The Vegetarian Guide to Ribfest

By Victoria Wiedel | Saturday, June 11, 2011

There are some people in this world who do not relish the thought of gnawing on land animals dripping with sauce. We are drawn to Ribfest to listen to the bands, check out the vendors, and meet up with friends. But we don’t have to go hungry. Here is a quick overview of some of the veg-friendly foods festival attendees can find (please see the Ribfest map for booth locations and here for a complete menu list).

Black Rock Pub piles up the shoestring sweet potato fries. Credit: Victoria Wiedel

Vegetables are featured as side dishes at many of the 30-plus food stands, and not all of them are in the fried potato family of street food (although several are). Spud fans can find French fires in varies shapes and coatings, such as Curry Fries from Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro (#124), plus hand-cut BBQ flavored potato chips at The Smoke Daddy (#128) and shoestring sweet potato fries from Black Rock Pub (#22).

The most popular vegetable (after potatoes) seems to be corn. Grilled sweet corn is offered by several vendors including Lincoln Restaurant (#10), Robinson’s (#85) and Browntrout (#93), which also grills up some healthy looking asparagus. And if you’re still looking for produce, Teresa Mittons Concessions (#21) offers a mixed veggie kabob. Hopefully her smoked yams with vanilla sugar appear tomorrow or Sunday.

A whole veggie pie from Armand's Pizzeria. Credit: Victoria Wiedel

For something more substantial look for one of two pizza stands. Chicago’s Pizza (#20) has a thin crust cheese as well as stuffed spinach slices, and Armand’s Pizzeria (#43) serves up piping hot veggie combo slices. If you feel the need for more cheese, Fireplace Inn (#143) has deep fried mozzarella sticks.

The most surprising (and delicious) find at the fest was from Woo Ri Village (#62), a Korean restaurant based in Niles. They fry up long dumplings filled with tofu and minced vegetables, and they make vegetarian Jap Chae (chewy clear noodles with grilled vegetables, lightly coated in a sweet sesame sauce). Combining the dumplings with the noodle dish makes for a satisfying dish.

Vegetarian dumplings and Jap Chae from Woo Ri Village. Credit: Victoria Wiedel

Those of you with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed. Several stands offer ice cream (either as scoops or in concoctions) and despite the cold weather on opening day I enjoyed the sophisticated taste of the Guinness ice cream from Mrs. Murphy’s. If you prefer baked goods, I recommend skipping the funnel cakes and heading to Blue Sky Bakery (#25) for some scrumptious peanut butter and coconut cookies, red velvet cupcakes and vegan chocolate chip scones.

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  • Patty Wetli

    You know what else was meatless? The deep-fried Oreo.

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