Plant Based Dining That's Good for the Soul

LA's veg-friendly Black-owned businesses

Backyard Boogie Soul Plate at Crystals Soul Cafe
Backyard Boogie Soul Plate | Photo: Crystals Soul Cafe

Support these African American-owned businesses that offer vegan-friendly places to commune, break bread and celebrate the city's cultural heritage.

Dishes by Azla Ethiopian Vegan
Photo: Azla Ethiopian Vegan

Azla Ethiopian Vegan

For more than a decade, Chef Azla ran her eponymous restaurant, Azla, which was one of the only Ethiopian restaurants outside of LA’s Little Ethiopia district. She recently changed direction to focus on catering and special events.

Compton Vegan

Lemel Durrah, the force behind Compton Vegan, spun his local food delivery phenomenon into food truck gold with hard work and a knack for creating delicious, nutritious comfort food. Follow Durrah on Instagram to see where he'll be popping up next with plates full of baked beans, collard greens, mac-n-cheese and jackfruit-based "ribz."

Backyard Boogie Soul Plate at Crystals Soul Cafe
Backyard Boogie Soul Plate | Photo: Crystals Soul Cafe

Crystals Soul Cafe

High-vibration comfort food beyond our wildest foodie dreams is being made right now at Crystals Soul Cafe (12823 Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles 90061). Vegan shrimp plates! Cajun po' boys! Fried chick'n and buttermilk blueberry waffles! Peaches cobbler crumble! The duo behind Crystals grow their own herbs and fruits for their fresh juices and just announced new menu item called the Backyard Boogie Soul Plate which features one-of-a kind Lion's Mane Ribs along with BBQ shrimp, truffle chive potato salad, smoked black-eyed peas and fire-roasted fresh corn.

Vegan Chili Cheese Dog at Earle's on Crenshaw
Vegan Chili Cheese Dog at Earle's on Crenshaw | Photo: @earlesoncrenshaw, Instagram

Earle’s on Crenshaw

While it's not entirely vegan, Earle’s on Crenshaw (3864 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles 90008) is an iconic family-owned business that has offered an extensive vegan menu for years, with chili dogs, burgers, smothered fries and desserts guaranteed to make the mouth water.

Combinations at Happy Ice on Melrose Avenue
L to R: Rainbow Rocket, Time Machine and All-Star | Photo: Happy Ice

Happy Ice

Opened by Lemeir Mitchell in June 2020, Happy Ice makes classic Philly water ice, a frozen dessert that makes everyone happy - nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher and full of flavor. Mix and match up to three flavors, or pick a combo like the Time Machine: Cherry Bomb, Mango Madness, Pineapple Potion. Check out their Melrose location, or look for the rainbow-covered truck at gatherings across the city by following @happyice on IG.

Soul Bowls by Hugh's Hot Bowls
Soul Bowls by Hugh's Hot Bowls | Instagram: @hughshotbowls

Hugh's Hot Bowls

Since launching Hugh's Hot Bowls in May 2020, rapper-chef Hugh Augustine has been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit and more. The fourth-generation Leimert Park native serves up 100% plant-based comfort food for just $10 per Soul Bowl (red beans & rice, greens, yams, mac & cheese, cornbread muffin). Follow @hughshotbowls on Instagram for Augustine's upcoming pop-ups like Hot & Cool Cafe, Besties Vegan Paradise and Black Market Flea.

Non-dairy cheese spreads by Misha's Kind Foods at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park
Misha's Kind Foods at Follow Your Heart | Photo: @mishaskindfoods, Instagram

Misha’s Kind Foods

Certified raw vegan/living foods chef Ian Martin first studied the art of vegan cheese-making at Juliano’s Raw and Matthew Kenney’s MAKE, then launched his line of creamy probiotic tree nut cheeses and schmears. Misha's Kind Foods is now beloved at farmers’ markets across the city, along with numerous locations of Ralph's and Wal-Mart. Misha's non-dairy cheese spreads come in many delicious flavors and are available at retail stores like Besties Vegan Paradise, MillCross Coffee Bar & Kitchen, Larchmont Village Wine and more. Misha's has a kosher certification, as well.

Millennium Special at Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
Millennium Special at Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine | Photo: @vegnews, Instagram

Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

Rahel (1047 S. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles 90019) serves up flavorful Ethiopian food - all-vegan all the time - right in the heart of L.A.’s Little Ethiopia district. Get your lentils and greens on with any one of several combo platters, meant for sharing; or experience an authentic Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony in the hut. Gluten-free injera is available, too!

Organic Soul Food Sampler Plate at Stuff I Eat in Inglewood
Organic Soul Food Sampler Plate | Photo: Stuff I Eat

Stuff I Eat

Originally started as a catering business with a mission to provide “access to good quality, healthy food,” Stuff I Eat (114 N Market St, Inglewood 90301) is now a staple of Inglewood, known for its generous brunch platters, organic and gluten-free lunches, and fantastic desserts by the effervescent Chef Babette.

Palm Bisque at Ubuntu
Palm Bisque at Ubuntu | Instagram:
Trumpet Mushrooms at Ubuntu
Trumpet Mushrooms at Ubuntu | Instagram:


Opened in August 2023, Ubuntu (7469 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90046) showcases the plant-based West African cuisine of James Beard Award semifinalist chef Shenarri “Greens” Freeman. Inspired by her travels and the desire to explore her roots, Shenarri's menu transports guests to the African continent with twists on traditional dishes from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and West Africa. Highlights include Jollof Arancini, Charred Okra Salad, Palm Bisque (hearts of palm, fried shallots, parsley oil), Lion's Mane Pie and Trumpet Mushrooms with red pepper pesto and black garlic, topped with pickled mustard seeds.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip by Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip by Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies | Photo: @uncleeddiesvegancookies, Instagram

Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies

The brown bags of delectable soft-baked cookies distributed across the country are actually made at Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies, a family-owned and operated bakery in Glendale. Brothers Jeffrey and Robbie Jacobs are often seen repping the business at events like Eat Drink Vegan. Find Uncle Eddie's at Whole Foods, Ralphs, Erewhon, Gelsons, Mother's Market and local shops.

Vurger Guyz
Photo: Vurger Guyz

Vurger Guyz

The big food truck with the cartoon cheeseburger logo can be found on street corners all over LA. Friends Kori Vines, Kendall Patterson, Phillip Bennett, and Naeem Outler - all former NCAA athletes - they say their mission at Vurger Guyz (788 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90017) is simple: “changing lives one bite at a time.” One bite of their Beyond Meat burgers and tacos will have eaters everywhere looking to get #Vurgerfied. Follow @vurgerguyz for their latest stops.