Where To Eat Vegan In Fiji

By Renee Buckingham

If you are like me and love tasty, wholesome food (who doesn’t), then eating right is important to you. Within reason of course because… cassava chips.

On my recent trip to Fiji I discovered a range of delicious food. Most restaurants and cafes were happy to

accommodate for vegans. Worst case you can just opt for the cassava chips and pina coladas (check for cream, of course).

We flew into Nadi and stayed on Denarau Island. On bo

oking we advised the hotel  that we were vegan, which I would 100% recommend doing so. On arrival we were greeted at the Westin by the head chef at the resort who spoke to us about what options were available, but also that he would let all the restaurants at the resort know that people

were staying who are on a vegan diet. This was a great help and made the stay a whole lot easier.

Here is a quick guide of where to go, what to order, and any other tips and tricks in navigating the options available around Nadi and Denarau:

FLYING FISH: Located at the Sheraton Resort. The chefs do their best to ensure vegans are looked after, even better if you can give them notice. We ended up with gnocchi, a heap of vegetable sides and tempura vegetables

. It is far from cheap, but after all you are on holidays. Go on, treat yourself.

HABIBI:  A cute, middle eastern gem hidden on the entrance to Nadi. The space is exactly what you’d be looking for after a busy day on the water, or exploring the Nadi hillside with an adorable fit out of floor and table seating. There is a white walled courtyard for some fresh air, and of course

sheishas everywhere! Take your shoes off and take a seat on the comfortable cushions with great c

ompany to share in a delicious range of traditional delicacies. We picked their falafels, a fresh salad, bread with babaganoush and crowd favourite – hummus. They could also offer us the vego pizza minus cheese. Definitely one to check out.

MAMACISTAS: The favourite meal of the trip. This place is all over trip advisor and we soon found out why. As with most Mexican food, it is easy to make it vegan by simply removing the cheese from veggie dishes. We ordered the fajitas and macho

nacho’s without cheese. The staff were all over it and the food came out incredibly fresh and fast. Located in the Wyndham Resort.

LULU’S: Located at Port Denarau, this cafe is a great place to soak up the view, enjoy a drink and some freshly prepared lunch. We ordered the Buddha sushi roll, tempura veggies and a local dish pulusami (one to check out).

KITCHEN GRILL: Located at the Westin, this is the perfect place for nights where you can’t be bothered to leave the resort (we don’t blame you). The bar on the edge of the water has a 4-6pm happy hour (Bula Hour!), and when you’re done with your fair share of mojitos, eat at the Kitchen Grill. We ordered the quinoa salad with a side of grilled corn and Fijian chips (a mix of cassava, taro, dahlo).

Another time we ate there we asked the waiter to make a vegan version of the pork tacos on the menu and ordered a garden salad to go along with it. As you’re paying $22 AUD for two relatively small tacos, don’t be afraid to ask for a larger serving. We did!

ZING: If you like a bit of spice, then be sure to visit Zing, also located at the Westin Hotel. The breakfast buffet turns into a spicy asian restaurant at night. We enjoyed a noodle stir fry, homemade dumplings and steamed greens. Again, nothing specifically vegan but easy to just ask for no fish or oyster sauce.

MALAMALA BEACH CLUB: No trip to Fiji is complete without a visit to one of the islands.. at the very least for the ‘gram. Suprsingly the food was tasty, with a few alterations to the menu they can prepare you some tasty meals. We enjoyed the soba noodle salad, mixed root vegetable chips and veggie samosas… which by the way, were delicious!

BULLACINO:  Located near the Sheraton, Bullacino’s is a quiet but expensive cafe. They have falafel plates, wraps and smoothies. We got two acai smoothie bowls and to be honest, they weren’t the best. But when ya craving them smoothies, you got to do what you got to do.

If you are after fresh organic veggies, snacks and co-yo there’s a small grocer next to Lulu’s on the port that

offers these.

The food isn’t cheap and you always have to add 25% tax on top of what you order. However, if you do your research and send some messages around to restaurants in advance of visiting you should be able to eat comfortably without having to make a scene on arrival.

