Asheville, North Carolina: Vegan Food Wonderland

Mountain Oasis Festival Asheville

This magical tunnel was part of the Mountain Oasis Music Festival in Asheville, North Carolina

Sometimes it can be a little bit tricky to find vegan food when I’m on the road, but Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most vegan-friendly towns I’ve ever been to.

I am lucky enough to have a sister-in-law in Asheville, so Dave and I get up there a few times a year. Sometimes we go just to visit, but we also head up there for music festivals once or twice a year. We drove up on Friday for Mountain Oasis Festival to shake our booties and eat delicious vegan food until we dropped. And it was a success.

My amazing sister-in-law took care of Darrol Henry for the weekend so that Dave and I could go to shows at night and even take naps! We visited with him and the family during the day, but it was still a little bit hard for me to leave him. When we dropped him on Friday afternoon, I cried more than he did! That is to say, he didn’t cry at all, and I bawled in the car as we left.

I drowned my sorrows that evening as anyone just arriving in Asheville should: with a large Family Favorite at Rosetta’s Kitchen. Rosetta’s is hands-down my favorite place to eat in Asheville, and the Family Favorite is my go-to dish. It’s a heaping plate of their sauteed kale, mashed potatoes with nooch gravy, and peanut butter tofu (the dish I based this tofu recipe on).

Real Quick – The Music

I’m not going to try not to go on and on about the music we saw this weekend, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Mountain Oasis rocked my socks! It was a three-night festival, and we saw 4-6 hours of music each evening. The lineup was fantastical, and so were the costumes that folks were rocking. Check out these magical musrhoom ladies:

Mushroom Ladies Asheville

They were on stilts!

The highlight of the weekend for me was seeing Deltron 3030 with their full orchestra. That was on Friday night, and I was worried that nothing could live up to that set, but there were a few other folks that got me just as pumped: Robert Delong, Bassnectar, Zola Jesus, Pretty Lights, Nine Inch Nails, Animal Collective, and The Orb were all super amazing.

But Back to the Vegan Food…

Right, but you’re not here to read about the insane music that we danced to all night, right? You want to hear about the awesome vegan food. I am ashamed to say that I took very few photos, and Dave and I ate at a couple of the same places many times. We like what we like. Here’s how it shook out:

  • Friday evening: Rosetta’s Kitchen. I had the Family Favorite, Dave had the Buddha bowl, which is stuffed with brown rice, seaweed salad, baked tofu, and avocado.
  • Saturday Morning: Early Girl Eatery. I walked up to Early Girl Eatery, because I’d heard that they had a bangin’ tofu scramble. I hate to say it, but I was not super jazzed. I did like that they added peas, which you don’t usually find in a scramble, but the tofu was just sort of okay. It wasn’t really seasoned or marinated at all. If you’re out with omnivores, though, this is a place that caters to everyone.
Early Girl Eatery Asheville

It was cold that morning, and this scramble looked a lot prettier before I dropped the box on the way back to the hotel.

  • Saturday Lunch: Green Sage. On Saturday we scooped up Darrol Henry and took him back to downtown with us where we grabbed take-out from Green Sage, another Striepe favorite in downtown Asheville. Dave got a burrito, and I got their tempeh sausage biscuit and a soy chai mate latte. We ate on the grass near the square downtown, and Darrol Henry got to play in the grass a little bit!
  • Saturday Supper: Plant. This is the meal where I took the most photos. I met up with Jes from Eating Appalachia and her boyfriend. Plant is a little bit out of my every day price range, but I treat myself to one meal there every time I’m in Asheville. It’s an all vegan restaurant that serves some of the best food I’ve ever put into my mouth. I started with their cheese plate, which had a raw ricotta and a fermented cashew gouda, and Jes got the spicy plantains. For our main courses, I had hazelnut-crusted seitan that came with sauteed broccolini on a bed of mashed cauliflower and topped with shiitake bacon, and Jes’s boyfriend got the same. Jes ordered the portobello mushroom steak. I am not usually into paying a lot for a meal, but Plant is 1000% worth it, you guys.
Dinner at Plant in Asheville

Clockwise from the top left: my cheese plate, Jes’s plantains, Jes’s portobello steak, my hazelnut-crusted seitan

  • Saturday Late Night: Rosetta’s. The other thing I love about Rosetta’s is that they are directly between all of the music and our hotel, and they are open until 2 or 3am. We stopped there on the way back on Saturday for post-boogieing snacks. I got the veggie nuggets with vegan ranch, and Dave got a Family Favorite. The nuggets were just OK, but that ranch! I put the leftover into our cooler and am still eating it!
  • Sunday Breakfast: Green Sage. On Sunday morning, I sat in our room watching cable while Dave headed to Green Sage to pick up breakfast for us. I had another tempeh sausage biscuit (this time with their savory mushroom gravy) and another chai mate latte. Dave got the tofu scramble. The chefs at Green Sage know how to scramble some tofu! This stuff was covered in herbs and turmeric and almost made me regret my biscuit. Almost. Their vegan biscuits are the bomb.
  • Sunday Lunch: Earth Fare. We don’t have an Earth Fare in Atlanta, so I always like to hit up their hot bar while we’re there. I got coconut tofu, roasted carrots and garlic, and crispy cauliflower. The best part, though, was a big glass of Buchi’s Fire Kombucha, which they have there on tap! If you’re a fan of kombucha, Buchi Fire – made with spicy cayenne and ginger – is unmissable. They sell it in stores here, and there really is no other kombucha, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Sunday Supper: Green Life Grocery. On Sunday evening, we needed to pick up food for the ride home the next day, so we stopped at Green Life Grocery (owned by Whole Foods) and also grabbed some prepared food for supper. The highlight of my meal was the carrot and cashew croquette. It was a little bit sweet, a little bit savory, and full of coconut. So good!
  • Sunday Late Night: Oops! More Green Life. On Sunday after the shows, we maybe accidentally ate the vegan chicken salad and raw kale that we’d bought to eat on the way home. D’oh!
  • Monday: Green Life. On Monday, we headed back to Green Life to replenish the road food stash that we accidentally ate on Sunday night and picked up some granola bars for breakfast.

It was a magical weekend, as always, and I can’t wait to head back and eat my way through Asheville again! I know that we skipped a lot of folks’ favorite places, but since we get back there so often, there’s always next time. What’s your favorite Asheville eatery?

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