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Veggie brunch


Vegetarians and vegans need not be left out of brunch for lack of options.

Greg Horton March 5th, 2014

Brunch typically evokes images of bacon, waffles, biscuits and sausage gravy, eggs Benedict, coffee and mimosas. If you are super-healthy, you might order a side of fruit. In short, brunch is rarely the healthiest meal of the week, and why should it be? It’s the weekend.

The Morning Glory at The Wedge
Photo: Mark Hancock

However, for vegetarians or vegans, brunch options can be sparse. Who wants to shell out good money for leafy green vegetables, fruit and cheap bubbles mixed with orange juice? With good reason, vegetarians are often skeptical about brunch.

A few metro restaurants have a long-term commitment to vegetarians, though, and that commitment extends to brunch. Picasso Cafe, 3009 Paseo St., has established a well-earned reputation as a restaurant that takes vegetarian cooking seriously. Its monthly vegetarian wine dinners take the difficult challenge of pairing veggie cuisine with quality wines, and it always succeeds. It should be no surprise that Picasso’s brunch options for vegetarians are excellent.

Some vegetarian fare can be a little lacking in the filling or hearty categories, but the chicken-fried portobello mushroom at Picasso manages to be both a vegetarian option and comfort food. Served with soy cream gravy (yes, it tastes like gravy) and roasted potatoes, this entree has the texture and flavor to please the most devoted meat-eater.

Picasso’s veggie burgers are made with quinoa and black beans, and the nuttiness of the quinoa gives it more character than the standard black bean burger. It can be made vegan by ordering it without the spicy aioli sauce. The burger is served on a bun made locally at Prairie Thunder Baking Company, 1114 Classen Drive.

The Wedge Pizzeria, 4709 N. Western Ave., also serves brunch. That fact is less well-known than it should be. Elena Farrar, the general manager, has long produced some of the city’s best pizzas and vegetarian options, and she extends the commitment to brunch. Diners can always design their own veggie pizza, but the regular menu provides another excellent option: the Morning Glory.

It has a port wine sun-dried tomato sauce, and it’s as rich and tangy as it sounds, and comes with crimini mushrooms, red onions, red bell peppers, spinach and locally sourced eggs. To make it vegan, simply order it without mozzarella and eggs.

Cafe Kacao, 3325 N. Classen Blvd., is a change of pace for brunch. The Latin restaurant doesn’t have a brunch menu, but the breakfast menu is served Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s also available starting Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.

The motuleno is one of the house specialties. The dish features corn tortillas stuffed with black beans and topped with eggs cooked to order, accompanied by fresh avocado and ranchero sauce. It’s served with tortilla chips and is a filling, delicious veggie option.

The desayuno chapin is another egg dish, but this one is served with refried black beans. If you have never tried it, weep for your wasted life. The scrambled eggs are accompanied by fried plantains and sour cream, making the desayuno a delicious, distinctly Latin brunch dish.

 
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