The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegan Options at Garbanzo®

Posted on November 10, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

With over 20 locations mostly in Colorado but also in Texas, Virginia, Georgia, and Minnesota, Garbanzo offers several Mediterranean-inspired vegan menu options. See:

The Vegetarian Resource Group first spoke with Joe Chum, Director of Support Services at Garbanzo, in May 2017. We noted a few changes in their website soon after and followed up with Joe between June and October 2017.

Based on our multiple phone discussions and emails, we generated the following list of Garbanzo’s vegan menu options (excluding raw vegetables) according to the website menu scrolling from top to bottom:

Vegan Menu Options at Garbanzo
•pita bread* (white, wheat, gluten-free)
•tortilla* (white)
•portobello mushrooms
•original hummus
•seasonal hummus
•tabbouleh salad
•tomato cucumber salad
•seasoned rice
•baba ganoush
•cilantro sauce
•red chili sauce
•Greek vinaigrette*
•tahini sauce
•homemade fries
•homemade chips
*Item contains sugar although information received from this chain differed during the months The VRG was conducting research. In the list above, the latest information obtained during October 2017 is presented. See Q&A below for more information.

According to page 5 of Garbanzo’s allergen sheet the Mediterranean garlic sauce contains egg (mayonnaise) and the Tzatziki sauce contains milk (yogurt). See:

In May 2017, Joe told us:
•“The pita bread does not contain milk.”
•“The seasoned rice used to contain chicken broth but it no longer does.”
•“There is no L-cysteine in the pita bread.” (L-cysteine is a dough conditioner that is most often derived from poultry feathers although microbial alternatives exist).
•“The flatbread contains dry milk.”
•“The portobello mushrooms are prepared in their own sauté pan away from meat products.”

Garbanzo’s Grab & Go Menu
Also in May 2017, Joe informed us that the Vegetarian Wrap on the Grab & Go menu (see their allergen sheet given above) “is usually made with the white or whole wheat tortilla and anything can go in it,” stated Joe. [VRG Note: In October 2017, Joe told us that Garbanzo offers only white tortillas.]

Also on the Grab & Go menu are
•Hummus & Veggie Snack Pack
•Greek Vegetarian Salad
[VRG Note: In September 2017, Joe told us this about the Greek Vegetarian Salad: “We no longer offer this item. It was just salad with Greek Vinaigrette dressing.”]

The VRG: Which bread is used for the Mediterranean Wrap?
Garbanzo: Usually tortilla bread is used.

The VRG: Is the flatbread ever used for the Mediterranean Wrap?
Garbanzo: Usually tortilla bread but if the locations use flat bread, sugar is in the flat bread.

The VRG: Are white or whole wheat tortillas available to make the Mediterranean burrito?
Garbanzo: Yes, but it depends on location. In general, only white is available.

Microingredient Questions for Garbanzo
The VRG: Is there any added sugar in the Greek vinaigrette (including sugar in its components)?
Garbanzo: There is sugar in the Greek vinaigrette.

The VRG: Is there any dairy including whey, casein, etc. in the Greek vinaigrette?
Garbanzo: There is no dairy in the Greek vinaigrette.

The VRG: Is there any added sugar in the baklava (including sugar in its components)?
Garbanzo: There is no sugar in the baklava but there is honey.

The VRG: Is there any dairy including whey, casein, etc. in the baklava?
Garbanzo: Yes, there is dairy in the baklava.

The VRG: Is there any added sugar in the tortillas?
Garbanzo: No.

The VRG: Is L-cysteine used as a dough conditioner in the tortillas?
Garbanzo: No.

The VRG: Does the seasonal hummus vary from time to time?
Garbanzo: Yes.

The VRG: If so, could there be dairy such as feta cheese in the seasonal hummus?
Garbanzo: There’s no plan to use feta cheese in our seasonal hummus at the moment. We are very careful on adding dairy to any of our menu items.

The VRG: Does your feta cheese contain rennet, an animal-derived enzyme? If not, what is its enzyme source?
Garbanzo: From our supplier (manufacturer): “Microbial enzymes and an animal lipase are used in the manufacturing of the [feta cheese].”

