Published on November 4th, 2015 | by TLV News0
An Oxfordian Guide to Life without Meat
By Stephanie Grammar
Let’s face it- being a vegetarian in the South is hard. Being a vegetarian in Oxford is even harder. With temptations such as Ajax’s world famous meaty dishes and the wild bacon, egg, and cheese dishes at Big Bad Breakfast, it can be difficult to see the positive side of being meat free. But as many hardcore and long-time vegetarians and vegans will tell you, passing on the BBQ and bacon is worth it in the end.
I am a testament to how vegetarian living can greatly improve your world. Five years ago, I was 300 pounds and had the worst cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings my doctors had seen in an 18-year-old in a while. I needed to make a change. I had dabbled in meat-free living before my wakeup call but never managed to make it longer than about 24 hours and was always steered off the path by the delicious pepperoni pizza my mom would pick up on Friday nights. After four years of vegetarianism, I dropped 100 pounds. After a year of veganism, I’ve dropped 50 more. I’ve never been happier or healthier and I can safely say I can see myself never going back to my meat and potatoes way of life.
I’m here to be your guide in the world of being a vegetarian in the good food mecca of Mississippi. Here’s my list of the best vegetarian dishes in Oxford, ranked from super good to “Oh My God, the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.”
Falafel Wrap (Volta): I am crazy about falafel. I’m also very picky about my falafel. You could say I’m a falafel connoisseur. Volta’s falafel passes my test with flying colors: the right level of moisture, spices done right, and a perfectly crunchy, fried outside. Put inside warm pita bread, some veggies, and doused in some ziki sauce. I made mine vegan and subbed hummus for ziki sauce and it only added to the incredible flavor of this filling Greek treat.
Marinated Tofu Burrito (South Depot): I get it. Tofu is one of those dirty four letter words for meat eaters. But when it’s prepared properly it can be a wonderful, protein-rich addition to any vegetarian dish. South Depot does it right. Here you can customize your burrito to your liking, so next time, skip the pork or chicken and check out the tofu on your next stuffed-to-the-brim-have-to-use-two-tortillas South Depot burrito.
Veggie Larry Burger (Proud Larry’s): When you’ve been a vegetarian for a while, you get to know veggie burgers well. I have had countless VBs all around the country and I can safely say this is one of the best. Not too dry, not too crumbly, not too moist, this VB has everything your little meat-free heart could want.
Aloo Palak (Maharaja): I’m a huge fan of Indian food. Lucky for us vegetarians, lots of Indian food is already veg friendly. Aloo palak is a spicy curry with a spinach sauce and chock-full of potatoes. Super filling and incredibly satisfying- you won’t be able to finish it in one meal, I promise, so make sure to ask for a to-go plate.
Asian Sriracha Bowl (Living Foods Organic Cafe): I’m a little biased because I make this dish on a daily basis. I work at Living Foods, and you can find me in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of fun and delicious, fresh organic food from local producers. This is by far my favorite dish to make and eat. We take the best veggies we can find, roast, then lightly sautée them in a homemade garlic oil and toss them in a vegan spicy Sriracha peanut sauce, served over warm quinoa topped with roasted peanuts. See, isn’t your mouth already watering?
Mussamun Curry With Tofu (Pick Thai): I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, second dinner, midnight munchies, etc. If I was ever put on death row, this would be my last meal. This amazing curry is incredibly simple- just carrots, onion, potatoes, and tofu in a spicy sweet curry sauce served over rice. But who said a dish had to be complicated to be incredible? Not I. This dish is almost perfect in its simplicity. And remember- the spicier the better.
If you know where to go and what to get, being a vegetarian in Oxford can be one of the most enjoyable and adventurous things you can do. You have to get a little creative sometimes, and when all your friends want to grab chicken-on-a-stick after a wild night at Funkys, it can be a bummer. But the environment, your body, and all the cute little baby piggies will thank you.