Eat Your veggies! Vegetarian cuisine growing

THE RANKS OF VEGETARIANS and vegans are growing, thanks to increasing health awareness, environmental concerns and more locally sourced fruit and veggies.

As many as 10 percent of adults consider themselves vegetarians, even though they may eat fish or chicken occasionally, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group.

The foothills and Sierra are blessed with an abundance of fresh, local fruits and veggies, and summer is the time to enjoy them, whether you are vegetarian or not.

Here’s a rundown of some restaurants and delis in the foothills that provide delicious vegetarian or vegan fare.

Summer Thymes Bakery & Deli
Made-to-order breakfasts and piled-high sandwiches. Almost everything is made from scratch, using fresh (often local, often organic) ingredients. Examples: zucchini and spinach lasagna, vegetarian pesto avocado sandwich or organic baby greens salad. Visit their booth at the Nevada City Farmers Market. SummerThymes.com, Grass Valley

BriarPatch Co-op
The deli at the “Patch” has a variety of fresh, ready-to-eat meals, light meals and desserts. Vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes. Examples: “Briar Rabbit,” with avocado, tomato, onion, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, green chile and “Vegenaise” in a choice of wrap. BriarPatch.coop, Grass Valley

Ike’s Quarter Cafe
Specializing in fresh, local, organic food with a Cajun flair. Try a “Satchmo veggie burger,” a meatless patty or tempeh topped with peppers on a bun with a choice of vegan creole remoulade, tofu or tempeh Po’ Boy, vegetarian Muffuletta or vegetarian Jambalaya. A certified “Green Restaurant.” IkesQuarterCafe.com, Nevada City

Simplicity Bistro
Specializing in fresh, local ingredients. Some vegetarian entrees are herb vegetable linguini, vegetable lasagne with housemade pasta, a marinated Portobello mushroom burger and a Caprese salad. SimplicityBistro.vpweb.com, Grass Valley

Taste of Thai
Vegetarian Thai cooking is authentic and delicious. Taste of Thai offers vegetarian choices on almost all of its entrees, including curries. Example: “Gaeng Dang,” the vegetarian version has red curry, eggplants, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and sweet basil leaves. Grass Valley

Burger Me in Truckee, Matteo’s Public in Nevada City, Lefty’s Grill in Nevada City and Smiley Guys Smokehouse, among others, all have vegetarian items. Examples: Smiley Guys’ “big salad” with tempeh or Matteo’s house-made veggie burger.

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