Budget Beat

Lunch Under $10 at Desert Roots Kitchen in Tempe

You don't have to be an über-hippie vegan nut to enjoy Desert Roots Kitchen. You don't even really have to be on a health kick. Instead of using fake meats and faux cheese, Desert Roots simply uses real-deal grains, legumes, and veggies -- along with a good amount of seasoning and spice to add flavor. The little deli-style restaurant in the Mill Avenue Shops corridor primary has outdoor seating, but you can always grab your food to-go when it gets too hot.

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There are quite a few platter options to choose from at Desert Roots that won't break the $10 limit. A two-item plate or a half-wrap with an item is $8. You can build your own wrap or get the pick of the day.The day we visited, it was a curried chickpea wrap with greens and sprouts. Side options included a pesto pasta salad, quinoa salad, lentil salad, and a variety of housemade hummus flavors.

We went for the half chickpea wrap with the pesto pasta salad. The wrap was fresh and light, while the pasta salad was creamy and filling. We even had some wrap left over for a snack later, which stretched our $8 to a meal and a half. The bright colors and unique flavors of each of Desert Roots' offerings keep us coming back for more.

Another perk of DRK is its sampling policy, which allows you to taste up to three of its sides before choosing -- that way you're sure you snagged the right one. For a treat, it offers vegan baked goods and cans of San Pelligrino Aranciata and Limonata. Or you can cool off with a coconut water. The good feelings of your healthful lunch are sure to carry on throughout the workday and into the evening.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch