When it comes to dietary requirements and dining out, there’s always a unique adventure awaiting. Traveling, particularly in countries with a meat-centric culinary culture, adds a challenge to the experience. I vividly remember a night in Bangkok when I resorted to a dinner of ice cream because I couldn’t locate a place serving a vegetarian option. I had wrongly assumed that Thailand’s significant Buddhist population would guarantee that plant-based choices would be prominent. To my surprise, it was quite the opposite.
In the US, you can be somewhat confident that something will be available—even if it’s just fries! However, there are always some exceptions. New Orleans food, known for its rich Cajun and Creole cuisine traditions, often features meat as a prominent ingredient. On one occasion, I had pre-booked a cooking demonstration class in the French Quarter. I arrived early and overheard the staff joking about the person who had ordered the Gumbo Z’Herbs—that person was me.
Consequently, stumbling upon restaurants in New Orleans that warmly embrace vegetarian and vegan options feels like a culinary victory. You can confidently walk in such places, knowing your dietary choices won’t be met with disapproving eye-rolls. Knowing where to find New Orleans food that is vegetarian friendly before you even set foot in the city is a bonus.
1. Breads on Oak—Vegan
I initially thought this place was just a bakery selling bread, but they have an extensive cafe menu serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch options. If you’re after something with a local flavor, I recommend the Creole Omelet Toast, which comes with scrambled tofu, veggies, and a special Creole remoulade.
The ambiance at Breads on Oak is often described as cozy and welcoming, making it a great spot to enjoy a leisurely breakfast or brunch. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to New Orleans, Breads on Oak is a delightful destination for those seeking artisanal bread and pastries in a charming setting. They have two locations—one close to the French Quarter at 222 Carondolet Street and another on Oak Street.
2. I-Tal Garden—Vegan
This cafe is located north of Louis Armstrong Park in the Treme neighborhood and features hearty dishes and traditional New Orleans flavors. Expect to find Crabless Crabcakes, Avocado Fries, and Cajun Pasta alongside Okra Gumbo and Veggie Burgers.
While the exterior may seem plain, the inside presents a cozy, homegrown atmosphere. If you’re staying in the French Quarter, head up St Ann Street and walk through the park. It’s about a 15-minute stroll from Congo Square. Appetizers range from $12 – 25. I-Tal Gardens is open from Thursday through Sunday.
3. Sprouts Organic Cafe—Vegan
Sprouts is also located in the Treme neighborhood at 1200 Henriette Delille Street. Their primary focus is organic pressed juices and smoothies, but they also offer vegan foods like avocado toast and beet burgers.
The pretty cafe is housed in a classic New Orleans-style brick building with French window shutters and indoor and outdoor seating. They’re open Friday to Monday from 8 am to 4 pm.
4. Sweet Soulfood—Vegan
This Treme neighborhood restaurant is on N. Broad Street and is highly rated and reviewed. The atmosphere is bright and pleasant, and food is served bain marie style. Prices are based on how much you want to eat: from $5.99 for one dish to $14.99 for four.
Sweet Soulfood has a daily rotating menu where you can find things like Sweet Heat Cauliflower, Mac N Cheese, Jambalaya, Okra Gumbo, Collard Greens, and Bread Pudding. They’re open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm.
5. Meals From the Heart—Vegetarian Options
This New Orleans Historic French Market cafe is an open-air cafe catering to diverse tastes. On my first trip to the French Quarter, I stumbled across this place and was impressed with its extensive vegan menu. The wholemeal strawberry pancakes had me going back a few times during my stay. Since then, they’ve added a few more meat dishes to the menu, but the vegan menu is still extensive and caters to various dietary requirements, such as gluten-free.
The best part about Meals From the Heart is that you can try local gumbos and jambalayas without worrying about the meat. This place tends to get busy, so there could be a long wait—they’ll let you know, though. The cafe is open seven days from 9.30 am to late afternoon.
