Food trucks have a reputation of providing quick and somewhat unhealthy meals that usually revolve around meat. To combat this, Larkin Square has partnered with Independent Health to ensure that every vendor at Food Truck Tuesday offers at least one “healthy option.”
Here are several noteworthy picks that cater especially to the vegan and vegetarian crowd.
Vietnamese banh mi, with tofu, from The Black Market Food Truck
The Black Market Food Truck (BMFT) is a Buffalo favorite. The Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is the truck’s specialty, with protein choices of pork, Korean BBQ beef or sambal tofu ($9). Cucumbers, pickled carrots and onion, white bean pâté, sriracha and cilantro are stacked onto hearty house-made baguette.
For a vegetarian banh mi, choose the tofu and chili aioli. For an entirely vegan sandwich, customers must specify “vegan” and opt for the sweet chili sauce instead of aioli. The banh mi has a potent vinegar taste from the pickled vegetables, and the white bean pâté adds a necessary moistness to the bread. The grilled sambal tofu is soft and pillowy, and the cilantro brings freshness to the sandwich.
Spicy peanut butter noodles, Asian vegetable noodle bowl from Gourm-Asian Bistro
New this year, Gourm-Asian Bistro is a welcome addition to the food truck scene. The menu includes several vegan and vegetarian options, like the Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles ($8).
Udon noodles are marinated in a house made peanut sauce and tossed with broccoli, ginger, sautéed banana, and crushed peanuts. This vegan dish is the ultimate comfort food and has a spicy depth of flavor. The round banana slivers are crunchy and add texture to the noodles. While on the small side, these peanut butter noodles are filling and worth every penny.
Another offering from Gourm-Asian Bistro is the Asian vegetable noodle bowl ($6.50). Spiralized vegetable noodles are stir-fried and tossed with ginger, scallions, crushed peanuts, candied oranges and a spicy peanut sauce.
Since the “noodles” are made out of vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and squash, the dish is a lighter alternative. But by no means does it skimp on flavor. The spicy peanut sauce pairs well with the sweet, candied mandarin oranges. While this dish is vegan when served with tofu, chicken or shrimp are available for an additional charge.
Smoked sweet potato bisque from Lomo Lomo
Also new to Food Truck Tuesday this year is Lomo Lomo. Parked at Flying Bison Brewery, this inventive truck is serving up bold flavors from around the globe. Lomo Lomo’s offerings change by the week, but the chalkboard menu urges patrons to “Ask about our vegan/vegetarian options.”
The smoked sweet potato bisque ($4) is an inexpensive dish that happens to be vegan. It contains sweet potato, coconut milk, and a spiced kettle corn topping. The bisque has some heat to it, but the sweet kettle corn balances it out. The presentation is finished with a drizzle of parsley oil and a touch of rice wine vinegar.
Versilia (vegan delight) pizza from Tuscan Wood Fired Pizza
Based out of Rochester, this wood-fired oven on wheels is all about traditional, handcrafted pizza. Tuscan Wood Fired Pizza, also known as Tony Tomatoes, has a special pizza called the Versilia, or Vegan Delight ($8).
This personal-sized pie starts with a basil pesto base and is topped with grilled eggplant, squash, grape tomatoes, onions, and roasted red bell peppers. The crust is charred and crisp. The vegetables are fresh, and the Parmesan-free pesto allows the robust taste of olive oil and basil to shine. This vegan pizza contains no cheese, but the flavorful ingredients more than make up for its absence.
Biff Sandwich from Amy’s Truck
When Amy’s Place comes to mind, vegan and vegetarian options are sure to follow. Amy’s Truck, the mobile version of the restaurant, is a reliable plant-based staple at Larkin Square. The Biff Sandwich ($6) is a prime selection for someone looking for a hearty, vegan barbecue-like dish. It consists of barbecue-flavored seitan strips, onions, spinach, tomatoes, vegan garlic spread and is packed into a floury pita flatbread.
The hunks of seitan are sweet and saucy, and the garlic spread adds creaminess to the sandwich. The pita has a soft, powdery quality and makes the sandwich an ideal portable option for wandering through the square.
Falafel and hummus from Street Cafe
An offshoot of the Street Cafe restaurant on Main Street, this little food truck serves up genuine Middle Eastern and halal fare. The falafel & hummus pita ($6.99) is a solid choice.
Crispy, fried chickpea fritters are rolled up in pita bread with hummus, lettuce, tomato, green peppers, and the optional tzatziki and hot sauce. The intense seasoning and deep-fried goodness of this sandwich make it a top vegetarian option.
For vegan and vegetarian customers, Lloyd is always dependable. Their local, organic stewed black beans can be the main protein of any taco, burrito, or bowl served on the truck. The El Camino with black beans is a winner. This burrito bowl is comprised of black beans, rice, shredded cabbage, pickled red onions, cilantro, hot sauce, and the optional shredded cheese ($6.89).
The beans are thick, saucy, and go well with the soft, fluffy rice. The best component of the meal is the pickled onions. Their bright, acidic tang completes the burrito bowl. If none of the other plant-based offerings at Food Truck Tuesday are intriguing enough, the black bean El Camino at Lloyd will surely satisfy.