There’s no denying that even carnivores enjoy more vegan dishes than they may realize. At the Vegan Street Fair this Sunday, March 25 in North Hollywood, eaters of every ilk have a chance to fully revel in the flavors of plant-based cuisine.
More than 100 vendors will bring their vegan take on familiar foods, along with some unanticipated new twists. Entry is free so you can buy just what you want, with many participants offering free samples and smaller $4 portions, along with full size dishes.
A few of this year’s attendees have shared a sneak peek at some of the selections they’ll be showcasing to win over your taste buds. Read on for a taste of what you’ll find from Cooking With Om, Casa, Best Gumbo In The Hood, Roni Macaroni, Fried Out, Naked Hippie Snacks, and Acai Dream Bowl.
Last year, personal chef Om Rishikesh was an LA newbie who attended the Vegan Street Fair with friends as a visitor. This year, he returns to take part as a vendor and share some of the vegan dishes he’s crafted from his own experimental recipes.
Om blends two of his influences—his Colombian heritage and Ayurvedic training—to create his jackfruit tacos and nachos. He cooks the jackfruit when it’s green so that it shreds like meat, then infuses it with coriander, cumin, and turmeric, not only for flavor but for their detoxifying effects. Watermelon radishes, purple daikons, and pickled cabbage decorate his dishes while enhancing the taste and texture. The nacho cheese was a tricky recipe that Om honed to look, feel, and taste like cheese with a mixture of cashews and spices.
“I’m a vegan who does not eat soy. So that is also the difference of my food, where I try to use things that are non-processed. Everything is from scratch,” he said.
Om will also be offering watermelon poke, drizzled with sauce and served on black forbidden rice. It’s a dish that Om sells to Saturday shoppers at the Marina del Rey Farmers Market with enthusiastic responses from vegans and meat eaters alike.
“When you cook watermelon, it becomes soft and chewy, almost like fish. So that’s why we played with the idea that it’s like poke,” he said. The tacos, nachos, and watermelon poke will be $10 each.
For dessert, watermelon reappears on Om’s menu in its raw form, sliced into pizza-like triangles, topped with berries and drizzled with cashew cream and chocolate. Slices are $4 each.
“We try to make vegan food even better than regular food,” he said, “to eliminate that whole idea that vegan food is not tasty.”
In addition to catering and events, Om offers meal plans that can be delivered to your home and also conducts workshops and classes that focus on the principles of Ayurvedic cooking.
Brisa Lopez likes to examine the culinary traditions of her native Mexico to create uncommon flavor medleys at her local catering business, Casa. This is most evident in one of her signature dishes, which puts Mexico’s beloved sweet roll, the concha, on a burger.
“The surprise effect of unexpected combinations such as sweet bread and a burger, or the luscious richness of mole with loads of authentic Mexican vegetables, definitely hits the spot,” she said.
Brisa’s savory veggie burger is served inside a sliced concha roll, which has a cookie crust top that resembles a seashell. In between, the patty is garnished with chipotle tofu crema, guacamole, spinach, tomatoes, and jalapenos. The concha burger will be served at the Vegan Street Fair with a signature side of mole nachos, heartily topped with lettuce, cactus salad, guacamole, jalapenos, tofu sour cream and queso fresco. For the mole, Brisa blends ancho chiles, almonds, cacao, peanut and pumpkin.
Casa’s menu is a tasty reminder that, historically speaking, Mexican cuisine has not been based solely on meat, oil, cheese, and sour cream.
“I grew up eating vegetables on a daily basis, not just because it was healthy, but because it was cheaper. I have spent all my life eating them, using endless combinations,” she said.
Also at the event, look out for Casa’s handmade sopes plate sampler with three topping options: cactus salad (sautéed cactus with tomato, cilantro, and onions), rajas (zucchini, corn, and poblano guisado), or potatoes with soyrizo.
You can wash down your meal with a vegan horchata—take your pick of strawberry, coconut, guava, or The Queen, which comes with a mini concha. Items will range from $4 to $10, plus a shareable plate for $15; drinks will run from $3 to $10.
While Casa is available for cooking classes, weddings, and other events, you can also find them in attendance at Molcajete Dominguero, a monthly gathering of local Latino food vendors and artists.
When striving for gumbo greatness, the meat doesn’t matter when it’s all about the roux. Best Gumbo In The Hood owner Angela Eason stirs her roux for two hours to intensify the flavors and achieve a rich chocolate color, creating a thick gravy that holds the stew together.
“The roux of my gumbo is the same whether it is vegan or not, therefore the magic is in the roux,” she said. “This is where I pour my love into the gumbo.”
Angela has spent more than 20 years traveling to New Orleans and studying, sampling, and perfecting her gumbo recipe. The Hood Kitchen Space & Market, a commercial kitchen in Costa Mesa, is where she incubated and launched her gumbo catering business. She offers both meat and vegan versions.
“Often, non-vegans opt for the vegan gumbo over the meaty gumbo for variety and the flavor,” she said.
At the Vegan Street Fair, you can get the gumbo over brown rice for $10, or indulge in the gumbo platter, which comes with greens and cajun cornbread for $15. Gumbo will also be served over hot dogs ($10) and fries ($9). Side dishes include fried okra ($5) and greens ($4). In keeping with Southern tradition, chase it with an organic agave iced tea ($4).
Angela has been a participant in every Vegan Street Fair event since it started in LA, and this will be her fourth appearance offering vegan cajun cuisine. You can also inquire about catering via her website.
