Disney’s plant based menu showcases creativity and flavor


Disney’s plant based menu is far from the idea that plant based food is bland and boring. These astonishing dishes could convert the most ardent carnivore.

A bountiful, beautiful table captivates with vibrant colors and enticing aromas. At first glance, Disney’s plant based menu dishes appear no different from the traditional menu items at various Disney restaurants. From a traditional meatball and pasta to stunning creme brulee, the stomach grumbling is the anticipation of a tasty meal.

But, a little secret is to be revealed. All those impeccable dishes are completely plant based. Would you have known otherwise?

Plant based foods have been on the rise. From more people following vegetarian or vegan lifestyles to flexitarians who are looking for variety in their eating choices, vegetables are becoming the feature on the plate.

In turn, chefs are answering that demand. Creating a dish that is vegetable forward and doesn’t use traditional ingredients (like butter or animal products) can spark new approaches in the kitchen. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can bring new a whole new adventure in the kitchen.

At Disney, the guests demand for more plant based menus and the Disney chefs’ creativity have blended into an impressive plant based initiative. Across Disney properties (hotels and theme parks), there are more plant based menu items than ever before. More importantly, these choices are pushing the boundaries of creativity and flavor.

From the plant based icon on menus to the Disney plant based offering website, guests are presented with a smorgsboard of tempting items. At table service and quick service restaurants, guests will have plant-based choices. More importantly, the variety of these menu items might even make the vegetable-adverse covert to the veggie-side.

Photo: Steamed Asian Dumplings / Epcot Le Cellier.. Image Courtesy Disney Enterprises

Disney has had plant-based food options. While the Dole Whip and the Mickey pretzel were always easy choices, this decision to expand the choices in such a large way shows the demand for these lifestyle choices.

Guests do not want just another plate of greens or bowl of pasta. Eating plant based shouldn’t come with a feeling of deprivation or delegation to the “other” table. Disney, with this plant based initiative, proves that plant based choices can, and will be, as impressive as its other culinary offerings.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sample some of Disney’s plant based menu offerings. Gathered around the table were a variety of foodies. From vegans to staunch meat lovers, everyone was curious to see how these dishes would satisfy. Everyone has come to expect delicious food from Disney, the question was how far would Disney push the creativity level.

The answer is quite clear. Disney, and its culinary team, has found a way to make plant based menus as enticing, and in some cases more enticing, as any of its current food choices. The Disney chefs have proven that culinary creativity in the plant based space achievable.

After sampling these dishes, the biggest take away is that they satisfy. Many people scoff at plant based menus because they leave the table and still want more. These dishes never leave you waning when that plate is empty.

From the Chickpea Panisse to the Mushroom Meatball, these dishes are flavorful, hearty and delicious. For example, the Chickpea Panisse is an exploration of color, texture and flavor. The consensus from everyone at the table was that this dish was impeccable. Regarding the Mushroom Meatball, the best compliment was that it was as good as grandma’s and her Sunday sauce.

Those type of comments prove that these new menu items were carefully crafted, thoughtful and more importantly really deliver a quality dish. Of course, everyone expects Disney to overachieve, and they definitely did.

While many people focus on the savory component of plant based eating, the sweet side is where Disney dispelled many common perceptions. Pastry chefs have been cultivated to use butter to bring flavor and flakiness to a tempting dessert. With these wide array of dessert options, Disney chefs prove that dessert doesn’t necessarily need that extra pat of butter to be delicious.

Granted, there are many types of plant based desserts. Often a sorbet is an easy option. Disney’s biggest achievement with these plant based desserts is the statement that guests might choose the plant based option over the traditional dessert.

From a luscious crème brulee to a decadent chocolate coffee pot of cream to an outrageous banana bread pudding, the guest would never guess these tempting treats were plant based. In many cases, these particular desserts are even tastier than other desserts.

Disney’s plant based dessert, creme brulee, photo by Cristine Struble

As Disney’s plant based menu icon starts to appear across Disney’s menus, guests will begin to experience these dishes for themselves. Hopefully, more and more people will discover that plant based eating is one of the most creative spaces in food right now.

These dishes allow chefs to push the boundaries of flavors, textures and ingredients. Even the person who salivates over the giant T-bone steak will be tempted to the plant-side with these impressive dishes.

Disney has easily curated its plant-based menu offerings on its website www.Disneyworld.com/plantbased. The website easily breaks down the various dishes at Disney Parks as well as other Disney properties in the area. With so many options, it would take a long time to sample each and every dish.

Are you ready to embark on some culinary magic that could spark a new way of eating? Disney’s plant based menu waiting to be explored and it is an adventure worth taking.

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What is your favorite plant based food that Disney offers? Tempt us with your delicious details by tagging #FoodSided.