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Top 4 meatless meals in Toronto

Veg Food Fest has been a Toronto institution for almost four decades, so when the 2022 edition, scheduled for Sept. 10 and 11 at Harbourfront Centre, was recently cancelled due to venue staffing issues, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike mourned the lack of tasty meat-free treats this year.

“Veg Food Fest is an important time for vegans, vegetarians and those who are in transition or open to discovery to come together, celebrate and experience joy,” says Kimberly D’Oliveira, above, executive director of VegTO (formerly known as the Toronto Vegetarian Association). “We have always tried to make the event inclusive, inspiring, full of positive vibes and welcome to everyone.”

Even though this year’s fest isn’t happening, D’Oliveira is excited about the growing number of vegetarian and vegan delights Torontonians can enjoy year-round. “We are home to such a diverse group of people, and there are so many delicious vegan foods available from so many cultures,” she says. “Also, so many more restaurants and local businesses are investing in creating new vegan dishes, menus and products. Trying these offerings is a great way to support our local businesses in their recovery and get more plant-powered foods into your diet.”

Here, D’Oliveira shares her favourite meatless dishes from GTA restaurants.

Kaspace, 1183 Queen St. E

“Their ackee brunch of traditional Jamaican ackee — a fruit that looks like eggs and has a creamy texture — and organic tofu is a wonderful alternative to classic brunch fare. Plus, they serve all their takeaway in reusable containers, and their Allwood Market storefront is beautiful and full of incredible products by local artisans.”

Gia, 1214 Dundas St. W.

“Try their Future of Cheese baked brie: it’s an organic cashew brie with a rind made in the traditional way that gives you the funk and flavour you want in a brie, using simple ingredients and no dairy. Gia serves it in a beautiful way with strawberries, anise, basil and pistachio.”

Mavericks, 15 Merchant’s Wharf

“A classic fast-food cheeseburger is such a comforting experience. Mavericks burgers, particularly the MavBurger, are even better than a beef burger. They feature Impossible Burger patties, made with pea protein, topped with their Mavsauce and cheese. For those looking to reduce their red-meat consumption, I say with all sincerity that you would not believe you are eating an entirely plant-based burger.”

Ethiopian House, 4 Irwin Ave.

“The vegetarian bayaaynatu platter is a new favourite and instant classic. It features a taste of all eight of their vegan dishes, including shiro wat (seasoned chickpeas in berbere sauce) and yekik alicha (yellow split peas and turmeric), on a bed of injera (pancake-like bread). Bring a friend and have lunch in their delightful upstairs dining room filled with artifacts and images from Ethiopia. Try the coffee ceremony, too.”

Love top food lists? Check out the five best local spots for ice cream.

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