Chow Town

10 vegetarian-approved meals in Kansas City

Waldo Pizza serves vegan pizza made with dairy-free cheese and toppings such as meat-free Italian “sausage.”
Waldo Pizza serves vegan pizza made with dairy-free cheese and toppings such as meat-free Italian “sausage.”

I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but lately I’ve been trying more meat- and animal product-free foods.

I was inspired by Veganuary, an international movement that encourages people to try going vegan during the month of January. That means eating foods that don’t contain animal products such as meat, cheese, milk or honey. For help finding delicious vegan meals served in Kansas City, I turned to Katie Sowder, a Kansas City vegetarian who tweets about animal product-free food @vegankc.

Sowder steered me to several restaurants featured in my latest Dish with Gish dining column, including Cafe Gratitude and Waldo Pizza, which serves PETA-approved vegan pizza topped with dairy-free cheese. Here are 10 more tasty recommendations from Sowder that I wasn’t able to fit in the column. Know of another tasty vegetarian or vegan meal I’m missing out on? Comment here or tweet me @sarah_gish.

▪ Veggie nachos at The Foundry, 424 Westport Road. This shareable plate of nachos ($10) is topped with veggie taco “cheat meat” and “everything but the kitchen sink,” according to the beer bar’s menu.

▪ Midtown Veggie Burger at Q39, 1000 W. 39th St. Q39 is known for barbecue, but also serves a mean veggie burger, Sowder says. The meat-free burger costs $8.50 and is topped with chipotle mayo, tomato, mixed greens and balsamic vinaigrette.

▪ Vegan and vegetarian tamales at The Bite, 23 E. 3rd St. in the City Market. At The Bite, you can build your own tamales ($6.95 each). Vegetarian fillings include spinach, black bean, mushroom, sweet corn and BBQ tofu.

▪ Tofu with green beans at Kin Lin Chinese Restaurant, 314 E. 51st St. This Chinese restaurant near UMKC serves 19 vegetarian entrees. Sowder’s favorite is the tofu with green beans ($7.95 for a regular or $9.25 for a large). “The tofu is really crispy and super garlic-y,” she says.

▪ Lunch buffet at Blue Nile Cafe, 20 E. 5th St. Sowder likes the lunch buffet at Blue Nile Cafe, an Ethiopian restaurant in the City Market that serves many vegan and vegetarian dishes. “They always have five or six different entrees,” she says, “and they label which ones are vegan.” The lunch buffet costs $8.50 per person and is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

▪ Pan-fried dumplings ($7.25) and crispy tofu with spicy awesome sauce ($5.25) at Blue Koi, which has locations in midtown Kansas City and Leawood. “My husband and I like those things so much that we worked them into our wedding vows,” Sowder says. “They also have this great braised organic tofu and shiitake mushroom noodle soup ($13).”

▪ Any vegetarian or vegan option at The Farmhouse, 300 Delaware St. in the River Market. “They always have one item on their menu that’s vegan,” Sowder says, “but it changes seasonally.” Currently The Farmhouse is serving a $10 vegan sandwich stacked with fried eggplant, root vegetable slaw, lettuce, tomato, red onion and spicy vegan “mayonnaise” on potato bread. The sandwich comes with fries.

▪ Jackfruit tamales ($13) at Beer Kitchen, 435 Westport Road. Beer Kitchen’s vegetarian tamales are made with vegan blue corn masa, two salsas, heirloom Anasazi beans and beer-battered avocado.

▪ Anything at Fud, 813 W. 17th St. Sowder is a fan of this vegan cafe’s nachos, tacos, brunch and jackfruit barbecue sandwich ($8), which dresses oven-roasted jackfruit with barbecue sauce, onion, kosher pickles and a vegan alternative to mayo.

▪ Bruschetta at Cafe Gratitude, 333 Southwest Blvd. Cafe Gratitude’s vegan bruschetta costs $8.50 and is called “I Am Present” on the menu. It’s toasted ciabatta with cashew “mozzarella,” olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and fresh basil. Substitute gluten-free bread for $3.25.

Sarah Gish writes about dining for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. Contact her via email at or tweet @sarah_gish.