’s Top 10 New Vegan Dishes of 2010

According to VegNews magazine, vegan eating went mainstream in 2010, and the  number of new vegan dishes sprouting up in and around the nation’s capital is part of the proof. Compassion Over Killing worked with more than a dozen restaurants to help create new vegan menus,  several new all-veg restaurants opened their doors, and countless other establishments are increasingly catering to the growing demand for  animal-friendly foods.

With such a variety of new veg options, deciding which one to devour can be tough. We picked our top ten favorite new vegan dishes of 2010 to help make your decision easier. Did your favorite make the list?

Great Sage goes vegan!

2010 started out with a bang: one of the area’s finest all-vegetarian restaurants, Great Sage, announced that starting Jan. 1, 2010 it was now an entirely meat-, egg-, and dairy-free restaurant! The menu offers delicious seasonal, gourmet options that will please the palates of vegans and meat-eaters alike. Our personal favorite, though, will always be dessert: the Chocolate Lava Cake. Make sure to leave room for this warmed chocolate cake filled to the brim with a molten chocolate truffle center and topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. You won’t regret it.

Vegan Tuscan Chicken Sandwich at My Little Bistro and Shop
It’s no coincidence that our next pick is offered at a restaurant just a few quick blocks from our office. When COK approached My Little Bistro in Takoma, DC about vegan options, this family-owned restaurant jumped at the opportunity. Offering vegan versions of almost all their sandwiches, My Little Bistro has taken over the lunch scene in northwest DC.  And empty plates where the Vegan Tuscan Chicken Sandwich once stood are a common sight around here. Who can resist the delicious grilled “chicken,” artichoke hearts, “mozzarella,” red onions, tomato, and homemade vegan aioli on ciabatta bread?  And an added bonus:  My Little Bistro serves Vegan Treats desserts!

 Chocolate Stout Farmhouse Waffle at Founding Farmers
And then there was Founding Farmers. In March 2010, Compassion Over Killing and Founding Farmers  (the Washingtonian’s Readers Choice winner) announced a new co-branded vegan menu, and it is delicious! The menu, which includes a variety of delicious animal-friendly dishes wowed diners and we instantly fell in love with the Chocolate Stout Farmhouse Waffle. One bite of this delightful dessert (or breakfast item—we won’t tell), and you’ll be amazed at how perfectly Founding Farmers combines Sammy Smith Oatmeal Stout beer and chocolate, then tops it all of with bananas and vegan caramel sauce. It’s hard to say no to—or even share this delightful dish! (Hint: Founding Farmers shared their recipe for this treat!)

Vegan Chicken Piccata at Toscana Grill
In April, Toscana Grill took an important step for the environment—and animals—in honor of Earth Day. With help from COK, this popular Italian restaurant in Arlington hosted Vegan Weekends all month long! To this day, Toscana Grill’s menu continues to be a wonderland of vegan options, but it’s the Vegan Chicken Piccata (a Gardein chick’n breast covered in vegan butter lemon sauce, capers and green beans on top of a bed of linguine) that keeps us going back. And Toscana Grill is another DC-area restaurant offering Vegan Treats desserts!

Home-style Mac and Cheese at Café Green
With much anticipation, Café Green, the all-vegan sister restaurant to downtown favorite Java Green, opened its doors in May. Since that opening, one of the most popular dishes—and one of our favorites—is a compassionate twist on the classic Mac and Cheese. Fusilli noodles are tossed in a creamy tahini and nut-based “cheese” sauce and are accompanied by a hearty portion of candied yams and sautéed kale—delicious! It’s enough to warm your heart and make you think of home.

Olive Ravioli with Rosemary-Lemon Cream at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
When this gourmet catering company starting dishing out raw vegan dinners in July, it was the talk of the town. Focusing on multiple course dinners with wine pairings, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw offers a great treat for those looking for a nice night out. The delicious ravioli (made from coconut meal!) is complex in flavors and excites your taste buds with hints of rosemary and lemon. This dish was so popular that Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is featuring it again on its January 22nd menu.

Saffron Seitan Kabob at Meridian Pint
The owners of the veg-friendly favorite Asylum gave us another restaurant to drool over: Meridian Pint in Columbia Heights. This neighborhood hotspot offers a huge selection of vegan fare, but one our favorites is the Saffron Seitan Kabob. Made with homemade seitan rolled onto kabobs and drizzled with saffron lemon dressing, this dish keeps you coming back for more. With its seasonally rotating menu, you might not always find these kabobs, but you’ll definitely find other delicious vegan dishes. And trust us: add on that side of onion rings. You won’t regret it.

Vegan Kifto at Dama Restaurant
Shortly after Meridian Pint opened , Compassion Over Killing announced new, delicious vegan options at Dama Restaurant in Arlington. The popular Ethiopian restaurant expanded its menu to include several vegan versions of Ethiopian classics such as doro watt, “tibs,” and kifto! Made with two types of seitan, greens, and tofu “cheese,” the kifto steals the show. After chowing down on this tasty, spicy dish, be sure to stop next door to try their vegan sweets!

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats at Bakeshop
With crowds swarming COK’s table at the Green Festival trying to score a piece of Bakeshop’s  vegan rice crispy treats, we immediately knew that this devastatingly delicious dessert was one of our favorites of 2010. It’s a peanut buttery version of an elementary school favorite, topped with a rich chocolate ganache. Need we say more?  After COK worked with this Arlington bakery to add vegan options to its menu, Bakeshop has decided to host Vegan Day benefit events on the third Sunday of every month in 2011! 

Asian Chop with vegan “Chick’n” at Freshii
After working with COK, Freshii, an  international restaurant chain, announced that its DC location is launching a vegan-friendly test-market menu featuring Gardein “chick’n” and “beef” strips! Customers can replace the veggie meats in nearly every menu dish, or make a customizable salad, wrap, or bowl with the new options. Our pick: the Asian Chop salad with vegan “chick’n.” with mandarin oranges, edamame, and crispy wontons. Within seconds you’ve got a delicious, fresh, animal-friendly meal.

If you haven’t tried any (or all) of these dishes, what are you waiting for? 2010 was a great year, and we’re looking forward to an even greater 2011! Of course, there are more vegan options available in DC than we have room to write about, so be sure to visit for more details – and you can even request a free Guide to carry around with you so you’ll never miss out on an opportunity to sample our city’s best vegan cuisine!
  P.O. BOX 9773, WASHINGTON, DC 20016 | 301-891-2458 | [email protected] | Suggest a restaurant