Vegetarian Guide to Local Restaurants
A Meat-Eaters Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine in Summit County, CO
Full disclosure: As the title of this article implies, I am not a vegetarian. However, summer and fall are perfect times in Summit County to explore and savor the wonderful variety of fresh produce from local Colorado farms. So at this time of year in particular I will often choose to forgo a heavy meat dish in favor of an entrée or even a quick lunch option that features fresh fruits and vegetables of the season prepared in a tempting and creative way.
The following list of restaurants highlights those offering menu items that are deliciously prepared without meat and that emphasize fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and cheeses. I am bypassing the “side salad” that is the default vegetarian option on many menus, and instead focusing on entrees that are expressly created to showcase the tastiness and variety of vegetarian ingredients. These entrees are so good that even a carnivore like myself would happily order them as my first choice on the menu.
ON THE FANCY SIDE
Twist – Breckenridge, CO
200 S Ridge St/970-547-7100
I adore beets, and this is the season to enjoy them. Twist has crafted a hearty Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli, with Arugula Pine Nut Pesto. If you’re dining with meat eaters, they can add grilled chicken or salmon, but this pasta dish is so delectable you’ll want to stick with chef Matthew Fackler’s original vegetarian concept. The Western Slope Zucchini & Summer Squash Vermicelli makes a tempting starter. Pair your meal with a selection from Twist’s list of craft beers, like Colorado Odell Easy Street Wheat. And don’t forget dessert: Sweets include the Chocolate Chip Cookie Waffle as well as the creamy Panna Cotta — yum!
Keystone Ranch – Keystone Resort
1437 County Road 150/800-354-4386
A visit to the beautiful Keystone Ranch Resort is a special treat. Chef Steven Vlass is particularly passionate about using “the best quality ingredients and letting them speak for themselves.” I’d start with the Quinoa & Baby Red Kale Salad, with California figs, kumquats, blueberries, pecan brittle and roasted grapes. Then dive into the Grilled Black Bell Eggplant, with garbanzo beans, a summer vegetable salad, preserved lemons and Greek olives. Chef Vlass describes this signature dish as “having the feel of summer, light but full of flavor.” Suggested wine pairing: Rose, Las Rocas de San Alejandro, Spain.
Vinnie’s Euro American Organic Cuisine – Frisco, CO
310 Main St/970-668-0340
Chef Vincent Monarca is dedicated to bringing the freshest produce from farm to table, sourcing as much as possible from Colorado suppliers. There is plenty to love at Vinnie’s, for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. One of my favorite appetizers is the Roasted Pear, Fig, Fennel, Pecans, and Chevre, over organic greens. Follow this with the Organic Eggplant Parmesan or Pasta Primavera with Organic Vegetables. If you are looking for lighter fare, head into the bar and enjoy the small-plate Pub Menu, and on Monday nights take advantage of the wine special — two for one glasses of wine in the Pub all night.
A LITTLE MORE CASUAL
Amazing Grace – Breckenridge, CO
213 Lincoln Ave/970-453-1445
I’ll confess that before I ever tried any of the scrumptious breakfast or lunch entrees, I came to Amazing Grace for the gargantuan Chocolate Chip Cookies — which are, in fact, amazing. Now I enjoy the yummy homemade Granola for breakfast — or one of the many tasty and satisfying luncheon wraps, like the Burrito with Sweet Potatoes, black beans, salsa, cheese, spinach and avocado.
Clint’s – Breckenridge, CO
131 S Main St/970-453-2990
Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike love Clint’s Boreas Breakfast Bagel with vegetarian “sausage.” Or try the Spinach and Feta Croissants or a Portobello Mushroom Wrap. And don’t forget dessert! Clint’s is famous for its homemade pastries and old-fashioned ice cream cones.
Himalayan – Frisco, CO
Frisco Mall, 409 E Main St/970-668-3330
Featuring Nepalese and Indian favorites that will satisfy every palate. Order from the extensive “Vegetarian Delights” menu — or do what locals do and opt for the reasonably priced buffet. Then settle in for a comfortable afternoon of sampling an array of mouthwatering dishes. The buffet menu varies, but generally includes savory selections such as Saag Paneer, Aloo Gobi, Chickpea Daal, Vegetarian Tikki Masala and many more. A basket of hot, chewy naan comes with your order!
Butterhorn – Frisco, CO
408 Main St/970-668-3997
I love whole-wheat pancakes and Butterhorn serves them with real maple syrup. For lunch choose from several delicious salad options such as Spinach Salad with mandarin orange and sunflower seeds or a Garden Salad chock full of sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, carrots. Yummy sandwiches include the Veggie Mountain High with broccoli, onion, melted cheese and hummus. My perennial favorite: Grilled Cheese on crunchy multi-grained bread.
Inxpot – Keystone, CO
River Run Village, 195 River Run Rd/970-262-3707
This cozy coffee shop opens with coffee & bagels in the morning — and will get you through cocktails in the evening. Start your day with granola that includes “almonds, pecans, craisins & lots of love” and come back for Luncheon Wrap of spinach, feta, portobello mushrooms and banana peppers. One thing vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can agree on is cocktails: I’ll take Inxpot’s Tangerine Pom Pom-tini, please, with tangerine vodka, pomegranate, cranberry juice. Does the fruit juice make it healthy?
ON THE RUN
Whole Foods – Frisco, CO
261 Lusher Ct/970-668-9400
In addition to offering an array of healthy vegetarian options in their hot and cold food bars, Whole Foods also sells delicious “grab and go” sandwiches like tofu and veggie wraps, and buffalo wraps with a soy-based chicken substitute. Pizza lovers can order a freshly prepared pizza with vegan cheese. If you’ve got the time, take your lunch (and a copy of the Summit Daily to peruse while you eat) and grab a seat indoors — or head outside for a seat with a view of the mountains.
Soupz On – Breckenridge, CO
422 North Park Avenue/970-547-4797
Fresh, delicious, fast, affordable is what locals and visitors have to say about Soupz On. Located near City Market in Breck, this friendly eatery is a convenient and healthy choice for a quick bite. Try one of the delicious homemade soups, like Nebraskan Corn Chowder or Italian Ratatouille, and pair it with a Roast Cauliflower, Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad.
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