15 vegetarian and vegan places in Hertfordshire
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We celebrate National Vegetarian Week this month with a guide to 15 of the finest vegetarian, vegan and veggie-friendly restaurants, cafés, delis and shops in Herts
Eating our greens has never been so popular. With more and more of us adopting vegetarian and vegan diets there is now a far wider range of great veggie dishes for everyone in restaurants and in the shops. What was once seen as a fringe, hippy choice is now a mainstream trend and one that is chosen for health as well as animal welfare and environmental concerns. So forget brown lentils, there's a wide and wonderful world of veggie food out there. Here's 15 of the best places to try in Herts.
10 Railway Street, Hertford
This award-winning vegetarian and vegan café in the heart of Hertford not only serves delicious dishes but supports adults and young people with learning difficulties and mental health issues. The menu follows the natural rhythm of the British growing season with a 'plot to plate' ethos. Veg and fruit is sourced from the charity's organic allotment in the town as well as other local suppliers.
Its aim since it opened in 2014 has been to create 'a place where plants and people grow'. Highly recommended are the quiches and the chocolate and courgette cake.
24-25 The Wynd, Letchworth
Smart new vegan eatery Vutie Beets is run by brothers Brad and John Vooght who are passionate about inspiring us to be more health and environment conscious through vegan food. Organic mains, desserts and drinks are free from animal products and gluten and include curries, barbecued jackfruit and an amazing looking dragon fruit bowl. Customer favourites include Blueberry Fields Waffle and the Beets Breakfast.
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Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, Hitchin Road, Letchworth
Nourish Café was founded with the aim of providing those taking fitness classes at the popular Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living with a nutritious range of vegetarian and vegan food. Good news spreads fast and it's become a popular spot for all-comers. Try the quinoa quiches, spinach pancakes and fresh salads and regular specials free from dairy, refined sugars and gluten. Customers have become very loyal to particular dishes 'and find it hard not to choose the same one each time they visit,' says co-owner Rebecca Austin.
27 Jubilee Trade Centre, Letchworth
Family-run Fairhaven Wholefoods store was way ahead of the growing trend for all things veggie - it has been serving a multitude of vegetarian, vegan and health foods since 1981. Caring for the environment is key to its ethos and long before David Attenborough's campaign to reduce plastic use the shop weighed its nuts, seeds, pulses and wholefoods into compostable packaging. Fairhaven stocks wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and other 'frees' across a range of foods as well as bodycare and beauty products. Wrap up when you visit; the shop is not heated to reduce its carbon footprint.
419 Hatfield Rd, St Albans
This vegan café was created 'with love, sweat and tears' by Heather Foster who had a vision for an 'environmentally caring' cafe that was family-friendly. The menu has evolved over the years with the cooked breakfasts, falafel, hummus, and sponge cakes being big hits. Daily specials include curries, vegetable fritters and soups all using organic and seasonal vegetables and homegrown herbs wherever possible. Heather is always keen to try new recipes - look out for the caramel tart, a new favourite. Themed supper nights and the sale of organic fruit and veg have expanded the offering at this delightful place.
St Albans Market
You will find Eat Wholefoods trading on St Albans Market where it has been a staple for 42 years, selling fresh, wholesome produce on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There's now also a shop in the city and an online portal.
The natural and organic dried mango, mulberries and goji berries are popular, as is the couverture chocolates, also supplied to the Odyssey cinema. Freshly made hummus is coming soon. Pioneers of plastic-free, customers can fill their own containers with many of the products.
8 Market Place, Hitchin
Lucy Fisher is passionate about healthy café culture and decided a vegan spot was just what Hitchin needed. Jumping in at the deep end, she and her husband Dan say they have learnt as they have gone along, offering fresh smoothies and juices, organic coffee and simple, healthy plant-based dishes. It's proved to be a winning formula, they've just moved round the corner from their original little site by St Mary's to a larger space 'with a botanical and boho feel'.
Enjoy chilli avocado mash or creamy garlic and thyme wild mushrooms or perhaps the fabulous nachos. Coffees with a twist include turmeric and matcha lattes.
Unit T, Penfold Trading Estate, Imperial Way, Watford
Offering a 'café, hot yoga and more', you don't have to do a class to enjoy this café but what a wonderful way to work up an appetite. Don't be put off by the trading estate address, this is a lovely little place with a goal to offer Watford a healthy and delicious way to eat, refresh and connect.
The café offers both vegetarian and vegan dishes including homemade vegan chilli, green curry and superfood salads. They also love making cakes - ones that are really good for you.
20 Holywell Hill, St Albans
This vegetarian-friendly restaurant is the place for weekend brunch in St Albans. Favourites include sweetcorn fritters - a stack of savoury sweetcorn pancakes with chilli jam, avocado and poached egg. Or try the spinach and falafel burger which can be served on a vegan bap with vegan cheese. In a hurry? Try the original site, Hatch on the Go in The Maltings shopping centre for fresh vegetarian-friendly fast food.
42 Frogmore St, Tring
This award-winning independent café-deli in the heart of Tring is a hot spot for vegetarians. Find lovely fresh bread, homemade cakes, cheeses and veggies sourced from nearby Ivinghoe.
Owner Sarah Murray posts some of her delicious recipes on the website. We are going to make up a batch of her sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup.
219 Watling Street, Radlett
In a smart contemporary building - all glass, wooden cladding and metal beams - in a little park beside Radlett railway staion, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly Daisy's was opened in 2015 by vegetarian Julie Wright. The first menu featured a pulled jackfruit dish, now an exciting veggie dish, but just four years ago no-one knew what it was, so it didn't make it to the next menu.
Brunch is popular and customers return for the shakshuka - a vegan option is also available. The superfoods dish is especially good for those looking for a mid-week health boost.
Hopleys Plants, High Street, Much Hadham
Fiona Copley opened the café at Hopley's family-run garden centre so she could serve customers dishes she loves, including a good dose of veggie dishes -around a third of the menu is vegetarian. Customers love the savoury tarts using seasonal ingredients, the inventive salads and frittatas. Bestsellers include spinach, potato, stilton and walnut tart and vegan roasted butternut and tomato strudel.
18 Fore Street, Hertford
This deli and café is a little bit of the Mediterranean in Herts. Sourcing fine produce from Italy and Sicily, find gorgeous buffalo mozzarella, parmigiano and taleggio cheeses, anti pasti such as pepper-infused olives, marinated artichokes and fresh pastas, as well as sauces, oils, vinegars, beans and lentils. Belissimo!
270 High Street, Berkhamsted
Recipes in this award-winning family-owned Greek restaurant have been handed down generations. There are plenty of vegetarian dishes including yemista - oven baked aubergine and tomato stuffed with herb infused rice and topped with crumbled feta.
41 Lower Dagnall Street, St Albans
Discover locally-foraged ingredients at this vegetarian-friendly cosy Victorian pub. The Foragers offers up dishes such as carrot and hogweed soup, Gooseford seed nut loaf and vegetarian burger. Try them alongside one of their boozy foraged concoctions. To see how they do it, join one of their regular foraging walks. We'll have a glass of hedgerow fizz please.