Favorite vegetarian meals on Martha’s Vineyard

Moo Shu tofu vegetables from Copper Wok. — Elizabeth Cecil

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to give up meats forever. It just means you focus mostly on fresh produce, and when you do have meat, you use it as a side rather than a main dish. Choosing plant-based meals is good for the environment, and good for your health. Here are just some of the ways:

  • Diabetes prevention: Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable, and it is proven that a plant-based diet can help avoid this disease.
  • Healthy heart: It is said that consumption of fruits and vegetables lowers your chances of developing heart disease.
  • Weight loss: Eating less meat will naturally help weight loss, and will help you to spotlight vegetables and fruits in your diet.
  • Skin care: Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet will make your skin glow.

On Martha’s Vineyard, restaurants are slowly tapping into the dietary needs of Islanders and visitors, offering vegetarian meals on a daily basis. Chefs are putting together creative plant-based meals with a variety of flavors and textures.

In Vineyard Haven, at the Not Your Sugar Mamas Organic Cafe, you can order a Mexican Rice Bowl ($12) for either lunch or dinner, and it might just be the best “fast food” your body can get. The serving is generous and consists of basmati brown rice that is cooked with anti-inflammatory turmeric and paprika, slow-simmered black beans, fresh guacamole, tomato salsa, and a housemade cashew sour cream that rounds it all out.

If you’re craving comfort food, stop into Slice of Life for their Fried Green Tomato Pasta ($25), because what they do with green tomatoes is always magical. Green tomatoes are fried to a crisp and tossed with garlic, caramelized onions, pesto, and goat cheese, then added to pasta and finished with a sweet balsamic reduction.

Looking for a more ethnic feel? Little House Cafe serves up an Indonesian Gado Gado

Salad. “Gado-gado” in Indonesian literally translates to “mix-mix” because it is essentially a rich mixture of vegetables, tofu, and more, all served with local microgreens, rice, and a rich peanut sauce. Or stop by Copper Wok for Moo Shu Tofu Vegetables ($13) with steamed pancakes and hoisin sauce. This is one of my favorite meals because you can fill up your pancakes with veggies and dunk them in hoisin sauce.

For a hearty choice, the Farmer’s Plate ($25) at Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel is a chef-inspired special of vegetables and whole grains that Chef Richard Doucette dreams up daily. Ask your server what’s on the plate that day, as they tend to change the ingredients to showcase the season.

Wherever you decide to dine, I’m sure if you choose any of the suggestions above, you won’t miss the meat at all. These plant-based dishes will satisfy your hunger with whole grains, fresh seasonal produce, and flavorful spices and herbs. Consider going meatless for a day (like the movement Meatless Monday), a few hours (like the Eat Vegan Before Six diet created by Mark Bittman), or challenge yourself to do a plant-based week or month. Your body will thank you!