The Minnesota State Fair has awesome vegan options if you know where to look. Thankfully, I have a lot of great resources which helped me have a stellar food day this year!
I met my dad and sister at French Meadow at 9am for a small but yummy breakfast. Most vegan peeps have heard they have a vegan scone (I had it in 2014) but when you walk up to the counter, they typically have some other baked goods marked with a “V” which means they’re vegan. I had one of their brownies last year, and this year they also had an Iced Lemon Poppyseed and an Iced Lemon Blueberry Muffin. I opted for lemon poppyseed, and it was also gluten-free so it was kind of like lemon-flavored cornbread.
Right after I inhaled the muffin, I hopped across the street to Cloud Forest Coffee whose motto is “carbon negative = earth positive.” Their Green Tea Slushie has become one of my must-haves at the Fair, and this year I punched mine up a notch by adding a shot of passionfruit flavor for an extra 50 cents. Just like the sign below says: Yum yum yum!
I’ve enjoyed Hot Indian Foods‘ indurritos several times, and while they aren’t offering them at the Fair, they do have Veggie Samosas (2017 UPDATE — the Samosas are not vegan, as they changed the wrap). Swap out the aioli for tomato chutney, and you have a hot, flavorful snack. The Indi Frites are also an excellent choice. You can find them at the Midtown Global Market stall in the International Bazaar (Rabbit Hole occupied the space for the first half of the Fair, and Hot Indian Foods has it for the second half this year). Holy Land Deli is also nearby with more vegan options.
The Ball Park Cafe is probably best known for its Lift Bridge Mini Donut Beer (check this out!) but I’d recommend grabbing an order of onion rings to pair. They’re beer-battered, and it’s a huge order so you can easily share between a few people. Get $2.50 off your order (or for garlic fries) if you have the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. (For another fried option, try the fried pickles at Preferred Pickle but smuggle in your own vegan ranch for dipping.)
I heard through the Twitter grapevine that OOf-da Tacos uses fry bread as their base, so I added it to this year’s list. I ordered the Vegetarian Taco without cheese and paid an additional 50 cents for guacamole. The fry bread was topped with tomatoes, lettuce and pinto beans which weren’t much to write home about. They have pump-your-own medium or hot sauce, and I added a couple pumps of the medium on mine but wish I had used more. The fry bread was light, and I loved the texture but I probably wouldn’t get this again.
When you pass by the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds stand in the International Bazaar, they’ll offer you a sample. You should take one, and then buy a bag. At least, that’s how it worked for me. The cinnamon and sugar smell wafting out of the stand might be enough to convince you even. Bonus: there’s a coupon in the Bargain Book for them.
For a change of pace and something a little more fresh, head to The Produce Exchange which has two locations at either end of the Fair. I honed in on the Guava Kombucha on tap and ogled the fresh fruit. The Bargain Book offers $2 off Kombucha or a bowl of fresh-cut watermelon.
I’ve known for awhile that Island Noodles in the International Bazaar has a vegan noodles and veggies option, but this was the first year I tried it. I especially love that they mark it as vegan on the menu so I don’t feel like I need to double check. The noodles were perfectly cooked and had great flavor, but the plentiful veggies were a little too overdone for my liking. (After reading this post, a Facebook friend noted that you can ask for fresh veggies – yay!)
To round out the day, I grabbed an apple Minneapple Pie. I confirmed that it was dairy-free, and the staff immediately stated it was vegan with confidence which is always appreciated. This pie is perfect! The crust is so flaky (I almost needed a fork but managed fine in the end), and there’s a lot of cinnamon goodness packed inside, along with cinnamon and sugar dusting the outside. This was a wonderful, sweet end to a fun day at the Fair.
Update for 2017: Make sure to hit up Sara’s Tipsy Pies!
— Sara's Tipsy Pies (@sarastipsypie) August 8, 2017