Fast Casual Vegan Junk Food Is Now a Thing
This place has some serious cred. It was opened by a bodybuilding couple who were looking for something to eat after workouts and were understandably bored of the same old protein shakes. Everything is fresh and made-to-order from scratch, including bison burgers, whey protein pancakes, and a chicken sandwich where two slices of portobello mushroom are used in place of bread. The "Sexy Bitch" salmon and vegetable bowl is optimum fuel after a grueling session at the gym -- and tastes pretty good, to boot. It also has a few coffee creations, including a healthy take on a frappuccino. The concept is such a hit that there are already more than 30 franchises in the works throughout the country.
Off the Strip (& Southwest)
The idea here is flexibility. One half of the menu is "healthy," with dishes under 600 calories that include cauliflower in buffalo sauce, and an arrabbiata flatbread with vegan almond cheese. The "happy" side is meant to be a little more indulgent, with fun stuff like a half-pound beef burger and tempura ahi tacos with Sriracha slaw. However, there's something of a gray area here: both sides of the menu have a version of the BLT, and the G.O.A.T spinach salad with filet mignon, goat cheese, pears, and walnuts is considered "happy," but could easily be the healthiest thing on the menu at almost any other restaurant.
The Cosmopolitan (and other locations)
If you're into the juice craze, it's hard to beat the lineup of cold-pressed juices, nut milks, shots, and smoothies that come in all kinds of combinations here. "The Bee WHealthy," for example, blends cucumber, celery, romaine, kale, apple, dandelion, parsley, lemon, ginger, and turmeric in just one drink. If you can't decide, walk up to the bar and ask for a sample of any juice while an employee guides you through the ingredients. It's kind of like a wine tasting, but without the hangover… but if you do want to throw some booze in there, the location at the Cosmo will mix some in for you. Food choices include salads, Greek yogurt parfait, and chia seed puddings made with nut milk.
One of our favorite new dining spots in Vegas serves up French food in a format where health is the priority. Wraps, salads, and sandwiches are ready for those eager to grab and go, but the real treats are in store for those who like to sit and stay awhile. Sliced rib-eye, wild salmon, and chicken can be found creatively prepared alongside fresh vegetables. Other fun dishes include a take on guacamole with creamy broccoli in place of avocado, and a zucchini that's scooped out, pureed, and mixed with other vegetables before being placed back in its original spot.
Off the Strip
A great place to grab something to eat after a lap dance, El Dorado can be found in the same building as the Sapphire strip club. However, it's also a great place if you want to make health a priority. The menu takes a culinary tour through the regions of Mexico, while using fresh ingredients carefully selected from the finest farms in the United States. All of the meats, fish, and vegetables are organic or originate from farms that are free of antibiotics, pesticide, and steroids. Owner Darin Feinstein (who also counts the Viper Room in LA among the jewels in his empire) went through a dozen vendors before choosing SunFed Ranch in Northern California as the restaurant's meat supplier. The wild Pacific shrimp and fish dishes are among the healthiest on the menu, but don't overlook the chapulines (seasoned sauteed grasshoppers -- high protein, low fat, low calorie) and a recently added fruit & granola dessert.
Summerlin (& Henderson)
Daily Kitchen wants to take the family meals your mother used to make, and do 'em even better -- and healthier -- with carefully sourced ingredients. Two locations on opposite ends of the valley serve up hearty dinners, like a family-size rotisserie meal that includes a Caesar salad, a choice of two sides (such as black Tuscan kale or curried cauliflower with turmeric) and a whole rotisserie chicken or tri-tip steak. You can also find a Mary's free-range chicken bone broth made from scratch, and frozen Greek yogurt with four choices of toppings.
Henderson (& other locations)
All your favorite foods are given a healthy twist. For example, you can order a Philly cheesesteak with bison meat, or a burger with an ostrich patty. Choose a protein (like chicken, filet, bison, ahi tuna, or salmon) then add a green (broccoli, spinach, asparagus, or salad) and a grain (rice, quinoa, couscous, or sweet potato mash) along with a house-made sauce. Thirsty? The juices are pulverized, instead of extracted, which keeps all the nutrients in the drink. And if you need a good endorsement, check this out: Greens and Proteins also supplied UFC champ Conor McGregor with food during his latest training comp here in Las Vegas.
