Looking to fall in love with a lifestyle change this Valentine’s Day? The growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles has many people embracing healthier eating habits, and those habits are even beginning to catch on in our city known for fried seafood and carnivorous habits. Instead of indulging in the usual fried shrimp or steak dinner, step outside your comfort zone and enjoy a dish that will have your body thanking you. This Valentine’s Day, hop on the vegan or vegetarian train to the town of healthy eating, either by yourself or with your date, and enjoy one of the many New Orleans restaurants that focus on healthy, clean eating.
Breads on Oak
Start your Valentine’s Day morning right with this artisan bakery on Oak Street, home to the smells of freshly baked bread and locally sourced ingredients that make your mouth water. Everything from the Cheddar Pumpkin Biscuit to the Big Daddy Burger is vegan and made with ingredients sourced from organic farms. Pair a cup of rich coffee with a fresh pastry, like the cinnamon raisin rolls or the double chocolate fudge brownies with nuts, or feast on avocado toast or the Country Club, a sandwich packed with veggies on homemade bread. breadsonoak.com
Good Karma Cafe
Located inside a yoga studio, Good Karma Cafe is emanating healthy vibes. The menu is 100 percent vegan and is inspired by Ahimsa, the principle of nonviolence, making all foods with loving intentions. Breakfast includes options like Bagel Boy Bagels with vegan cream cheese, avocado toast, and Upma, a traditional South Indian breakfast dish. There are also veggie burgers, rice bowls, wraps, soups, and more. The juices and smoothies are made to order, and the coffees and teas will have you ready to be productive. goodkarmanola.com
Good and bad cats alike are welcome at Bearcat Cafe for breakfast or lunch. The restaurant has everything a hungry vegan or non-vegan could ask for, including vegan ranchero, vegan quesadilla, Crab Scramble, and shrimp and grits. Bearcat is also stocked with a hearty collection of fresh, cold, bottled beverages made in house, like the Charcoal Lemonade or the iced chai with almond milk. Even the hungriest of cats will be satisfied with the Vegan Bearcat. bearcatcafe.com
The Daily Beet
With an emphasis on colorful fruits and vegetables—sourced locally, of course—The Daily Beet serves energizing, healthy dishes that always hit the spot. From the Acai Bowl and the avocado toast to the Rainbow Bowl and the Summer Kale Salad, The Daily Beet has vegan options that satisfy. Even the smoothies, like the PB & J and the STARBUXX, are made with almond or rice milk, so all vegans can enjoy. The restaurant also offers local brews, fine wines, and mimosas made with freshly squeezed juice. thedailybeetnola.
This “Garden Based, Nola Taste” organically vegan restaurant focuses on sustainability, sourcing only local, organic, or natural ingredients. The restaurant also prides itself in giving back to organizations in need, such as Project Orangutan and the Humane Society of Louisiana. The menu has everything from nachos (with cashew queso and sour cream) and Seed Gumbo to Nuevos Rancheros and beignets. You won’t even notice the vegan difference! Seed even offers blended juices, juice cocktails, and smoothies—perfect for sharing on date night. seedyourhealth.com
The art, the atmosphere, and the delicious food all attract a crowd looking for a feel-good, healthy meal made from fresh and local ingredients to Hippie Kitchen. Start with a refreshing Wayne’s Hibiscus Cooler or house-made strawberry green tea. For breakfast, try the Smashed Avocado Toast, the freshly baked English muffins, or the Nutty Buddy crepe. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with the Quinoa Salad or the Spicy Chickpea Bowl. Don’t walk out without grabbing a fresh-out-the-oven vegan chocolate chip cookie! hknola.com
Step into this colorful restaurant and enjoy a soup, salad, or bowl packed with protein and healthy, local ingredients. Try the Curried Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup and the Hippie Salad with quinoa, cranberry stuffing, and Turmeric Sun dressing. Need more than a salad? Get one of the Power Bowls! For dinner, check out the Savory Sweet Potato Lasagna with walnuts and cashew cheese. Don’t miss out on some of the fresh-squeezed juices either. maxwellneworleans.
The eclectic menu of Green Goddess brings together French, Thai, and Cajun traditions in their New Orleans-influenced menu. Start with the Beet Hummus or the Citrus Salad. The Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Cake is made with Louisiana purple rice and served with pickled turnips. Share the Pecan Orange Mushroom Pâté with your date and then try the Chimichurri Mushroom, a vegetarian dish with a vegan option for those willing to try! greengoddessrestaurant.com
The Green Fork
A brother and sister duo combined their talents, love of healthy food, and southern roots to make The Green Fork, a delicious addition to New Orleans food culture. There’s a juice or smoothie for any kind of mood you’re in, including Balance, Love, and Laughter. Although Green Fork was voted the number eight juice bar in the United States by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, it also serves soups, salads, and entrees—all of which are made using healthy and fresh ingredients. The Roasted Tomato and Fennel soup or the Paleo Brussel Sprout salad are sure to not disappoint. greenforknola.com
Wrap up your Valentine’s Day by building your own salad or wrap and then chasing it down with a raw, organic fresh-pressed juice. Don’t feel like doing all the work? City Greens has got items for you, too. Try the Vegan Quinoa, Kale, and Corn Salad, the Avocado Hummus Tofu Wrap, or the Sweet Potato Power Bowl. These greens and healthy ingredients will have you feeling energized and satisfied! eatcitygreens.com
In the mood for some Valentine’s Day mac ‘n’ cheese? The Sneaky Pickle has you covered—with vegan cheese. They also serve an un-beet-able Beet Flatbread, a Sushi Rice Bowl, and a Reuben (made with tempeh of course). Don’t forget the pickles! Get the Pickle Plate to start and the vegan chocolate chip cookies for a perfect end to your night. yousneakypickle.com