Best Vegetarian Food in Asheville, NC

Asheville NC local's recommendations for best vegetarian food in Asheville

card image
Dig Local Co-founder and Creative Director, Flori Pate, shares her recommendations for some of the best vegetarian food in Asheville
So… growing up in Georgia I was raised around lots of great BBQ. Juicy steaks were a Sunday tradition and hamburgers on the grill were also in the weekly rotation. It seems most (or all?) Southern towns tend to be like the one I grew up in, “meat-forward.” 
Then, I moved to Portland, Oregon which as it turns out was a very progressive town as far as vegetarian food goes. There was an obvious demand for it. Just about anywhere you went had very creative options for meat-free meals. So, much to my traditional southern parents’ dismay, I gave up eating meat altogether. Dad would often say “where did we go wrong?” LOL

Fast forward we landed back in the southeast and found that some of the best vegetarian food that rivaled the food I was eating in Portland was abundant in Asheville, NC restaurants. In 2010 we moved here! Many folks are aware that Asheville is a foodie town and know the places that serve the best bbq in Asheville, burgers, steaks, etc. they don’t necessarily know that we also have a plethora of incredible chefs cooking up some delicious dishes with meat-free options.
You’re probably familiar with the amazing breweries in Asheville and the many wonderful restaurants in Asheville, NC, as our town is pretty chocked full, but do you know where to find some of the very best vegetarian food in Asheville?
Here’s a rundown of some of the best Asheville restaurants if you’re a full-blown Veg. Head, or simply trying to cut down a little on your meat consumption. You’ll find that many of the best places to eat in Asheville, NC also have mind-blowing vegetarian options on their menus. I’ll share some of my favorite things to order when I go out.

card image
Many Asheville breweries have some great vegetarian options but my favorite hands down is Asheville Pizza Brewing’s Popeye Spinach burger. Imagine about a huge amount of fresh spinach steamed until soft and then (I don’t know how they do it) it’s bound together with lots of grated parmesan cheese and an egg. It’s green, of course, and the texture is firm, sort of like a burger. This is a hands-down favorite of the best burgers in Asheville for the veg. heads out there. I love the special sauce and kaiser roll that it comes on and then I always get a side of the hot crispy tots. Let’s go!

Our office happens to be super close to the next fav.! One place where you’ll find the best lunch in Asheville is Blue Dream Curry House on Pritchard Park in the heart of Asheville. The green curry is like the name says, dreamy. It comes with lightly steamed broccoli, peppers and zucchini with plenty of lemongrass, lime and cilantro. You get your choice of proteins including organic tofu and Asheville-made “Smiling Hara Tempeh.” Also, I can never resist the Original Naan Taco, again served with the tofu or tempeh, house masala sauce, tomatillo chutney, raita, pickled red onion, cilantro, lime, and one of the best parts is the naan made at the Asheville bakery Geraldine’s. Shout outs to Geraldine’s for creating some of the best Asheville breakfast sandwiches out there. Blue Dream Curryhouse is also open for dinner, too.

card image
There are a handful of strictly vegetarian restaurants in Asheville, but only one that we know of that is strictly vegan and that is the very famous Plant in North Asheville. Serving up “Vegan fare without borders.” They create flavor-sophisticated scratch-made food from, you guessed it, plants. There is a  lot of multicultural influence going on at Plant. If you’re looking for an Asheville dinner and have wanted to dip your toe into vegan dining we promise that Plant will not disappoint. The vegetables, spices, and techniques that they use to create their food will blow your mind. A couple of dishes that we would recommend would be the Applewood Smoked Mushroom Mole with green chile-blue corn tamale, grilled romaine & chimichurri vinaigrette, queso fresco, sour cream and billion sauce. Also, the hazelnut & ramp crusted tempeh with a cauliflower-potato whip, farm greens, fennel salad, grape tomato, and v2 black currant steak sauce. NOTE: the place serves super seasonal fare so the menu is changing often, like the seasons. Vegan, or not, you will dig this place.

