The Uncompahgre Valley is quickly growing, and although this is “beef country”, plant-based eating is on the rise. From businesses specializing in plant-based comfort food to popular hometown establishments offering vegan options, there are an increasing number of places peppered about the valley where it’s a little bit easier “eating green.”
Mindful Roots is a plant-based frozen food delivery service offering gluten-free and nightshade-free creations including floral infused hummus, smoothie mixes, and entrees. Owner Carrie’s creative entrees are best served as a soup or sauce over rice, pasta, or your favorite veggies. Her popular creations include the “Truffled Bellas in Butternut Squash Sauce.” Deliciously paired with pasta, this savory mushroom sauce packs a powerful umami punch that excites the palate yet comforts the soul. You can also find Mindful Roots at their tent at farmers’ markets and events in the area.
Creative plant-based meals don’t stop in Delta. Bill and Kim Volk’s award-winning hometown restaurant, Camp Robber, in Montrose, offers several contemporary items on its menu that come with a vegan option. Among those items is the “Thai Peanut Stir Fry.” Thoroughly enjoyable without animal protein, this festive noodle dish highlights bright, crunchy veggies entwined in a velvety coating of peanut sauce. The acidity from an accompanying lime wedge and juicy sweety-drop peppers from Peru balance out the richness of this delectable entree. Additionally, diners with a sweet tooth can have their cake and eat it too and indulge in a densely rich and fruity (dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free) chocolate raspberry cake topped with fresh strawberries and heavenly fudge icing.
At the farm-to-table restaurant, Eatery 66 in Ridgway, owners Spencer and Katie Graves source their ingredients from sustainable local producers to create tasty, environmentally-friendly food. Their vibrant menu offers various salads and vegetarian sandwiches that can be made vegan upon request. One offering that is sure to uplift your spirits is the “Be Happy” wrap. Crafted with roasted spiced chickpeas, creamy hummus, local organic greens, tomato, crisp red onion, sliced almonds, and a homemade turmeric-tahini dressing, this cheerful handheld can help cure the sourest of moods. Another thing to smile about at Eatery 66 is that their signature burger can be prepared vegan with a “Beyond Meat” patty.
Don’t count out fine dining when eating plant-based in the Uncompahgre Valley. A vegan entree can be found at Brickhouse 737 in Ouray. With decades of experience in upscale restaurants in the US and around the world, co-owners and Ouray locals, Hans Vanderploeg and Cory Sargent, serve up “contemporary and creative” cuisine with locally sourced ingredients and a global influence. A summer menu vegan option that perfectly utilizes the culinary principles of “salt, fat, acid, and heat” is the Eggplant and Cauliflower entree. This Asian-inspired dish features roasted cauliflower anointed with exotic vadouvan curry, complemented by spiced coconut yogurt, pickled Perrsian cucumbers, cilantro, and preserved lemon pistou.
Finding plant-based meals may be easier in larger cities, but the Uncompahgre Valley is a land fertile with innovation, and vegan food offerings are more abundant than ever.
10 spots for plant-based options:
Brrrnana Vegan Banana Stand
Double Barrel Taco Company
Sushi On The Roll
Hiro Japanese Steakhouse
Pahgre’s Pizza • Pasta • Salads
Written by Kim Navarrete
Kim is a freelance motion graphics designer and video editor whose mission is to bring her clients’ ideas to life. After recently swapping her native Louisiana swamps for Colorado mountains, she now calls the Western Slope home. Her favorite activities are trail running, birding, playing hacky sack, traveling with her husband, and spending time with friends.