Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sing With Me: "Veggie Fruit Fruit. Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit."

As many of you may know, I’m a girl from the Midwest.  We consider beef, chicken and pork as separate (and extremely important) food groups.  I regard myself as an equal opportunity eater, and I practically view dieting as a form of food discrimination.

That said, I do have to pay attention to the dietary restrictions of others.  You see, if I love you I feed you, so I cook rather a lot. I have a couple of friends with nut and/or seafood allergies, for example, so I have to take those into account when entertaining.  Even more frequently, however, I’m cooking for my mother-in-law and my niece, both of whom are vegetarians.

Because food (and by extension the above dietary requirements) is such a central part of my existence, I do pay attention when at Walt Disney World to what food options are available, so that I can advise my friends and loved ones what to seek out (or avoid) when making their own pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Below I will describe some of the most appealing vegetarian options I’ve discovered.  I’ve decided to go with the no meat (not even fish) approach, but not vegan, which would eliminate all eggs and dairy.  As far as I’m concerned, once you give up cheese and all of the desserts that require eggs you’ve pretty much resigned yourself to a joyless existence, and I’m not going to be able to help you.

Before I get started, I should note that vegi burgers are available just about everywhere at WDW, so I didn’t bother mentioning them.  Also, the Disney chefs are very accommodating, and will give you pretty much whatever you ask for.  I’m focusing on unique, straight-off-the-menu options that won’t require any special ordering requests on your part.

Best Counter Service Options:

Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom) – Offers a Lighthouse Sandwich with hummus, tomato, and broccoli slaw.  This can be paired with a bowl of vegetarian chili for a tasty meal!

Sunshine Seasons (The Land, Epcot) – This has a wonderful Asian entrée that includes Garlic Udon Noodles, stir fry veggies, white rice and broccoli

Tangierine Café (Morocco, Epcot) – Try a Vegetable Platter with falafel, couscous salad, hummus, tabouleh, lentil salad and marinated olives

Backlot Express (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – I’d go for the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich - black olive ciabatta roll, mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini, tomato, watercress and cheese with sundried tomato pesto and black bean salad

Best Table Service Options:

Chefs de France (France, Epcot) – This one has a couple of intriguing options, like Lasagnes de legumes du soleil a l'huile d'olive au thym - zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers baked into thin layers of pasta, or Salade de Chevre Chaud - Baked goat cheese with walnuts, fresh grapes, tomatoes, endives and arugula salad.

Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney's Hollywood Studios) – How about starting your meal off with Cremini Mushroom Chevre Tortelloni with tomato-fennel sauce and shaved parmigiano-reggiano or Baby Greens Salad with grape tomatoes, candied pecans, Midnight Moon goat cheese and cabernet vinaigrette, followed by the Noodle Bowl - with wok fried coconut tofu, soy beans, sugar snap peas, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms in a red curry broth?  Yum!

Mama Melrose's (Disney's Hollywood Studios) offers everything from vegetable Minestrone to vegetarian flatbreads and Eggplant Napoleon - eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes over a warm cannelloni bean ragu.

Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge) – This restaurant has a number of meatless starters, soups, and salads: Crispy Savanna Rolls - with sweet corn, bitter greens, goat cheese and curry vinaigrette, Taste of Africa - Trio of Dips with Assorted Breads and House-made Naan, Spiced Tomato Soup - with goat cheese-cilantro butter and olive bread croutons,  Jiko Seasonal Salad - with baby romaine, watermelon relish, pine nuts and blood orange vinaigrette and Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad - with Rocket, Cottage Cheese, and Watermelon Vinaigrette.  Follow this up with Seared Maize Pudding - with chakalaka and basil beurre blanc and you’ve got yourself quite a meal!

To my mind, however, some of the best vegetarian options can be found at some of the Disney Buffets.  For example:

Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

Sliced Tomatoes and Egg Toasted Cumin Dressing
Sweet Plantain, Cucumber and Corn Salad
Edamame Salad
Couscous Tofu and roasted Vegetable Salad
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Beet Salad with Sag Dhal Dressing
Romaine and Bleu Cheese Salad
Papaya Frisee and Arugula Salad
Mixed Field Greens
Ranch and Zinfandel Dressings
Mandarin Orange Sesame Vinaigrette
Tropical Slaw
Smoked Corn Chowder
Garlic Redskin Smashed Potatoes
Broccoli tossed in Puri Puri and topped with Key Lime Ponzu
Medley of Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze
Mac and Cheese
Fruit and Vegetable Tofu Curry
Fire Roasted Corn Spoon bread
Braised Kale
Cheese Pizza
Vegetable Pasta

Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)

Mango Ajar, Blatjang Chuntney, and Mixed Dried Fruit Sambal
Endive, Apple and Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Caesar Salad
Mixed Greens with Ranch, Balsamic Vinaigrette or Light Italian Dressing
Tomato and Cucumber Salad with fresh mint and Yogurt Dressing
Tunisian Couscous Salad
Green Bean and Onion Salad
Curried Basmati Rice
Fresh Fruit Salad
Hummus and Tabbouleh
Spiced Tandoori Tofu
Saffron-infused vegetables and cabbage
Green bean, mushroom and carrot medley
Marrakesh Couscous with roasted vegetables
Vegetable Samosa
Oven-roasted Yukon Gold potato wedges
Mashed potatoes
Orzo pasta
Jollaf rice
Pearl Couscous laced with Sweet Basil Essence
Basmati rice with toasted almond slivers

And my personal favorite:

Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge)

African Breads
Mixed Field Greens:
Mango Vinaigrette, Paw Paw Vinaigrette,
Chili Cilantro Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette
Potato Salad
Fresh Fruit
Avocado, Grapefruit and Papaya Salad
Pasta Salad
Watermelon Rind Salad
Kool Slaai
Avocado, Grapefruit, Papaya, Curry Cucumber Salad, Spinach and Beet Salad
Macaroni and Cheese
Saffron Rice
Smoked Tomato Soup
Creamy Carrot and Ginger Soup
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Vegetable Lentil Kofta
Braised Greens
FuFu - sweet and white potatoes mashed with coriander and cinnamon
Potatoes with Afritude
Vegetable Skewers
Couscous Marrakesh

These are my favorite vegetarian options, but what would you choose if you had to “go meatless” at Walt Disney World?  Let me know over at!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a vegetarian, but the Hummus Sandwich with Veggie Chili from Columbia Harbor House (one of my favorite CS restaurants in WDW) sounds delicious! I'll have to remember that meal during my trip in October. Great post!