The Gold Leaf Collective, at 120 West Laurel (on the north edge of the Colorado State University campus) is a family-owned spot serving only dairy- and meat-free sandwiches and bowls, along with tempting vegan starters and sides. Ingredients are sourced locally for the Buffalo artichoke sandwich, teetering Dagwood and English muffin melt, which comes piled with turmeric tofu, crispy seitan, house mozzarella and pickle aioli. Build your own "Mac & Shew" (that's macaroni with cashew cheese) bowl by adding crispy seitan, Hatch green chiles, grilled broccoli or lion's-mane mushrooms, among other options.
Tasty Harmony, at 160 West Oak Street, is all vegetarian and mostly vegan. Kick it off with nachos topped with homemade cashew cheese, Mexican-style jackfruit, black beans, guacamole and vegan sour cream, or opt for a plate of artichoke quinoa cakes. For Southern-style comfort food, the Kentucky Fried Freedom is battered and fried seitan, mashed potatoes and gravy, garlicky greens and smokey black-eyed peas. For a lighter option, there are plenty of satisfying salads, such as the Big Fat Greek Salad with vegan feta, grilled tofu, romaine lettuce and olives.
Raska International (128a West Laurel Street) offers each plate with a balance of sweet, salty and sour. All entrees come with rice, sautéed veggies, a side salad and injera, a gluten-free Ethiopian flatbread. Everything at Raska is vegan except for one traditional egg dish and the homemade chocolate cake.
If you’re headed north with meat-eaters in your crew, stop at DGT (120 1/2 West Laurel Street), where there are options for everyone. Tacos are the specialty of the house, and DGT offers five that are vegan, including one topped with loocally made tofu, sweet-potato purée, organic kale and a tomato-ginger sauce, and another done Thai-style, with tofu, diced cucumbers, Thai peanut sauce and pickled carrots and purple cabbage. Along with its excellent vegan options, DGT is known for being forced by Torchy's Tacos to change its name, originally Dam Good Tacos, which the Texas chain felt was too close to its own slogan. Called DGT since November 2017, the tiny Fort Collins eatery decided to "make tacos, not war" — words to live by, whether you're vegan or not.