaurant and do not see anything that suits your vegan lifestyle, before heading toward the door, ask this question: “I am a vegan. May I special order a plant-based meal?” More often then not, the answer will be: “Yes, the chef will be happy to prepare something special for you today!”

Here is an easy jazzy recipe to make and take with you when you are traveling…tasty to crunch on when the munchies strike!

Tamari Almonds

31⁄2 cups (1 pound) raw almonds      

1 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar, or maple sugar

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari, plus more as needed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the almonds in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 4 to 8 minutes, until slightly golden, checking every few minutes to prevent burning.

Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and tamari and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Let cool before serving. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the almonds will keep for about 3 weeks.