Four places to eat raw, vegan

Four places to eat raw, vegan

Telling someone you’re a vegan or that you only eat raw foods isn’t likely to raise eyebrows like it may have in the past, but it can still be hard to find places to eat. For raw foods in particular, the options can be limited to salads. While the specifics of raw food diets can vary, adherents usually consume foods that are unprocessed and uncooked, such as raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains.

You can learn more about raw foods during the second annual Des Moines Raw Food Week, Monday through Aug. 25. Held at various locations around the city, the event will include workshops and talks on the raw vegan diet. Read more at Meanwhile, whether you’re a strict vegan or raw food eater, or just interested in trying a new restaurant, here are four places to eat raw or vegan.

1. A Dong
While there are meat dishes on the menu, this downtown Vietnamese restaurant is very vegan-friendly. There’s an entire page of vegetarian entrees, most of which are also vegan. One tasty option is a plate of spicy stir-fried tofu with lemongrass, vegetables and a side of steamed rice (also known as 19c). While you might not be able to eat raw at A Dong, vegans have plenty to choose from. Find it: 1511 High St. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday Info: 284-5632.

2. Ritual Cafe
While it may be known for its coffee, Ritual Cafe offers an all-vegetarian menu of breakfast items, sandwiches and salads. Most sandwiches can be made vegan. For the vegan grilled veggie sandwich, red and green peppers, red onions and tomatoes are served on garlic focaccia seasoned with balsamic vinegar and spices, and spread with hummus. Find it: 1301 Locust St. Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday Info: 288-4872;

3. New World Cafe
The menu at this all-vegan eatery changes weekly, with offerings like the red burger: a patty made from beans, beets and grains on a sprouted bun or gluten-free bread with tomato, red onion, lettuce and agave-chili ketchup. For a raw meal, ask for a custom “bowl,” packed with raw veggies and toppings like nuts or avocado. Or, if it’s available, try the chilled cucumber soup. Located on a corner in the East Village, New World Cafe’s business model includes volunteer staff and offering at least one menu item on a sliding-scale where customers pay what they can afford. Find it: 223 E. Walnut St. Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Info: 244-0029;

4. Fresh Cafe and Market
Tucked away in an office building, this tiny, stylish cafe has a nearly all-vegan menu, and many dishes are also available raw. The raw vegan tacos feature taco “meat” made of seasoned walnut and sunflower seeds inside a romaine leaf shell. There’s even a raw cashew “sour cream.” The fresh summer rolls go raw when made with a collard-green wrap around the veggie filling. A vegan, gluten-free soup is served every day and is available in quarts to go. Find it: 1721 25th St. Suite 110, West Des Moines Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday Info:; 440-4700.

About the Author

Laura is contributor to Juice Magazine.

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