Annual meat free celebration NYC Vegetarian Food Festival returns for two days at Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion. On March 1st and 2nd, restaurants, retailers and other exhibitors promote a vegetable-based lifestyle with samplings and demonstrations; think of it as a healthier alternative to similar gorgefests throughout the year.

Though anything sans-animal flesh counts as vegetarian, the majority of exhibitors focus on vegan treats and initiatives. Try out vegan cheese from Treeline, who make fromage like Cracked Pepper Hard Cheese and creamy, Herb-Garlic Soft French-Style all created from cashews. Nuttin Ordinary also trades in the dairy for cashews with their original and spicy varieties of cheese spread. Sweets from Brooklyn Rose Vegan Bakery, grain mixes from SooFoo and veggie chips and granolas from The Kale Factory are just a few of the other scheduled attendees.

Demos and talks on things like going vegan on a budget and the benefits of a plant-based diet are part of the program as well; there's also some standup comedy on the docket to lighten the mood. Single day tickets are available now for $30 each or buy a weekend pass for $50. In addition to the on-site eats, vendors typically bring along some fun product samples, so get ready for a mini swag bag for enjoyment later.