My Plant Based France Adventure: Part One

Molly Patrick's Plant Based Gluten Free

I’ve been to Europe several times and France has always seemed like the kind of place I would have stopped and explored at some point. But surprisingly, I’ve never been before. This all changed in March of this year when I decided to do a plant based tour of Paris. My girlfriend is Parisian and is familiar with all the plant based offerings of her city, so I’ve had the perfect guide to show me around and take me to all the best places. This is part one of my plant based Paris adventure.

What we ate on the plane

I can’t believe I never thought of doing this before! Did you know you can buy dehydrated miso?? This is the perfect thing to add to your travel bag. All you need is a cup and some boiling water and voilà! I was so happy to have this on the plane!

It was the perfect snack while in the air.

This dehydrated split pea soup was also great to travel with. It was a little bulky, but we put it in our travel food bag and ate it relatively soon into our 24-hour journey from Hawaii to Paris.

My mom baked us some plant based gluten-free chocolate chip muffins for the trip. I love my mom!!

Check it out. This is a super easy way to ensure you have a satisfying plant based breakfast while traveling. Put some regular rolled oats in a bag and add some dried fruit and some nuts and seeds. Put the bag in your carry-on or backpack, along with a travel spoon.

Find a coffee shop and ask for an empty cup and some warmed-up non-dairy milk.

Place some oat mixture in the empty cup and top it with warm milk. Dig in and enjoy breakfast!

Getting groceries in Paris

We landed in Paris at 8am, and I didn’t want to nap or go to bed until at least 7pm. This little trick has helped me avoid jet lag for years! Instead of resting and getting dangerously close to taking a nap, we went out for a refreshing walk and stopped by a health food store to stock up on groceries.

Going to health food stores is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. I love spending a long time going through all the aisles and seeing what they have that I’m not familiar with. The health food store we went to on the first day was a co-op, and a lot of what they carry is grown or produced in France. I continue to be impressed by how much emphasis is put on local ingredients here.

The other thing I was acutely aware of while grocery shopping was the prices. Everything is so affordable. Granted, I’m used to higher-than-average grocery prices because I live in Hawaii, but even compared to the prices in the mainland US, organic ingredients are shockingly affordable. It’s as if organic food is accessible to most people—imagine that!

Beautiful organic red leaf lettuce. Or salade in French.

Big, colorful radishes

Spinach and potatoes

Peanut butter

Gluten-free crackers

Hummus

Tofu
Miso
Baked tofu

I was excited to try this flavor of baked tofu because I thought it would taste exotic, but it just tasted like tofu with soy sauce.

There are SO MANY different kinds of tofu here! Many different flavors and textures. This was one of my favorites. We steamed it and added it to some quinoa and veggies.

Yummy eaten cold or heated up.

Super convenient pre-cooked polenta.

Oh, and there’s vegan yogurt galore! This was made from buckwheat, and it was AMAZING!

Delicious black olives.

Toasted buckwheat or “kasha” to add to morning porridge. We add it right on top without cooking it. It has a wonderfully nutty flavor and a nice crunch.

I mean…

This incredible locally made artichoke spread had just a couple of ingredients and was SO yummy. It was one of my favorites from our haul.

Beet and horseradish spread.

There are many veggie/bean spreads like this. It’s really good as a dip for cucumber rounds, toasted bread, or whole grain crackers.

This is chestnut jam, and it is crazy delicious!!

Some of the sweetest, most strawberry-flavored strawberries I’ve eaten.

Cooking plant based and gluten-free in France

There are so many restaurants with plant based and gluten-free options here, and I’ve been to several (more on that in a bit). But making food at home is always the healthiest and most affordable option. I enjoy making and eating meals at home, even when traveling. Here are some of those home-cooked meals.

Oatmeal with berries, toasted buckwheat, and raw cacao nibs.
Miso soup with rice noodles, spinach, and tofu as well as hummus, crackers, and tangerine slices.
Nothing like a bowl of miso soup to warm you up and soothe your digestive system.
Stuffed butternut squash with soy curls and gravy, lettuce, hummus, miso soup, and gluten-free bread with vegan pâté.
It was as yummy as it looks!

