Vegetarian spread at Fig + Farro in Minneapolis

Find Vegetarian & Vegan Dining Across Minnesota

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A vegetarian spread at Fig + Farro in Minneapolis / Ashley Sullivan

Find Vegetarian & Vegan Dining Across Minnesota

By James Norton

The Upper Midwest's reputation for meat and potatoes is diminishing every year that passes. More and more diners are coming to realize that much of the area's best eating comes from market-fresh produce, pickled goods and ethnic food that relies on spice and heat to satisfy—not animal products.

To say there are plenty of options for vegetarian and vegan diners in Minnesota is an understatement; the following list just scratches the surface.

  1. Duluth Grill, Duluth
    Duluth Grill, Duluth

    Outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, sometimes vegetarian options get a little sparse. But the fresh, local and organic-focused Duluth Grill has vegetarians and vegans covered. Not only does the farm-to-skillet diner have plenty of meat-free breakfast options, it also has a dedicated vegan section with entrees such as the "Living Nutty" taco with vegan walnut taco "meat" and "Raw-Ghetti," zucchini noodles with raw walnut marinara sauce, kalamata olives, basil, tomatoes and nutritional yeast.

  2. Fitger's Brewhouse Grille, Duluth
    Fitgers Brewery sign Duluth

    Historic Fitger's on Lake Superior houses three restaurants, two night clubs and a microbrewery / Anthony Auston

    Fitger's Brewhouse Grille, Duluth

    When most people think of Fitger's, their minds go straight to the classic burger and beer combo that's put them on the map as a North Shore staple for travelers exploring this beautiful part of the state. But those in the know will order one of the restaurant's wild rice burgers. Made with one of Minnesota's signature crops, these vegetarian patties are so well-balanced and beloved that confirmed carnivores have been known to order them—with gusto.

  3. The Herbivorous Butcher, Minneapolis
    The Herbivorous Butcher, Minneapolis

    The world's beating a path to the door of The Herbivorous Butcher, a brother-sister team that's slinging some of the most flavor-forward and ambitious faux meats in the country. (Guy Fieri even filmed a segment about the shop.) Everything from "pepperoni" to "chorizo" to "breakfast sausage" is available for purchase and takeout, and the decor is hipster-meets-butcher shop. In other words, it's both a shop and an Instagram-worthy destination for herbivores, omnivores and even emotionally stable carnivores.

  4. Tonic, Rochester
    Glass of juice from Tonic in Rochester

    Tonic in Rochester specializes in fresh-pressed juices and other healthy fare

    Tonic, Rochester

    This Rochester-based juice bar and restaurant serves up drinks as ambitious as anything you'll find, well, just about anywhere. Its artfully composed beverages range from the surprisingly sophisticated Banana Latte (milk, fair trade coffee, banana, cinnamon, raw cacao, organic amber agave nectar) to the Salad with a Straw (red beet, tomato, carrot, celery, baby spinach, cilantro, parsley, lime) to the Matcha Cooler (Japanese Matcha green tea, milk, banana, organic amber agave nectar, mint leaves).

    Are there wheat grass shots? You betcha, and they're available "Midwest style" (with lime shaken over ice) or California style (as is).

  5. Domacin, Stillwater
    Domacin, Stillwater

    This charming little wine and cheese bar in Stillwater doesn't aim itself at a vegetarian crowd, but its small menu offers a great many pleasing options for non-meat eaters regardless. From its cheese plate to tomatillo bisque to mushroom pappardelle, the offerings at this sophisticated spot are able to please large and diverse groups of diners. And a little wine never hurt anybody.

  6. Cheng Heng, St. Paul
    Cheng Heng, St. Paul

    Vegetarians hoping to dine like royalty always have an ace up their sleeves—namely, the often vegetarian-friendly cuisines of Asian nations like Vietnam, Japan and India. Add Cambodia to that list. The rightfully renowned Cheng Heng in St. Paul does some lovely curries and special entrees that can be prepared without meat—but with a ton of rich, layered flavor.

    For that matter, University Avenue in St. Paul is chock-a-block with great spots like Thai Cafe and Tay Ho that can do everything from vegetarian banh mi to lovely salads and rice plates.

  7. J. Selby's, St. Paul
    J. Selby's, St. Paul

    The 100-percent-plant-based J. Selby's will have even meat eaters reconsidering their dietary choices. The menu reads like many others: burgers, wings, nachos and buffalo "chickin"; even the kids won't be able to taste the difference in the mac and "cheeze."

James Norton

James Norton is the author of Lake Superior Flavors (University of Minnesota Press), a guide to eating and drinking on the Lake Superior Circle Tour. He is currently the editor and publisher of Heavy Table.