The VRG: Could there ever be animal ingredients or flavors in the seasonal hummus?
Garbanzo: No. We try to maintain most of our items to be gluten-free or vegan or at least vegetarian.

The VRG: You stated that there was no milk in the pita. Is there whey or any other dairy ingredient?
Garbanzo: There is no dairy in the pita.

The VRG: Is there added sugar in the pita?
Garbanzo: Yes. There has to be sugar to feed the yeast.

The VRG: Is the falafel deep fried in fresh oil away from all meats?
Garbanzo: Yes. We don’t use the fryers for any meat or animal products.

The VRG: Is the baba ganoush an all-vegetable dish?
Garbanzo: Yes, it has only roast eggplant purée, tahini, garlic, and salt.

The VRG: Is your sugar from sugar cane, beet sugar or some combination? [Note: Non-USDA Certified Organic cane sugar may have been processed through cow bone char.]
Garbanzo: Our sugar is from beet.

We followed up in June-October 2017 with these questions and emails.

The VRG: Are the gluten-free pita and the gyro pita all-vegan? No L-cysteine, whey, honey or other animal-derived ingredients in either of them?
Garbanzo: Gyro is not; pita is vegan.

The VRG: Is it true that you now offer the following breads:
•gluten-free pita
•gyro bread
•flatbread (some locations)
•tortilla (white, whole wheat)
•pita Yes
•gluten-free pita Yes
•gyro bread Same as Flatbread below
•flatbread (some locations) Correct
•tortilla (white, whole wheat) White only

The VRG: Which, if any, contains dairy including whey, casein or their derivatives?
Garbanzo: Flatbread

The VRG: Which, if any, contains sugar?
Garbanzo: They all have sugar.

The VRG recommends contacting this chain directly if diners have any additional questions for further clarification. Note that ingredients at all restaurants can change over time and there may be conflicts with what is on the website.

The contents of this posting, our website, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information on other restaurant chains, see:

For information on vegetarian and vegan restaurants throughout the USA and Canada, see:

From the Warsaw Ghetto to a Life of Compassion

Posted on November 09, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Alex Hershaft is one of the few remaining voices who can personally and vividly attest to the experience of the Holocaust. And he is one of the only such voices who can undeniably relate that experience to the plight of farm animals.

Alex has told his dramatic story in front of large crowds in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York City and most recently Philadelphia. This will be an opportunity to experience his presentation in Washington D.C.

Tickets include:
•A reception with delicious vegan hors d’oeuvres.
•Alex’s presentation about his moral evolution from Holocaust survivor to farm-animal advocate.

“As a Holocaust survivor with a riveting and inspirational personal story, he adds to that a unique and incredibly powerful perspective and voice on the rights of animals not to be raised for food. I wish everyone could hear the presentation that I did.” — Richard Levin, attendee, “From the Warsaw Ghetto to a Life of Compassion,” May 15, 2015, Baltimore, MD.

Event information:
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Sixth & I, 600 I St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door; see:

Please Donate to The Vegetarian Resource Group Through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) or Your Local State Campaign.

Posted on November 09, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

If you are a Federal government employee, you can support The Vegetarian Resource Group through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Look for us under Health & Medical Research Charities of America.

Please also remember The Vegetarian Resource Group in other workplace fund drives, matching gifts, etc. See for other ways you can donate to VRG.

Thanks for your support!

Earth Balance Shortening Sticks are Not Available. Does Anyone Know About Any Similar Product?

Posted on November 08, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

A VRG member wrote in the following:
I can’t find Earth Balance shortening sticks anymore. Here’s the a google image:

They were VERY useful and I haven’t been able to find a comparable shortening for my frosting recipes. Does anyone know of an equivalent product?

Email if you know of any vegan shortening sticks available. Thanks!

Vegan Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving

Posted on November 08, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Celebration Roast
Are you looking for some alternatives to Turkey this Thanksgiving? Fortunately, there are many options today.

Field Roast offers three choices:
1. Celebration Roast with Traditional Bread Stuffing and Gravy – made with fresh onions, celery, cranberries and butternut squash.
2. Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute – a rich, hazelnut-infused grain meat stuffed with Field Roast sausages, crystallized ginger, cranberries and apples – wrapped in a savory puff pastry. It’s even Toaster Oven friendly!
3. Smokey Forager’s Roast – mushrooms, wild huckleberries, and rice stuffing wrapped in a rich smokey tomato grain meat seasoned with spices.