While chains like Chipotle and Subway became famous with customizable food, Soulfish Poke takes a similar concept with the poke trend that took root in Hawaii and California before spreading throughout the rest of the country. Only the top ingredients are used, including the same fresh-daily, grade-A sushi that you would find at the best Japanese restaurants on the Strip. Along the way, you can add a number of different options, like quinoa, rice, seaweed, kale, and avocado to your creation. The spot has become so popular so quickly that two additional locations in the Southwest are in the works -- as well as a food truck.
Popular with the health conscious in the west Valley, The Protein Source recently expanded with a second location on Buffalo that always seems to be busy with people wandering in from the gym next door. The menu is diverse, featuring bowls, wraps, burgers, salads, shakes, and breakfast served all day (try the protein waffles) from a kitchen visible from just behind the counter. The chili is especially delicious, and comes in four versions: tenderloin, Southwest chicken, turkey, and vegan. Want a power-packed dessert? Try the protein brownies or peanut butter balls.
Everything is made from scratch in-house, and health is a priority. Even the pides -- an oblong Turkish spin on a pizza -- features ingredients that are sustainable and locally sourced. You can also customize your salad, with scoops of eight different choices on the same plate. Other specialities include a tasty, pan-seared wild salmon with a chia seed topping, and a turkey sandwich that comes on thick cranberry walnut bread.
Summerlin (& other locations)
With eight locations around the valley, Rachel's Kitchen is one of those Vegas things, owned and operated locally, and found just about everywhere, including the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and a grab-and-go version at McCarran International Airport. The still-growing chain was founded by Debbie Roxarzade, who opened seven restaurants in Los Angeles before moving her family to Summerlin and starting all over again. Named after her daughter, Rachel's Kitchen is big on fresh food, including 11 salads, fresh-squeezed juices, and dishes that use all-natural, hormone-free grilled chicken breast.
You already know that there are quite a few excellent, excellent vegan and vegetarian spots around Vegas, but your best starting point could be VegeNation. It takes all the familiar stuff you love -- like burgers, meatball sandwiches, sushi, and brownie sundaes -- and produces these comfort dishes in a style that's 100% plant-based. It's right around the corner from the Downtown Container Park, perfectly located as a health-conscious pit stop for both locals and tourists.
One of the first places to get on the acai bowl train, Acai To The T found success in a strip mall where a number of frozen yogurt places came and went quickly. It became so popular that it opened additional locations around Vegas -- and in California -- under the Bowlology name. The name's changing here in Vegas, too, but the menu at all locations is pretty much the same, with bowls or large cups loaded up with the acai Brazilian superfruit and all sorts of ingredients that include everything from berries and peanut butter to granola and honey, or even whey protein. You can also sub out the acai for pitaya, which is a similar fruit but sweeter.
Southwest (& other locations)
This Asian stir fry actually doesn't do anything "fried," and is a favorite spot for fitness freaks and champion bodybuilders, including Vegas native and four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler who has his own bowl named after him on the menu. (It's extra-large by the way… as if you couldn't guess). Teriyaki Boy skips the oil in almost everything that's prepared. Meats are either grilled or cooked in a wok that uses little more than steam from water. Most of the food is gluten-free, and none of it contains MSG. Beverages include boba smoothies and blueberry muffin protein shakes.
Town Square (& other locations)
With three locations in shopping areas around the valley, Crazy Pita may edge out Chipotle as the healthiest alternative to fast food on your lunch break. Showcasing the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, the mini-chain is big on vegetables, chickpeas, couscous, olive oil, and all-natural meats and fish. The food is prepared from scratch, and features a balance of orange and green vegetables, so it's not uncommon to find butternut squash and zucchini on the same plate. All the hot food is cooked on a stove or grill -- no microwaves are used, ever.
A place that's all-business for fitness junkies who are counting calories (as well as carbs, fat, and protein grams), Fix 8 Fitness Cafe can be found in a far southeast corner of Henderson, but offers a meal prep delivery service for customers in other parts of the Valley. Most meals feature a choice of 4 or 8oz portions of protein (such as salmon, steak, or chicken) that are either grilled or steamed. Mixed greens and a choice of white or brown rice are among the side options. The cafe itself is no-frills, with food served in to-go boxes -- whether you're sitting down to stay or not.
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