Plant Based Dining That's Good for the Soul

LA's veg-friendly Black-owned businesses

Bean Bowl at Jackfruit Cafe in West LA
Bean Bowl at Jackfruit Cafe | Photo: @jackfruitcafe, Instagram

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 at Mercado la Paloma
Photo: Azla Ethiopian Vegan

Azla Ethiopian Fusion

Azla (4309 Lemeirt Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008), one of LA's only Ethiopian restaurants outside of the Little Ethiopia, mixes traditional Ethiopian flavors with Mexican standards, creating mouth-tingling combos like spicy soy Africano tacos, fava-bean-stuffed Biddy Hussle burritos,  and the cheekily-named Gomen-Faced Killah. Stop by for a taste of what happens when berbere meets cayenne with guacamole on top!

Compton Vegan

Lemel Durrah, the force behind Compton Vegan, spun his local food delivery phenomenon into food truck gold by hard work and a knack for creating delicious, nutritious comfort food. Look for the truck rolling through the city, promoting Meatless Mondays at 4269 Crenshaw from 7pm - 11 pm and keep up on Instagram to get a plate full of baked beans, collard greens, mac-n-cheese, and jackfruit-based 'ribz.' Download the @streetstopapp to order ahead & save time!

 

vegan soul food
Backyard Boogie Soul Plate, courtesy of 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, CA 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, CA 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.

Angela Means with her Jerk Jackfruit Bowl at Jackfruit Cafe
Angela Means with her Jerk Jackfruit Bowl at Jackfruit Cafe | Photo: @angelamonicameans, Instagram

Jackfruit Café

Comedian/actor Angela Means, first known for her role as Felisha in the 1995 film Friday, now feeds hungry masses jackfruit tacos, cauliflower "wings," Super Soul Bowls, and healthy juice drinks at Jackfruit Cafe. The business started inside King’s Donuts in South LA, then moved into a food truck, and has lately found a home inside the shared space kitchens of Colony (11419 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90025) with options for drive through, dine-in, take-out, or catering.

Means donates a portion of her Jackfruit Cafe profits to Love Always Sanctuary in San Fernando.

Veggie chips and mango salsa at LaRayia’s Bodega in Westlake
Veggie chips and mango salsa at LaRayia’s Bodega | Photo: @larayiasbodega, Instagram

LaRayia’s Bodega

LaRayia Gaston is the force of nature behind the fresh juices and whole food plant-based meals in her namesake bodega in Westlake (2713 W 6th St., Los Angeles 90057). Her heart extends beyond its walls to her non-profit Lunch On Me, which feeds thousands of vegan meals to homeless people in Venice, Watts and Compton at her once-a-month block parties. 

Note: Besties Vegan Paradise (4882 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles 90029) is the only store in California to carry Lunch On Me's Love Without Reason drinks as well as Compton Vegan’s Ranch Dressing.

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. 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 (11050 Washington Blvd, Culver City), Larchmont Village Wine (223 N. Larchmont Blvd) 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; (323)-937-8401) serves up flavorful authentic 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 of the many combo platters, experience a coffee ceremony and pick up a Vegan Power shirt as a souvenir. Gluten-free injera available, too!

Organic Soul Food Platter at Stuff I Eat in Inglewood
Organic Soul Food Platter | 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-friendly lunches, and astounding desserts by the effervescent soon-to-be-cookbook author Chef Babette.

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.

Vtree
Soul Plate @TheVtree

The VTree

The VTree (3515 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026) is one of those restaurants that is more of an experience than just a place to eat. On any given night there might be a DJ cranking tunes from the corner, you could catch voices of the future coming from an open mic while picking up your food-to-go, or you may find yourself caught up in doing the Electric Slide between bites of Jambalya. Chef Velvet is celebrated for her food as much as her commitment to community. Come for the biscuits and gravy, stay for the atmosphere.

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 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.