Many of the harms inflicted on animals involve complicated systems over which we have no direct control. But most of us do have control over what goes in our mouths, what we wear, and which products and services we purchase. By eating and shopping compassionately, we can help animals starting right now.
Food & Restaurants
When it comes to food, most of us are accustomed to abundance and great variety. Supermarkets contain aisle upon aisle of choice, restaurants offer cuisines from around the world, and just about every store sells snacks and candy at the checkout counter. We are so used to variety, some of us wouldn’t think of eating the same meal twice in a row! All this choice can help put things in perspective when switching to a vegan diet. Reminding ourselves of what farmed animals endure—which is far worse than any inconvenience we might experience simply swapping one food for another—can make it easy to say no to meat, dairy, and eggs.
Luckily, there is plenty of tasty and satisfying vegan food available, with more options becoming available all the time. Below are some favorite vegan restaurants, answers to common questions, and recommended resources.
The New Hampshire Animal Rights League is happy to see an ever-growing number of restaurants offering vegan options. That said, we have a special appreciation for the front runners, those restaurants that served vegan food long before it was fashionable. We look upon these establishments as our partners, for they contribute so much toward the goal of ending the suffering of animals raised for food.
Check web sites before heading out as many restaurants are temporarily closed or have modified hours and/or menus during COVID-19.
Col’s Kitchen serves plant-based home cooking right in the heart of Concord. Offering homemade sammies, scrambles, sodas, cake shakes, and more. “Love the variety of options from ‘fancier’ items like stroganoff… to more casual items like meatball subs…” (a HappyCow reviewer)
Health food store and vegan buffet restaurant.
Craft yeast-raised and cake donuts served alongside organic, fair trade coffee. Everything at Lovebirds Donuts is vegan, even the coffee. They offer several plant-based milk options for coffees, never at an additional charge.
Vegan breakfast & lunch, gluten-free vegan bakery, and fresh juice & smoothies. “…Dolly burger… best burger I have ever had! The crunch of the maple strips combined with the sweet potato and tang of the barbecue sauce with the perfectly cooked black bean burger…!” (a HappyCow reviewer)
A meat-free menu made up of ingredients and flavors from Thailand, Malaysia, China, and India. “Never a disappointment! A vegetarian restaurant with vegan dishes featured heavily. My favorite dish on the menu is the Tofu Tikka Masala. My favorite appetizer is the King Oyster Mushrooms (deep fried).” (a reviewer on HappyCow)
Keene, NH (located inside the Toadstool Bookshop)
Plant-based café featuring local, organic ingredients. Currently offering home delivery. Also sells prepared sauces, pickles, and burger patties.
Sandown, NH (serving Southern New Hampshire)
Plant-based food truck operating out of Southern New Hampshire. Owners also operate Geary Farms in Chester, NH, with a farm stand and CSA shares.
Exeter, NH (located within Deep Meadow Variety Store)
Practical whole food, plant-based meals for families living a full life. All meals free of animal products, soy, and gluten.
Delivers to Manchester, NH and surrounding towns
100% plant-based meals delivered straight to your door. Revolving menu features delicious entrées such as Butternut-Basil Risotto, Lentil Ravioli, Lasagna, and Shepherd’s Pie.
Online Shop (Based in New Hampshire)
Homemade vegan sweets baked locally and shipped to your door. Check out the Holiday menu for festive cookies, tarts, pies, etc.
Q: What are some easy vegan meals if I don’t want to cook?
Eating whole foods — such as fresh produce, grains, and legumes — is promoted as the healthiest diet, but sometimes you just need something quick.
We asked a few NHARL members to share their favorite quick and easy vegan meals:
Lydia says: My go-to easy vegan meal is Imagine’s Organic Sweet Pea Soup or one of Gardein’s plant-based canned soups along with some crusty bread.
Pasta is also easy and satisfying. To easily make it more filling and nutritious, throw some broccoli or spinach (fresh if you have it, but canned or frozen vegetables are better than no vegetables at all) in the pot a couple minutes before the pasta is done. The vegetables will cook along with the pasta, and there will be only one pot to clean!
Elizabeth says: One approach to easy, quick meals is to cook a lot of something in advance. At the beginning of the week, I might bake a whole pan of sweet potatoes, for example. Then I have something I can quickly microwave when I want to throw a meal together.
Japanese sweet potatoes (purple skin) are especially delicious. You can even eat them cold for a nutritious on-the-run snack.
Emma says: Since I have young kids and also work, I tend to keep a lot of prepared foods on hand for quick meals. One of my kids’ favorite meals is Gardein crispy tenders with veggie or sweet potato fries.
Other combos my kids like include:
- Lightlife Smart Dogs with Annie’s Vegan Mac (boxed or frozen)
- Sandwiches with Tofurkey Deli Slices, Violife cheddar slices, and Vegenaise
- Spaghetti and Gardein meatballs
- Nasoya Tofu Vegetable Dumplings
- Daiya frozen pizza
Joanne says: We are big fans of avocados. During the COVID-19 pandemic when we made as few trips to the grocery store as possible, we learned that avocados can be stored in the refrigerator to slow ripening.
When I want a quick meal made with fresh ingredients, I make 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta (from Oh She Glows).
Q: Isn’t a vegan diet expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. Certain vegan foods are expensive, but the basic, whole foods that are best for us — such as grains and legumes — tend to be quite affordable.
One reason that vegan alternatives are more expensive than the animal products they replace is because the meat, dairy, and egg industries are subsidized by the government. As more doctors and consumers come to recognize that animal products are not only dietarily unnecessary but also shown to be detrimental to health, our system of underwriting the animal agriculture industry is facing challenge.
Q: Can eating vegan really help the Earth?
Yes, it really can. Environmental organizations state that a shift toward animal-free diets is one of the most important actions we can take to reduce climate destruction, deforestation, and species extinction.
The EcoFood Guide is a colorful, user-friendly resource that explains the climate benefits of vegan food choices, along with helpful tips, recipes, statistics, and food swaps.
Q: Can dogs be vegan?
Yes they can. While it’s commonly believed that dogs are carnivores like their wolf ancestors, meaning that they must eat meat to survive, this is incorrect. Canine digestive systems are quite capable of digesting and deriving nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
Take a look at our brochure — Can Dogs Be Vegan — to learn about the surprising benefits of a plant-based diet for your dog. (New Hampshire Animal Rights League does understand that “vegan” is not a diet but rather a lifestyle based on ethics. We use the word here only because its dietary meaning is so well understood.)
“Did you know that a quarter of all the meat consumed in the United States is eaten by our pets? That’s equivalent to the amount devoured by 26 million Americans…” — The Clean Pet Food Revolution: How Better Pet Food Will Change the World