“Wait…you mean you don’t eat cheese?!”

If you’re vegan, you’ve likely heard this phrase all too often. If you’re not, you also probably wonder what could possess a person to abstain from meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products.

In fact, there are many reasons why someone may choose to become vegan, which, by definition, is “a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather).”

Some may do it for the love of animals, some for health reasons and others still for the good of the environment. No matter the reason, the fact remains that vegans can have a very difficult time finding food to suit their restrictions when going out to eat. Here are a few of the best places (and meals) to stick to if you’re looking for vegan options in Evanston.

1.  Blaze Pizza

Photo courtesy of fastfoodmenuprices.com

I know what you’re thinking: pizza is one of the cheesiest, meatiest foods out there. This is true, but Blaze is watching out for you vegans out there.

Blaze’s crust recipe, made from “water, unbleached flour, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and a touch of sugar,” is already vegan on its own. The popular pizza joint also offers a vegan cheese option. Load some veggies on that pie and you have a totally delicious vegan pizza.

2. Flat Top Grill

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Flat Top’s totally customizable format allows customers to control their entire dinner experience. For vegans, this format is perfect: the plethora of vegetables and different varieties of noodles make for an easy vegan meal. They even have multiple non-meat protein options such as tofu and edamame.

3. Olive Mediterranean Grill

Photo courtesy of tasteolive.com

Another choose-your-own-adventure type restaurant, OMG offers tons of vegan options. Load up on mediterranean goodies like hummus, chickpea salad and Tabbouli. They even have falafel as a vegan protein option.

4. Lyfe Kitchen

Photo courtesy of reveremagazine.com

Lyfe has perhaps the most vegan-accessible menu of all Evanston restaurants. Starting with breakfast, the Morning Veggie Wrap features a tofu scramble with vegan cheese and other veggies. More vegan options include the Quinoa Crunch Wrap, the Kale & Cranberry Salad and the Thai Red Curry Bowl.

To make it even easier on vegan customers, Lyfe has separate menus for vegetarian and gluten free meals.

5. Forever Yogurt

Photo courtesy of peaceloveandoats.com

Yes, even vegans can enjoy the froyo experience! Next time your friends are itching for a frozen treat, suggest Forever Yogurt instead of Andy’s. Forever Yogurt offers sorbet options that contain no dairy products whatsoever. Just make sure that you stick to fresh fruit, nuts or Oreos (yes, they’re vegan!) for toppings to avoid accidentally eating some dairy.

With all of these options, going out to eat as a vegan doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. It’s all about knowing your options and working the menu to suit your preferences.