Featurettes

Mardi Gras: A Vegan’s Survival Guide to New Orleans

If you’re headed to the Big Easy, make sure to properly fuel your adventure with some of NOLA’s best veg-friendly food.

The Big Easy is something of a misnomer each year when the Mardi Gras-induced excitement explodes in New Orleans. From the parades and parties to drinking and dancing, NOLA will be a hotbed of activity on February 12 this year. If you’re going to attempt to participate in the total madness, you’ll need a good hearty nutrition base to power you through the day. Check out these must-visit eateries for all your Mardi Gras munching (or just for the next time you find yourself in Louisiana).

At Bennachin Restaurant, a bustling African eatery, treat yourself to the signature Jama Jama. This fragrant sautéed spinach dish pairs nicely with black-eyed pea fritters, coconut rice, and fried ripe sweet plantains. Bennachin is conveniently located in the French Quarter, near Jackson Square and the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park for all your sightseeing needs.

La Divina Gelateria, a local chain, is a refreshing choice for this cooling treat. Magazine Row, where you’ll find La Divina Gelateria, is particularly fun, as it offers shopping excursions from nearby boutiques to antique stores. The Peach Champagne sorbet might be the best thing of all time.

Mat & Naddie’s, a Creole-themed restaurant in the Riverbend area, offers a variety of vegetarian dishes, many of which are easily made vegan. The eclectic eats will definitely satisfy, and the organic greens and herbs are grown in the restaurant’s garden. Try the Roasted Banana With Green Lentil Flour Curry Paste.

Superfood Bar’s mainly raw menu will help detox your system after one too many Hurricanes. Or, if you’re still feeling indulgent, go for one of the signature fudgesicles.

Start your day off at Surrey’s Café & Juice Bar with fresh, organic juices or daily specials—don’t miss the Watermelon Limeade. Pair your juice of choice with the Avocado Pesto Sandwich and a bowl of seasonal fruit, and you’ve got yourself a breakfast of champions.

Korean food might not be the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Crescent City, but it should be. The Wandering Buddha, a completely vegan Korean restaurant, offers a stunning array of authentic dishes. Definitely try the bibimbap and scallion pancakes, and make sure to bring cash as credit cards are verboten here.

If experiencing Mardi Gras in New Orleans isn’t in your plans for this year, get in on the fun by throwing your own fabulous Fat Tuesday fête, complete with muffaletta, jambalaya, and King Cake. Beads are optional.  

Cherylyn Tompkins is the creator of FabuNOLA and longtime New Orleans resident who enjoys the city's healthier side. VN Editorial Director Elizabeth Castoria would like some bibimbap, now, please.  

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