Maggiano's offers vegetarian and vegan options for fans of Italian food

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When you've got a ton of people to feed and no one can agree on anything but a chain, Maggiano's can be a good choice -- even for those on a plant-based diet. If you know how to order, you can avoid the meat on the Maggiano's menu and have an enjoyable vegetarian meal.

See also: - Flights Wine Cafe soars with its veggie-friendly small plates - The vegan pizza at the Marquis Theater is a show-stopper - Virgilio's pizza stretches to accommodate vegan and vegetarian needs

The classic pasta dishes are particularly tempting, since when you purchase one you also get a free one to take home -- a fabulous deal. Pictured above is a favorite, the four-cheese ravioli: pillowy pasta stuffed with ricotta, cream cheese, mozzarella and Provolone, served with a pesto-alfredo cream sauce and drizzled with marinara. Any cheese-lover would be content with these monstrous ravioli, easily enough for two people (or meals).

Salad is always a safe option for vegans, and the chopped salad -- ordered without prosciutto or blue cheese -- is awesome, especially when tossed with the honey-Dijon vinaigrette, the house dressing at Maggiano's. This is a side-salad portion; the full portion is much larger.

Other options on the menu include eggplant parmesan for vegetarians; vegans will want to opt for spaghetti with marinara sauce if they're pasta-inclined. (Although the bowtie aglio looks safe, it's made with chicken broth, so steer clear.)

There are two Maggiano's locations in Denver, one downtown and one in the Tech Center. This southern spot is usually slow at lunchtime but flooded with families big and small during the dinner rush. The full-service bar is first-come, first-served, though -- so it's a good option when the dining room is full. For more information, go to www.maggianos.com.

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