Eat this, not that: What to order (and avoid) at Miami’s vegan restaurants

Dietitian Monica Auslander at home in Miami. Christine Michelle Photography.
Dietitian Monica Auslander at home in Miami. Christine Michelle Photography.

Vegan restaurants in Miami are sprouting up faster than you can say “quinoa.” But there’s a misconception that you can eat anything you want or as much as you want just because it’s vegan or plant-based.

Enter Monica Auslander, a registered dietitian who runs Essence Nutrition, a concierge nutrition practice in Midtown Miami and has worked with private and corporate clients from the Miami Marlins to Soho House to Raw Republic. She compiled this guide for INDULGE on what to eat and what to avoid at some of Miami’s hottest vegan and vegetarian restaurants.

Even vegans have to watch out for too many sweets in their diets. Christine Michelle Photography.

Miami’s Top Vegan Spots and How to Make Smart Ordering Choices

1. DIRT (Brickell and Sunset Harbour)

Splurge: Umami spinach bowl. Pure veggie power, including cancer-fighting mushrooms and protein-packed hummus for less carbohydrates than a banana.

Skip: Matcha protein pancakes. 135 g carbs = the equivalent of nine slices of bread.

2. GreenG Lifestyle (Edgewater)

Splurge: Beet burger. It’s DIVINE. Extremely filling and fibrous. You may want to skip the bun if you’re watching your waistline, because it does have beans and platanos (starches) as well.

Skip: The Green Street. It has a huge dollop of dates, which is all sugar, and is blended with mango and pineapple. THEN it’s topped with more fruit. Too much of a good thing, unfortunately.

3. GLAM Vegan (Midtown) 

Splurge: Zucchini noodles + avocado bowl is starch-free and high in satiating fat, Vitamin E, and fiber. Pair it with a tuscan bean soup for even more protein and fiber.

Skip: Flatbreads. Flour is flour, even when topped with veggies. You can easily eat the equivalent of six slices of bread here.

4. Dr. Smood (Multiple Locations)

Splurge: Kale salad. It’s a decent steal! Sunflower seeds lend some protein, and the dressing has anti-inflammatory spice and fat in it to round out your meal. Pair it with some dried spicy eggplant they have in the to-go fridge.

Skip: The $20 coffee! Really?!

5. Raw Republic (Multiple Locations)

Splurge: The Coconut Twister. You’re getting medium-chain triglycerides, a special type of fatty acid linked to fighting inflammation, as well as a full meal’s worth of protein and fiber from the peanut butter. Spirulina (which is algae!) adds protein as well as a host of vitamins – it’s a superfood!

Skip: Pie slices.  They’re heavenly, but ENORMOUS. Can easily pack as many calories as a Big Mac. Have a bite and call it a day.

Eat like Monica. Christine Michelle Photography.

Related: Top Miami spas that incorporate foods into their treatments