Vegan and vegetarian guide to Independent Leicester

Gone are the days when veggie and vegan options were tucked away in a bland corner of the menu. Awareness of the benefits of plant-based foods has soared over the last five years, and with it vegetarian and vegan options have transformed from limited to colourful, flavourful, showstopping dishes at the front and centre of many restaurant and café menus.

And it’s not only those who follow a strict diets who appreciate these tasty dishes – as growing numbers of people opt to reduce meat intake for environmental, ethical and dietary reasons, we now officially live in the age of the ‘flexitarian’.

So, with plant-based options firmly rooted on menus across the city, we thought we would round up a few of the must-try dishes at independents in Leicester.

Have you had something you think should be on this list? Please let us know – discovering and shouting about new food options is our favourite thing to do! Send your suggestions to our Facebook or Instagram @independentleics


Orso, Market Place

For a delicious start to the day, head to this independent coffee shop near Leicester Market. The cosy, friendly environment has a choice of great breakfast foods with vegan options aplenty on their weekly-changing menu.

Past dishes have included a Vegan B.L.A.T (vegan bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and their homemade granola with vegan yoghurt option and fruit is worth a try, but we always end up coming back to the smashed avocado on toast; it’s a simple classic, but when done well with love and care it takes some beating. Pair with a coffee (alternative milks available) and you are set up for the day ahead.

Healthy Louisa, Belgrave Gate

We have put Healthy Louisa in the breakfast section, but as you’ll see on the door as you enter, they have “no food rules” – lunch for breakfast, breakfast for dinner… it’s up to you! Order what you want, when you want, safe in the knowledge the food is delicious, fresh, locally sourced and plant-based, so you have a whole menu of goodness to choose from.

There are plenty of traditional breakfast dishes with a variety of toasts and toppings, porridges and granolas. So many options I must confess we haven’t tried them all! But more than once we have been tempted by the caramelised banana porridge. Creamy oats with a milk of your choice, caramelised bananas, blueberries, roasted hazelnuts for crunch, and topped with agave syrup… we’re salivating just thinking about it!


The Pantry, Loseby Lane

The Pantry is located right in the centre of the city in the Old Town, serving up a delicious range of vegan and vegetarian food. The menu changes daily and has Asian influences, with Thai and Indian flavours in the dishes on offer… we are always popping in for a cheeky samosa!

When it comes to lunch time, we can’t look past the buddha bowls. They change daily so there is no getting stuck in the daily lunch grind of the same thing over and over. Our favourites are the ones topped with falafel, but we’ve tried some great new things like lentil ‘sausage’! You can be sure that whatever the mix, they will be full of colour, flavour and wonderful veggies.

The Good Earth, Free Lane

A lot of places are called hidden gems, but we think The Good Earth fits the criteria. The entrance to the café is tucked away off Halford Street and if you didn’t know it was there you wouldn’t be blamed for missing it entirely. But once you’ve discovered it, you’ll be glad – there’s a reason it’s been open for over 50 years!

The vibe is homely and cosy, with dark panelled walls and counter service for a variety of dishes. Although their speciality is vegetarian cuisine, there are always a few vegan options on the menu. The food is hearty, warming and flavourful – we love the pies, casseroles and bakes – and you can add a colourful salad to your meal as a refreshing side.


Herb, Granby Street

Leicester is rightly famous for it’s incredible Indian food offering, and the cuisine is great for vegan and vegetarian dishes.

We love Herb as they serve up exclusively veggie and vegan food inspired by the Kerala region of South India where food preparation is rooted in using healthy, herbal, healing ingredients. The food of the region – and the restaurant – is delicious and diverse, using an abundance of fresh ingredients, herbs and spices.

It might be cheating slightly, but our pick from Herb has to be the special thali. Enjoy eight varieties of spiced vegetable curry dishes, served with rice and bread. Vegan options available on request.

Queen of Bradgate, High Street

Everyone loves a good pub dinner, right? Of course. And Queen of Bradgate have been knocking out quality food since they opened in 2014. But now they’ve poured their first-class food knowledge into an incredible vegan menu, giving the real pub experience a plant-based twist.

You can enjoy three courses of vegan delights, and they often have vegan beers on draught to go along with your meal. There are so many dishes we could have picked out – a big shout out to the Pulled Jackfruit Chilli – but we’ve settled on the gorgeous Almond Milk Panna Cotta. If anyone ever dares to say vegan desserts can’t be as good as their non-vegan equivalents, send them here. This beautifully presented dessert comes with honeycomb and raspberries, and is the sweetest end to a meal out.

Snacks and Smoothies

Currant Affairs, Loseby Lane

Ever find yourself hungry between meal times? Yep, us too… like, five times a day. So when you need a little snack, savoury or sweet, to keep you going, we recommend making a beeline for Currant Affairs. An independent wholefoods store for over 40 years, Currant Affairs stock a variety of plant based groceries, snacks, freshly made pastries, cakes and treats. The friendly team are always happy to chat about foods and they welcome everyone, be they vegan, veggie, or just curious.

Detox Shack, Market Street

If you’re looking for a healthy smoothie stop, look no further than Detox Shack. They pride themselves on serving fresh, raw food and smoothies, with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. There are plenty of different flavours of smoothies and shakes, using alternative milks and a variety of different fruits and vegetables. They also sell Detox Boosts – shots of good stuff to cleanse the body.

A Veggie or Vegan Treat

Because vegetarians and vegans like a special, indulgent treat as much as anyone else!

Afternoon tea at Prana Café, Horsefair Street

We quite easily could have include Prana Café in every section of this blog post, their menu is that great! This 100% vegan café will keep you full any time of day and a special mention to their beautifully decorated and mouth-wateringly good cakes. That is why one of our favourite vegan treats in the city is their afternoon tea.

Start with a sparkling drink (we love the Rose Lemonade as a special treat), followed by a selection of cakes made with unrefined sugars, a scone with strawberry jam, a selection of finger sandwiches and your choice of a range of whole leaf teas or artisan coffee. The perfect way to treat yourself and someone special.

Tasting menus at World Peace Café, Guildhall Lane

World Peace Café is a vegetarian café within a Buddhist meditation centre. The café, which is run by volunteers, is open during the day offering meditation cafes and a vegetarian meals, many of which can be made vegan on request.

However, once a month the café serves up a wonderful treat for anyone looking for something special in the city, in the form of the Meal and Meditation Evening. True to the name, each month the three-course meal is inspired by a different cuisine – there has been Thai, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, to name a few! A guided meditation is also included, a great introduction for those trying out meditation for the first time to calm and relax the body and mind ready for the delicious food to come.

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