Hilary’s is offering an exclusive Holiday Stuffing. It is vegan and gluten-free. The ingredients include a blend of organic millet, leafy greens and hemp seeds together with celery, apple, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme

Tofurky offers Tofurky Roast and Gravy. The Roast includes stuffing. For details see:

Gardein sells a Savory Stuffed ‘Turkey,’ a Holiday Roast, and Turk’y Cutlet. For more information see:

Vegetarian Plus offers a Vegan Whole Turk’y with Gravy and Stuffing. For details see:

The Vegetarian Resource Group is Having Their 36th Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck on Sunday November 19th

Posted on November 07, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is hosting our 36th Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck Dinner on Sunday, November 19th, 2017 at 5 PM. The event is taking place at:

North Baltimore Mennonite Church
4615 Roland Avenue
Baltimore MD 21210

We will be showing appreciation for turkeys by not eating them! Come join us for a variety of festive, delicious vegan dishes! Please bring a vegan dish – free of meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, honey, or any other animal by-products – that serves 4 per adult attending.

Adult admission is $4 and children eat free!

Also, you may want to bring a vegan canned good for the church that will be used for feeding the hungry.

We hope to see you there!

For information, see:
VRG’s Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck

Test Your Vegetarian Knowledge with The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Quiz!

Posted on November 07, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Whether you’re new to the veggie life-style or have been vegan for 20+ years, you’ll enjoy The Vegetarian Resource Group Online Quiz Game. You simply choose your level (Easy, Medium, or Hard) and your category of interest (environment, ethics, famous vegetarians, food, health or nutrition, or potluck – a mixture of all these topics). Then click play.

To see the quiz game, go to:

Are you looking for vegan information in Spanish? If so, The Vegetarian Resource Group has plenty of materials.

Posted on November 06, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Thanks to volunteers in our office and around the world, The Vegetarian Resource Group has a lot of vegan information available in Spanish. You’ll find numerous recipes geared towards the international Hispanic community, vegan nutrition information, plus much more.


Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants Have Been Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Veggie Restaurants in the USA and Canada

Posted on November 03, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

jackfruit taco
The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here:

To support the updating of this online restaurant guide, please donate at:
Donate to VRG

1125 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97202
There’s a creative, plant-based approach that Aviv uses in sharing a piece of Tel Aviv with Portland’s inner South East. This family friendly restaurant has fresh dishes like challah French toast, shakshouka (classic tomato stew) and harissa – spiced Moroccan carrots. The eight (8) versions of hummus makes up about 25% of its menu, which is also shared with dishes built from labneh, carrots and eggplant. Salads, fresh bread and local cider are also available.

Betty Bot
7100 South Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60649
Betty Bot Bakery is your one stop shop for Vegan, Gluten Free, and Organic baked goods in Chicago. These treats are not only delicious, they are artistic too! The frosting on the cupcakes look just like real roses. In addition to sweets, Betty Bot offers savory options as well. To find stores that carry Betty Bot baked goods, visit their website.

57 Gallivan Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Boltcutter’s mission is to bring veganism to the mainstream by serving up delicious gourmet street tacos and other Central American classics, all without the use of any animal products. Along with their food, this establishment also has a full bar that boasts a large selection of tequilas, mezcals, beer, and craft cocktails. Next door to Boltcutter is its sister establishment, Monkey Wrench, which serves up handcrafted vegan ice creams, espressos, and baked goods. With its delicious offerings, Boltcutter is sure to satisfy any appetite!

Jackfruit Café
2959 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Jackfruit Cafe demonstrates the versatility of jackfruit by providing vegan dishes from all over the globe using this tasty fruit. From the Buffalo Cauliflower Chicken to the Asian Jackfruit Tostada to the Jackfruit Soul Platter, there is a flavorful option for every imaginable taste preference.

Kati Vegan Thai
1190 Thomas St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Kati Vegan Thai’s tofu is fresh, local, and non-GMO. They strive to use organic and local produce whenever possible. Kati’s bags, boxes, and utensils are all biodegradable. Their menu often changes, so check their website for the latest updates.