Life Changing Vegan Lasagna

In collaboration with my dear friend Claudia from @soulful.synergy

SERVES 10-12

BOLOGNESE SAUCE:
1 brown onion (diced)
2 tin of lentils (rinsed and drained)
3.5 tins of diced tomatoes
Generous amount of Pepper
2 handfuls of fresh basil (chopped)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp. Turmeric
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 tsp chilli flakes

TOFU RICOTTA:
350g extra firm tofu (drained and pressed dry)
1.5 lemons juiced
Handful of fresh spinach (roughly chopped)
1 Tbsp. of dried oregano
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
2 Tbsp. of water

PASTA:
We used 1.5 boxes of OrgraN gluten free lasagne mini sheets

FILLINGS:
2 zucchinis (thinly sliced length ways)
1 large eggplant (thinly sliced length ways with a drizzle olive oil and crack of pink salt)
3 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful of basil (finely chopped)

CHEEZES:
1 block of Green Vie Mozzarella cheeze (cut into slices)1 block Oliana Cheeze (grated)

METHOD:
1. Preheat oven on 190 degrees, line tray with baking paper and place sliced eggplant. Lightly drizzle olive oil over eggplant and bake for 15 minutes in the oven.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and diced onions in a large pan on medium heat. Cook until browning begins, then add 2 tins of tomatoes, followed by two tins of lentils (drained and rinsed). Then add all herbs and spices (use less or more to suit your own taste). Let bolognese simmer at a low heat while you prepare the ricotta.
3. For Tofu Ricotta, blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy and smooth (may need to add more water depending on strength of blender/ food processor). Add more spices, nutritional yeast, lemon until desired taste.
4. Add another can of tinned tomatoes to the lentil bolognese and stir well (you want this bolognese to be wet and saucy, this will help to cook the pasta sheets)
5. Lightly steam the sliced zucchini (we threw ours in the microwave for 1 minute)
6. Grease baking dish with olive oil, spread with kitchen paper
7. Rinse lasagne sheets under hot water to breakup the starch and begin to place along the bottom of the dish (overlap to ensure no gaps)
8. Layer lentil bolognese evenly over the pasta, make sure this layer isn’t too think as you will need this bolognese for another layer
9. Layer zucchini slices (overlap to ensure no gaps)
10. Evenly spread all of the tofu ricotta over the zucchini
11. Layer baby spinach over the ricotta
12. Then put the eggplant layer over the spinach (overlap to ensure no gaps)
13. Evenly layer the remaining bolognese sauce over the eggplant
14. Rinse more lasagne sheets under hot water and layer over the eggplant, then spread half of the last can of diced tomatoes over the pasta sheets
15. Slice whole block of vegan mozzarella (we used Green Vie) and layer over the lasagne sheets
16. Grate block of Oliana Cheeze (or cheese of choice) and sprinkle half of this grating over the Mozzarella
17. Place lasagne in oven for 45 mins, take out and sprinkle the rest of the Oliana cheeze along with a handful of chopped basil and place back in the oven for another 15 mins
18. Take lasagne out of the oven, check that pasta is cooked all the way through by pressing a knife through the layers. The only part that should remain slightly crispy is along the edges
19. Serve and enjoy with your favourite green salad

Vegan Quinoa Mince

As much as I love beans, lentils, tofu and chickpeas…. I was eager to spice things up in the kitchen and came up with some seriously good quinoa meat that goes perfectly with Mexican.

FIRST OF ALL:
Preheat that oven to 180 degrees!

INGREDIENTS:-1.5 cups of quinoa
-Splash of water
-1 Tin of black beans

GIVE US THEM HERBS:
Totally obsessed with herbs and spices
-Dash of paprika-1 tsp Cumin seeds
-Dash of Chilli flakes
-S & P (of course)
1 tsp Turmeric
-3 tsp of tomato paste-1 tsp of coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

HOW TO:
Cook quinoa accordingly. When it’s ready strain and then mix in all the herbs, spices and sauces as well as the tin of strained black beans.
Throw it onto a hot pan with oil and cook for 5 minutes! Get that smasher out and press down the black beans (you may need to add a splash of water if mixture becomes too dry)

Then cook in oven at 180 degrees for 15-20 min until crunchy and golden

Serve in a taco bowl, in taco shells or just grab the spoon and go for your life.