With New Year’s resolutions not too far away to be forgotten, and springtime arriving early in Austin, there's no time like the present to explore the delicious world of vegetables. If you’re averse to traditional preparations (or find vegetables boring), try some of these creative takes from Austin's top restaurants, sure to pique your interest.
Given his background at Lake Austin Spa, chef Jason Stude has an arsenal of innovative ways to make vegetables shine. Despite the aromas coming from the wood-burning grill, a good portion of Boiler Nine’s menu is vegetarian—though some dishes (like the pickled and grilled okra or the grilled cauliflower) get their time over the fire, too. Another creative veggie option is the sweet potato and coconut tartare with avocado puree, black sesame furikake, turmeric oil, and crackers. 800 W. Cesar Chavez, 512-220-9990
Zanahoria Salad or Roasted Cauliflower Steak at La Condesa
Upscale Mexican eatery La Condesa is a great choice for a vegetarian-friendly spot downtown. On the lighter side, the Zanahoria is a fresh and flavorful salad of shaved roasted carrots with chimichurri, pickled currants, crispy quinoa, and cardamom yogurt. If you're looking for a main dish, try the hefty roasted cauliflower steak is served with a spicy chipotle-raisin puree and marcona almonds for crunch. 400A W. Second St., 512-499-0300
The dish of cornmeal fried oyster mushrooms with agrodolce and robiola sformato is quite an adventure for the palate. Wanting to create a play on fried oysters, sous chef Adam Walker found the perfect blue oyster mushroom from Blanco River Mushroom farms and added the funky cheese sauce for a burst of sweet acid. Other veggie-focused dishes are equally inventive, like their smoked carrots with mole. 605 Davis St., 512-476-4755
For an Italian take on the vegetable that’s really having a moment right now, Juliet offers its shaved cauliflower salad with pickled raisins, pistachio gremolata, kalamata olives, radicchio, and a lemon vinaigrette. Throw in their Carote al Forno side dish, which plays up the sweet notes of the vegetable by roasting them—and when it's paired with creamy goat cheese, salty pumpkin seeds, and a truffle vinaigrette, it's one you'll come back for over again. 1500 Barton Springs, 512-479-1800
Vegetarian haven Citizen Eatery has gotten creative with their takes on classic dishes. Want to sneak veggies into your beloved breakfast foods? Try the parsnip waffle topped with "BBQ" shreds—plus, breakfast is served all day. Bonus: If you miss hearty Italian but are trying to cut the carbs, order the vegan Bolognese with organic veggie "noodles" that would do any nonna proud. 5011 Burnet Road, 512-792-9546
Just because you’re trying to eat more veggies doesn’t mean you should skip dessert. Italian supper club Sophia’s makes a sweet and earthy Root Down cake made with brown butter, carrots, parsnips, roasted pineapple, and white chocolate cremeux. 500 W. Sixth St., 512-580-9990