This is the time of year when people are making rash vows to forever change their eating habits. While few of us stick to our overly-ambitious resolutions past January, if health is your motivator for cutting back, Austin has a solution that might just offer the compromise you’re looking for.
Dairy-free, vegan, lactose intolerant, whatever label you put on it, desserts without animal products are not only better for you and the environment, they can be found all over Austin. That means there’s no deprivation required if you’re looking to cut back on the ol’ fat and calorie intake. Of course, dessert is still dessert (it wouldn’t be so delicious if it wasn’t), but skipping the butter, eggs, and cream means zero bad cholesterol and often less fat and fewer calories.
Check out some of these killer vegan options in Austin and feel (slightly) better about what’s going into your body during this season of resolutions.
Capital City Bakery
Cap City is a favorite among the vegan crowd because of their mean assortment of delightful cupcakes. If you’ve been jonesing for one of those pre-packaged, cream-filled chocolate cupcakes from your childhood, they have those. They have strawberry, chocolate peanut butter, and key lime, too. Cheesecake, kolache, brownies, and scones — all vegan, occasionally gluten free — are also available.
Who doesn’t occasionally crave a waffle a la mode? At Fat Cats you can have one. (The waffle is vegan along with half their ice cream.) Wash it all down with a latte, throw in a moist, cakey donut or breakfast bar for good measure, and have yourself a treat.
This restaurant/health food store/bakery has cases full of baked goods, both vegan and non-vegan alike. Craving tiramisu? They have that. Tres leches? That, too. Carrot cake? Cookies? You betcha. But their most popular item might just be their chocolate-covered, gluten-free vegan donuts. Grab a couple to go and get breakfast sorted.
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Omnivores, herbivores, and the gluten-intolerant can all find something at Sugar Mama’s. There are only a few vegan options alongside more conventionally made pies and cakes, but if you’re in South Austin and need a sweet treat, this is the place to be.
All ice cream lovers will delight in Sweet Ritual's sundaes and ice cream sandwiches which are all vegan, all the time. There are several dairy-free ice cream parlors in Austin these days, but this is the beloved original. How could it not be with flavors like Unicorn Poop and chocolate chai made with bases like coconut milk, almond milk, even sunflower seeds? You can fill up a bowl, a cone, smash a scoop between two vegan cookies, or even top it with vegan marshmallows and hot fudge. You won’t be missing out on anything by forgoing traditional ice cream shops here. Promise.
Another dairy-free ice cream shop, snuggled away at the Oasis on Lake Travis, opened this summer. They serve familiar coconut-based ice cream, but their homemade soft serve is what makes the shop worth a visit. It's made with frozen bananas, though you’d never know it. The distinct banana-y flavor is disguised by delightful concoctions like dark chocolate peppermint or maple cinnamon. And it’s only 130 calories per serving.
The Sixth Street staple offers delicious doughnuts with frequently euphemistic monikers served 24 hours a day. Most of the varieties, including their infamous signature doughnut shaped like a little man with a pretzel stake through his heart, are available in traditional and vegan.
You may know it as a prime destination for locally-grown produce and wholesome home goods, but did you know their bakery whips up some mean vegan donuts, cookies, and muffins? Hit up the pastry case and go to town. Try the apple fritter; you won’t regret it.
If baked goods could be punk rock, these cupcakes would be The Ramones. Everything in the little shop is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan (also delicious). The cupcakes in flavors like black forest and Gingerdead are the main attraction, but cream coffins (think Twinkies) and cookies are always on the menu, too.