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Root Down's veggie burger is a delicious lunch or dinner choice.—Photo by Adam Larkey

A Vegetarian’s Guide to DIA

Finding alternative fare at the airport is easier than you think.

By |

Traveling is stressful enough, but it’s all the more so for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fear not, plant-based eaters: With the range of meatless dining options we uncovered at DIA, you won’t have to rely on tiny bags of peanuts to fill yourself up.

(Read our February 2016 feature “15 Ways To Do DIA Better”)


Root Down

Where: C Gates, Center Core

What to Order: Just like at the popular Highland location of Root Down, many items on the globally-inspired menu can be made vegan and gluten-free by request. For breakfast, go for the tofu scramble with Soyrizo, mushrooms, and spinach. For lunch or dinner, try the veggie burger (served with a pretzel bun, jalapeño jam, curry lime sauce, and arugula) or the New York Reuben, subbing the pastrami for country-fried tofu.


Cantina Grill

Where: B Gates, Mezzanine

What to Order: Choose from a vegetarian burrito or tacos, both of which come stuffed with sautéed carrots, zucchini, corn, red onions, peppers, and guacamole. Jazz things up with one of the salsas on offer: a medium version with dried chiles and roasted garlic, a spicy option with tomatillo and roasted jalapeños, and a fresh pico de gallo. You’ll also find an ample selection of tequilas, in case you need a libation to ease holiday travel stress.


Chef Jimmy’s Bistro & Spirits

Where: A Gates, Center Core

What to Order: Go to Jimmy’s, an Italian joint, for vegetarian pastas and build-your-own pizzas. Thanks to a variety of plant-based toppings—from spicy giardiniera relish to green onions to pineapple—creating the perfect meat-free pie is a snap. Our favorite combo? Mushrooms, green peppers, and black olives.


City Wok

Where: B Gates, Mezzanine

What to Order: Any vegetarian dish at this quick Chinese spot can be made vegan by request. Keep it simple and healthy with Buddha’s feast: a mix of various fresh veggies, bamboo shoots, and tofu in a light garlic-wine sauce. Or, spice it up with chile string beans with chiles, red peppers, and onions.


Mesa Verde Bar & Grill

Where: A Gates, Mezzanine

What to Order: There are a handful of meat-free options here to fill you up before take off, but our picks are the portobello mushroom tacos with cilantro-lime rice or the veggie burrito with fire-roasted corn and poblanos. Early flight? Order the veggie breakfast burrito or skillet with red chile sauce (only served until 10:30 a.m.).


Modern Market

Where: B Gates, Center Core; C Gates

What to Order: This popular Colorado-born chain makes meatless dining easy. Satisfaction comes as peanut butter oats in the morning, a healthful salad at lunch (we’re partial to the Thai coconut with sweet potato, grated coconut, and a peanut-mango dressing) or pizza (vegan cheese is available) for dinner. Head’s up: Pizzas are only available at the Terminal C location.


New Belgium Hub

Where: B Gates, near Gate B60

What to Order: Of course, the beer here is stellar, but Colorado’s most iconic brewery has a few surprisingly strong vegetarian dining options, too. Pair a Ranger IPA with the stuffed roasted portobello mushroom, which is filled with roasted veggies and a tomato vinaigrette. Or, go for a classic Fat Tire with the vegetarian velodrome bowl, an epic version that comes with steamed rice, roasted seasonal vegetables, vegetarian “jus,” and your choice of Asian sesame-ginger or lemongrass teriyaki sauce.

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