If Necessary, It's Possible For A Non-Meat Eater To Eat At A Steakhouse

Kermit the frog sings, "It's not that easy being green." However, vegetarians and vegans know it's even harder to eat green. Not every restaurant has a selection of animal-free menu items. But, believe it or not, there are almost always vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining options available. They just might not be that obvious. In fact, it's even possible for a non-meat eater to dine at a steakhouse.

The best strategy to deploy when there are no clearly labeled vegetarian, plant-based, or vegan options on the menu, is to kindly inform your server about the importance of sticking to your diet. While the server might not know the ingredients in every dish or sauce, they are the liaison who allows you to express any concerns to the kitchen staff. And chefs know which ingredients to omit to create a suitable dish for individuals with dietary restrictions.

Besides going straight to the source and asking the chef to modify your meal on an ingredient level, if possible, you can piece together a custom dish made up of a collection of sides that you know are acceptable options. Just be careful to do your research. For example, although french fries are a safe option for vegetarians who are dining at LongHorn Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse uses animal fats for frying.

Other tips for avoiding animal products at a steakhouse

As a general rule of thumb, the safest animal-free foods to consider when eating at a steakhouse are sides without butter, cheese, or sauces. For example, a plain baked potato or sweet potato, sourdough bread, rice pilaf, black beans, mixed greens, fruits, and grilled asparagus. Many also offer salads, like LongHorn Steakhouse's Strawberry and Pecan Salad or Outback Steakhouse's House Salad. 

It is also important to note that animal products can be found in the most unusual places. For instance, red food coloring can be made from insects, so you must be careful with everything from sauces to soft drinks. Also, common condiments, such as horseradish and mayonnaise, are not vegan-friendly either. According to PETA, the best choices are the basics, such as olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, relish, and wasabi.

When you find yourself in a restaurant that isn't vegetarian or vegan-friendly, don't be afraid to ask questions that can help you navigate away from foods that should not be in your diet. If you adopt a kind, considerate approach, most servers are happy to help accommodate requests from diners.