It’s a common misconception that vegan food is healthy by default. While it may be arguably easier to get your five-a-day when avoiding animal products, it’s still easy to overdose on sugar, fat and oil on a vegan diet.
People go vegan for many different reasons, and if you are keeping an eye on your nutrition you might want to avoid places that typically serve vegan “junk food”. Thankfully, Edinburgh has lots of vegan-friendly places that serve up tasty, wholesome and healthy eats. Here are just a few of the best:
16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
All of Pumpkin Brown’s menu is naturally vegan and gluten-free. The owner, Amanda, is passionate about creating healthy food from fresh organic ingredients that still taste delicious.
Pop in for breakfast for one of their famously colourful smoothie bowls or a comforting bowl of porridge. At lunch there is a range of fresh salads, soup and a seasonal hot dish of the day served with brown rice.
The Baked Potato Shop
56 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PB
When it comes to healthy food, it doesn’t come much simpler than a warm and filling baked potato. The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street is completely vegetarian and has a wide range of vegan fillings, with healthy options including vegan chilli, hummus and bean salad. Mix-and-match to create your own wholesome meal.
171 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4DG
Thrive in Bruntsfield has a varied menu that ranges from naughty burgers to wholesome salads and grain bowls.
Head chef Jonathan Neill likes to be creative with ingredients and flavours, so the menu changes regularly. Current wholesome bowl options include squash and tofu lentil salad and Thai green laksa soup.
13 Forest Road, Edinburgh EH1 2QH
Bowls is a recent addition to Edinburgh’s foodie scene, serving up wholesome salads to hungry lunchtime punters on Forest Road from Monday to Saturday.
You can fill your bowl with up to four varieties of salad, most of which are vegan. Choose from the likes of chickpeas, quinoa, sweet potato, green beans, vegan feta and much more. There are plenty of gluten-free options here too.
24 Marchmont Crescent, Edinburgh EH9 1HG
You can’t get a more wholesome start to the day than a warming bowl of porridge, and you can’t get a more delicious bowl of porridge than at Brochan in Marchmont.
This cosy wee café serves up piping hot bowls of goodness, as well as smoothies, granola bowls and toast. Breakfast heaven!
16 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5JZ
Raw cake never looked so good. Grams started in 2015 selling raw vegan cakes in local markets, and now have their own premises just across from Haymarket Station.
They still sell the cakes that made them famous – but their new café space has allowed them to expand with a full menu and meal prep service.
The focus here is very much on health and wellness – Grams use only whole natural foods and completely avoid refined sugar products in all of their dishes. But don’t worry – their cakes still taste every bit as good as they look!
87-91 Henderson Street, Edinburgh EH6 6ED
If you are serious about tracking your macros, then Kcal Kitchen is the place for you. These guys meticulously measure the nutritionals in every dish and all the information is clearly marked on the menu.
They have recently launched a new ‘vegan junk food’ offering, but there are still a few healthy options available including vegan protein pancakes, shakes and tasty fruit smoothies.
94b Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
2 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh EH8 8FT
Loudons serve up delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch catering to a wide range of appetites and tastes. They have a few wholesome options on their menu, many of which are suitable for vegans.
Options include vegan quesadilla filled with black bean rice and haricot bean hummus, or vegan benny served with garlic roasted cauliflower and spinach.
305 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8SA
Who says comfort food can’t be healthy?! 305 Kitchen specialise in slow-cooked, locally-sourced, fresh and tasty food. For a healthy boost, try their falafel plate served with salad, seeds and hummus. Or, for something a bit naughtier, try their vegan Club sandwich which is full of good stuff like homemade vegan haggis, beetroot, salad and roast peppers.
Union of Genius
8 Forest Road, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
Talking of comfort food – there’s nothing better than a piping-hot bowl of soup to warm you up on a cold day. When in comes to soup in Edinburgh, Union of Genius is the best in the business, offering six different flavours a day with normally about three of those being vegan friendly.
They use local ingredients and lovingly hand make every batch of soup in their Edinburgh kitchen, guaranteed to nourish and satisfy your soul. Can’t decide which soup to have? Try a soup flight, which is three mini servings of soup on one plate.
18 William Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NH
Roots are passionate about sustainability, community and wellbeing – and this really shines through in their colourful selection of soups, salads and sandwiches that they serve daily in the city’s West End.
Their wholesome offering is made from locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients, meaning that their menu changes throughout the year. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options here, making it a perfect spot for a nutritious lunch.
Hula Juice Bar
103-105 West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JP
94A Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
This Hawaiian-themed juice bar has a couple of locations in Edinburgh, and both serve up a healthy selection of juices, smoothie bowls and salads. Their menu is wholesome, authentic and fresh with lots of options for vegans.
Start the day with organic Scottish oats, a colourful smoothie bowl or homemade granola. At lunchtime, you can enjoy one of their colourful rainbow bowls (the special changes daily), or try the vegan twist on the Hawaiian classic poké bowl with tofu, edamame beans and rice.