Let’s talk about this vegan movement that’s taking over not only our Instagrams, but also the Upstate. Nutritionists, fitness gurus and restaurateurs are adapting this trend and making it look pretty easy… and appetizing. No longer are we drooling over double cheeseburgers oozing with cheese (well, we may still do that) but rather veggie burgers, colorful bowls and vegan treats are claiming the title as drool-worthy pics.
Two restaurants in Greenville recently made me consider my meat-eating ways with their creative and satisfying vegetarian options. Farm Fresh Fast welcomes the vegan community with the addition of a completely vegan menu that offers dishes such as applewood-smoked jackfruit with house-made peach bbq sauce and “meatlessballs” with blistered peppers, grits and an agave sriracha drizzle.
What I Ate: Ancient Grain Bowl and Vegan Donuts
The Ancient Grain Bowl starts with a base of farro, and then adds onions, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, chickpeas, green beans and an irresistible “farm fusion” sauce. Add your choice of No-Evil chicken, tofu or apple-smoked jackfruit and dig in. Nothing about this dish screams “vegan”, but instead delivers a satisfying dish that simply makes you feel good.
Yes, these are 100% vegan donuts that are packed with protein and no artificial sweetener. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, lucky for us Farm Fresh Fast keeps upping their donut game (complete with their own Instagram account) with flavors like peach cobbler, Salty Kong (banana bread with salted caramel drizzle) and chocolate with vanilla drizzle. Oh and an added bonus… they are also gluten-free.
Then there’s Sun Belly Café where owner, Deborah White, took her love of cooking and philosophy of “wellness” and created something truly special. At Sun Belly Café the menu is ever changing, but always offers vegan/vegetarian friendly dishes such as Zucchini Pasta with homemade vegan pesto, Mock Chicken Salad with chickpeas, vegan mayo, carrot, celery, peppers and seasonings, and desserts that you truly can’t believe are healthy.
What I Ate: Summer Rolls, Vegan Burger of the Day (Chickpea/Hummus) over a Kale Salad and alllllll the desserts
These Summer Rolls packed with seasonal vegetables, tofu and basil and served with a Thai peanut sauce are the absolute perfect way to start a meal. I asked for extra peanut sauce because every bite deserves plenty of this irresistible sauce.
I’m always a fan of a veggie burger, but too often I find myself missing the heartiness of a true beef patty. You don’t have to worry about that here. It’s going to be difficult for me to ever order anything different from Sun Belly Café. The burger itself is so flavorful and doesn’t fall apart when you bite into it. Add the fresh veggies and amazing kale salad and you simply can’t go wrong. What’s even better? It kept me full and satisfied for hours!
But seriously, these desserts stole the show. From front to back we’ve got the Belly Bar (packed with dried fruits and nuts), Freckles (chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, almond butter and oats with chocolate chips), Spiced Chocolate (cacao, carob, tahini, seeds and fruits with chili pepper flakes and sea salt), Truffles (walnuts, dates and cacao rolled in sesame seeds) and quite possibly my favorite bite of the meal, the dessert special that day, which I unfortunately can’t remember the name, but tastes like the more decadent relative of a Reeses Cup.
Needless to say, I’ve only just scraped the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants in and around the Upstate, but if all the others even come close to Farm Fresh Fast or Sun Belly Café, I’d say we’re doing pretty good. Let me know your favorites in Greenville and I’ll check them out!