A Vegan’s Guide to Life Is Beautiful

With about 50 restaurants and food trucks all hanging out at Life Is Beautiful, it’s a little overwhelming to fathom where to eat, let alone what to order. If you’re vegan, it’s an automatic pass at spots like BBD’s, serving steamed cheeseburgers, or Sausagefest (although it does offer a vegetarian link). But, there are some vegan options tossed into the mix at many of the places. Here’s where to go and what to eat to keep the party going:

Crispy Chicken SandwhichDiana Edelman | Vegas Seven

Crispy Chicken Sandwhich

The hottest eats at Life Is Beautiful for the vegan crowd are at Garden Grill. For the plant-based foodies, it doesn’t get better than this. After taking a major hiatus and only recently re-emerging at local farmer’s markets, Leslie Marroquin’s popular vegan stand, Garden Grill, is back and dishing out everything from beer-battered avocado tacos and barbecue pulled jackfruit tacos to her famous crispy chicken sandwich that could even fool your omni friends. And most of the people in line don’t realize what they’re about to consume is all plant powered. Thirsty? Hydrate yourself with a snap-worthy young Thai coconut to make all the non-LIB people checking out your feed jealous.

What other food should you sample while hanging at Life is Beautiful? There are only a handful of restaurants and food trucks doling out vegan options. For a healthier fix, order the Vegan Power Salad packed with veggies and tossed in balsamic vinaigrette from 50 Shades of Green or snack on some edamame (with your choice of garlic sauce, sesame seeds and oil, or plain with rock salt) from Aloha Kitchen.

Mushroom Dumpling from Bling Bling Diana Edelman | Vegas Seven
Mushroom Dumpling from Bling Bling[/caption]

Other highlights for the plant-based crew include the mushroom dumplings from L.A.’s Bling Bling Dumpling. These handmade ready-to-pop-in-your-mouth dumplings are filled with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, rice noodles, tofu and cabbage. There’s a secret menu over at Stripchezze, but it’s only for those in the know. The popular gourmet grilled cheese food truck did a little prepping for the festival and is making vegan grilled cheese sandwiches with smoked Gouda … while supplies last. Over at RM Seafood, there’s a Freakin’ Vegan Vegetable Satay with all the veggie goodness covered in a kale vinaigrette. For some fresh sushi, check out Sushisamba’s Amazonia Roll of oshinko, cucumber, avocado and grilled portobello mushroom wrapped in seaweed and collard greens, served with wasabi red onion soy sauce and Japanese spices.

Amazonia RollDiana Edelman | Vegas Seven

Amazonia Roll

If spice is your thing, hit up Origin India. The popular Indian restaurant is serving one of the world’s most delicious foods (according to a CNN poll a few years ago, but we’re sticking to it), masala dosa. Think potatoes, onions, chili and spices all wrapped together in a delicious thin crepe made of fermented rice and lentil batter. If you’re feeling a little less adventurous, try the plain dosa.

Want sweets? Donutbar brought its Funfetti donut, a cake-based sprinkle-encrusted treat. Another worthy dessert is the raspberry sorbet from Coolhaus, served sandwiched between ginger molasses cookies. An even healthier alternative for your nightcap brings you back to Garden Grill for its raw cheesecakes. Wash it all down with a necessary festival caffeine fix from either Makers & Finders or Grouchy John’s—both have non-dairy options for their cups o’ Joe.