Amsterdam’s vegetarian and vegan scene is small but growing 0

There are many things that I love about Amsterdam: the unique canal-side architecture (both houses and houseboats!), cafés with outdoor seating overlooking the canals, multi-level garages for bicycles, and beautifully presented mint tea with sprigs of fresh mint (pictured below).

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While it might be a bit challenging to find vegan-friendly restaurants or a latte made with non-dairy milk (dairy is king in the Netherlands!), you will find a handful of entirely vegetarian and vegan restaurants in and around Amsterdam’s city center.

Here are our top picks for vegan eats in Amsterdam:

De Bolhoed is located on Prinsengracht in the Jordaan area. It has a funky and rustic vibe and while the mains are a bit overpriced (starting around €15-17), the food is quite tasty and also happens to be nutrient-rich and well-balanced. We were able to grab a table outside on the small patio on the canal side of the street. It was the perfect setting for watching the evening commute of Amsterdam’s cyclists.

The plat du jour included a nice mix of white asparagus, giant beans, roasted sweet potato and mushrooms with a vegan cream sauce, grilled tofu topped with pesto, brown rice, and fresh greens. Yes, there’s a lot going on here! It might not look so pretty, but it was absolutely delicious.

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This Moroccan-inspired dished included a baked veggie-stuffed pastry, couscous with pine nuts and a delicious side salad with a vegan-mint yogurt sauce.

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De Waaghals, which translates to “the daredevil,” has been around since 1981, offering a vegetarian menu that changes every two weeks. While the menu may not be so extensive, De Waaghals offers numerous vegan options. It’s only open for dinner and reservations are highly recommended.

Every month, the restaurant has one special dish inspired by a specific country’s cuisine. In honor of the World Cup, this Brazilian-inspired dish consisted of grilled bok choy with spicy ginger-lime dressing, feijoada (black bean stew), crispy baked tofu, coconut rice with mango chutney, and cassava chips. I especially enjoyed the crispy baked tofu. So often crispy tofu equates to fried tofu, but that wasn’t at all the case at De Waaghals.

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Deshima is a buffet-style vegan café and macrobiotic food store located near the Rijksmuseum. It is part of the Kushi Institute of Europe, which started in 1975 to promote the teachings of macrobiotic principles. Most of the food is inspired by Japanese cuisine, incorporating ingredients such as miso paste, tofu, rice vinegar, sesame, seaweed, and shoyu. The café offers an extensive lunch buffet including everything from soups and stews to cold salads and desserts. All of the food falls under the “plant-based” category as it is represents “whole foods” that are free from sugar, honey, dairy, meat and chemical additives. Also, everything served at Deshima is free from genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.

My husband and I shared this “large” plate below along with a small salad. It was more than enough food for the two of us.

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We couldn’t resist this berry rice pudding tart for dessert. It was light and fresh, and most importantly, not too sweet!

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Soup en Zo is perfect for a quick grab-and-go lunch. I wasn’t able to take a photo of my lunch from Soup en Zo, but I had the most delicious sweet potato, coconut and cashew soup along with an assortment of cold salads. While there isn’t any indoor seating, if you’re lucky, you can grab a seat on one of the benches outside. I realize there are soup and salad restaurants in most major cities around the world, but Soup en Zo is at the top of my soup/salad café list. Their soups are freshly made, rich in flavor, and dairy-free.

A few vegan side notes:

If you’re looking to take a break from the museums and central historic sites, head over the the Jordaan neighborhood. Wander the streets, pop into a café or grab a table on the canal and sit back and relax while you take in the sights and sounds around you.

There are also a few vegan foodie highlights in the Jordaan that are worth checking out, especially on Saturdays:

The Saturday Noordermarkt has been up and running since 1987. It’s 100% organic and is the perfect place to pick up your weekly produce or to grab a beautiful loaf of freshly baked seeded brown bread.

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If you’re looking for plant-based, organic bulk items, check out Delicious FoodIt’s just around the corner from the Noordermarkt.

A few doors down from Delicious Food, look for SLA, a fresh and modern salad bar where you can make your own salad or choose from a number of preset menu items. Oh, and all of the dressings are vegan!