Oracle Coffee Company
3875 SW Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Oracle Coffee Company serves gourmet coffee and coffee drinks as well as tasty vegan faire. The baked goods are prepared in the Pennsylvania Dutch-style and are provided by a local bakery called Shoofly “Vegan Bakery.”

Over The Moon
238 W. 19
Houston, TX 77008
Something wonderfully unique about Over the Moon is their cookie bowl. Who needs an actual bowl when you could eat your ice cream out of a cookie?

Pulse Café
270 Russell St.
Hadley, MA 01035
Located on the site of a former bison farm, this 100% vegan café serves up dishes made from organic ingredients sourced from local farms. Pulse Café’s offerings include comfort foods such as mac n’ cheese, lasagna, pizza, and burgers, as well as salads, fresh juices, and “mylks” (plant-based milks). Not only is the food delicious, but the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing, welcoming for both adults and kids.

Real Food, Real People
249 Main St.
Huntington, NY 11768
Real Food, Real People is an Organic Eatery that turns food into art. Their plating and food presentation is spectacular. They specialize in wraps and bowls, and offer treats such as ice pops. The Mango-cado wrap and the Thai Peanut Zoodle bowl are particularly tasty according to Yelp reviewers.

Veg on the Edge
725 Front St. Ste. 112
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Veg on the Edge serves up West African inspired cuisine. The menu includes burgers, rice bowls, soups, fries, and desserts, and delicious ingredients such as plantains, mushrooms, sweet potato, coconut, and tempeh are featured.

Yummi Joy
409 W. 2nd St.
Austin, TX 78701
Get your vegan candy and ice cream fix at Yummi Joy! They have something to satisfy every sweet tooth including sodas, coffees, fudge, ice cream, and candies.

Zucchini Kill
701 E. 53rd St., Ste. C
Austin, TX 78751
Everything is vegan, gluten free, and soy free at Zucchini Kill! They serve both sweet and savory delectables. Many patrons favor the cupcakes.

Starbucks® Debuts Vegan Bowl at Select Locations

Posted on November 02, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

Announced in July 2017, Starbucks adds a Vegan Lentils & Vegetables Protein Bowl with Brown Rice to its year-round menu in select San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, and Washington, D.C. locations. See:

The bowl features black lentils and brown rice along with butternut squash, kale, broccoli, cabbage, beets, peas and green onion along with roasted tomatoes, red bell pepper and sunflower seeds. It is served with lemon-tahini dressing.

Starbucks new menu item replaces the Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl.
Nutrition and ingredient information about this entrée appear on Starbucks’ website:

cooked brown rice (water, brown rice, olive oil [refined olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil]), black lentils (water, black lentils), lemon tahini dressing (water, sesame seeds, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice concentrate, reduced sodium tamari soy sauce [water, soybeans, salt], parsley, agave syrup, toasted sesame oil, cilantro, salt, garlic, paprika, natural flavor), kale, broccoli, butternut squash (squash, olive oil [refined olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil]), beets, cabbage, peas, roasted tomato (tomatoes, canola oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, spices), roasted sunflower seeds (roasted sunflower seeds, [sunflower, canola or cottonseed oil], salt), roasted red bell pepper, green onion.

Alli from Starbucks Media Relations replied by email to a few additional questions The Vegetarian Resource Group had.

The VRG: Is there any added sugar?
Starbucks: The dressing has one gram of added sugar in the form of agave syrup.

The VRG: Can you confirm that the natural flavors in the lemon-tahini dressing are not sourced from animal-derived ingredients?
Starbucks: We can confirm the flavor is not from animal-derived ingredients.

The VRG: Are this bowl and all of its ingredients prepared away from all meats?
Starbucks: Our salads and sandwiches are prepared in a manner that prevents cross contact with other menu items.

The contents of this posting, our website, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information about vegetarian and vegan restaurants, visit

For more information about chain restaurants, visit

  • Donate

  • Subscribe to the blog by RSS


    Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes, ingredient information, reviews of new products, announcements of new books, free samples of products, and other VRG materials.

    Your E-mail address:
    Your Name (optional):

↑ Top