No longer are vegans stuck ordering home fries and a side of fruit at weekend brunch. It’s never been easier to find your favorite morning comfort food, and in Denver, brunch is the perfect union of Southwestern spice and Midwestern comfort. Sure, you can get a classic plate of pancakes and maple syrup, but you can also enjoy breakfast burritos doused in green chile sauce, or get a side of warm homemade corn tortillas instead of the typical toast. If you’re craving a hearty midday meal in the Mile High City, these vegan options are sure to please.

 
 
 
 
 
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1. The Big Rig at Watercourse Foods
If your non-vegan friends still think all you can eat is raw spinach leaves, this dish featuring a hearty country-fried seitan steak will change their mind. The seitan is encased in a crunchy breading and doused in a savory downhome gravy. If the country-fried seitan isn’t enough to leave you stuffed, this Big Rig comes with all the brunch essentials: tofu scramble, home fries, and a warm, fluffy biscuit. If this brunch doesn’t cure the hangover, none will.

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Scrambled Tofu “Paneer” at Root Down
You know and love the classic turmeric-hued tofu scramble, but that’s not what you’ll get at Root Down. This elegantly composed Indian-inspired dish changes slightly throughout the year depending on the seasonal produce, but it always has the saucy addition of a tomato-fennel chutney that makes this scramble stand out from the crowd. You’ll want to ask for a bottle to take home for your own breakfast creations.

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Biscuit and Gravy Bowl at WongWayVeg
Catch this food truck every Sunday at the all-vegan Alternation Brewery where they serve comforting and trendy dishes for their Kegs Not Eggs brunch. The menu morphs a bit from week to week, but if the Biscuit and Gravy Bowl is on the chalkboard, you’re in for a treat. A heaping portion of scratch-made biscuits sits atop a bowl of garlicky gravy, seitan sausage, veggies, and tofu scramble. These fluffy biscuits pair so perfectly with gravy that mashed potatoes get jealous.

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Mofongo Hash at Bang Up to the Elephant
It’s not easy to find vegan mofongo, but at this Caribbean restaurant, it’s one of the most popular dishes. This garlicky Puerto Rican dish of fried and mashed green plantains is paired with callaloo—a creamy Caribbean side dish with bitter greens and garlic. You can wash it down with their bottomless mango mimosas. Don’t forget to order a few tropical vegan doughnuts for dessert later!

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Tofu Rancheros at Mercury Cafe
A staple of Denver since 1990, Mercury Cafe puts tofu and locally sourced veggies in the spotlight. With all the faux meats on the market, well-made tofu has almost become a lost art, but the tofu at Mercury Cafe is chewy, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. You can try it in a number of dishes, but the Tofu Rancheros is the shining star of the menu. Along with the traditional beans and tortillas, the dish is also drenched in green chile for a unique spice experience you won’t find elsewhere.  

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Chicken and Waffles at City o’ City
Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on food trends. Perhaps its most famous dish, these chicken and waffles are made with breaded and fried cauliflower that miraculously mimics a meaty texture. The dish is completed with crispy strips of carrot bacon and a dollop of dairy-free chive crème fraiche. Don’t forget to snap a photo of this beautifully plated dish—it makes a great ‘gram. 

Lauren Smith is the founder of The Oatmeal Artist, a health writer for HealthiNation, and a devoted cat mom living in Denver, CO.

Photo credit: City O’ City and River and Root Photography

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