5 restaurants with great vegan options in KZN

For those living the plant-based life, these spots around the East Coast city will satisfy with their wholesome offerings featuring no animal meat or by-products.

Conscious Café (Hillcrest)

Located at the Castle on Main, this vegan eatery serves local, organic vegan and vegetarian food with the environment in mind, and you won’t find a plastic straw in sight. Go for an all-day breakfast with options like the vegan Benedict with a potato rösti topped with sautéed spinach, falafels, and a tahini sauce. Wraps and open sandwiches are all made in-house using non-GMO stoneground flour, and are filled with options like green-pea-and-basil pesto with avo slices; roasted veggies and creamy hummus; or the famed falafels with chopped salsa and homemade pickles. End on a vegan chocolate brownie or a scoop of vegan ice cream.

Chilliplum (Hillcrest)

This eatery offers a range of wholesome options for both vegans and meat eaters. The owners themselves are vegan, which means there is a range of exciting and flavourful organic, unprocessed, plant-based dishes as well as items that are free of wheat, gluten, yeast, soy and nuts. The seasonal menu offers options such as the Mediterranean snack bowl with pickled aubergine, slow-roasted oven tomatoes and warm olives; penang ‘ravioli’ filled with butternut and cashew cheese; and salads like the rainbow carpaccio with beetroot, zucchini, peppers and almond ‘parmesan’. Hearty mains like Thai coconut curry with cashews and green beans will hit the spot, as will the medley of garden vegetables baked in a traditional tomato sauce.

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Earthmother Organic (Glenwood)

Vegan, organic, ethical and gluten-free options abound at this breakfast-and-lunch spot. Try one of the fresh fruit salads or raw oats bowls for breakfast, or head over for lunch and enjoy gluten-free spaghetti with vegan pesto or spicy beans with vegan nut cheese, or a vegan salad bowl with falafels and raw veg. There are also quesadillas with roasted veggies and beans, or olives, cherry tomatoes and vegan cheese. Refreshments include fresh juices and superfood smoothies made with the likes of banana, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut oil and raw cocoa. End off on a vegan granadilla cheesecake.

Tree Natural (Ballito)

This café and health store dedicated to serving health-filled grub made with natural and organic ingredients. The menu has a nifty key to indicate dishes that are gluten-free, paleo, dairy-free, or contain a superfood. For breakfast, tuck into a nutty chia pot with activated coconut chia, berry coulis and a nutty seed cream. The lunch menu features options like the zesty cauli-rice bowl with cabbage, hemp and pumpkin seeds, a lemon-thyme dressing; or the pesto zucchini ‘pasta’ with raw zucchini noodles, kale pesto, broccoli, olives, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pea shoots. Wash it down with a cold-pressed juice of grapefruit and pine or an almond milk coffee.

Wholesome with Out to Lunch (around Durban)

This mobile vegan kitchen can be spotted at markets and events around the city, as well as certain health shops and delis such as Home Grown in Ballito or Healthy Umhlanga. You can also catch them at the Shongweni Farmer’s Market every Saturday and the I Heart Market. What to order? Expect Mediterranean meze bowls with dolmades, aubergines, falafels and hummus; mung bean dahl; beetroot curry, immune boosting soups; brinjal burger patties; and raw cacao vegan brownies for dessert.

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