5 restaurants near all four ASU campuses for vegan, vegetarian Sun Devils

For vegan and vegetarian students, living on campus can be a challenge. Residential dining halls offer limited meatless options, which lack variety. For vegetarians, like myself, eating cheese pizza for two meals a day may sound great on move-in day, but in a few weeks, reality hits: we need more options.

Vegans have an even harder time finding food without any animal by-products. But before you resign yourself to a diet of raw tofu and celery for the next four years, take a look beyond the walls of the dining hall. 

Here are five restaurants with tasty, affordable vegan and vegetarian options near all four ASU campuses.

Tempe: Desert Roots Kitchen

What better way is there to show your Sun Devil pride than to support a local vegetarian or vegan cafe with an ASU alumna at its helm? Desert Roots chef and owner Leslie Robin graduated from ASU with a Food Science degree in nutrition and food service management, according to the cafe's website.

She's put that degree to good use. Desert Roots has a menu that changes daily and allows for a lot of variety while supporting local farms and businesses. Its menu includes wraps, salads, hummus, breakfast burritos and more.

Located just minutes from the Tempe campus on Mill Avenue, it's a great option for students looking for fresh, nutritious meals.

Tempe and Polytechnic: Nourish

Nourish focuses on all-around healthy living. Not just a restaurant, it also specializes in nutrition and cooking classes, and wellness coaching.

While both locations do have non-vegetarian options on the menu, Nourish goes out of its way to accommodate those with dietary restrictions, labeling each item on its menu as dairy-free, corn-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, raw and/or paleo. 

Quinoa tabouli #vegan #delicious #glutenfree #nourish123

A photo posted by Nourish123 (@nourish_123) on

It's easy to find uncommon dishes including "Mac & No Cheeze," vegan stir-fry and even healthy protein burgers. The restaurant also has a breakfast and omelet menu.

There are two locations — one near the Tempe campus and one near the Polytechnic campus.

Downtown: Vegan House

Downtown campus herbivores rejoice: Vegan House is an easy five-minute walk from Taylor Place, and it's delicious. The menu focuses on Thai vegan cuisine, including wraps, sandwiches, soups, salads, and noodle and rice dishes. The atmosphere in the restaurant is bright and welcoming and the meals are moderately priced. For the best deal, go during the lunch special from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.

During my first visit to the restaurant, I ordered the soy chicken wrap (soy chicken, lettuce, tomato, avocado, vegan cheese, and Vegenaise) with the vegetable soup and salad. It was the perfect mixture of light and filling, while avoiding the greasy texture of the pizza-and-wings shop next door. 

My non-vegetarian roommate said the soy chicken had a similar texture to regular chicken, although with a slightly different taste. Whether or not it replicates meat exactly, it was enticing food and I will definitely be back for more.

Tempe and Downtown: Green New American Vegetarian

Advertising itself as "a 100 percent vegan restaurant that features new American style 'comfort' food," Green New American specializes in po'boys, barbecue, burgers and veggie bowls. The crowd favorite on Yelp is the "big WAC," a vegan equivalent of McDonalds' "Big Mac." 

With two hand-packed veggie burgers, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame bun plus a mountain of fries, it may not be the healthiest option, but it will definitely satisfy your craving for rich American grub.

Best of all, the restaurant has locations near both the Downtown and Tempe campuses.

Downtown, West and (soon!) Tempe: Loving Hut

Tempe campus vegans and vegetarians can look forward to another healthy addition to the off-campus dining scene. Loving Hut is set to open a new location off of University Drive, bringing its healthy menu to yet another ASU campus.

Currently the national chain has two locations in Arizona. Both are family-run, and each has a unique menu based on its location. The central Phoenix location (near the Downtown campus) includes spring rolls, wontons, Hawaiian and barbecue burgers, teriyaki, Mongolian wok and more. 

The Glendale location (near the West campus) features many of the same dishes, plus additions like Indian curry rice and "chili dawgs." 

Related links:

Secret Diner: At FEZ, you don't have to be a king to get a burger how you want it

Oasis brings authentic Yemeni cuisine to Tempe

Reach the reporter at skylar.mason@asu.edu or follow @skylarmason42 on Twitter.

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