6 indulgent vegan food joints in Portland you need to try

Those who believe vegans are restricted to boring, leafy salads or flavorless quinoa bowls likely have yet to visit Portland, Oregon. The city may be known for its off-kilter tendencies, but it's also garnered attention for it's inventive cuisine, which includes all types of vegan fare.

While there are a number of health-conscious spots around, there's no time like vacation to explore some of the more calorie-laden, finger-licking delights the city has to offer. Below are some vegan-friendly places that are so tasty, your meat-loving travel partner may try to sneak a bite from your plate when you're not looking.

Sweet Hereafter
Mojito with lime in a mason jarGetty Images/iStockphoto

One of the many hangouts created by Portland-based restaurateurs Lightning Bar Collective, this eatery draws in a hip, hungry crowd with its rustic-chic decor, mason-jar drinks, and—most importantly—its all-vegan menu. One local favorite is the buffalo sub, overstuffed with marinated soy curls and layered with rich, miso-chive cheese sauce, fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and ranch dressing. Be sure to check the rotating specials for bonus items like seasoned potato tacos and chocolate cheesecake.

Black Water
Mozzarella sticks? You got it. Gooey, "cheesy" nachos? Coming right up. Black Water offers classic pub-style appetizers at its punk-themed establishment, along with a lengthy and inventive list of burgers and sandwiches. The bar, owned by Black Water Records, doubles as a live-music venue, so you may even get to catch a local band's set while feasting on some greasy goodness.

Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ Cart
Vegetarian Chili, Posole.anakopa via Getty Images

Ah, southern barbecue: buttery, cheesy, meaty ... all the things vegans have to bid farewell to on their journey to a more ethical diet. However, Homegrown Smoker's comfort foods give vegans the chance to venture back to those old favorites without having to feel a shred of guilt. Among the food cart's offerings are steaming bowls of chili, creamy macaroni and cheese, and even full racks of tempeh ribs. Order a combo plate to sample a few items at a time, just keep in mind that stretchy pants are a good choice for this visit.

El Nutritaco
If your non-vegan travel companion is tired of being dragged to all the best vegan spots around town (what's wrong with them?), El Nutritaco can be a satisfying break. With both meat and vegan options, this no-frills taco spot offers all-natural indulgences at both of its locations. Get your Mexican fix with a chipotle tempeh burrito stuffed with jalapeños, bell peppers, onions, rice and salsa, or grab a few extra napkins and dive into the wet burrito, which is topped with homemade enchilada sauce and non-dairy sour cream.

Sizzle Pie
No vacation is complete without at least one pizza day, and Sizzle Pie is the place for all types of pizza lovers. Pop in during the day for a quick slice or two or their rotating vegan specials, or share one of their 10 vegan specialty pies in the bar area at night. Or, you could always just stop in for breakfast (yes, breakfast), and grab one of their white bean-based, tofu cheese-topped pies to go. Sizzle Pie is so confident in its culinary game, it even opened a Brooklyn, New York location earlier this year, to feed the most discerning pizza eaters.

Hungry Tiger
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Hungry Tiger has all the makings of a classic Portland dive: pinball machines, pool tables, blaring tunes, and a sprawling patio. The atmosphere makes it easy to stop in at any time of day, whether it's during weekend brunch for their vegan scrambles, the afternoon for a TLT (tempeh, lettuce and tomato) sandwich and a side of cheese fries, or for a late-night snack session with their renowned vegan corn dogs.

Melanie Pagan is a Portland-based writer, editor, and social media strategist. Learn more about her at MelaniePagan.com.