Nowadays, vegetarian cuisine has moved beyond bland tofu, rubbery meat substitutes and sprouted seeds. No longer do you have to visit an expensive co-op to get veg-friendly goods, instead, meat-free speciality products can be found in just about every supermarket in even the smallest town or village. The vegetarian restaurants in Leeds have moved past those dark ages, and belong to some of the best restaurants in the city, destinations for meat-eaters and veggies alike. Thanks to this resurgence in popularity of vegetarianism and veganism, Leeds’ vegetarian restaurants have grown in number and also in quality. Creative, inventive and always on the cutting edge, the vegetarian restaurants of Leeds are leading the charge in the world of vegetarian dining, and more and more are opening up. The future is looking bright for the city’s meat-free dining scene – keep your eyes peeled for what’s next in Leeds’ vegetarian restaurants.
Tofu is one of those ingredients that you always hear about when discussing vegetarian food, and when prepared correctly, it can be absolutely delicious. A lesser known meat-free protein that’s been making its way onto the plates of diners in Leeds’ vegetarian restaurants is seitan, also known as vital wheat gluten, a type of meat analog derived from wheat protein. Used as a base for vegetarian version of sausages, steaks, and chicken, seitan has a meaty texture that’s surprisingly realistic, that is, if you’re looking for a meaty texture. Thought to have been created in ancient China as a meat substitute for vegetarian Buddhist monks, seitan has finally made a name for itself in the Western world and is now available in various forms at supermarkets, health food stores, and many of the best vegetarian restaurants in Leeds. Some love seitan, some hate it – you’ll have to stop in at one of the many vegetarian restaurants around Leeds to judge for yourself.
If you’ve been looking to broaden your base of vegetarian foods, or you’re simply an adventurous eater, tempeh is a must-try. Hailing from Indonesia, this uniquely textured food is made from fermented whole soybeans. Highly nutritious and with a feel all its own, tempeh is often used as a meat substitute in many Asian and vegetarian restaurants in Leeds. The flavour is different from any other, and is often described as nutty when unseasoned. Tempeh, like tofu, is very adaptable and can take on new flavours depending on how it is prepared. Often marinated before being cooked, tempeh soaks up flavours easily. Some vegetarian restaurants in Leeds serve so-called tempeh bacon, which consists of thinly sliced, marinated strips of tempeh that are then fried until they get closer to the consistency of bacon. Tempeh burgers are another popular option, and really make for a suitable burger substitute for those abstaining from beef. For those who are looking for a vegetarian protein that’s not tofu, tempeh is definitely worth a try.
For some vegetarians, there’s absolutely no need to consume vegetarian versions of meats. In fact, it’s quite easy for herbivores to get protein sources from elsewhere, including from whole foods and legumes. One of the easiest ways to get a complete protein (with all of the essential amino acids) is from combining rice and beans, which together adds up to as much protein as you might get from meat. The options are limitless – the idea that vegetarians don’t get enough protein is an outdated myth. The trend towards whole foods, organic vegetables and all-natural dishes has taken hold in many of the vegetarian restaurants in Leeds, so even if you want to eat clean and vegetarian but aren’t up for the fake meats, give some of these types of restaurants a try. Some of the best vegetarian restaurants in Leeds are on Quandoo, so reserve ahead and find out which vegetarian dish suits you best.