5 vegetarian dishes that will surprise KC diners

The somen salad at Ramen Bowls in Lawrence.

The somen salad at Ramen Bowls in Lawrence.

Kansas City can be a cruel place for vegetarians. Our everyday lives, corporate lunches and even date night are meat-laced. Now, we are not saying there is a paucity of options. Chipotle recently introduce sofritas (spicy braised tofu with poblano peppers) in KC. And with less effort than it takes to find a decent delivery option (that’s a soapbox we’d willingly stand on), a vegan or vegetarian can eat well and happily in KC.

We thought we’d lend a hand this morning and offer up 5 vegetarian offerings that will surprise Kansas City diners. These are all spots where a fish or meat-loving friend or partner can feel like their vegetarian companion is in good hands.

5. Pickled Radish Roll at Sushi Mido (6010 Nieman Road, Shawnee Mission, Kansas) — You can call it gateway sushi. This roll has a sharp bite and a little bit of crunch. It’s one of seven vegetarian rolls (ranging from sweet potato to tempura asparagus) on the sushi menu.

4. Dubu Kimchi at Sobahn (7800 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Overland Park, Kansas) — Sobahn dishes up salty and tangy kimchi (fermented cabbage, cucumber and radish) as a side (known as banchan). Dubu kimchi is steamed tofu topped with a pile of the Korean cousin to slaw. If you can’t wrap your brain around fermentation, here they even spell out which dishes on the menu can be made vegetarian.

3. Lunch buffet at Blue Nile (20 E 5th Street) — This may be the Super Bowl talking, but we want vegetables and a lot of them this week. The Ethiopian restaurant’s lunch buffet ($8.50 for all-you-can-eat, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday) obliges. At the city Market eatery, you’ll dredge your spongy Injera bread through lentils, chickpeas, cabbage, collard greens and potatoes that have been flavored with the warming spices of winter (think nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander).

2. Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen (1526 Walnut Street) — Despite being an avid tailgater, executive chef Brian Aaron is one of the chefs in the city that delights in trying to make vegetarians as happy as carnivores. He’s adept at tweaking entrees on the menu and turning out a veggie version of almost everything.

1. Somen Salad with kimchi at Ramen Bowls (125 E 10th Street, Lawrence, Kansas) — This Lawrence noodle shop is one of the few places in the metro to get ramen, let alone vegetarian ramen. But the somen noodle salad — a bowl of warm, thin noodles that gets crunch from fried garlic and brightness from spring onions, corn and local micro-greens — is a winner. There’s heat too from Sriracha aioli (it comes on the side if you’re looking for something mild). Ask them for a side of kimchi — it’s chef Jay Draskovich’s go-to order — to complete the flavor wheel with umami.

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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