Living in any urban or urban-ish environment (sorry to those of you who clearly live in the rural boonies, AKA outside of restaurant delivery zones), takeout is a dietary stable and key to otherwise not dying of starvation. But as a vegan, you see your takeout options go from limitless, to who the f$%& can I call for some food?? Luckily, I have learned that it’s actually not as hard as you think it is to maintain the vegan diet on a takeout meal lifestyle. Here are some tips I’ve picked up.
Ah, pizza. What would we do without it? The good thing is, as a vegan – you won’t have to find out! Simply request no cheese, pile on the veggies, and you have a semi-nutritious meal. And go ahead and eat that entire pie, you naughty thing you – think about how many calories, fat grams, etc. you remove when you take away cheese and all the fatty meat products that are typically piled on. Indulge!
Caution: many places do strange and sketchy things with the crust – putting in cheese, brushing with egg whites, etc. Inquire about how your favorite delivery place prepares the dough to make sure the nasties don’t make it in.
Life is too short to live without dining from those fantastic little white take-out boxes. Chinese, Japanese, Thai etc. cuisine is actually very favorable to those who don’t want to consume meat or dairy – tofu is an Asian staple. For those who don’t regularly eat tofu, when marinated it holds some incredible flavors and loses some of the “softness” of the texture that turns a lot of people off. A lot of Asian meals also include a big veggie stir fry with veggies such as eggplant and bok choy. Over some rice, the veggies and sauces will fill you right up.
Caution: many Asian meals – even the “vegetarian” ones – are prepared with fish stock. So before you order that miso soup … be sure to find out how it is made and what other kinds of flavorings are included.
If I had the opportunity to move to Greece, Lebanon, or other Mediterranean countries, I would be gone before you could say “hummus” (and would weigh 200 pounds within six weeks). Mediterranean foods are some of the most vegan-friendly out there — yes, there are a lot of meats such as lamb incorporated to their diet, but the beans, veggies, grains, sauces etc. tend to favor those who prefer not to consume animal products. From dips such as hummus (chickpeas) and babaganaouj (eggplant), to salads and soups focusing on veggies and legumes such as lentils, to bean-centric delights such as falafel and fassolia, it’s easy to find plenty of mezze to satisfy your hunger..
Caution: while most places are very open to “hold the feta” (which can add many additional menu items to the “vegan-friendly” category), cheese tends to sneak its way in to many different selections. Be sure to reiterate “no cheese”.
Bottom line is, many places are happy to accommodate dietary requests. It never hurts to ask – and with a little bit of investigation, a vegan, too, can enjoy culinary delights delivered to the front door.