All this beef talk has left us in a bit of a meat coma. For a break, and to not leave out our vegetarian friends, here's a set of superior sliders that forgo the meat without sacrificing flavor.
The winner and reigning champion of vegetarian and vegan cuisine in Chicago has to be this west side food bar. The extensive menu features many eastern-influenced dishes, but the house slider takes its cue from more local flavors. They're made of a combination of mushrooms and brown rice, topped with spicy mayo and served on a super soft roll with a side of good ‘ole American cheese.
1742 W. Division St.; 773-342-1742
Even sans meat, the mini wild mushroom veggie burgers are a filling treat. Hearty mushrooms are formed into crispy patties that are topped with red onion jam and goat cheese. Sandwiched on mini burger buns and served up in orders of four, diners are welcome to share the set of savory sandwiches, but likely won’t.
505 N. State St.; 312-755-9704
This slider-slinging food truck does not neglect its meat-free followers. The burger-mobile serves a daily selection of sliders that usually includes at least one vegetarian option. Try the fresh caprese with thick-sliced mozzarella, sugar-cured tomatoes, fresh basil pesto and a balsamic glaze on a ciabatta bun. For a spicy alternative, the truck also serves a black bean slider with corn, peppers, pickled onions and tomatillo salsa.
Find the truck cruising around Chicago via Twitter
Mystery “meat” veggie patties are fine, but the herbed polenta cake on this bar’s veggie slider puts ground veggies to shame, in both the flavor and texture department. The seared mini cake acts as a bun for the savory soyrizo (that’s chorizo made with soy rather than pork), and comes topped with red pepper coulis, Cotija cheese and roasted poblano peppers.
2109 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-772-0406
This veggie paradise has not one, but two faux meat options in convenient slider packages. First up is the “chorizo” slider served with portobello bacon, chipotle aioli and tomato-pepper jam. Next is the “crab” slider with pickled red onion, caper tartar and sweet onion-fennel jam. The meat might be imitation, but the flavor isn’t faked.
130 S. Green St.; 312-226-6155