Herb and veggie pate on gluten-free bread.

The gluten-free bread in Paris is so good! You can find it at almost any boulangerie (bakery), and it’s made fresh daily. It’s usually in small little loaves with seeds on top.

Organic radishes
Chamomile flower tea
Baked polenta and tofu with radishes, shallots, and garlic.

I’ve never had whole roasted shallots before this trip. They’re going on repeat, for sure!

Baked tofu, polenta, raw radishes (cooking radishes takes the bite out of them), avocado, and lettuce with hummus. Simple, easy, and delicious.
Oatmeal with dried fruit, kasha (toasted buckwheat), and cacao nibs. A yummy plant based breakfast in under five minutes.
Tomato veggie soup with soy cream, lettuce, hummus, patè toast, carrots, and tangerine slices.

I put a bunch of veggies in a pot, added some water and seasonings, and cooked it. Then I added beans and a bit of soy cream. Easy, yummy, and warming.

Local organic steamed artichokes.
Squash and onion soup.

This is the easiest thing to do. First, cut a winter squash in half and take out the seeds. Then, cut each half into quarters (be sure to remove the stem) and place it in a pot, along with a big onion (skin removed) cut into quarters and a handful of garlic cloves (skin removed). Cover with water and boil until the squash is soft. Turn off the heat and wait for everything to cool a bit. Transfer the veggies to a blender with some water. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add only a little water at first and then add more if needed. Season with salt and pepper and any seasonings you like. Ta-da! The easiest veggie soup ever!

I found gluten-free couscous! There were so many varieties to choose from! This is red lentil couscous. It had a sweet taste that I didn’t love, but it was really fun to eat couscous again.
Baked sweet potatoes with red lentil couscous and leftover veggies from the veggie soup. Topped with toasted almond pieces.
Sometimes lunch is as easy as baked tofu, cucumber rounds, apple slices, and lettuce.

Ai’s Bento

This is a yummy Japanese restaurant tucked away on one of many side streets in Paris. It is not a plant based restaurant, but they have a couple of amazing plant based options.

This is the upstairs seating. I loved the exposed concrete and rustic feel.
The upstairs kitchen. And now I want a blue fridge and open shelves in my kitchen!
Green pepper strips with shaved carrot and sesame seeds.
Pickled cucumbers with a FABULOUS peanut-style sauce. I would go back just for these!
Rice, veggies, and tofu in another incredible sauce. Topped with black sesame seeds.

View of the downstairs seating area.

Ground to Grow

This was a nice spot for a quick lunch. They also have a yoga and meditation studio. I’ve noticed that many vegan coffee shops and light lunch places also offer yoga and meditation.

As a side note, most restaurants have an English menu, you just have to ask (politely). Vous avez un menu en anglais, s’il vous plaît?

A bowl with quinoa, tofu, roasted leeks, sweet potato, mushrooms, cilantro, and pickled red cabbage. Oh, this was so good!
A gluten-free cookie that was not sweetened. I wasn’t sure if this was intentional, but I ate it.
If I’m not with someone, I love bringing my book to a coffee shop or cafe and reading. It’s one of my best pleasures. This is one of my favorite authors, but not his best book.

El Guacamole

If you find yourself in Paris and need a quick vegan taco fix, this place will do the job. It’s not a fully plant based restaurant, but it has vegan options. If you’re used to really good Mexican food, lower your expectations a bit, and you’ll be fine.

Three tacos: nopales (cactus) with tomato, mushroom with peppers, and Spanish rice with guacamole.
They had a really yummy horchata with rice milk that wasn’t overly sweet. As a side note, you MUST try our Horchata Smoothie! Talk about bliss in a glass!
Sweet Spanish tiles.

Wild & the Moon

Wild & the Moon is a cute chain with locations in France, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. They have cold-pressed juices, superfood-type things, healthy-ish desserts, and light meals. This was an incredible vegan bánh mì on gluten-free bread. I was ALL about it!

