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Ten Favorite Vegetarian Entrees in Metro Phoenix

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Phoenix isn't exactly known for vegetarian cuisine, but that doesn't mean that the city doesn't have some fresh gems. The Valley has several unique, passionate vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Plus, a few carnivore-friendly restaurants are real contenders, too. And don't worry, you won't find any salads or veggie burgers on this list.

10. Falafel from Haji Baba Practically melt-in-your-mouth tender with nary a piece dried out or overcooked, the chickpeas and fava beans are mixed together with some really exotic spices that make the ingredients sing with flavor. The just-grilled pita is also quite outstanding, and the usual assortment of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and tahini sauce accompany the wrap.

9. Kung Pao Soy Chicken from Fresh Mint Featuring classic Kung Pao sauce with garlic, soy chicken (the best part), crunchy peanuts, and veggies of white and green onions, zucchini, green bell peppers, and carrots, the flavor is full-on fresh -- with additional tastiness courtesy of the seasoned soy chicken. Served with a side of rice, it's a sizable meal, but hey, if there's leftovers, we're not complaining.

8. Mongolian Delight from Loving Hut Seriously, take a look at that picture and tell us that isn't meat. It looks like beef, smells like beef, and even feels like beef when you bite into it. But, the "beef" in this dish from the all-vegetarian Loving Hut is really soy protein. Spiced with Asian flavors and accented with onions and peppers, this dish has a kick.

7. Miser Wot and Kik Alicha from Ethiopian Famous Served with injera, a spongy flatbread, this vegan dish comes with two tasty stews to scoop up with the bread. There's a large serving of Miser Wot, a red lentil stew that's spiced with berbere sauce, a heavily spiced staple of Ethiopian cuisine. The smaller dish, Kik Alicha, is made of split peas and is much more mild, providing a way to cool the spice from the Miser Wot. Best yet, it's only $8 for a big serving, and they make excellent leftovers.

6. Venduras de Temporada Torta from Gallo Blanco
The mix of veggies in this torta changes depending on what's available. Right now it has pico de gallo, grilled corn, mushrooms, red bell peppers, yellow squash, beans, lettuce, and onions. A salty, savory marinade makes the fresh flavors pop. The Venduras de Temporada filling is also available for tacos.

5. Thai Coconut Curry Pita Pizza from 24 Carrot Juice
Topped with their house-made hummus and curry as well as lime juice, sesame, and seasonal veggies (currently red cabbage, carrots, and kale), one pizza is a filling meal on its own. The yellow curry sauce is flavorful and nicely spiced. At first having hummus with a Thai coconut curry might sound odd, but it's a surprisingly great combo.

4. Texas "Moo-shroom" Po'boy from Green
This vegan sandwich has "pulled" and shredded portabella mushrooms with caramelized onions and peppers slow-cooked in espresso BBQ sauce. BBQ should be finger lickin' good, and this somewhat messy sandwich is no exception. It's super savory, flavorful, filling, and a little spicy.

3. Gobi Manchurian from Woodlands Vegetarian Kitchen "Gobi" simply means cauliflower, but these veggies are served as little fritters in a savory-sweet sauce. As the name "Manchurian" implies, this dish is an Indian riff on Chinese food. The sauce is a lot like the sweet red glazes found in Chinese restaurants, but the Indian twist is cauliflower, cilantro, and basmati rice.

2. Daily Specials from Pomegranate Café Ahwatukee's Pomegranate Café has fixed menu items like customer favorite BBQ Tempeh "Ribs" with sweet potato smash. But, the restaurant really excels with its fresh daily specials, like the vegan, gluten-free Truffled Mushroom Mac n' Cheese pictured here. For a daily dose of food porn, check out the Café's Facebook page.

1. Moroccan Nomad Stew from Chakra 4 Hearty and rich, this vegan stew is made of vegetables, chickpeas, raisins, cashews, and Moroccan spices. Then, it's served over fluffy quinoa pilaf. It's unbelievably flavorful without being overwhelming, and with whole grain, vitamins, protein, and fiber, it makes for one filling meal.

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