Portland’s 10 Best Healthy Dishes

From heavenly acai bowls to vegan corn cashew pizza, here are 10 of the city's most nourishing—and delicious—dishes.

By Benjamin Tepler and Tuck Woodstock Photography by Aubrie Legault June 24, 2016 Published in the Health Annual: Summer 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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1. Noraneko’s Vegetable Ramen

This all-veggie noodle soup possesses the gravitas of full-fledged pork belly ramen but derives its earthy, umami-rich broth from mushroom stock. Not-so-healthy add-ons like soft-boiled eggs and Chinese barbecue pork shoulder sweeten the deal, but this ramen stands boldly on its own: rich, soothing, and far meatier than it has any right to be. $9,

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2. Kure’s Bowl of the Gods

The name is no hyperbole: this heavenly acai bowl blends fresh fruit, peanut butter, and vanilla protein powder into a decadent PB&J base. The creamy smoothie is topped with fresh banana, strawberries, sliced almonds, goji berries, crunchy granola, shredded coconut, and a liberal dash of cinnamon to create a nutty, tropical treat. $8.25,

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3. Dove Vivi’s Corn Cashew Pizza

In a parlor full of outstanding fennel sausage and fontina pies, Dove’s all-vegan corn cashew takes top honors. The crisp, deep-dish cornmeal crust supports a luxurious blend of roasted red pepper and cashew cheese, sweet pops of corn, rich caramelized onions, all topped with whole smoked tomatoes. It’s enough to turn any meat lover to the light side. $24.75,

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4. Thrive’s Mexican Bowl

The former food cart builds its bowls on a bedrock of toothsome, bay leaf–infused black beans and brown rice. Next, a midsection of seasonal produce, like squash, avocado, and perfectly cooked broccoli. The top layer gets bright tomatillo-avocado salsa, zingy lime sauce, and a shower of cilantro. Omnivores: try it with crispy, five-hour confit pork belly.

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5. Pixie Retreat Raw’r’s Bakn’ Cheez Burger Collard Wrap

Packing the heft of a jumbo burrito, this monster wrap playfully reimagines the classic cheeseburger as a vegan nutritional powerhouse. Crisp collard leaves bundle layers of zesty macadamia “cheez,” rich cashew mayo, funky dill kraut, smoky eggplant “bakn” strips, and a hearty millet burger for an ultra-filling on-the-go lunch. $9,

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6. Bollywood Theater’s Roasted Beets

Bollywood is one part seasonal Northwest produce, one part Indian street fair. The restaurant’s shockingly fuchsia beets are a prime example, coated in a thick sauce of curry-leaf- and serrano-steeped coconut milk, a spicy drizzle of mustard and nigella seed oil, and a herbaceous tumble of cilantro. $6,

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7. Departure’s Shaved Collard Salad

Health nut and Top Chef star Gregory Gourdet channels sunflower sprouts and dark collards through Thailand for this salad, layered intricately with nuts, Thai herbs, chiles, and kaffir lime. The dressing gets down with its own bad self, throbbing with roasted notes, spicy highs, coconut milk sweetness, and a hit of maple syrup. $13,      

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8. Chickpeadx’s Falafel Platter

The new location of Chickpeadx elevates the fluffy, fresh-ground Washington-grown chickpea falafel rounds with combo platters of fresh salads: wickedly spicy fried cauliflower drizzled with basil-mint-tahini sauce, and warm freekeh with braised leeks and puréed black futsu squash. Inspired dips—super-fresh, creamy hummus or lemony, whipped labneh yogurt—boost the main attraction. $11,

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9. Garden Bar’s Banh Mi Salad

You’ll go cross-eyed exploring the dozens of leafy variations at this new age salad bar. Or you can get the Banh Mi, with thick slices of roasted chicken and addictive Spielman–Jacobsen Salt bagel chips folded into a bed of fresh arugula, napa cabbage, pickled daikon, and cucumber, all bound with spicy Sriracha aioli. $11,

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10. Harvest at the Bindery’s Spaghetti Squash

Gluten-free folk can’t get enough of this low-carb carbonara, which swaps traditional noodles for Dancing Roots farm spaghetti squash, slow-roasted in olive oil. The phenomenally healthy pasta is doused in a peppery white wine cashew-cream sauce and tossed with kale, kabocha squash, and bacon-y shiitake cracklins. $14,

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