Brunch at Soya

Of all the plant based restaurants I’ve been to in Paris so far, this is my favorite. I’ve been twice, once for lunch and once for an epic brunch. Both times have been amazing. The food is really well done, and you can tell the ingredients are fresh and prepared with love.

It’s a good idea to make reservations at any restaurant here, but definitely don’t forget to make a reservation with this one.

The cute interior.

Brunch is all-you-can-eat buffet-style. Be sure to come hungry! They also have fresh juices and yummy tea and coffee.

I love restaurants that have an open, airy kitchen.

I LOVED that the buffet was laid out like this on a long table. I felt like I was transported back to my hippie childhood attending a vegan potluck with my parents and all their hippie friends!

It was so homey and fun. Oh, and everything but one dish was gluten-free!

This is the closest to Clean Food Dirty Girl food I’ve had at a restaurant. There were so many veggies, and everything was so flavorful.
Plants are so pretty!
Perfectly steamed Brussels sprouts in a yummy dressing.
Gluten-free tabouli.
Lentils, herbs, and tomatoes.
A fresh and zesty potato salad.
Bean salad.
Hummus
An amazing tofu basil dip! My mouth is watering thinking back to this one.
Super yummy sushi rolls with tofu and veggies.

I love it when vegan restaurants aren’t afraid to use tofu. Apart from in Asian countries I’ve visited, many plant based restaurants don’t offer tofu on the menu.

Sweet potato chips and tofu herb dip.
Delicious coleslaw.
Organic salad greens.
Herbed rice, veggie curry, and lasagna.
Roasted potatoes, INSANELY yummy tofu balls, and mashed potatoes. Ugh, SO GOOD!
So many little desserts to choose from, including fruit and yummy plant based yogurt with berries.

I took a little of everything to taste ALL THE PLANTS. I loved this meal so much. Every bite made me smile. I will definitely go back because I’m curious if it’s the same for every brunch or if they switch it up. I’ll let you know when I find out!

Lunch at Soya

Oh, Soya, I love you so much. I also had an incredible lunch at this magnificent restaurant.

Artichoke hearts with some kind of cream sauce blew my mind.
Pesto tofu dip that was drool-worthy.
The same tofu balls they served at brunch! SO GOOD!
They even offer homemade gluten-free bread. They have my heart.
Quinoa, veggies, and homemade veggie sausage with a veggie broth to dish over it.
Perfectly steamed cauliflower and broccoli with turmeric.
Herbed rice with veggies and a super good veggie curry.
I could not eat this plant based lasagne because the pasta was not gluten-free, but it looked and smelled incredible.

If you are plant based (even plant based and gluten free) and you’re traveling to Paris, you will have no problem finding food. From grocery stores to restaurants, coffee shops to bakeries, there is plenty of food for you in the city of lights.

Bisous
Molly

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7 Comments

  1. Lu Hamacek on April 22, 2023 at 10:26 am

    I will be anxiously waiting for Wizard Plans celebrating Paris! Too yummy!

    • Team Dirty - Meghan on April 22, 2023 at 11:09 am

      What a fabulous idea!

  2. Annu on April 22, 2023 at 10:29 am

    How Wonderful is this travel dispatch!!! Looks like Paris offers a feast for Love and Life and plant based delights. It’s so wonderful to see Molly and her friend enjoying all that France has to offer. Can’t wait for the next installment 💗💗

  3. Nicole on April 22, 2023 at 10:35 am

    I am drooling! I hope to see a Parisian Meal Plan in the future inspired by your trip. Those tofu balls look amazing and I am a huge fan of tofu. Thank you for sharing your delicious adventures!!!

  4. Joanne Rock on April 23, 2023 at 1:16 am

    What a great read! I’m planning a trip ‘across the pond’ and now have places to seek out in Paris! Thank you Molly.

  5. Katherine on April 23, 2023 at 5:22 am

    It all looks so amazing! Such a shame I’m soya intolerant! 🙁

  6. Amy Brown on April 23, 2023 at 7:17 pm

    I can’t wait to return to Paris to go to Soya. Wonderful recommendations! Merci beaucoup Molly!

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