Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes


In my neck of the woods it is Sweet Tomatoes, and I have mixed feelings about this chain which I just sampled today.

On their website, you can see which dishes are vegan (and consequently dairy-free), but for a soup and salad place, there are surprisingly few options away from the salad bar itself.  I knew that there must be more dairy-free items that just weren't vegan, so I contacted the company via their website.  They basically told me they couldn't help, but that I could request to look at the "ingredient book" onsite when I arrived.  I wasn't really sure why their customer service didn't have an "ingredient book" to help me with in advance so that I could just go and enjoy my meal as a paying customer.

So I stuck to the vegan items and those that were obviously dairy-free (ie the turkey chili).  I really enjoyed the basil, pinto, & barley soup, and my husband really liked the French onion soup (which was obviously dairy-free, but not vegan).  The salad bar was fresh and clean, though I found the dairy-free dressing selections sparse.

The atmosphere was pure chaos, with kids running everywhere, people standing with trays waiting for tables (a rather odd site) and bussers jumping to clear plates as quickly as possible.  We found sanctity in our little booth, but wouldn't return to this establishment without a good coupon.

You can find out more on their website:

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. French Onion Soup is not “Obviously dairy-free.” Many French Onion Soups are loaded with butter from sautéing the onions and the bullion, which if they use a cube, has dairy in most of them.

    • I appreciate your concern Bec, but I think you might be reading out of context. I stated that French onion soup was, because of the ingredients listed. Not that all French onion soups are.

  2. Regarding Sweet Tomatoes, I have mixed feelings as well. I am dairy-free, and my wife is gluten-free, both due to fairly extreme reactions to each, respectively. I did find a pretty good variety of dairy-free options, but identifying them, especially in the soup selections., was more than a challenge. They have somewhat cryptic labels on the selections, like “V”, “VE”, and “VG”. This may not be exact secret codes, but they are not intuitive as to what each one means. Here in Arizona, where many of the employees are Mexican and have a limited English vocabulary, it became especially complicated in clarifying what is safe for us to eat. One very-friendly, but English-limited employee did bring us a book to look up what items we had questions about, but the book was out-dated, and did not have several of the specific soups in questions listed. For a “healthy alternative” type of restaurant/buffet, Sweet Tomatoes seems to be dropping the ball in catering to their target market.

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