Plant-based dishes are on the rise at restaurants on the island — and in ways that go way beyond a grilled Portobello mushroom replacing a burger.
These dishes are also called vegan, but in any case the demand is constantly growing. “It’s not a fad,” said Hess Musallet, owner of Field of Greens.
Not only are more and more diners following or aspiring to follow a plant-based diet for health or other reasons; some chefs and restaurateurs are too.
“I feel really good,” said Clay Conley, chef and owner of Buccan and Imoto, who has been on a plant-based diet since last summer.
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“I have more energy and just a better level of well-being, knowing that what I put in my body is good for me – except for the occasional sweets which I still crave,” he said. -he declares.
Buccan’s varied menu has had a ‘plant-based’ section – usually with four options that change often – since September.
Items included a grilled cauliflower salad ($22) with kale, red quinoa, pine nuts, green olives, dates, and lemon vinaigrette.
The Hoisin Glazed Carrot Bao Rolls ($16) feature sesame and pickled jalapeno. Another carrot dish – a wood-roasted carrot salad – includes red lentils, chickpeas, spinach, muhammar (sweet rice) and dukkah, an Egyptian condiment with herbs, nuts and spices.
Conley said he “really loves beans” these days, which is why one of his favorite dishes now is “a bowl of cumin and jalapeño flavored ayocote black beans over brown rice with spicy Scotch Bonnet sauce with homemade vinegar”.
Other restaurants have added vegan dishes to their menus.
At Florie’s at the Four Seasons, look for a heirloom tomato and plum carpaccio ($22) with Sicilian pistachios, chives and ginger vinaigrette.
A dish of tandoor-roasted cauliflower ($38) includes lemon and canned Florida buckwheat.
A special vegan menu is available upon request at HMF at The Breakers, where plant-based dishes are also included on its regular menu (the resort’s other restaurants also offer vegan options).
Vegetable hummus ($24) with warm pita; blistered shishito peppers ($21) with Maldon salt; and pot stickers of shiitake mushrooms ($26) with tamari ponzu are among HMF’s plant-based dishes.
“The preferences of our diverse clientele are constantly changing in line with changing dietary lifestyles, which includes plant-based cuisine,” said Anthony Sicignano, Executive Chef of Restaurants at The Breakers. “To accommodate, we offer a wide selection of options that provide visitors with choices and a sense of ease.”
At Cucina, the Super Food Chop ($18) — with carrots, kale, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, apples, pistachio, pomegranate and berries — is popular.
Meanwhile, at the nearby Field of Greens, the menu has “more vegan items than ever” after a few years “we’ve seen a big jump in the number of people asking for them,” Musallet said.
All of Field of Greens protein smoothies and shakes are vegan, including The Pump ($7.95) with banana, peanut butter, chocolate protein, maca and almond milk.
Guests like to pair a cup of vegan chili or split pea soup ($3.95) with a plant-based sandwich or wrap, such as a falafel wrap ($10.50) with salsa, pickled cabbage , tahini and romaine.
Most Field of Greens salads are now vegan, including the popular Asian Quinoa Salad ($10.50) with organic quinoa, kale, avocado, red cabbage, carrots, red pepper and green, cabbage, edamame, roasted cashews, and ginger-soy vinaigrette.
For dessert, try the “BFO” ($3.75). It stands for Big Fat Oreo – a vegan version of two large chocolate wafers joined by a creamy filling.
“Following a plant-based diet is more common now,” Musallet said. “It’s getting so much easier to do as the vegan options increase and get better and better.”