Summer in the New Year is a time when diners opt more for plant-based, LCHF, gluten-free, low-fat or organic options. Here is a selection of restaurants that are dishing up some of the most conscious and healthy fare in Joburg.
While the popular vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Greenside has changed ownership, it retains its identity as the home of delicious, wholesome cuisine. The fare is also often gloriously experimental; think battered black rice sushi or meringues made from chickpea aquafaba. Moreish salads are all the rage in summer: the Conscious Summer Salad, of sundried tomatoes, brown lentils, baby spinach, rocket, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, toasted pumpkin seeds and grilled aubergines tossed in signature balsamic-and-agave dressing, is a perfect choice for R85. Alternatively, the Blossom Bowl, containing red cabbage, sliced carrots, sautéed spinach, sweet potato, steamed chickpeas, quinoa, avocado and hummus, also comes highly recommended at R94, among a number of equally lip-smacking meals.
Jewish-inspired cuisine with vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, egg-free and fat-free options is the focus of Eat Your Heart Out. For an omelette that makes all others bland in comparison, try the Israeli Breakfast, an omelette spiced with za’atar and served with pita, diced salad, pickled cabbage, olives, chilli, hummus and cottage cheese (R72). Of course, shwarmas are among the best in the city, so try the chicken option, with thinly sliced chicken breast, Middle Eastern spices, hummus, chopped salad, tahini and chilli (optional). It comes served in a laffa with fries or salad, all for R79.
Vegetarian burgers are arguably the most compelling reason to go vegetarian – especially those of the legume-patty variety. Fresh Earth Food Store, which also sells everything from groceries and household goods to pet food, places emphasis on healthy food to accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences and intolerances; think gluten-free, sugar-free, low-carb, vegan and banting options. Highly recommended for those who believe that pineapple has a place in every dish is the California Burger, a home-made vegetarian burger with grilled pineapple, avocado and peppadews, served with French fries (R80). Another tantalising option is the burger with a quinoa patty, home-made mayo, guacamole and chopped peppadews, served with French fries on the side (R93).
A lunch-time hot spot serving daily buffets with a wide variety of salads, curries, quiches, soups and baked goods (from R35 to R79), this eatery has reasonably priced, diverse and healthy fare. A sumptuous treat on the set menu is the mock chicken wrap with veg ‘chicken’ strips baked in sweet-chilli sauce, salad greens, tomato and spring onions (R69). Cooling summer fruit-and-veg juices for those watching the waistline include the tempting Fat Flush (grapefruit, cucumber, pineapple and mint) and Super Slim-Down juice (lime, cucumber, apple and pineapple).
The vegan cheese here is the stuff of legend, and the vegan pizzas (with sourdough or gluten-free bases), arguably unrivalled. Pop into this much-loved Greenside vegetarian and vegan-friendly eatery to discover the limitless options available for responsibly sourced and scrumptious food. Give the Caper Bacon Pizza, made with crispy tofu ‘bacon’, capers, tomato and cashew sunflower cheese, a try (R99), or the Bolognese Pizza with lentil Bolognese, green peppers, sprouts, and cashew sunflower cheese (R100).
Founded by Gary Jackson, who was inspired by his wife and Mediterranean-diet fan, Irene, to eat more healthily, this grocer, bakery, butchery and healthy restaurant is any foodie’s paradise – especially when it comes to breakfast. Whether or not you’re a traditional fry-up type of person, Jackson’s Real Food has something for you. The Full Farmer’s Grill (scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled tomato, fried mushrooms, duo of sausages and sourdough bread, for R115) gets the banting nod, and the Vegan Breakfast Bowl (raw kale, avo, mushroom and cherry tomatoes fried in coconut oil, sprinkled with mixed seeds and served with a lemon wedge and sourdough bread on the side, for R62) gets the vegan stamp of approval.
In busy mall food courts, it’s not easy to find a restaurant that considers the nutritional value of its offerings. Krunch is such an exception, with a menu of acai smoothie bowls, protein crumpets and baked falafel wraps and salads. A lot of the salads can be converted to wraps, which is pure genius. Try the It’s Summer Salad, made of zucchini noodles, lentils, apple, cranberries, Danish feta and sunflower seeds (R59) as a salad or wrap. If a pure, fresh and crunchy option is what you’re after, get the Quinoa Super Salad, which is made of quinoa, cucumber, raw beetroot, broccoli, roast butternut, Danish feta, chia seeds, mint and peas dressed with a dressing of your choice (R69).
In addition to being worth the scenic country meander, this eatery prides itself on tasty, lovingly prepared vegetarian cuisine and very popular desserts. Ranging from chocolate-orange cheesecake (raw cacao, almonds, cashews, orange juice, raw honey and vanilla, for R52) to home-made chocolates and raw gelato scoops (R22), the desserts are not only wholesome and conscious, but affordable, too. It’s a child-friendly venue, so take the little ones along and order something off the kiddies’ menu, which has options for the lactose- and gluten-intolerant.
Eat Out does not endorse any particular eating plan. We just want to help you find tasty food that helps you stick to your goals. Consult a doctor before making drastic diet changes.