One of Asheville’s most prominent vegetarian hotspots, The Laughing Seed Cafe sprouts great flavors, unbeatable local freshness, and a diverse east-meets-west menu that is sure to delight vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
Cooking up creative dishes for over 20 years, The Laughing Seed knows how to bring out the best in the simplest ingredients. Their selection of fruits and vegetables varies slightly throughout the year, as they strive to incorporate seasonal produce to maximize freshness and taste. Reading the menu feels like strolling through an amusement park. Whimsical ideas that somehow work include jackfruit tacos, cauliflower pizza, a tempeh Reuben sandwich, and stuffed zucchini noodles. Most menu items are gluten-free or can be ordered as such. The chefs make most, if not all, of their sauces in-house.
Laughing Seed’s drink menu could be a business on its own. Between live juices, smoothies, sodas, hot teas, iced teas, mocktails, cocktails, wines, and sake, there are well over 100 drinks to choose from. And if that wasn’t enough, you can enhance your drink with a selection of herbal tinctures or an old-fashioned shot of booze.
Laughing Seed sources its ingredients from a dozen local businesses including farms, breweries, bakeries, and creameries. No matter what you order, you’re sure to get quality and local freshness. You can dine inside or out on the patio; you’ll enjoy the atmosphere either way.
Our only “complaint” is that the first visit can seem overwhelming. With so many menu items, it’s easy to fall into analysis paralysis. Local ingredients, international flavors, and light-hearted creativity combine to deliver a charm that commands multiple visits. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just enjoy delicious food, we’re confident you’ll love these menu picks as much as we did:
Jalapeno Onion Fries
One of the freshest fries we’ve ever had to pleasure to taste, this appetizer comes out swinging with a barrage of flavors and textures. Sweet onions, spicy jalapeno, and salty russet potato fries meld together in harmonious crunchiness. These fries come with organic ketchup and a choice of chipotle range dressing. The small portion should suffice for two, but we recommend ordering the large for parties of three or more.
Aesthetically simple, this bowl lives up to its name with a perfect blend of organic flavors and textures. Fluffy brown rice forms the base with grilled and marinated tempeh or tofu that will delight even the staunchest meat eater. The assortment of steamed seasonal veggies really brings the dish home. Fresh, seasonal, and farm-to-table aren’t just marketing terms here. A dastardly delicious sesame ginger sauce completes the harmony.
Spinach Pesto Manicotti
A surprisingly artistic and flavorful raw entrée, this manicotti features zucchini noodles stuffed generously with cashew ricotta and sunflower seed-spinach pesto. The dish rounds off with classic Italian flavors in sundried tomato marinara, house-marinated olives, and lemon basil oil.
Thai Panang Curry
A mosaic of fresh flavors, this curry is simply divine. The chefs sauté the season’s freshest vegetables with tender bok choy and oyster mushrooms in a light yet creamy coconut milk sauce. The curry is served over coconut basmati rice with fried seitan and a scrumptious lentil papadam. You can choose to add crispy fried tofu, but the curry is a winner regardless.
Vegans and non-vegans alike can appreciate this twist on a classic Reuben sandwich. Two slices of freshly grilled marble rye house oh-so-satisfying marinated organic tempeh, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, house-made purple kraut, and iconic Thousand Island dressing. It’s a celebration of taste, freshness, and pure satisfaction.
Call in 20 minutes ahead to minimize your wait when you arrive. If dining with a large group, you’ll want to make a reservation. If you’re a night owl, stop by on Friday or Saturday nights during the summer to enjoy live music and a special late night menu.