No meat? No problem - March 29

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 20:00

If you think giving up meat to become either vegan or vegetarian will destroy your chances of eating out and you’ll have to say goodbye to eating out forever—think again. Local restaurants do offer vegetarian and even vegan alternatives…but finding them does take some effort.


I went to Bella Vista, in Peters Creek, with a group of friends for a farewell party. We had a reservation and the staff had been informed ahead of time that several of us wanted to order either vegan or vegetarian. They had informed us that there was no need to pre-order, that they could do such meals on-the-spot.

As I looked at the menu, I saw immediately that the specials were out of the question. But I know that at Bella Vista, established in 1977, Bobby Alefantinos personally prepares everything from scratch. This makes it easy to get the meal that one wants. Plenty of options are possible, I can just sit down and let my imagination run wild!

For appetizers, we go for the stuffed grape leaves, which are delicious. Higher fat options are the fried mushrooms or the fried zucchini. The vegan pizza topping list is as long as your arm. Their baked potatoes could be topped with any of the vegetable pizza toppings. Different types of pasta dishes could be made with various toppings. Calzones are also an option, I’m not sure how a vegan calzone with no cheese would taste—someday I’ll try it!

Tonight for me, they are very happy to make a vegan pizza (with tomato, onion, black olives and spinach), which I split with a friend; a Greek salad completes my order. To keep the fat as low as possible I ask for the dressing on the side — which I do regularly when eating at restaurants. Everything is delicious, the atmosphere is delightful and we all have a wonderful time.

What’s missing? Whole grains…a familiar area for improvement!

Want to try a low fat vegan mayonnaise at home? Try this mayonnaise — it’s done in a jiffy. Mori-Nu Silken Tofu keeps on the pantry shelf without refrigeration — I buy it by the case so it is always handy for all kinds of delicious recipes.


A vegetarian since 1964, Ruth deGraaff is retired and lives with her husband in Eagle River, after a career teaching in Pennsylvania, Alaska and in international schools.

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