Wherever you go in Austin, there’s somewhere good to eat that’s also good for you. In fact, after six months of research to find the 15 “healthiest, happiest, outdoors-iet, Zen-iest spots in the U.S.,” Women’s Health magazine and Yelp declared Austin one of the “Wellthiest” cities in America. These five healthy lunch spots in Austin are part of the reason why.
No lines, just lunch. Green Lunch’s delivery-only service offers free lunch drop-off during the week with no minimum order size to select buildings throughout downtown Austin, including North Austin and 360 Corridor locations on Congress Avenue, Brazos Street, and the Alterra Parkway. From the niçoise salad with grilled salmon and organic greens to the curry roast veggie fresh bowl with organic kale, curried cauliflower, roasted sweet potato, toasted chickpeas and mild yellow coconut curry, Green Lunch’s salads and bowls have gained a local following too. Don’t like the standard menu? Build your own salad or fresh bowl with your choice of a base and up to six ingredients.
This food truck and trailer spot delivers Southeast Asia all the way to Southeast Texas. DFG Noodles (which stands for Dang F’in Good) incorporates the flavors of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines into delectable sandwiches, street food, and noodle dishes. Chef Cheryl Chin grew up in Singapore, where a life-changing meal with her father at the age of six convinced her to learn to cook. Now she loves inspiring people with amazing food, just as she was inspired as a child. Try the gluten-free, vegan Malay, a coconut curry over jasmine rice with a mix of vegetables, fried shallots, and your choice of tofu or two eggs any style.
Whether your diet is paleo, whole30(R), gluten-free, or just about anything else, Picnik Austin has menus and options for you. With three Austin locations, Picnik prides itself on sourcing pasture-raised meat, wild-caught fish, and local produce. Plus they don’t use gluten, soy, peanuts, or corn in anything. Picnik relies on avocado oil, which is known for heart-healthy fats, oleic acid, vitamin E, and carotenoids, in its fryers. The oil is also a top pick, alongside grass-fed butter, for sautéing. Check out the fresh catch, chef’s choice of wild-caught fish, served with creamy parsnip mash, roasted root vegetables, and an orange aminos beurre blanc sauce. For the vegan eggplant rollatini, boasts thinly sliced eggplant, roasted jalapeño, cashew/cauliflower ricotta, and marinara sauce. Even those outside of Austin can get a taste of Picnik: Whole Foods Market recently announced they will carry Picnik’s line of bottled butter coffee in all stores.
Born in Osaka and Kobe, Japan, respectively, Takehiro (Také) Asazu and Kayo Asazu met in Austin in 1996 and have been together ever since. Missing the family-style Japanese meals of their hometowns, the Asazus drew inspiration from the recipes of their mothers and grandmothers. The journey to Komé began in 2006 with a bento box catering company, followed by a made-to-order sushi food trailer in 2009 and a second trailer in 2010. With help from a commercial designer and carpenter flown in from Japan, the Asazus opened the dine-in-only Komé Sushi in 2011, offering home-style, everyday Japanese comfort food, sushi, and other “unique foods” from their global cooking explorations. Check out Komé’s bento boxes, hot ramen noodle bowls, or one of the cold noodle salads, such as the Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen with spinach, corn, pickled ginger, cucumbers, and salmon sashimi, served with kewpie mayo).
Casa De Luz
Even people who aren’t vegans love Casa De Luz and its focus on wholesome, delicious, plant-based meals. Perhaps that’s because Casa De Luz isn’t just about a tasty lunch, but about food’s higher calling and influence on community. The founders started at a time when many patrons didn’t fully understand the macrobiotic lifestyle and diet Casa De Luz promoted through its nonprofit community center. After all, it’s great to fill up on a good meal—but it’s a bonus when you leave with a full heart. Relax and revitalize with some red rooibos, lemongrass, and peppermint tea, and be sure to check out the selections of beans, greens, and fermented vegetables—many of which are served with the house nut and seed sauce (a mix of freshly ground nuts and seeds, vegetables, herbs, and miso). If you want a taste of Casa De Luz in your own casa, check out their cookbook full of whole-food, plant-based recipes.
These five selections barely begin to scratch the surface of the amazing and healthy restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and other eateries in Austin. But it’s a good start!