Whether you work in tech in NYC's Silicon Alley or at any number of businesses in Union Square, you'll find plenty of plant-based food options that can be bought to-go. I've put together this quick guide to Union Square plant-based lunches. Regardless if you are a regular to the area, or just visiting NYC, you'll find a lot of plant-based and vegan options in restaurants. The demand of the plant-based movement is really exciting.
For a great meal in NYC's Union Square, eat here If you are feeling...
Souen is a macrobiotic restaurant on East 13th Street. Macrobiotics is a lifestyle that focuses on balance, health, and harmony with nature. Typical macrobiotic meals include local, in-season grains and vegetables, often in large portions. Every day Souen makes a fantastic wholefood, vegan soup made from beans, broccoli, squash, or cauliflower purees, and every soup I've tried here has been excellent. As NYC has long, cold winters, these warm soups are a perfect lunch. For a heartier meal, pair soup with brown rice, gluten-free cornbread, or any other side from Souen's lunch menu.
Sweetgreen, on East 18th street, is a chain focused on great food that is sustainably sourced. There are plenty of options for plant-based protein and a plant-based meal if you build your own salad. The salad bar options are all organic, high-quality ingredients. To avoid or lessen oil consumption, I dress my salad with a scoop of hummus and a squeeze of lemon. Although lines may be long inside the shop, I pre-order using their app, which is clear, well-designed, and made simple with mobile payment and scheduled pickup times. I've always had a good experience.
Sandwich: Blossom du Jour
Blossom, a set of fine-dining vegan restaurants in NYC, have really set the standard for the upscale vegan dining experience. Their deli-style outpost, Blossom du Jour, has a few locations, including one on East 13th. Although Blossom du Jour has a few decadent menu items that I would omit from my everyday diet, there are some very healthy options and everything is plant-based. Cookies, shakes, and special sauces on the "fast-food style" menu allows for indulgences if there is something you really miss and, as a treat, want to try its vegan version, which is still far better. If you want to dine out with a non-vegan friend, this is a good option and there is no way they will not like their meal. For a quick lunch, when I'm really craving a sandwich, I go for the Gluten-free Karmic Kale Wrap. A portion of sales from the wrap goes to one of my favorite charities, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary! Win, win!
Kitchery: Pret A Manger
Kitchery is a staple meal as part of Ayurvedic cleansing that your yogi friends may mention. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient mind-body health system that is very powerful and healing. Combining high fiber nourishing foods in one large dish, Kitchery contains any number of combinations of brown rice, beans, vegetables, and herbs prepared perhaps in a slow cooker or dutch oven. (Traditional, Kitchery may also contain ghee, so if you are ordering this at a restaurant you would want to ask about ghee as it is a fat that is not vegan. You could replace this with some coconut oil, or soft, ripe avocado if you are looking for the fat, but I would personally omit. Coconut oil is not a regular part of my diet.) I found a variation of Kitchery from Pret A Manger located on the northeast corner of the park. I find it to be a warming and wonderful lunch. They call it the Sweet Potato Curry Cauliflower Quinoa Rice Pot.
Raw Food: Liquiteria
Liquiteria is a cold-pressed and smoothie juice heaven offering cleanses, etc., but also some fine solids. Their Sweet & Sassy Bowl is really enjoyable and is a great raw lunch that offers quite an energy boost. I really like it in the summertime. It contains red quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, almond butter, and cacao maca sauce. There are lots of other fun menu items to chew to try at their store on East 17th Street, or you could always get an amazing smoothie.
I hope you enjoyed my food tour of NYC's Union Square! There are many more plant-based options to explore in this area in addition to a Whole Foods grocery store. There is no need to deprive yourself a great lunch or feel like you have to pack everyday to reach your plant-based goals.
Call to action
For wherever you live, carefully examine the restaurant options in your neighborhood. Vote with your dollars and don't forget how much your voice as a consumer matters. Please grab comment cards, turn to social media, complete online surveys, talk to store managers and mention the fact you are looking for plant-based options. Be specific and offer to consult on new menu items! Be patient with restaurant workers and let them know you need meat and dairy free options. The more and more they hear from us, the easier it will be for us to follow healthy diets and prevent illness.