As more people shift to plant-based and vegan lifestyles, dining out can be a challenge, especially if you do not want another side salad with olive oil and lemon.
Luckily for San Benito County residents, there are multiple options for eating vegan and still enjoying different cuisines within the county.
Miyako Japanese Restaurant in Hollister has multiple options for your dining experience. If searching for a roll, check out the My Yammy roll which includes sweet yam, avocado and cucumber. You can also try their vegetable tempura. As explained by the waitstaff, only water and the tempura mix are used. The vegetable tempura is also made separate from the mixed tempura, so no need to worry about cross contamination with shellfish. You can also order a side of rice or create your own roll.
An easy go-to vegan roll at AJ Sushi is the cucumber roll which includes rice, seaweed and fresh cucumber. To make it more filling you can also ask to add avocado.
At Inaka, there’s a portion of their menu labeled as vegetarian, which includes multiple vegan options.
Just like at any other restaurant, make sure to follow-up on how the vegetables are prepared if it is labeled as “pickled” or “fermented,” as some restaurants and food companies use animal products to do so.
Casa De Fruta now serves a Beyond Meat burger on their menu. If you want to ensure that it is vegan, order it on sourdough bread and make sure to say “no butter or cheese.” To make it more filling, ask for avocado and grilled onions with the produce on the side so you can choose what to add in.
It is important to note that the fries are put in the same fryer as other food items like chicken, so if that is an issue for you, you can substitute the fries for a baked potato with no butter or sour cream, a side salad, or a cup of fruit.
Jardines, in San Juan Bautista has a delicious vegan burrito ready to order. Made specifically for vegans and those looking for a plant-based option, there are no substitutions necessary when ordering. Called “Val’s Vegan Burrito,” the burrito includes squash, carrots, whole pinto beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, peppers, onions and cilantro, and is seasoned with spicy chipotle.
If you’d like to eat rice and beans at a Mexican restaurant, ask how they make them. Restaurants sometimes use animal stock when making rice, and lard when making beans. If they say they do not use animal products on either, order a bean and rice taco on corn tortillas and add pico de gallo with fresh cilantro and lime. While many flour tortillas have animal products in them, corn tortillas are generally vegan.
Soups, salads, sandwiches, and wraps
If soup, salad and/or wraps are something you enjoy, Farmhouse Café in downtown Hollister is the place. With shifting soup selections, the café usually has a vegan option such as vegan lentil chili with a side of sourdough bread. They also have permanent menu items such as a hummus wrap and Southwest salad that are all plant-based. If you let them know of your plant-based preference, you can also order most salads with substitutions to make them vegan.
If you are craving a sandwich with no need for substitutions head over to Lolla’s in San Juan Bautista. Their menu has a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich that includes Sumano’s seeded wheat bread, white bean puree, olive tapenade, tomato, cucumber, and shaved red onion. Lolla’s also has a mixed green salad with organic mixed greens, toasted seeds, and meyer lemon and shallot vinaigrette that is also vegan.
With the Hollister Farmers’ Market in full swing on Wednesday evenings, you can also walk downtown to buy fresh ingredients to make the perfect meal at home, or grab some fruit and vegetables to eat on the spot. Walking through downtown, one can find ripe strawberries ready to eat, as well as herbs and vegetables in abundance.
If weeknights don’t work for you to pick up fresh produce you can also head to Pinnacle Organic on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for their farmstand. Located at 400 Duncan Avenue in San Juan Bautista, current produce available includes, but is not limited to baby bok choi, romano beans, red and gold beets, green cabbage, red chard, and cherries.
Believe it or not there is a vegan option for pizza in Hollister, without cheese. While pizza doughs tend to include eggs or other animal products, Domino’s thin crust pizza does not—but only their thin crust option. Order with the robust tomato sauce, drop on some veggies and you are ready to go.
If you are out with friends for breakfast, don’t worry about only being able to eat fresh fruit or oatmeal. Most breakfast places in Hollister have options for everyone.
An example of this is at Cozy Cup Café in downtown Hollister. Consider the Veggie Works without eggs. Loaded with perfectly sautéed onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, zucchini, potatoes, spinach and avocado, this plate is perfect for the plant-based lifestyle.
You can also safely order dry sourdough toast with avocado at multiple breakfast restaurants in the county. If you want it to spice it up, add tomatoes, grilled onions, or any other desired available veggies to have a delicious breakfast option.
If you are in a time crunch and need food quick, know that there are also vegan options in Hollister at fast food restaurants.
Hollister’s Subway offers veggie sandwiches on hearty Italian or sourdough bread.
Taco Bell (two locations in Hollister) has a large vegan menu that includes a fresco bean burrito, no cheese, and a Crunch Wrap Supreme substituting the meat with beans, as well as substituting the cheese and sour cream with avocado and seasoned rice. Check Taco Bell’s website for full vegan options.