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National Vegetarian Week: Seek out some veggie goodness in the North East

As National Vegetarian Week continues, lifelong vegan, Ami Tadaa is still pounding the North East streets to find the best food on offer for veggies and vegans

Soup and salad platter at the Settle Down Cafe
Soup and salad platter at the Settle Down Cafe

Have recently returned to her home city of Newcastle after many years abroad, 23-year-old Ami is keen to assemble a list of favourite places to eat and source great food which adheres to her vegan diet while making her mouth water.

Yesterday, she discovered her new favourite place so far and also settled down for some soup and salad at a lovely little cafe in the city centre.

Tea Sutra Teahouse, 2 Leazes Park Rd, 1st Floor (at Percy St), Newcastle, 07575 010 173, www.teasutra.co.uk

Opening Times: Open Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, closed Sun.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Western

A specialty zen, oriental tea house offering over 100 fine teas and infusion. Serves vegan snacks, wraps, soups and cakes. Comfortable seating including a raised cushion-only seating area. The Teahouse also offers a variety of treatments including acupuncture and ear candling.

Ami says: “I took a trip into town and came across this fantastic tea house that serves all veggie and vegan food. A great atmosphere with soft music and a very comfortable cushioned seating area on the floor.

“There was an amazing selection of teas including loose leaf, flowering tea and a chai of the day made with soya milk! A vegan’s dream.

“They have a selection of savoury meals like the amazing hummus and spinach and guacamole and salsa wraps, home-made burgers and soups. I also sampled a chocolate and ginger cake and cant wait to go back and try the other deserts like the carrot cake, macaroons and cheesecake.

“A fantastic find and I am sure that they will be seeing a lot more of me in the years to come. Very excited to have it on my new doorstep.”


The Settle Down Café, 61/62 Thornton Street (just off Westgate Road, near Central Station), Newcastle, 0191 222 1213, www.thesettledown.com            

Opening Times: Open Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun closed.

Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Western, International, Salad bar, Take-out, Non-veg

Veggie Week Specials: Special Vegan Chickpea Chilli

This cute cafe serves meat, but has veggie options available. About half the menu is vegetarian and looks like sandwiches could be made to order (ask) with hummus, falafel, salsa, caramelized onion, roasted veggies, etc. It also offers a selection of interesting veggie salads including bok choi & sesame, and chickpea & spinach. Fair trade coffee and other drinks on the menu too.

Ami says: “I visited a very cosy and welcoming child friendly café, deep in the heart of Newcastle city centre. The staff are friendly and are very helpful in recommending the veggie and vegan food! The salads and soups are always veggie/vegan along with sandwiches, fresh made pizza, pastries and deserts.

They are celebrating vegetarian week by including a vegan chickpea chilli on the menu! I’d recommend it and go back enthusiastically.”

After the popularity of yesterday’s recipe options, Ami has another pair of suggestions for anyone looking for veggie and vegan inspiration during National Vegetarian Week.

Super Fast ‘n Fresh Breakfast Sandwich, vegan, makes one sandwich

1 English Muffin

2 Tbsp soy vegan sausage, pressed into a round patty

3 slices bell pepper, thinly sliced

handful fresh baby spinach

1 Tbsp Daiya Vegan Cheese (opt’l)

1 tsp harissa OR hot sauce (opt’l for spicy flavor)

1/2 tsp vegan butter

1 tsp maple syrup OR berry jam

dash pepper

EVOO (for rubbing)

1. Grab all you ingredients out of the fridge. Stick your English muffin - uncut under the grill press for 45 seconds while you arrange your ingredients.

2. Slice off 2 Tbsp of the vegan sausage (you know the kind that comes in the thick tube) and hand-press a nice patty. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even press some diced onion into the patty as well.

3. Rub the paty in a very light amount of EVOO and place it on the heated grill. Remove your English muffins and press the panini grill shut - or cover your stove top skillet with a heavy spatula or foil. You want it to cool through in just under 2 minutes. Thinner patties cook in a flash.

4. Slice open your English Muffin and place the open faced ends back on the grill while you prep your veggies. Rub some sliced pepper in a bit of EVOO and place it on the grill as well.

5. Close panini lid and allow the vegan sausage, peppers and bread to grill for another minute. After a minute, lift lid and observe doneness. Pull anything that looks very done. Otherwise turn off panini press and close to keep heated.

6. Grab your cheese and sprinkle it right over top the patties - still on grill. Then place the sizzling hot peppers right on top of the cheese so that it creates a hot barrier - and close the panini press one more time. Yes, the panini press/grill is on off - but there will be enough heat from the grill and peppers to melt the cheese.

For those of you with a sweet tooth but also looking to be healthy:

The Raw Vegan Brownie

2 cups whole walnuts

2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted

1 cup raw cacao

1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

¼ tsp. sea salt

1. Place walnuts in food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground.

2. Add the cacao and salt. Pulse to combine.

3. Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).

4. In a large bowl (or the pan you plan on putting the brownies in), combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds. Press into a lined cake pan or mold. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve (it is also easier to cut these when they are very cold). Store in an airtight container.

Also read:

National Vegetarian Week: More veggie yumminess in the North East

National Vegetarian Week: Time to stop and think about food choices


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