Photography by Angelina Aragon
Packed with pickled and roasted goodies, new-look vegetable boards offer variety and fun to meat-free Phoenicians.
Pedal Haus Brewery
Three Valley locations
Long gone are the days when vegetarians had to choose between a pitiful iceberg lettuce salad or desiccated baked potato while dining out. Driven by health and environmental concerns, modern restaurants are leaning into green big time, including chef-driven vegetable boards as a meatless alternative to charcuterie. At Pedal Haus Brewery, the Mediterranean Board ($17, pictured) is layered with roasted seasonal vegetables, house-made hummus tarted up with lemon juice and cumin, baba ghanoush perfumed with garlic and tahini, a handful of tangy olives and a block of dreamy pan-seared feta that you can smear over a generous stack of charred flatbread. Depending on the season, the roasted veggies might include baby carrots or asparagus alongside broccolini, radishes, cucumbers and cauliflower. Pedal Haus culinary director Harmon Swartz suggests pairing your board with a Day Drinker Light Lager or Desert Classic Pale Ale. “You really can’t go wrong.”
Three Valley locations
In search of a vegetable-centric appetizer to serve friends, North Italia chef Chris Curtiss picked up some fresh vegetables at a local farmers market to roast and grill. The veggies were such a hit that Curtiss added a farmers market board ($16) to the menu. This season, the colorful spread sports roasted asparagus, heirloom carrots and watermelon radishes; a broccolini-and-Brussels-sprout agrodolce (an Italian sweet-and-sour condiment); and an intoxicating medley of butternut squash, dates and almonds tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette with crème fraîche and honey. “We serve the vegetables roasted, grilled, blanched and raw for an assortment of flavors and textures,” Curtiss says. The board also includes herbal house-made pesto, a simple white bean salad and hearth bread made from North pizza dough.
Linger Longer Lounge
6522 N. 16th St., Phoenix
Neighborhood hangout Linger Longer Lounge added a vegetarian board ($9) to its menu so it could serve a wider audience. “Because we’re a hot dog restaurant, we wanted to make sure that we had vegan and vegetarian options,” says Nicholas Hyche, owner of Der Wurst Hot Dogs, which runs the restaurant’s kitchen. The vegetarian board features roasted seasonal vegetables along with house-pickled radishes, cucumbers and peppers; an assortment of mixed salted nuts; and slices of lightly toasted and grilled pretzel bread. For dipping and dunking, Hyche dishes up a vegan pesto sauce. You won’t see raw vegetables on Hyche’s vegetarian board because run-of-the-mill crudité platters are available at any grocery store deli, he says. “Here the vegetables have been roasted, pickled, seasoned and altered in a culinary way.”