[Image by Gustavo Escanelle/Where Y'at]

Best Vegetarian Options at Jazz Fest this Spring

07:00 April 16, 2024
By: Dominique Minor

Going Green for Jazz Fest

Being a vegetarian in the South comes with its fair share of disadvantages. As many New Orleanians are aware, Southern meals are traditionally laden with meat, so eating vegetarian can sometimes limit your food options. When I decided to stop eating meat last year, I found myself in a culinary Diaspora as I searched restaurant menus high and low only to oftentimes find a pithy garden salad or a plate of steamed vegetable as suitable.

While some may abstain from consuming meat for religious reasons, others may do it as a dietary measure or matter of personal preference. As many non-meat eaters can attest, eating vegetarian at Jazz Fest can be an adventure in itself. For those who like seafood, beef, pork, or chicken, there are tons of foods at the festival to tantalize your taste buds, but if you're vegetarian or vegan, this isn't always the case. Whenever I'm asked what it's like to be vegetarian in the Big Easy, my response is usually, "Not easy."

As another Jazz Fest approaches, I couldn't help but wonder what yummy vegetarian delicacies lie ahead. In 2016, I enjoyed a number of tasty fried green tomato po-boys drenched with creamy remoulade sauce with hearty spinach and artichoke bread bowls. When I was unable to find anything meatless, I usually settled for a Mango Freeze; however, man (nor woman) can't subsist on this alone in this sweltering heat.

Fortunately, there will be many regional dishes available at Jazz Fest this year that can be traditionally prepared without meat, such as red beans and rice. For those with a hankering for something more exotic at this year's fest, they can gorge themselves on falafel and hummus.

[Image Provided Dominique Minor]

This year will also see the return of vegetarian Jazz Fest staples like jama-jama (sautéed spinach) and fried plantains from Bennachin. Located at 1212 Royal St., the African and Creole-inspired restaurant has provided a wide array of vegetarian and vegan-optional dishes for the past 25 years. At the festival, Bennachin will also be selling chicken-on-stick.

"Jazz Fest has so many people and cultures, and we wanted to participate and blend in with the New Orleans cuisine," said owner Fanta Jambatang. "Everyone loves our vegetarian dishes."

While it's perfectly sensible that most of the food at the fest is best suited for those with an omnivorous palate after days of heavy French and Creole food, a meat-free dish can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. And remember at Jazz Fest, there's always something for everyone!

[Courtesy of Fritai's Facebook]

Jazz Fest Vegetarian Options

-Spinach Artichoke Casserole and Sunflower Green Salad from Ten Talents

-Jama Jama and Fried Plantains from Bennachin

-Peanut Butter and Jelly, Rice Crispy Treat, and Fruit Salad from Joyce's Lemonade

-Vegetarian Muffuletta from DiMartino's

-Broccoli and Cheese Pie from Mrs. Wheat's Foods

-Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice and Blackberry Cobbler from Burks & Douglass

-Potato Salad from Stufhapn Event Catering

-Vegetarian Ya Ka Mein and mac and cheese from Miss Linda's Catering

-Corn Ribs with Coconut Cream from Fritai NOLA

-Fry Bread and Indian Tacos from United Houma Nation

-Tunisian Salad from Jamila's Café

-Seaweed and Cucumber Salad from Ajun Cajun

-Steamed Vegetables from Palmer's Jamaican Cuisine

-Couscous with Yogurt Sauce and Spicy Grilled Tofu and Veggies from Gambian Foods

-Falafel Sandwich, Hummus w/pita, and Greek Garden Salad from Mona's Cafe

-Cole Slaw and Peach Cobbler from Down Home Creole Cookin'

-Bean Custard Pie from Mr. William's Pastries

-Potato and Cheese Empanada and Vegetable Ceviche from Carmo and Waska NOLA

-NOLA Street Corn from TCA Broca

-Grilled Veggie Taco from Carmo

-Tofu Bun from Ba Mien Vietnamese Cuisine

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