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7 Top Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurants around Denver/Boulder

Over the last five years or so, Denver and Boulder have seen a blossoming of culinary prowess. And while there’s plenty of meat to go around, what to do about the veggies? Thankfully, there’s been a surge of innovation here, too, delivering all of the flavor and none of the meat. Looking for a vegetarian feast in the Front Range? Start here:

DENVER

Vital Root

Vital Root Tacos

Bánh Mì Tacos | Photo courtesy of Vital Root

Conceived by creative-conscientious Justin Cucci (root down, linger, El Five, Ophelia’s), Vital Root {3915 Tennyson Street, Denver; 303.474.4131} offers what Cucci dubs a “real, veggie-focused” menu design to support holistic health and the connection of mind and body—with a lot of flavor. From inventive brunch-time Bánh Mì Tacos—plump with edamame pâté, scrambled, piquant pickled veggies, and Sriracha—to Coconut Dosa hiding a “meaty” medley of sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, sambar, and mint chutney, Cucci isn’t kidding about making vegetables sing. Heck, there’s even a happy hour Tuesday-Sunday 3-6pm that offers adult bevies alongside (what else?) Cauliflower Ceviche.

WaterCourse Foods

Watercourse Cauliflower

A Southern-styled cauliflower feast | Photo courtesy of WaterCourse Foods

Sister concept to Cap Hill’s City O’ City, WaterCourse {837 East 17th Avenue, Denver; 303.832.7313} has long been a Denver destination for top-notch vegetarian and vegan fare. There’s really no meal that will steer you wrong, but we have lately been in love with the Big Rig seitan steak thick with gravy, served alongside scrambled tofu and a fluffy biscuit. Come dinner, you can’t go wrong with the Southern Plate, starring crispy breaded cauliflower—best paired with cashew cream mac ‘n’ cheese.

City, O’ City

Photo courtesy of City, O’ City

When you think of vegetarian eats in the city, City O’ City {206 East 13th Avenue, Denver; 303.831.6443} is surely one of the first to come to mind. The Capitol Hill mainstay has damn near pioneered inventive veggie creations in the Mile High City—from the soul-warming Udon Noodle Bowl with slices of mushrooms, bok choy, jalapeños, and fresh noodles swimming in a carrot-ginger broth with daikon to the simple, yet creamy creation that is the Mac and Cheese. To keep up with AM appetites, the vegetarian/vegan-forward restaurant has been dishing out drool-worthy waffle creations each and every week. From the savory Pineapple Masala with coconut curry, roasted pineapple, arugula, julienned green apples, and pickled carrots to the sweetened Lemon Bar Waffle crafted with lemon curd and shortbread crust, brunch might be your new favorite meal of the day.

Allergen Free Bakes

Photo courtesy of Allergen Free Bakes

Allergen Free Bakes‘ motto is “Let them eat cake!”—and that is something we can get behind. This allergy-friendly delivery service doles out the best in gluten-free and vegan eats from Ganache-Filled Cupcakes to Banana Breakfast Cake. Services included delivery to homes, businesses, and wedding venues, as well as a pickup service in Littleton. To find out more, check out their website for more indulgent creations.

Beet Box Bakery & Cafe

Photo courtesy of Beet Box Bakery and Cafe

Beet Box Bakery & Cafe {1030 East 22nd Avenue, Denver; 303.861.0017} has been in the business of scratch-made vegan and gluten-free treats, serving goodies to the Five Points area since 2013. Although we have to tip our hats to the delightful seasonal fruit tarts and the undeniably gooey Cinnamon Rolls, the Vegan Doughnuts are a delight for any type of dieter. With rotating flavors including pumpkin, vanilla, and apple, we recommend picking out a favorite or two. Oh, and don’t forget the Vegan Hot Chocolate topped with (you guessed it) vegan marshmallows.

BOULDER

Leaf

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Perhaps it’s little surprise that Boulder has a much-esteemed, higher-end vegetarian restaurant, but Leaf {2010 16th Street, Boulder; 303.442.1485} would stand out in any crowd. The Three Leaf Concepts team—helmed by Sara and Chef Lenny Martinelli—designed the restaurant to deliver the best in veggie fare, utilizing much of the produce grown on their own Three Leaf Farm. Naturally, then, the salads are seasonally inspired, creative, and forever fresh—but that creativity and freshness also extends to dishes like the Vegan Crab Cake Sandwich (made with tempeh, tofu, and wakame); Spaghetti Squash Peanut Noodles; and Udon Noodles with eggplant, bok choy, and seared trumpet mushrooms.

Fresh Thymes

Fresh Thymes market

A great way to enjoy seasonal organic bounty is by digging into Fresh Thymes’ marketplace counter. | Photo courtesy of Fresh Thymes Eatery and Market

Christine Ruch is undeniably a boon to the Boulder dining scene. When she launched Fresh Thymes {2500 30th Street, Boulder; 303.955.7988}, many a food allergy-dogged diner struggled to find places to enjoy satisfying meals. But Ruch, who has suffered from her own food allergies, decided to put her decades of culinary industry experience to good use. Thus was born Fresh Thymes, a concept devoted to cooking for alternative diets, while not sacrificing flavor. And while guests are certainly encouraged to dine in on the Green Goddess Falafel Burger, Yucatan Tempeh Tacos, and cashew cream Mac ‘n’ Cheese made to order, they’re also welcome to pick up some grub for a meal at home at the onsite marketplace. Need a break after work? Stop by for happy hour Monday-Saturday 4-6pm and get yourself some Flatbread Fritters and a glass of wine. Is there a better way to kick off the evening?

Morgan Carter and Jeff Steen, Editors