Out to Lunch: A few meatless dishes I’ve loved lately

As a person married to one of the founders of Sacramento Bacon Fest and an avowed carnivore, I tend to make attempts at meatless eating when I’m out on my own for lunch.  Lucky for me, there are plenty of dishes in our fair city that are so packed with flavor and texture that you don’t miss the meat. 

Bombay Bar and Grill’s Palak Paneer (1315 21st Street):  Studded with chunks of homemade cheese (paneer), this bright green stew is filling for both eyes and stomach.  A smooth and creamy mixture loaded with spinach, herbs and spices, it arrives at your table in a cute metal pot so you can spoon it over rice and top it with an array of chutneys.  At only $9, it was enough to lunch on for two days.

Zen Sushi Lounge’s Goma Ae (900 15th Street):  I am a big fan of Japanese cuisine, stemming from a great-aunt who lived in Japan for forty years and a string of Japanese students that were in and out of my grandparent’s house when I was growing up.  One dish I never fail to order is Goma Ae.  It is a small dish of quickly blanched spinach, lightly dressed with soy and sesame, guaranteed to refresh your senses.  Zen Sushi’s version is the best I’ve had in Sacramento.  Gently sweet and topped with crunchy sesame seeds, this salad is the perfect way to start an evening or as part of a light lunch. $5.

Fat Face’s Mushroom Reuben (1815 19th Street):  If you’re ready for something akin to a big deli sandwich but want to skip the meat, the Fat Face Mushroom Reuben is the way to go.  A mound of sautéed portabella mushrooms are combined with Swiss cheese, house made sauerkraut and house made Russian dressing, all loaded onto crunchy walnut bread.  This sandwich is an explosion of silky and crunchy textures and savory, sweet and sour flavors.  It comes with a side salad.  $9.

Akebono’s Futomaki (4690 Freeport Blvd):  Literally translated as “big roll”, Akebono’s futomaki does not disappoint at a whopping near foot-long and almost two inches across.  Futomaki is a maki-type of roll (meaning nori on the outside), stuffed with sweet egg omelet, tiny mushrooms, blanched greens and gourd; this roll has it covered in flavor and texture.  There is a minute amount of fish flake in Akebono’s futomaki, so if you are a vegetarian, request it sans fish.  $9.50.

Blackbird Kitchen + Bar’s Blistered Shisito Peppers with Coriander Salt  (1015 9th Street):  Blistered peppers are everywhere right now and I can’t seem to eat enough of them.  Blackbird’s version is blistered in the pan until they are liberally blackened and served with a little dish of coriander-flavored salt for dipping.  Crunchy, a little oily, with a bright green flavor—these peppers are finger food at it’s best and a perfect accompaniment to one of Blackbird’s famously refreshing cocktails.  $4.

Sarah Singleton may be new to Capitol Weekly but isn’t new to writing about food and area eateries.  Check out her new column ‘Out To Lunch’ and discover (or re-discover) some favorite spots from cafeterias, trucks, markets and proper sit-down establishments.  Want more?  Follow her blog, chock-full of recipes and food fun at

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: