Due to the on-going pandemic, being able to dine in at restaurants has become difficult, substantially increasing the market for takeout. For those with specific diets, such as vegetarians, what can be ordered for takeout? There are many options available that may be unknown to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
To start off locally, in Longmeadow there are tons of hidden gems in restaurants like Ume and Posto. Posto has quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in town, and has great vegetarian options. For when you are craving pizza, you can’t go wrong with their Margherita or Pomodoro pizzas, and for a veggie-filled option their Salad Pizza, with pesto, tomato, and parmesan, is a fun twist. Another classic dish is their Burrata Ravioli, with pesto, asparagus, english peas, and tomatoes, finished with toasted pignoli nuts. As for Ume, another popular spot in town, there are some great options as well. The vegetable tempura consists of vegetables fried in a delicate batter; filling and flavorful! Also, the Miso Soup is a delightful savory appetizer, incorporating soy bean paste for the broth, seaweed, tofu, and scallions. You can also enjoy their sushi while still being vegetarian as their avocado and cucumber rolls are both vegetarian and delicious.
Other nearby restaurants that include plenty of vegetarian dishes are Panera Bread, Chipotle, Pintus Indian Palace, and even Burger King! Panera is a very vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant, offering healthful and enticing dishes. One of my all time favorites is their Mediterranean Bowl, packed full of veggies and protein such as arugula, kalamata olives, red grape tomatoes, and cucumber, topped with feta, Greek yogurt, lemon tahini, and hummus. Another dish that is perfect for fall is their Ten Vegetable Soup. As it says in the name, this soup contains ten vegetables in a seasoned vegetable broth with chickpeas, brown rice, and dried Aleppo chili. Another extremely popular restaurant is Chipotle. They offer great options for vegetarians and vegans since most of their food is customizable. A meal popular amongst vegetarians is the Sofritas Bowl. Sofritas are an organic, shredded tofu braised in chipotle chilies, roasted poblanos and an aromatic spice blend. This preparation is meant to mimic the “umami” of meat; the same consistency or flavor. You can also opt for their Veggie Bowl which comes with free guacamole! Upon interviewing the manager of Enfield Chipotle; Jose, I was able to get some insight into what it’s been like since the start of the pandemic. In response to my question about how the restaurant has been navigating the pandemic, he responded that for them “Cleanliness is a huge priority,” and they’ve continued “maintaining social distancing” and practicing healthy habits. He also touched on the fact that takeout has increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic. I also asked him whether the Sofritas were a popular item among customers, and he replied saying that “Customers love the sofritas! Even those who eat meat often enjoy them after trying them.” An unexpected veggie friendly restaurant is Burger King who now offers the Impossible Whopper, a burger made from vegetarian protein. It looks just like a regular Whopper, and even tastes just as good! Max Burger in Longmeadow also offers the Impossible Burger, with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
Pintus is a well known Indian restaurant located in West Springfield that has a huge selection of vegetarian options and a huge underground following. Their website explains their cuisine as follows:
“Pintu’s cooking unlocks the mystery of Indian cuisine and the use of such spices as cardamom, cumin, curry, and saffron by combining their rich, unique flavors into dishes that will delight the palate and please the eye.”Their vegetarian section is as delicious as it is extensive! A personal favorite of mine is their Aloo Gobi, or cauliflower florets and potatoes with cumin and spices or the Dal Makhani; black lentils and red beans simmered then finished with butter, tomato, and onions. To cap it all off and cleanse your palate, order a refreshing and sweet Mango Lassi.