Des Moines is a growing city with a population of over 200,000 people, and it is home to numerous attractions such as the Iowa State Capitol, Des Moines Art Center, and Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, as well as a variety of outdoor recreational activities including parks, trails, and lakes. The city has around 80 parks, including the popular Gray’s Lake Park, which offers a scenic lake, walking trails, and a playground.
The city has seen a significant increase in demand for vegan food in recent years, with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and food trucks offering plant-based options. Eating vegan in Des Moines is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Additionally, the city has several organizations and groups that promote plant-based living. Overall, Des Moines is a great place for vegans and those interested in the vegan lifestyle, with plenty of options and resources available. There are so many wonderful vegan-friendly restaurants in Des Moines.
Here’s our take on the best vegan food in Des Moines!
Cuisine: Vegan, American
Des Fresh sets itself apart as the sole completely vegan restaurant in Des Moines, but it’s the restaurant’s exceptional food that has diners singing its praises and returning for more! Des Fresh’s journey from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar establishment is a testament to its success and popularity, with the restaurant continuing to serve fresh and inventive dishes. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the Crispy Chickpea n Wedges, Fried Tacos, and Hot Waffle Stack n Wedges. Des Fresh’s commitment to fresh and healthy eating extends to its beverage and dessert menu, with the restaurant providing a tempting selection of fresh juices, smoothies, and delectable sweet treats to round out its offerings.
While these restaurants aren’t 100% vegan, we still want to give them a shout-out for having so many vegan-friendly options. Here are our favorite vegan-friendly restaurants in Des Moines!
New World Kitchen
Cuisine: Vegan, Meal prep
New World Kitchen offers fully vegan meal prep services, available for pick-up every Monday evening. Simply reheat at home for a delicious and nutritious meal! In 2012, New World Kitchen made history by becoming Des Moines’ first fully vegan restaurant. In 2020, the business pivoted to a takeout-only model, allowing customers to enjoy their delicious vegan fare from the comfort of their own homes. The menu focuses on whole food ingredients like grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Just check their menu online to see what they are offering each week!
Cuisine: Southeast Asian
Lucky Lotus is a Southeast Asian Eatery that offers several vegan options on its menu. If you’re looking for some of the most popular vegan dishes at Lucky Lotus, you won’t want to miss the Vegan Eggrolls, Vegan Pad Thai, and The Fiery Monk. Additionally, most of their menu can be made vegan, so be sure to ask! If you’re in the mood for a tasty and refreshing drink to go with your meal, Lucky Lotus offers Thai Tea with coconut milk that’s sure to hit the spot!
El Michoacano Taqueria
While not entirely plant-based, El Michoacano Taqueria caters to vegans with its extensive vegan menu that includes a variety of dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, empanadas, and more. Fan favorites include the Vegan Pastor Style Burrito, Vegan Asada Style Fries, and Vegan Pastor Style Tortas. The restaurant has a vibrant and colorful decor that adds to the lively and festive vibe of the place, making it a great spot for a casual meal with friends or family.
NOSH Cafe and Eatery
NOSH Cafe and Eatery is a popular restaurant known for its fresh and locally-sourced ingredients and a menu that features a variety of vegan dishes to choose from. Although NOSH isn’t exclusively vegan, they have plenty of plant-based options available, whether you’re in the mood for an acai bowl, sandwich, salad, or smoothie. You’ll love the restaurant’s vibe, with plenty of foliage and sunlight creating a charming ambiance. If you’re a fan of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, you simply must try their Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed With Peanut Butter!
All Pho You
All Pho You serves traditional Vietnamese dishes such as Pho, Lo Mein, and Vietnamese Subs, as well as some other Asian-inspired dishes. Stepping into All Pho You’s dining area feels like entering a warm and inviting space, with dim lighting casting a soft glow on the mix of small tables and vibrant paintings or murals that decorate the walls. Even though the restaurant is not fully plant-based, Vegan diners will find plenty to love at All Pho You, including signature dishes like Vegan Pho, Vegan Sizzling Claypot, and Vegan Lo Mein which are packed with flavor and sure to leave you feeling satisfied!
If you’re looking for delicious vegan pizza, look no further than Blaze Pizza! Their signature Vegan Pizza includes vegan cheese, spicy vegan chorizo, mushrooms, onion, green bell peppers, basil, and olive oil drizzle. If you’re feeling creative and want to build your own pizza masterpiece, Blaze Pizza has got you covered. Their menu allows you to choose from a variety of toppings and sauces so that you can create the perfect vegan pizza for your taste buds!
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
The menu at Blue Sushi Sake Grill is focused on fresh and creative sushi, with a range of traditional and contemporary rolls. While not entirely vegan, Blue Sushi Sake Grill offers a diverse selection of vegan options that are as delicious as they are creative. The restaurant’s sleek and modern interior features a combination of wood and metal accents, with plenty of seating at both the sushi bar and regular tables. Guests rave about the complex flavors and textures of dishes like the Vegan Black Dragon Roll, Umami Maki, and Eden Roll.
Keri Schubkegel is a freelance writer who travels the USA with her husband and two plant-powered dogs in their self-converted campervan. She seeks new experiences and perspectives to fuel creativity and thrives in a minimalistic and self-sufficient way of living. Living on the road has given her the freedom to pursue her passion for writing, photography, and travel while also being able to live in accordance with her beliefs about animal rights and environmental sustainability. She loves to explore new vegan restaurants, help others adopt a whole food plant-based diet, and offers a unique perspective on nomadic living as well as the challenges and benefits of being a vegan in a non-traditional way. She also enjoys reading, hiking, yoga, and learning about the many benefits plants have on our body.