02 December 2010

Vegan restaurant Green Earth offers something for everyone, even Mother Nature

Though it is just a few months old, Green Earth Vegan Cuisine has already developed a loyal following of eager eaters in the Los Angeles area. The Pasadena-based restaurant, part of a family business with two more restaurants by the same name in Canada, offers a completely plant-based menu in an effort to preserve the environment from the carbon emissions, water and ground pollution, and other issues associated with factory farming animals for food. The restaurant uses as many local and organic ingredients as it can afford, and consciously uses biodegradable take-out containers and utensils.

Even more exciting, the restaurant boasts a variety of cuisines in its extensive menu. In the mood for Italian? Try the Conchiglie Ripiene (pasta shells filled with spinach, tofu, and textured vegetable proteins and topped with a classic marinara sauce) or the house’s most popular dish, the Lasagne Di Verdure (lasagna with eggplant, zucchini, onions, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, and artichokes). Prefer Mexican tonight? Go for the comfort food quesadillas (tortilla, grilled eggplant, zucchini, and vegan cheese served with guacamole and pico de gallo), Fajita Vegana (tortilla wrapped with soy proteins, bell peppers, onions, and tomato served with guacamole and house made tofu mayo), or Gourmet Burrito (textured vegetable proteins, brown rice, shredded lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo).

Traditional Tom Yum Thai soup (with lemongrass, king oyster mushrooms, cabbage, celery, bamboo shoots, and basil), Indian Curry Tofu (with potatoes, zucchini, peas, carrots, and red bell peppers), Chinese Chow Mein (with tofu, broccoli, cabbage, celery, bean sprouts, and carrots), Vietnamese Pho noodle soup (with bean sprouts and basil), and American Classic Burger (grilled veggie patty with teriyaki sauce, avocado, lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickle) and Sprout Sandwich (alfalfa sprouts, avocado, tomato, onion, pesto, and hummus) are among the myriad of options for worldly palates.

The restaurant also offers an array of soy- and gluten-free options, and the owner emphasized that any dish can be altered to meet the patron’s dietary needs or preferences. To prove his point, I ordered my Fettuccine Alfredo sans zucchini, red bell peppers, and soy chick’un breast, and substituted spinach, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. I was even more impressed that the cost for this delicious dish--which used organic whole wheat spinach fettuccine--was so modestly priced for such fancy noodles. It might have cost me the same to purchase the uncooked pasta at Whole Foods, whereas at Green Earth I was able to enjoy the perfect prepared-by-a-professional entree with vegetables and all.

However, my favorite item was the Bruschetta. Not your typical tomato fare, this unique version included diced onions, vegan prawn, king oyster mushrooms, and vegan cheese on toasted and sliced French rolls. Initially, I was skeptical of the description, but my fiance, a Green Earth regular, assured me that it was a worthy choice. And how! In all my years of eating I have never before seen this interesting combination, and decided then that it would be my staple starter for every meal at Green Earth thereafter. Next time I also want to try the Quinoa Sushi (with carrots, cucumber, avocado, and portabella mushrooms)--a clever twist on the California favorite, with more nutrients than white or even brown rice.

Green Earth’s natural decor and relaxing ambiance make it the perfect lunch stop if you are shopping along the famed Colorado Blvd. just a few blocks from the restaurant, or the perfect dinner venue for a celebration. In fact, this weekend I will be returning for the special occasion of meeting my close friend’s significant other for the first time. As they are both omnivores, I specifically chose Green Earth for this event because the multitude of menu selections both demonstrates the versatility of vegan foods and ensures that everyone’s cravings will be satisfied. And, if we can’t finish our delectable meals, we’ll take them home in biodegradable boxes, pleasing Mother Nature as well.

Visit the website for the address, full menu, and more.

Jaya Bhumitra | Facebook
Jaya has eight years of experience in public affairs and communications, and degrees in business and psychology. She is a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Compassion Over Killing in L.A. and an avid runner. Jaya is owned by four dogs (Trooper, Lacey, Midge, and Tin Tin) and a cat (Cupcake).

Photo credit: Green Earth Vegan Cuisine