If Salt Lake City isn’t near the top of your list for amazing vegan food on the go, think again—or you'll be missing out! While often perceived as conservative, Salt Lake has fostered a robust counter-culture in Utah's capital, one that embraces movements like veganism and encourages their development. For decades, the city has been home to many restaurants that serve exclusively animal-free food. As worldwide, vegan-forward trends continue to progress, the niche customer base is large and organized enough here that you’ll find plant-based options at even more meat-focused businesses. No matter the reason you're visiting or the time of day, Salt Lake has delicious vegan takeout to fit your needs right now!
Check out these five restaurants for great options for every meal of the day.
The Most Important Meal of the Day, Done in a Classic American Way
Breakfast, and especially its cousin brunch, are meals that demand indulgence. Salt, oil, sugar, coffee—flavorful food that fills your stomach and may or may not cure your hangover. The Central Ninth neighborhood's Vertical Diner is a comfortable, greasy-spoon-style restaurant with a fully vegan menu that never disappoints.
This location is the latest incarnation of Ian Brandt's local food empire, which started with Sage's Cafe and now includes a wholesale operation for organic products and vegan staples. Their Tender Tigers, seitan nuggets that fry up nice and crispy, are used all over Salt Lake at other restaurants as an alternative to chicken wings. Try these irresistible snacks at the source in a rich and spicy sauce by ordering the Buffalo Tiger Tenders ($8.50).
While they serve all three meals, the main event here is breakfast standards like fluffy pancakes, available as “classic” versions or gluten-free and served à la carte or in stacks ($6.50 for three), with tasty vegan add-ins like blueberry, banana, or chocolate chip for $0.50 per pancake. The Breakfast Sandwich ($10.00) features your choice of vegan protein (tasty grilled mushrooms, crispy tempeh bacon or fennel-laden breakfast sausage) topped with tofu scramble and nutritional-yeast “cheese” sauce all on seeded bread with a side of hash browns. Feeling really hungry? Try a plate like The Mountain ($10.25), which comes with a huge pile of hash browns, tofu scramble, peppers, onions and a choice of the same proteins as the sandwich, all smothered in “cheese” sauce or guacamole—or both!
There’s No “Sub”(stitute) for a Great Sandwich
Their entirely plant-based menu means that you don't have to sacrifice flavor just to stay vegan for a quick meal. The sandwiches and salads are stuffed full of veggies, soy “meats,” or and even grilled jackfruit. The grilled jackfruit comes with slow-cooked black beans, shredded cabbage, guacamole and vegan sour cream in a tangy sauce, either in Barbacoa Sandwich or Barbacoa Burrito form ($6.75). This novel-sounding combination works extraordinarily well and is their most iconic menu item.
For those who may not be ready for jackfruit, the Cheesesteak ($6.50) is more familiar, loaded with peppery “steak” and a luscious “cheese” sauce that's just the right amount of messy. Or try the refreshing Pesto Sub ($6.75), which combines their grilled soy “chicken” with walnut-basil pesto for savory results. Add chips, a drink or even a freshly baked vegan Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.50) to make a complete lunch. Take your sandwich on the run, or relax a little in their comfortable, patio-like outdoor seating to catch a brief view of one of Salt Lake's fastest-changing neighborhoods.
There are dinner standards like egg rolls, fried rice and kung pao here, but also Thai curries, Vietnamese phở soup and even Japanese sushi rolls. Most dishes come with your choice of veggies, tofu or house-made soy versions of shrimp, beef or chicken, which are toothsome, flavorful and satisfying. They go great in one of the many stir-fry options, deep-fried or with noodles.
Vegan updates of Chinese classics are the stars here, like the Mongolian stir-fry with soy beef ($11.49), which comes with piles of garlic, scallions, bell pepper and a sauce that makes the rice it soaks into just as crave-able as the rest of the dish. The Cashew Nut stir-fry is perfect with soy shrimp ($12.49), and shows off colorful veggies like zucchini, mushroom, carrot and celery. Don't miss the sushi, like the Sweet Potato Roll ($11.49), which features tempura yam, fresh carrot with a spicy mayo and tons of crunchy tempura flakes. There are plenty of options at Veggie House for any fan of Asian flavors. You could eat dinner here for a month and never have the same thing twice!
Our Best Advice for a Vegan Slice
What if it's not a normal time of day to be eating? Does that mean you're an out-of-luck vegan? No. Pizza to the rescue! Este Pizzeria's New York–influenced pies come in a variety of vegan options and are good any time pizza is good—so, always!
Conveniently located across the street from a strip of some of Salt Lake's most popular bars like Bar X and Beer Bar, the Downtown Este location is the perfect vegan option to soak up some your favorite tipple. While offering their more standard pizzas by the slice during busy times of day, call to verify there are vegan slices left if you don't want a full pie.
Their standard Vegan Cheese pizza comes in three sizes ($16 for a 14” pie) and uses Daiya-brand cheese, a soy-free and vegan alternative that’s creamy and stretchy when it melts over their tasty marinara sauce. And there are options beyond the basics including the Vegan Combo ($18 for a 14” pie) with a whole heap of veggies, or even a Vegan BBQ Chicken pizza ($20 for a 14”). The Vegan White ($16 for a 14” pie) is a thing of beauty and balance, with vegan cheese, olive oil, garlic, red onion and tomato. Need even more garlic? Their Garlic Knots ($5) are locally famous, drenched in garlic and olive oil, and strictly vegan. They’re perfect snacks for those with odd schedules!
Don’t Let the Omnivores Hog All the Sweet Treats
For something sweet, dairy-free options can be hard to find, but just a few blocks east from Vertical in Central Ninth, Passion Flour Patisserie proves that vegan versions of usually butter-laced pastries can be just as flakey and luxurious. The vibe here is casual coffee shop and reflects Chef Jessica Davies’ appreciation of relaxing French cafés with tons of natural light and simple but comfortable furnishings.
While the bakery serves a diverse plant-based menu full of sandwiches, toasts and other breakfast and lunch options, the pastry cases are what immediately draws the eye upon entering. Many of the flavors, fillings, glazes and specials rotate seasonally, so call to check what's available and then definitely add an Oatmeal Cream Pie ($4.50) to whatever else you get.
The croissants ($3.50) are perfect, comparable to any full-butter option found in Paris, and they come in other varieties like Almond ($5) and Chocolate ($4.50). A recent visit saw a rhubarb-filled and strawberry-glazed Not Your OG Poptart ($6) that was crunchy, well-layered and not too sweet. That option may have rotated by your visit, but any version you get will be just as good. There's always a variety of French-style Macarons ($3.20) that are also gluten-free. If you're not too full yet, opt for a slice of Cheesecake ($7.50), which also rotates among seasonal flavors and is just as luscious as it looks. Whole cheesecakes and other custom cakes are also available, but do require calling to reserve in advance. Passion Flour makes sure you're never lacking for vegan options to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Using Your New Faux-Leather, Vegan-Eats Tool Bag in Salt Lake
Visiting a new place can be tough for vegans, never knowing the availability or quality of the food they'll be able to get. Doing your best on any trip or outing can depend on you feeling like you don't have to make compromises to your standards. Rest assured that Salt Lake has an option for you whether you need a light breakfast, a business lunch, a quick snack or a late-night craving. Check out these and the numerous other vegan-takeout options available all over our beautiful city.