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How to Eat Plant Based at a Steakhouse

People are always shocked to hear this, but steakhouses are actually one of the easiest and best types of restaurants to dine in while following a plant based diet! Yes, they offer a ton of meat, fish and chicken dishes, but they also offer a ton of salads and plant based sides, too! Not to mention incredible bread baskets….  mmmm…

I can honestly say that I have never left a steakhouse feeling the slightest bit deprived or hungry. The exact opposite, in fact!

Audrey Dunham and James Dunham at a Restaurant

My Steakhouse Game Plan:

When it Comes to the Bread basket –  Instead of butter, I ask for olive oil to enjoy with the bread basket. They always have it and it’s a great substitute!

*FYI – If your goal is fat loss, stick to one piece of bread with a minimal amount of oil.

Appetizer Round- First, I’ll check out the salad selection to see if there’s a salad that looks good and then modify as necessary.  It’s usually just a matter of asking the chef to leave off the cheese. If there isn’t a salad that quite fits the bill, I’ll usually ask the server really nicely if I can customize my own and they’re usually happy to do it.   My favorite salad mix is greens, dried cranberries, tomatoes, either avocado or nuts, and then a vinaigrette dressing.  All ingredients most steak houses have!

For the Entree – If there isn’t a plant based entree option on the menu, my eyes go directly to the side dishes, where there is usually a TON of veg options to choose from. I’ll usually tell the server I’d like to order only side dishes for my entree, which they never seem surprised to hear.  Sometimes they’ll even tell me that’s a popular way to go!  If I’m super hungry, I’ll order a plain baked potato first and foremost, (skipping the usual toppings such as butter, sour cream, etc.) and enjoy it with salt, pepper and a bit of ketchup.  Then I’ll choose 2 – 3 low starch veggies that are offered such as asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, carrots, sautéed spinach, or green beans.   How many sides I order depends on if I’d like to have leftovers to take home for the next day.  But if I only go for 3 sides total including the potato, I’ll usually ask the server if it’s possible to serve them all on one plate to make it look and feel more like an entree.  Oftentimes they’ll serve it this way whether I request it or not!

Dessert – To be honest, I’m usually SO stuffed at this point that I’m totally cool with skipping dessert.  After all, I can always have a bit of dark chocolate or a Peanut’s Bake Shop Cookie when I get home!   But if I do feel like having something sweet at the restaurant, I’ll go for some sorbet or a bowl of berries. By the way – pairing this with some chamomile or peppermint hot tea is great way to go.

And that’s all there is to it!  This is such an easy, healthy and super filling and satisfying way to go at a steakhouse.

Side note: I worked in restaurants throughout the first half of my 20’s and believe me – restaurant servers get special requests and modified food orders All. Day. Long.  Never feel embarrassed to ask for what you need or want. If the server has been waiting tables for a decent amount of time, they are 100% used to special requests and it is absolutely no big deal. Trust me!

Have a question or comment?  Please share below!

Filed under: Health & Nutrition


Lauren Massey

When I gave up meat, I began ordering a baked potato with broccoli any time we went to our favorite steakhouse. Six months later, at my son’s 19th birthday dinner, the waiter asked me if I was vegetarian. When I told him I was, he told me that they cook the broccoli in chicken broth. I later found out that they will cook the broccoli in water if you ask. I really love getting a baked sweet potato with broccoli since I don’t have to add anything other than a little salt and pepper.


Audrey Dunham

Oh yikes! Well I agree – communicating with the server is key. Restaurants almost always aim to please!


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