With its scorching 100-plus degree weather, Phoenix, AZ may not be the first place you think of for a summer vacation. However, this desert city has blossomed into a vegan hot spot. Rise early while the temperature is still tolerable and admire the beauty of the natural surroundings, then spend the day indoors savoring these ten vegan-friendly Valley favorites.  


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1. Verdura Plant Based Eatery
As one of the newest additions to the vegan scene in Phoenix, Verdura is coming in hot. The Moco Loco on the brunch menu will transport you to Hawaii with a plate comprised of a lentil-walnut patty, tofu scramble, and rice covered in a trio of gravy, baja sauce, and pineapple relish. Craving Mexican? The monstrous pile of crispy, gooey Carne Asada Nachos are here for you (and your friends). Don’t leave without trying the Goth Waffle—a fluffy Japanese-style bubble waffle made with activated charcoal and topped with raspberry sorbet and shaved coconut.


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2. Veggie Village
This unassuming restaurant in North Central Phoenix serves some of the best Asian food in town—vegan or otherwise. Surprisingly authentic renditions of dishes such as Yu-Xiang Eggplant and Americanized favorites including General Tso “Chicken” with breaded fried mushrooms will please everyone. Indecisive? Order the Curry Noodles. Made with a spicy broth, chewy noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, and life-changing fried bean curd, you won’t regret your decision.


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3. Green New American Vegetarian
Best known for fast-food favorites like the Big WAC, Green is famous amongst locals. Everything on the menu will satisfy the need for divinely indulgent food, but start with the cheesy loaded East Coast Fries and the BFF—a crispy vegan chicken sandwich with sautéed jalapeños, dairy-free cheese, avocado, and housemade ranch. Satisfy your sweet tooth next door at Nami for a tSoynami. Similar to a McFlurry, this vegan vanilla soft serve offers a variety of classic and unique mix-ins. Try the Soy Captain made with fruity cereal and fresh strawberries for a nostalgic treat. Nami also serves a stellar Sunday brunch as well as breakfast Monday through Saturday. Don’t miss the Big Ole’ Breakfast Burrito filled with tofu scramble, seitan “steak,” melted vegan cheese, potatoes, and spicy salsa.


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4. The Coronado & Dark Hall Coffee
Cauliflower Tacos, Fried Guacamole, and the Tepary Bean & Mushroom Burger are just a few of the highlights The Coronado has to offer. With cocktails, a coffee bar, breakfast served all day, and fun pastries like pop-tarts and funfetti scones, there’s a lot to love here. Save room for Coronado’s gothic little sister, Dark Hall Coffee. Dark Hall serves its own unique nut mylk blends with some of the best coffee in Phoenix. The pastries here are perfection and plentiful—macaroons, galettes, shortbread, and cakes are always in the case. Mark your calendar and stop in early on Sunday for the shop’s highly coveted cinnamon rolls.


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5. Casa Terra
For a special occasion (or just because), visit the first and only fine-dining vegan restaurant in Arizona. Inspired by both Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as the season, the menu changes regularly. However, no matter what time of year, diners can look forward to variations on pastas, tacos, wood-fired pizza, and risotto. Current offerings include a Saffron Chorizo Risotto with gold leaf and Spinach Ricotta Agnolotti.


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6. Mi Vegana Madre
You can’t visit Phoenix and not eat Mexican food. It’s an unwritten rule. Mi Vegana Madre makes it easy to indulge without worrying about hidden animal products (such as lard). With tortas, tacos, burritos, empanadas, and agua frescas, you could eat here every night and find a new favorite with each visit. The Carne Asada Torta is highly recommended, washed down with a Coconut Milk Horchata. If you’re lucky, pick up a vegan concha for dessert. These Mexican sweet breads aren’t always available, and when they are they sell out fast!


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7. Pomegranate Café
Pomegranate Café not only serves incredible food like the Raw Green Rainbow Salad and Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs, but the kitchen is also 98% organic and highly committed to sustainability. The food here has a homemade, “made with love” kind of feel, and many items (such as the Elephant Curry Bowl) benefit various animal-based charities.


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8. Whyld Ass
Phoenix got lucky when Whyld Ass transplanted to Phoenix from Flagstaff, AZ. The menu features creative twists on classics such as the Biscuits and Gravy with orange rosemary biscuits, chipotle gravy and southern-cooked kale; the Grilled Cheese made with potato-oat-cheese; and ultra-creamy Tomato Bisque.


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9. 24 Carrots Juice Bar & Café
24 Carrots is part juice bar and part café, so whether you need to replenish after a sweaty hike or just enjoy a tasty meal, this spot has you covered. The Green Peace smoothie with avocado, greens, apple, pineapple, mango, lime, and coconut is refreshing on a hot afternoon (which is essentially every afternoon). Hungry for dinner? Try the BeetBall Marinara Sandwich—the 24 Carrot take on a meatball sub with veggie-sunflower seed meatballs, greens, sundried tomato marinara, cashew cream, and spaghetti squash on a ciabatta bun.


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10. The Uprooted Kitchen
Located on the beautiful Agritopia Farms, you’ll find this charming organic eatery. It’s worth trying everything on the small menu, but if you must choose, opt for the Baked French Toast with locally made sourdough, almonds, fruit, housemade vegan yogurt, granola, and berry preserves. For something savory, the Buckwheat Crepe filled with hummus, date spread, vegetables, tzatziki, and sunflower seeds makes your trip to the desert well worth the heat.


Tammy Griffin holds a degree in Nutrition from Arizona State University and identifies as a passionate vegan foodie, nature-lover, and long-time Phoenix resident with roots in the Midwest.

Photo credit: Casa Terra

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