Nov 8, 2010

native foods (MoFo 5)

Native Foods is the brain child of Tanya Petrovna, who opened the first Native Foods in 1994. She will be opening the seventh very soon! That is impressive; a vegan restaurant that will be celebrating another grand opening. What is more impressive, though, is the food. I am literally licking the plate that I served the Azteca Ensalada on - that Mango-Lime Dressing rocks!

Another impressive feat is the preparation of her tempeh. While she actually makes the tempeh on the premises, my store-bought version did not suffer any using her technique. Delicious! If you are one of those tempeh-phobes this is the recipe for you. If after having tempeh this way you don't like it, then you never will and you may fearlessly throw in the proverbial towel. 

To the recipes...

Let's face it, nachos are good. Most any nachos. But these Native Nachos are great! Chef Tanya shares her Native Chi's recipe that go on this and the taco 'meat' is TVP. You can freely use seitan ground, however, or omit it at will and double the beans. Nothing processed. Even the cashew sour cream I have on there is very easy to make. THIS is one loaded nacho plate and go ahead and customize it to your palate.

Now for that salad I was drooling over in the beginning - assorted greens with tomato, onion, jicama or apple or asian pear, cucumbers, cilantro, mango, raisin, pumpkin seeds, quinoa (superfood!) and that outrageous Mango-Lime Dressing and you not only have a complete meal but a little piece of heaven.

The last item on our tasting menu is the Gandhi Bowl - two kinds of rice, steamed greens, curry sauce and that tempeh of hers - blackened. Cajun-meets-Asian. Another out-of-the-park dish. She is batting a thousand.

The only real criticism I have is that she is inundating the east coast with her restaurants and is leaving the mid and west coast to suffer without her culinary contributions. Pure selfishness.

Cost Breakdown:

chips: $3 
cheeze, cashew sour cream: $3
TVP, beans: $4
tomato, onion, olive, pepper: $3
Total to make apps for 8:

greens: $4
Asian pear, tomato, cuke, mango: $4
mango, lime, oil, cilantro: $2
raisin, pumpkin: $1
quinoa: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

rice: $1.50
curry, coconut milk: $2
tempeh: $3
greens, cauliflower: $3
Total to make 5 servings:

Native Nachos

Ensalada Azteca

Gandhi Bowl


  1. I LOVE Native Foods. When I worked at UCLA, I'd go there way to often.
    Now, I have to plan eating trips to LA (from the Central Coast) and always include at least one meat at Native Foods.
    I have asked and asked, but they seem to want to stay in the LA metro area... :(

  2. Love me some vegan nachos. Have to check out Native Foods, sounds like something I would enjoy.

  3. All that food sounds wonderful, but that Ensalada Azteca looks amazing! So fresh and so delicious!

  4. OMG I love Native Foods! I have one right by my casa and I always hit it up on special occasions... can't wait for that tempeh recipe as i have a block in the freezer and hate the stuff at this point in my life...

  5. Mo! It is great to see you here! Thanks for the compliments and for visiting.

    in2insight, maybe this will make the in-between trips more bearable :)

    Thanks, Koci - I thought the salad was outrageous, too!

    Tender Branson and Amy - you lucky dogs! You actually can get to one ?!

    Amy, the tempeh is up and I wish you all the best.

  6. Now that is a plate of nachos, awesome!

  7. The Native Foods Cookbook is one of my favorites! And of course the restaurant is too, but I don't get over to that side of town too often, so I make the food at home.

    I use the cookbook so much that almost all of the pages are out of the binding! Just had the Mecca Azteca (Ensalada Azteca) for dinner last night, and I make the tempeh all the time. So many amazing recipes!

  8. Everything looks so delicious! I can't wait until they open the Culver City location.

  9. This blog post leaves me seriously starving!

  10. I have a question about the Native Cheese. Agar is so stinking expensive (about $7 for an ounce). I can buy Daiya or FYH for less than that (not something I would eat by itself ever). Is it worth the extra $ to make your own or do you have some secret agar mine in your backyard?

  11. Thanks all! I love this cookbook, Kim! And I love Nachos, Catherine and stair, so this post is most seriously good, catmomma. Thanks, omigosh, too.

    Becky, you are correct, agar can be very costly. I make cheese quite a bit and I bought a pound of agar from Frontier Co-op a few years back. It is still going strong. They sell it for $70 a pound unless you are a wholesale member (and it costs $10 a year to join and then you get discounts on everything, free shipping with $250 order. I get a few friends into the action and order once a month or so.)

    If you are a wholesale member the cost is $37 a pound for $2.30 per ounce.

    I do buy Daiya and FYH and love them, but there are many people who can't have soy (FYH) or processed foods (both) or just don't have access to it. If you can get the agar for that price and the need or desire to make it at home, it is worth it. However, if you like the convenience that the purchased product gives you, I say if it isn't broken don't fix it. I just like to give as many options as I can for folks so they have a variety of choices. The more choices the more chance of being/staying/going vegan.

  12. I'll have to check out the Frontier idea.

    I made the Gandhi bowl last night and it was soooo great! My 6yo daughter said she'd like to eat the whole cake of it!

  13. Becky, it is great that your 6yo loves tempeh. It is very good for her now, but when she gets older (ripe old age of 10) she will still have the love. Almost like most of American kids who love fries, but a tad healthier! Nice work, Becky.


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