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How to Vegan When There's No Vegan

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

You found the perfect getaway and it's a drive away...niiiice! Time for the menu scavenger hunt. Uh Oh! Foiled by a lack of decent choices or perhaps no choices at all?

It's happened to the best of us when choosing a destination that's far from a major city. Although there are many more choices than ever before, there are still areas that lack satisfying plant-based choices. Don't write off the trip yet though. I have been to some of these vegan dead spots and I found a way to still have it all. Here's how! I will use my latest trip, to Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of NY with my hubby, to demonstrate. It's as easy as 1,2,3!

1. Splurge on a place with a view, a kitchen stocked with the essentials, and a nice place to dine al fresco

You will be saving some money on going out to dine so get that really cute cabin on the lake with a dock! Going the Vrbo or Airbnb route works nicely in this scenario.

This was our dining table on our FLX trip and we couldn't have enjoyed it more!

2. Pack your own food

Planning your menu, making a shopping list, and gathering the ingredients prior to your trip will make for a more enjoyable one (stay with will still feel like vacation).

On this trip, there was only 1 restaurant that had an appealing option...that didn't involve a veggie burger or some other played-out vegan meal. That meant that 2 of the nights, we were on our own.

When choosing the vacation food, make it feel special and splurge on items like artisanal dairy-free cheese, high end crackers and nuts, and other exciting munchies!

For dinners, think easy peasy. Some go-tos for us include a Gardein Holiday Roast (pop in the oven), pasta with garlic and olive oil, flatbread with toppings you enjoy, perhaps something you prepped at home and can just warm like stuffed shells or baked ziti, and don't forget BBQ! Most rentals have a grill so at least one night, we enjoy Beyond sausage with onion and pepper or Impossible Burgers. Don't forget the rolls!

For breakfast, we love a good quality bread that we can toast and add walnut butter, banana slices, and maple drizzle or toast with Miyoko's cultured butter and fruit preserves. Throw some fresh fruit and a cup of coffee in and we are content with minimal effort. You can also make tofu scramble or JUST Egg and toast. JUST Egg even makes folded eggs ready-to-go so enjoy a bagel with egg and cheese if that's more your style.

3. Check for some choices that are on the way!

On this trip, I found a vegan restaurant, Parlor City Vegan, right at the halfway point between home and Seneca Lake. There, my husband and I feasted on a huge lunch that would act as our big meal for the day.

We also got a few desserts to-go that would keep us happy for the next couple of nights.

Parlor City Vegan is an unexpected gem in Binghamton, NY. The food, service, and atmosphere make it an A+++.

Before arriving at our rental, we made a pit stop at a roadside farm stand for some fresh, local produce. One of our choices included sweet, juicy peaches that we would later soak in Riesling, a popular wine varietal in the Finger Lakes. When in wine country...

Get creative with the local dirt candy! Whip up your own pasta primavera with a box of quality pasta, that you packed, and the local produce that you find.

We spent one night dining at Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars We made reservations in advance and I also called on the morning of our reservation to ensure that the vegan option was still available for that night. We learned that there would be an additional vegan meal offered with the specials! We both ordered the Tofu Wellington and it far exceeded our expectations. Fresh, perfectly cooked broccolini, sweet potato mash, and the wellington was stuffed with spinach, roasted red pepper, and tofu topped with a mushroom sauce. It was extremely well thought out and prepared, leaving us very content.

A typical day on this trip was having a leisurely breakfast outside, getting some exercise with a kayak paddle, yard games (provided by rental), visiting a couple wineries (we brought our own dairy-free cheese, crackers, and fruit to snack on), and back to the rental for dinner and a gorgeous sunset. With some planning ahead, you can still have the dream getaway you envisioned. For many, the culinary experience is a big part of the trip so with a little prep, you can still have it all despite a lack of vegan dining choices!

Rebecca Carucci

Plant-Based Consultant and Vegan Chef

Powered by Plants Consulting, Owner

New Paltz, NY

Powered by Plants Consulting is a comprehensive consulting business committed to providing individuals and organizations the support necessary to transition to plant-based food and practices through the development of a "soup to nuts" plan designed to streamline personal and business objectives.

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