It's been a while since we headed to Saraghina, the popular wood-fired pizza joint in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy. Pizza is almost always a great option for vegetarians, and when Adam headed to Saraghina a few years back he gave a moderately enthusiastic thumbs-up to the choices available there, four of which are meat-free. But since you're probably good at imagining what marinara, margherita and roasted veggie-topped pies taste like, I decided to stop by and sample a few other vegetarian options.
Saraghina offers several bountiful main course salads, a good handful of which are veg-friendly. I started with the Romana ($10, pictured at top), a light, lively mix of crisp, peppery arugula, thinly-shaved Bosc pears, and sweet, licoricey fennel, all topped with a generous helping of nutty, high-quality Parmesan. True, this is Salad 101, but the key here is balance—the right amount of each ingredient, a good level of seasoning—and this salad had that, and was slicked to the appropriate degree with a tangy, lemony dressing.
Next up was the Cubana ($10), a puzzingly-named but similarly satisfying combination of red watercress, ripe avocado, toasty whole walnuts, and creamy goat cheese. I don't know what was Cuban about this salad, but I really enjoyed it: it was my first time tasting red watercress, which is juicy and a little spicy, and, again, all of the ingredients, though simple, were fresh, balanced, and well-dressed with the same lemony vinaigrette.
Saraghina's sandwich section offers two vegetarian panini; a whole sandwich comes with a side salad of that red watercress. I opted for the straightforwardly-titled Vegetariano ($9), a crisp griddled baguette stuffed with roasted plum tomatoes, super-thin, tender slices of grilled eggplant, and plenty of milky, melty mozzarella cheese. Again: if I had the time and inclination, I could make this sandwich at home and it would probably taste exactly the same; there's no secret or magic to this panini. But when I'm out with friends enjoying a meal, it's a tasty, if simple, lunchtime option.
These salads and panini are simple but go down easy, and, along with the café's many pizza choices, make Saraghina a good option for a tasty meat-free meal.
About the author: Lauren Rothman once interned at Serious Eats and recently graduated from journalism school. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and check out her (many) food photos on Instagram.