The trendy Kindred vegan restaurant is just a short walk from Audubon Park in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhood. Despite picking January 2020 as their opening debut, they’ve managed to thrive and impress veggie food buffs. Brunch includes French toast and waffles. Entre offerings include ‘Shrimp’ Po’Boy, made with fried mushrooms, and the Maple Street Burger, which is a soy burger with coleslaw & buttermilk battered onion rings and dressed with house-made BBQ sauce, mayo, and pickles.
Kindred is open from Tuesday to Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm.
7. Lamara Coffee and Kitchen—Vegetarian
Another veg option in the lively Treme district, Lamara Coffee and Kitchen, stands out as a distinctive vegetarian eatery, even in the presence of its rival, Sweet Soulfood. What sets it apart is its dynamic cooked-to-order menu. This organic vegetarian coffee shop offers an enticing selection of small dishes, refreshing smoothies, acai bowls, and mouthwatering baked goods.
You’ll find tempting vegan choices, such as tofu sliders, a lentil/tempeh burger, tostadas, hearty salads, nourishing bowls, and more. Oh, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to coffee! Lamara Coffee and Kitchen is open to serve you from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends.
If aliens came to visit us and they happened to be vegan, this might be what their restaurant would look like. The theme here is futuristic, with bright greens and purples, and the website features an alien creature drinking a beverage. Hi-Ballz is located on Canal Street in the Mid-Town district and is open for Fall from Wednesday to Saturday, 5 pm – 10 pm.
I previously wrote about the popularity of dry bars as a place where people could gather without the pressure to buy alcohol, and this venue fits that profile perfectly. They offer a range of mocktails, sandwiches, hand-held pies, and soft-serve ice cream.
9. Killer Poboys—Vegetarian Options
The po’boy, a Louisiana original, traditionally features meat served on New Orleans French bread known for its crispy crust and soft center. Killer Poboys, situated in New Orleans’ French Quarter with two locations, offers a modern take on the classic po’ boy sandwich while respecting its traditional roots. Notably, they provide unique vegan po’ boy options beyond the standard offering of French fry po’ boys, with fillings like roasted sweet potato & greens po’ boy or roasted vegetables po’ boy.
It is located at 219 Dauphine Street from Wednesday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and at the back of the Erin Rose Bar at 811 Conti Street, with various hours for lunch and dinner. Killer Poboys offers vegans a way to try an authentic New Orleans staple without the meat.
10. The Gumbo Shop—Vegetarian Options
Once, at a conference, I overheard someone talk about this place having authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine and happily catering to vegans, so I had to try it out. This venue has a great vibe with indoor seating in a historic French Quarter building or outdoor seating in a serene courtyard with a fountain feature. I’m a sucker for a pretty alfresco experience. However, all other aspects live up to the hype as well. The staff are friendly and will answer any questions you have about the menu.
Located right in the heart of the French Quarter at 630 St Peter Street, you’ll find a few vegan options, such as the gumbo z’herbes. Just a warning, though—while I had a great experience, I’ve read reviews of people saying wait staff laughed when they asked if the bread was vegan.
- Expertise: Travel, History, Food
- Education: Monash University, Australia
- Over 400 articles published in newspapers, magazines, and across the web
Ree Winter is a versatile journalist hailing from Australia and now making New Orleans her home. Ree’s passion for solo travel shines through as she expertly tracks down fantastic flight deals and accommodations, sharing her extensive travel experiences with readers. With a Master’s degree in Journalism and a Bachelor’s degree featuring double majors in history and literature, she brings a unique blend of skills to her work. Ree’s historical expertise extends to the world of architectural history, where she has worked as a tour guide in historic house museums. But her journey doesn’t stop there; she’s even delved into the art of coffee as a barista, running a coffee van at events and markets, making her a genuine connoisseur of coffee preparation. Today, Ree channels her insights and expertise into sharing these topics with readers at Wealth of Geeks.