Roni Macaroni owners Mark and Abril Hurlston are out to reform mac & cheese from an old favorite to a new classic by merging it with other tastes you crave.
“We love experimenting and coming up with different recipes that we didn’t necessarily grow up with, but as adults we can be creative and play with different ingredient combos,” Abril said.
This is how they discovered one of their top sellers, the Buffalo Mac, which spikes the classic cheesy dish with the flavor of buffalo wings. For the Vegan Street Fair, Buffalo Mac is made with celery, shaved carrots, buffalo sauce, and vegan ranch dressing. Though not strictly a vegan food truck, Roni Macaroni regularly offers vegan options of their core dishes, including Straight Mac & Cheese and the LA Street Mac topped with chopped vegan dogs. These will also be offered at the event, along with a version with grilled onion and toasted breadcrumbs.
Their recipe for vegan cheese sauce involves soy milk, nutritional yeast, a blend of spices, and a hint of Dijon mustard. “It’s hard to do, but I think we’ve found that creamy texture that you look for in a good cheese sauce,” she said.
Other options for the food fest will include their blackened tofu mushroom sliders and their two top-selling fries. “People love our garlic fries and our truffle fries. They always come back for more,” said Abril.
Having learned from their experience at last year’s event, Roni Macaroni is offering a limited menu at the Vegan Street Fair to be able to serve food faster. But at the truck’s regular stops, you can try more vegan options, such as veggie dogs topped with mac & cheese and french fries topped with mac & cheese.
Small portions of mac & cheese range from $8 to $10 and large portions are $12 to $14; sample sizes are $4. Blackened tofu mushroom sliders are $4 for samples and $8 for full orders. Fries are $7.
Guess what? Potatoes are vegetables, too! In case you forgot, Fried Out would like to remind you that the trusty potato is nutritiously packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Priscilla Jaramillo, owner of this LA-based food stand, wants to change the way we perceive the reputed staple of junk food meals.
“While the only way we serve potatoes are fried, I firmly believe we are offering a healthier version of the classic comfort food by choosing to use organic ingredients and heart healthy cooking oils,” she said.
Knowing that flavor matters most, Priscilla’s goal is to enhance the natural aspects of the ingredients in her vegan dishes. At the Vegan Street Fair, you’ll find garlic fries that use fresh garlic and chili cheese fries made with organic jackfruit and housemade vegan cheese sauce. Fried Out will also offer their avocado fries with chimichurri sauce.
The Vegan Saltado with portabella mushrooms is Priscilla’s nod to the traditionally beefy Peruvian dish stir-fried with french fries, Lomo Saltado.
“One of my best friends is Peruvian and definitely approves of it. Several of our customers are also Peruvian, including visitors from Lima who were delighted to try a vegan version of the famed dish,” she said.
Food prices range from $7-$11, or $4 for a smaller portion of garlic fries. Beverage options will include horchata made from scratch and a selection of fresh juices and lemonades to refresh your palate.
You can also find Fried Out among the vendors the at the Melrose Trading Post in the Fairfax District, offering both vegan and non-vegan options every Sunday.
When it comes to granola bar ingredients, Naked Hippie Snacks bares it all. Embracing a 1970s vibe with a slogan that reads, “If we were any more natural, you’d be blushing,” this company makes granola bars using minimal ingredients.
Company co-founder Grigor Kharbertyan created these bars a few years ago after his doctor told him he was pre-diabetic. Unable to find a tasty and nutritious sweet treat that wouldn’t spike his blood sugar, Grigor and his daughter Christine Herman developed their own line of organic granola bars.
“Our snack bars are packed with the best ingredients we can find, a punch of flavor, and they’re a treat to eat,” she said.
This is a return trip to the event for Christina, who said last year’s crowd really took to their soy-free protein bar made with hemp and pumpkin seeds. She explains that they create granola bars without processed ingredients, aiming for a texture that’s soft when you bite into them with a hearty, satisfying crunch from the nuts.
“The perfect granola bar is all about the balance of flavor, texture, and nutrition,” Christina said.
Naked Hippie Snacks will offer all five of their flavors: Fudge N’ Coconut, Banana Bliss, High on Protein, Off the Walnut, and Apricot Zing. Get single bars for $2.50 or buy a dozen for $24 at the event. Christina encourages visitors to try the free samples available at their booth.
Several locations throughout the Los Angeles area carry Naked Hippie Snacks, including Romancing the Bean Coffee Shop in Burbank, KAFN Coffee Bar and Kopper Keg Liquors in Glendale, M Street Coffee in Sherman Oaks, and Rainbow Acres in Marina del Rey. Or you can order them online from the Naked Hippie Snacks website.
When you find the Acai Dream Bowl truck at the Vegan Street Fair, you’re in for a pure acai treat. For the base of each bowl, owner Eman Kakhi uses organic 100% acai juice, which means no water or sugar is added. “We don’t even have sugar on our truck,” he said.
You can choose from five bowl options with generous portions of fresh fruit and superfood toppings. The Dream Bowl is their most popular, with blueberries and bananas, strawberries, pineapple, granola, coconut, almonds, raw honey, bee pollen and goji berries.
Other available varieties will include a berry, protein, and chocolate bowl. Eman’s personal favorite is the Protein Power Bowl. If your food mood favors veggies over fruit, try the Green Wellness Bowl, which blends an almond milk base with kale, spinach, chlorophyll, and plant protein. All options are dairy and gluten free.
“Ten years ago in Rio I discovered acai fruits,” he said. “And I always had that dream to provide something new and healthy to people.”
Each bowl is made to order and customized on the spot, ranging in price from $10 to $13.