One of the downtown Asheville restaurants that you don’t want to miss is Jerusalem Garden Cafe. We love the Vegetarian Platter with freshly made hummus, baba ghanoush, tahini salad, tabouleh salad, kalamata olives, falafel and stuffed grape leaves, served with toasted pita bread. Flavor is king at Jerusalem Garden. The atmosphere is very colorful and worldly and they even have belly dancing a couple of nights a week.

card image
If you’re looking for the best brunch in Asheville and are curious to try something less conventional with a vegetarian twist, check out Ukiah Japanese Steakhouse next door to the famous Orange Peel. This is not your typical brunch but your tastebuds will thank you. We recommend Bruces’ Shishito Pepper-Cheddar Biscuits, fried eggs and golden potato + scallion pancake, and grilled kimchi sauce with a side of fresh berries. Also, if you go you have to experience the Beech Mushroom Tempura. Trust me on this. There’s nothing else like it in the world. So good. So who like me loves themselves some sides? Give me a veggie plate with 4 delicious sides any day and I’m happy. 12 Bones Asheville which is known to have some of the best bbq Asheville has to offer also has some of the very best sides. We dig the “damn good corn pudding”, cucumber salad, mac & cheese, cheesy grits with a side of cornbread. Another place with great veggie sides is Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. I love the green beans, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding and fried okra from Rocky’s. They also offer meat-like substitutes if you’re not a sides person.

The sports bar Asheville is probably best known for is the Bier Garden downtown. I really love their black bean nachos and would highly recommend trying the fried cheese curds if you’re feeling naughty. The Caesar salad is great, too, as well as the Napoleon Caprese Salad with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic glaze and EVOO. And heads up, late-night eaters. Bier Garden is open until midnight every night. Westville Pub is another great bar on the west side of town. They’ve got delicious homemade daily hummus served with toasted tandoori naan, cukes, carrots, & celery- and great fried pickles! I got a tofu banh mi last time I was there that was on special. I’m so hoping they add that to the menu permanently!

card image
The best places to eat in Asheville, NC are plentiful and just about each of them has some very delicious vegetarian options. Then there are the restaurants that ONLY offer vegetarian and I’m telling you, they are so delicious the meat-eaters will be happy too. A couple that we love are Laughing Seed Cafe on beautiful Wall Street. A few favorites there are the jack fruit crab cakes, seed burger and their famous Dragon or Harmony bowls. They also have a great patio for people-watching. And then there is Rosetta’s Kitchen and Buchi Bar (sigh) I love picking up their family meal to go. It has hearty portions of peanut butter tofu, kale and mashed potatoes with vegan gravy. It’s comfort food at its finest. Speaking of kale, I have to mention that another one of the restaurants in Asheville, NC for kale fans is 828 Family Pizzeria. I often find myself craving their kale pizza which has marinated kale, artichokes, walnuts, gorgonzola, mozzarella on their family recipe crust. Fantastic pizza!

Cedric’s Tavern is one of the Biltmore Estate restaurants which is one of the Antler Hill Village restaurants so you’ll need a ticket to Biltmore to get in. If you go try the onion & truffle dip with house-made potato chips and the potato & leek soup finished with fresh dill, served with Irish brown bread. And the grilled cheese is not your mama’s grilled cheese! It’s served on house-baked sourdough, with local goat cheese & white cheddar, drizzled with spiced honey and served with a frisee salad. 
If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian breakfast we love the grab-and-go veggie burrito at the West Village Market with barley-corn salad, No Evil Foods vegan chorizo, organic black beans, organic sweet potatoes, salsa and Vegenais. Also, there are some really cool places to enjoy breakfast including on Asheville rooftop bars including the Pillar Rooftop Bar. You can’t go wrong with the French toast served with blueberry compote, sliced bananas or strawberries topped with whipped cream served with your choice of fresh fruit, grits or fried potatoes. I also love the avocado toast and the smoothie bowl which is a strawberry & blueberry smoothie topped with shredded coconut, granola, acai and seasonal fresh fruit. And finally, there’s the quinoa scramble with quinoa, red peppers, mushrooms and spinach topped with 2 eggs & toast. Wow, writing about all of these delicious Asheville restaurants has certainly made me get the munchies and I’m ready to get out there tonight. Now, is it peanut butter tofu, baba ganoush, best damn corn pudding, naan tacos, or smoked mushroom mole…. Decisions decisions.