It’s now been more than a month since Walt Disney World reopened with an early-bird edition of Epcot’s ever-popular International Food & Wine Festival, which means we’ve had time to munch our way around World Showcase multiple times. And because this author—like many other Americans—has been experimenting with reducing the amount of meat in his diet by being “vegan before 6,” today we’re sharing our favorite plant-based picks from the 2020 Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
One of the best upgrades to Epcot’s dining and drinking events in recent years has been the increased emphasis on meatless options. Plant-based items tend to not only be healthier than their animal-based equivalents, but they are also often less expensive. In fact, on a price vs. portion-size basis, vegan dishes offer some of the best values at Epcot’s Global Marketplace food kiosks.
Best of all, you don’t need to sacrifice taste or texture when ordering any of these plant-based dishes because these vegan menu items all pack enough mouth-filling flavor to convert a committed carnivore.
Plant-Based Picks at 2020 Taste of Epcot
Let’s start at Earth Eats, which is ground zero for vegan dining at Epcot with a full menu of plant-based dishes. The two savory offerings are a burger slider and a flatbread-wrapped meatball, both of which are made from Impossible meat substitute.
Of the two, the slider is the better value, thanks to the filling sesame seed bun and slightly-spicy Asian slaw. The only downside is that our patty came out slightly overdone, though still perfectly edible.
The meatball, on the other hand, was perfectly juicy and well-seasoned. However, the lentil “bread” quickly crumbled, and the whole dish was gone in a couple of bites. We give the nod to the burger, but there’s no reason not to try them both!
On the exact opposite side of the World Showcase Lagoon, you’ll find one of my longtime favorites, Moroccan Spicy Hummus Fries. Cubes of chickpea spread are breaded and fried, and they are normally served smothered with a chipotle tzatziki topping.
However, if you are avoiding dairy, simply ask for the dish without the yogurt-based topping. It’s a bit drier, but still delicious.
Finally, inside the World Showplace event pavilion, you’ll find our hands-down favorite plant-based dish at the Food & Wine Festival, along with live music and sweet air-conditioning.
The Boursin-sponsored booth serves a rich, creamy plant-based macaroni and cheese that we couldn’t believe was entirely dairy-free.
Not only that, they serve it topped with crumbled vegan Italian sausage and sautéed peppers, creating a dish that even the most hardened meat lover will crave.
Bonus: Pescatarian Picks at 2020 Taste of Epcot
If your flextarian diet permits you to eat seafood and dairy after 6 p.m. (or even before), then you’ll want to try these three fish-based dishes.
Near the front of World Showcase promenade, Citrus Blossom serves a grilled lobster tail that pairs unexpectedly well with an orange wine slushie.
Although it’s one of the most expensive menu items at the Taste of Epcot Food & Wine Festival, the $8.25 price isn’t unreasonable considering you’re getting half of a sizable lobster tail. Ours was cooked a perfect medium rare, and we’d order it again just for the Meyer lemon reduction.
Speaking of lobster, the petite New England-style lobster roll served at Hops & Barley outside The American Adventure costs about half the price of the full-size sandwich from Magic Kingdom’s Columbia Harbour House (which is currently closed) but has far more meat with minimal filler.
Better yet, it comes with a cup of clarified butter on the side, perfect for clogging your arteries. Pair it with a frosty beverage to really bewitch your cardiologist.
Finally, our fishy favorite from this year’s Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the salmon sushi flowerpot from Japan.
It’s filled with seasoned rice, raw salmon, and salmon roe, layered chirashi-style inside an adorable souvenir flowerpot.
We recommend grabbing one and eating it while watching a show at the American Gardens Theatre. Watch a complete performance of the JAMMitors doing in their “Jammin’ Chef’s” routine in this video:
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.