Vegetarian Meals Near Lake Minnetonka

Veg out; you’ll like it!
Maynard's veggie wrap is made all the more enjoyable with a fresh fruit salad

There are many reasons to go vegetarian: political, emotional, nutritional. Thanks to innovations in farming, refrigeration and transportation, there are a gazillion vegetables at our beck and call, each with endless ways to prepare and serve. In fact, we’ve noticed that the vegetarian entrees are often the most creative on any given restaurant menu. Whether you’re a “flexitarian” (part-time vegetarian) or a true-blue carnivore, you’ll enjoy our region’s rainbow of tasty vegetarian dishes, from apps to mains to snacks. Go ahead and veg out!



Bukhara Indian Bistro

Many ethnic cuisines are rich in vegetarian options due to religious and economic reasons, and every good vegetarian knows that Indian restaurants can be a special mecca for all things meatless. Bukhara Indian Bistro features cuisine from northern India, which is renowned for classic vegetarian fare. We’re inordinately fond of Bukhara’s rendition of palak paneer, a creamy, rich amalgamation of wilted spinach leaves, cubes of mild house-made cheese and creamy spinach sauce. We call it exotic cuisine-turned-comfort food. Make sure you get some naan—a made-to order oven-baked bread—to swab your plate. $10.99. 15718 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.476.7997


Punch Neapolitan Pizza

There are no fewer than eight vegetarian pizza choices at Punch, where the dough is hand-rolled, hand-shaped and quickly fired in an 800-degree wood-burning oven. You can build your own veggie pizza dream from a long list of premium ingredients such as artichokes, arugula, roasted eggplant and olives, and if you need a shot of protein, add some cheeses or a fried egg. Or, do as we did and go for the delectable Borgata pie. This pizza starts with a bed of impeccably fresh mozzarella and the crème de la crème of crushed tomatoes, San Marzano. It’s finished with a generous scattering of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh goat cheese, roasted eggplant, saracene olives, olive oil and fresh basil, all on a perfectly blistered, ultra-thin crust. (Are you drooling yet?) Needless to say, there were no leftovers. $11.50. 1313 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata; 952.476.7991


The Marsh
The almighty veggie burger is a staple in many a vegetarian diet, but when dining out, they are all too often an afterthought—a desultory disc salvaged from the recesses of a supermarket freezer. Much to our relief, more restaurants are wading into the challenge of fashioning a tasty grain, rice, bean, nut and/or vegetable patty. The walnut and wild rice burger at The Marsh is an excellent case in point. Riding on a sturdy, nubbly multigrain bun, the walnuts and wild rice are a textural and flavorful match made in heaven, and the chunky tomato-almond chutney adds a brilliant note of sweet and tart. Add ketchup at your peril. $10. 15000 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.935.2202


Porta Del Sol 

Restaurant owner Mike Regan traveled to Cancun in 2007 and returned smitten with authentic Mexican cuisine. His eatery, Porta Del Sol, proffers only the freshest ingredients and every dish is made to order, just as he experienced south of the border. Porta Del Sol’s vegetarian enchiladas are so fresh that they are almost jumping off the hook, so to speak—busy with a lively mix of sautéed bell peppers, onions, olives and shredded melted cheese. Choose red (picante) or green (even more picante!) sauce as a topping —or do as we did and try both, one per enchilada. Sample the multiple salsas for additional veggie action: chunky pico de gallo, smoky roasted tomato, palate-searing habanero. The enchiladas are served with rice, black (or pinto, or Spanish red, or Mexican white) beans and salad, but the experience is not complete without an order of the exceptional guacamole, prepared simply, for pure, unadulterated avocado flavor. $8.99. 5309 Shoreline Dr., Mound; 952.472.3301


Lakewinds Natural Foods

This vegetarian-friendly emporium is chock-full of tempting options for balanced, meatless meals. Head to the deli case where you will find a plethora of quinoa-based creations. Quinoa—pronounced “KEEN-wa”—is an ancient Aztec grain that has been declared a “superfood” because of its high protein and fiber content. And it tastes good, both nutty and sweet. On a recent visit, we found three (and there are more) quinoa salads: a Mediterranean-esque version with artichokes, basil and garlic; a sweet curried apple mélange; and a Southwestern-accented chili-lime with corn and black beans. We made a beeline for the delectable, plump quinoa polenta corncakes: generous patties fashioned out of steamed quinoa, coarse cornmeal, fresh corn kernels, garlic, thyme and roasted red pepper. We brought a few home to reheat, and enjoyed every crumb with a boost of salsa and sour cream. We’ve discovered our perfect supper—maybe with marinara and mozzarella next time. Quinoa salads, $7.99/lb.; quinoa polenta cakes, $2.99 each. 7501 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.473.0292;

Try the quinoa polenta cake with a side of Israeli salad from Lakewinds.


Red Rooster

Vegetarian food doesn’t always have to be healthy food. Belly up to the bar with the best of ’em and enjoy classic and meat-free happy hour noshes like chips and salsa, sweet potato fries and breaded mozzarella sticks. We strongly recommend stopping at the Red Rooster, where the onion rings are especially rewarding: dipped in a draft beer batter, deep-fried till golden and served piping hot. Hey, you can chalk each onion ring up to another serving of vegetables for your recommended dietary allowance. $6.95. 1832 Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake; 952.473.4089



We love wraps for their ease of handling and capacity to hold an elaborate combination of ingredients. Maynard’s is well-schooled in the art of the wrap, and their veggie wrap is Exhibit A: a fat cylinder bursting with sautéed broccoli, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and onion, bound together with a mix of gooey melted cheeses and lashed with a garlicky basil aioli. It’s a harmonious symphony of flavors and textures that will have your palate humming with pleasure. We recommend you order the tangy, crunchy herbed slaw on the side. $8.95. 685 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior; 952.470.1800



Mushrooms are one of the closest things to meat in a vegetarian diet, embodying that elusive savory fifth taste, called “umami” in Japanese. Spasso showcases wild crimini and portobello mushrooms to their meatiest advantage in an achingly tender housemade pasta, sautéed in butter, mixed with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and napped in a sauce of Madeira and garlic. The proverbial frosting on the cake? An extra drizzle of basil-flecked brown butter plus crumbles of aged Humboldt Fog goat cheese. Now we know what it means to levitate. $16. 17523 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.224.9555