When you travel to the South in the U.S., finding vegan options can seem difficult, even daunting at times. Especially if you live in places like NYC or LA, where veganism is so mainstream that you find food virtually anywhere, it can become a bit of a bubble.
North Carolina is one of those states that at first glance could seem not very vegan-friendly. But let me tell you that the opposite is true. Not only is it easy to find vegan options in NC, the food is also incredibly delicious and very affordable—particularly if you compare to NYC prices.
A 48-hour trip down to Charlotte and Asheville is a fun way to chase some of the best vegan dishes you can find in the U.S. Aside from the delicious food, you’ll find hiking, scenic drives, charming downtowns, historic mansions, leaf peeping, and vibrant music scenes in these parts.
If you fly into Charlotte, go to Living Kitchen for breakfast or an early lunch. The place is beautiful, spacious and definitely has somewhat of a California vibe. All dishes are or can be made gluten free and a lot of the options are raw. Living Kitchen is definitely on the healthier side but the taste does not disappoint. I highly recommend the sweet potato roll as well as the raw burrito. Their desserts are divine! The seasonal pumpkin pie and the chocolate tarte did not disappoint.
On your way to Asheville, stop by The Greener Apple. The little vegan and eco-friendly health store is hidden inside a used-book store. If you need to stock up on snacks or forgot to bring your vegan beauty essentials, The Greener Apple will have you covered. It’s also a tempting place if you are obsessed with books, as I am, because they carry an extensive selection of plant-based cookbooks.
Drive to Asheville in 2 hours and get an early dinner at Plant. Hands down, one of the best vegan restaurants I have been to in the US! The ‘actually crispy potatoes’ are hyper crispy and hyper delicious. The Tofu Curry and the Seitan Chile con Queso are my top picks for mains. If you are into chocolate, go with the Blackout Pie—it’s a pretzel chocolate peanut butter paradise.
The French Broad Co-op in Asheville’s downtown is a good place to stop by for some breakfast and snacks. They carry a variety of freshly prepared foods, vegan yogurt as well as a large bulk section to stock up on some stapes. You don’t need to be member to shop there, which makes it easy for out of town visitors.
End your trip at Rosetta’s Kitchen with a Buddha Bowl or the Tempeh Reuben. Rosetta’s is an institution in Asheville and has been around for almost 20 years. It’s also a great place to grab a snack to go for your plane ride back home.
Also see: Pittsburgh’s Vegan Scene is Next Level, According To A NYC Vegan
Photo: City of Asheville via Facebook; Isabelle Steichen; The Greener Apple via Facebook; Yelp; Rosetta’s via Facebook