As any native Chicagoan knows, the Windy City has some of the best restaurants in the country. Bon Appétit even named it the best restaurant city of the year in 2017. But with local specialties like deep-dish pizza, Italian beef, and Chicago-style hot dogs, Chicago catering isn’t exactly known as a bastion of vegan fare. But that perception is changing quickly. Tons of caterers are adding more and more vegan options to their menus. Here are the ten best vegan catering spots in Chicago worth checking out.
Make Kama Bistro your mainstay for outstanding Indian food. This restaurant offers plenty of vibrant vegan catering options. Start with the legendary trio of homemade chutneys in tangy flavors like mango, blueberry, and cherry, with a side of crunchy papadums for dipping. Kama Bistro’s famous aloo gobi offers generous chunks of potatoes and cauliflower smothered in a tomato-based sauce redolent of garam masala, with no animal products in sight.
Square Roots Kitchen offers a speedy, healthy, and delicious alternative to today’s trendy fast-casual fare. Ingredients are hand-selected for quality and freshness, like the seasonal asparagus, peppers, edamame, portobello mushrooms, onions, and squash in the quinoa veggie bowl. And everyone loves the crave-worthy mediterranean tofu wrap. The tofu wrap stands with some of the best vegan in Chicago because it’s bursting with smoky grilled tofu, zippy hummus, crunchy asparagus, onions, carrots, and mixed greens.
While the list of best vegan catering in Chicago surely involves multiple Indian restaurants, Chicago Curry House stands out with the addition of Nepalese dishes on the menu. The dal and vegetable biryani pair well with a large pan of potatoes and green beans perfumed with ginger and other fresh spices (aloo ra seemi ko tarkari). It’s also worth trying the spicy potatoes mixed with bamboo shoots and black-eyed peas (aloo tama bodi). The farsi bhaji, an extraordinary dish of green beans simmered in a creamy coconut sauce, is another must-try item.
For delicious catering that will delight both vegans and gluten-free eaters, look no further than Cassava. Owner Jorge Flores specializes in unique empanadas made from cassava flour, an edible root from the tropics that’s produced in an entirely gluten-free facility. Whereas the vegetarian empanadas contain cheese, vegan diners love the hearty meatless chili full of tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and beans. There’s also coconut-scented jasmine rice served with lentils and sweet roasted bell peppers, for the perfect complement.
Find Indian food reimagined for an on-the-go city lifestyle at NaanSense. The three-protein spread package is ideal for lunch meetings because everyone can customize their plates according to individual preference. The roasted veggies will satisfy any vegans, while omnivores choose from chicken, lamb, or farmer’s cheese. The entire spread also arrives hefty with your choice of bread, rice, pickled vegetables, slaws, and assorted chutneys. You’ll be impressed with the array of vegan catering options – from scratch-made tikka and korma, to madras and vindaloo sauces.
Look no further than I Dream of Falafel for some of the best vegan catering Chicago has to offer. The restaurant is perfecting its take on Mediterranean classics. The velvety-smooth hummus is the stuff of legends. And the same could be said for the garlicky baba ganoush. Try them both as part of the vegan sampler, piled high with cucumber and tomato salad, stuffed grape leaves, cranberry couscous, and red cabbage slaw. Or, add the vegan sampler to one of their catering packages and order a feast in an instant. The dream package comes with your choice of four proteins like falafel, chicken shwarma, or kefta, and three sides, two sampler trays, and two sauces that will keep vegan eaters full and happy.
Known for some of the best vegan catering in Chicago, Ameer Kabob specializes in the robust flavors of the Middle East. Take, for example, the refreshing fattoush salad made with fresh lettuce tossed with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, and crunchy pieces of toasted pita. There’s also the tabbouleh composed of toothsome cracked wheat dotted with tomatoes and parsley and tossed with a bright dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. Each dish is fit for a vegan, or anyone else who loves amazing international cuisine.
Chef Paul Hitalenko has built a long-standing reputation for excellence based on uncompromising attention to detail and commitment to using only the freshest, hand-selected ingredients. His vegan dishes get raves for presentation. The veggie wrap is full of roasted red peppers and creamy hummus and avocado. And the mixed greens salad is sprinkled with carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, and purple cabbage, tossed in a zesty vinaigrette. Meanwhile, the cauliflower steak, a fat slice of roasted cauliflower dressed with herbs and olive oil, impresses anyone who’s tried it.
For something a little different, executive chef Paul Chant of Ukai Japanese Restaurant cranks out a range of vegan sushi rolls. Start with an order of feather-light vegetable tempura. Next, dive into the assortment of nigiri, crunchy green beans, or veggie rolls. They’re made with cucumber, spinach, asparagus, and avocado. There’s a reason why this sushi is among the best vegan catering in Chicago.
The best way to travel the world without leaving Chicago is through a culinary adventure. Order from Vegetarian Express, and you’ll find just that. The vegan ceviche tossed with avocado, tomato, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice hails from South America. Or try a surprisingly tasty stew from West Africa. It’s made of soy sausage, bell peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, corn, peanut butter, coconut milk, and curry. It’s delicious, and you save on airfare.
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