Vegan Eating at a Steakhouse? Five Tips to Fill Yourself Up

You're a vegan, but you've made plans to go a steakhouse with some of your meat loving friends. While the slabs of delicious steak may be just what they are craving, they won't work for you. Luckily, however, there are a variety of things you can eat at a steakhouse. Use these tips to guide you:

1. Skip the creamy dressing and croutons.

If your party is starting with a salad, order yours carefully. Avoid creamy dressings, and skip the croutons as they typically feature eggs or milk. Instead, order a veggie only salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

2. Stick to the sides.

After the salad course, you certainly don't have to starve. Even if the steakhouse doesn't have a vegan section of the menu, it's likely to offer a long list of sides. Many steakhouses allow their customers to pick a steak and then mix and match the sides of their choosing.

As a result, you should easily be able to find some fried or baked potatoes—avoid mash, as they have butter or milk usually. Alternatively, dive into some asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, baked sweet potatoes or other delights—just request that no butter is used while cooking them.

3. Try the tomato sauce.

Steak houses often have lots of sauces that their customers can pair with their steaks. If you want to have a sauce slathered over your baked sweet potato or other veg, look at the tomato sauces first.

In the culinary world, most sauces are based on the five mother sauces. Of these, bechamel (or white sauce) usually features milk, and hollandaise hosts eggs and butter while brown sauce and sauce veloute have animal stocks as their bases.

Most creamy sauces and gravies on the menu are based on these four non-vegan mother sauces. However, the fifth mother sauce, tomato sauce, has a vegan base. This means that if there are any tomato-based sauces on the menu, they are likely to be guilt-free for you.

4. Try to order off the menu.

If you cannot find any salads, sides or sauces that work for you, consider ordering off the menu. In some cases, restaurants are willing to cook special meals if they have the ingredients on hand. Simply scan the menu for ingredients you like, and ask the waiter if it's possible to make a dish of your choosing.

5. Consider fruity desserts.

Sadly, most of the desserts at a steakhouse are going to have eggs or cream. However, there are a few exceptions. In particular, if the steakhouse serves fruit pie, that may be a safe bet -- in most cases, the fillings only contain fruit and sugar, and the crust often consists of vegetable fat (shortening) and flour.

The only risk is if they brushed the crust with eggs before baking it or if they used butter instead of shortening. If the steakhouse has pie but it's not vegan, try ordering a bowl of fruit.