Heading to eastern Iowa? Today I’m highlighting vegetarian restaurants Cedar Rapids + places with vegan options.
Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa. It was once home to Grant Wood, Ashton Kutcher, and Elijah Wood. It’s also where you can find a number of vegan options – including raw cuisine, pizza, tacos, and bowls.
Vegetarian restaurants Cedar Rapids
Rawlicious is a Cedar Rapids vegetarian restaurant across the street from Newbo City Market. The restaurant is mostly vegan, as the only non-vegan item on the menu is honey.
Rawlicious is tucked inside of a Delve MIY, a fabric shop. It’s easy to miss it from the sidewalk, but it’s worth seeking out. At the back of the fabric shop, there’s a bar with seating, plus a couple of tables further in the back.
For lunch one day, I chose the taco salad bowl (above), which is topped with nut meat that reminded me of my own raw tacos at home. It also included tomatoes, guacamole, onions, salsa, cashew sour cream, French-style dressing, and a side of house-made chips.David went with the soup and salad combo. That day they were serving wild rice & mushroom soup. The flavors reminded us of the double lentil & mushroom soup I like to make in the winter. David’s meal also came with a brownie bite, which he really enjoyed.
All of the flavors were well balanced, and everything was wonderfully fresh. I like that they had a mixture of both raw and cooked foods, which is nice for this cold time of year. It would be great if the portions were a little bigger.We got a couple of items to go as well – a strawberry milkshake made with strawberries, nut milk, dates, and vanilla. The flavorful strawberry milkshake may have been our favorite item of the day.
And we picked up a slice of mudslide pie to enjoy later at home. The slice was perfect for sharing and delightfully rich. I liked that the coconut flavor in it didn’t overwhelm.
Newbo City Market & The Full Bowl
When people come in from out of town, Newbo City Market is a fun place to take them. It’s an indoor market with lots of food vendors, a few shops, and a bar area. In the summer months, they have outdoor music on Friday nights.
It seems the businesses inside of Newbo City Market are always changing. However, there are consistently vegan options inside. Right now vegan options include cupcakes, ice cream, several vegan options at Dumpling Darling, and vegetarian bowls at rice & bean eatery, The Full Bowl.
Everything at The Full Bowl is vegan, except for the option of adding dairy cheese to one bowl.I opted for the chana masala, which was delightfully spicy and came on a bed of brown rice. I had my choice of chutneys, and I went with both mint cilantro & mango chutney on top. I am eager to try out the other bowls on the menu.
Vegan options at non-vegan restaurants
Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery
Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery is a large barcade with a lengthy pizza menu. In addition to having non-vegan pizzas, they also have lots of interesting vegan options – including seitan sausage & non-dairy cheese, which is made in house. (I’m always much more excited about that than the Daiya many pizza places offer.)
They’re currently re-working their appetizers, but in the past they’ve had such vegan options as hummus, bruschetta, onion rings, and curly fries.As for pizza, I’m a fan of the roasted fennel & sausage, which can be prepared vegan. It’s topped with cumin garlic oil, red onion, apples, chickpeas, and seitan sausage. Finally, it’s adorned with arugula tossed in orange vinaigrette. There’s something about having a salad-style topping on a pizza that gives it an extra bit of freshness and crunch.
I’m also a fan of the holy shiitake, which is topped with vegan ricotta, green onion, shiitake mushrooms, beer caramelized onions, and again, arugula in a citrus vinaigrette. I like to add seitan sausage to this pizza as well for extra oomph.
In addition to their listed vegan pizzas, they often have vegan pizza specials like the one pictured at the top of this section – a wild ramp pesto topped pizza with dollops of vegan ricotta, mushrooms, and asparagus ribbons.
Not feeling pizza? No problem. They also have falafel sliders with cucumbers, lettuce, and a lemon tahini dressing.
Heads up: Since it’s such a big open space, Quarter Barrel can get pretty loud on busy nights.
Gumption is a sweet, airy coffee shop with vegan & non-vegan options. Vegan breakfast is a rare commodity in these parts, and Gumption has a few offerings. Although, I haven’t had a chance to try them yet.
Breakfast items include smoothie bowls, breakfast quinoa, and a sweet potato split with a warm sweet potato, peanut butter, bananas, and almonds.When I visited Gumption, it was at lunchtime. I started with the Not Yo’ Cheese Dip, which is a hearty, Mexican-spiced dip. The thick & tomato-y spread is hearty & filling.
Then for my entrée, I went with a chickpea salad sandwich. The sandwich was very similar to the chickpea salad I make at home. It was toasted and filled with cucumbers and bell pepper.
For a nice evening out, Caucho is a non-vegan Mexican restaurant with warm and inviting ambience. They have a number of menu items that are either already vegan or can be prepared vegan.
The items that are vegan as-is include: curtido, escabeche, guacamole, salsa & chips.
The items that can be prepared vegan with a few substitutions are:
- arroz (omit cheese)
- frijoles (omit cheese)
- grilled cactus paddle (omit cheese & substitute sauce)
- vegan chilaquiles (omit animal products for vegan substitutions including avocado, frijoles, pepita chorizo & grilled vegetables)
- vegan legumbres tacos (omit cheese, substitutions available)
Guacamole is always a win, of course. And the vegan legumbres were nicely spiced and topped with guacamole and pickled onions. I definitely need to check out the vegan chilaquiles next time. That sounds right up my alley.