“cream” with crostini to honshimeji with saffron, celery
leaf and red bliss potatoes and maitake roasted with wine
and accented with celery root, leek and truffle.
HIGHLY EVOLVED VEGAN
In a town where looking your best, always being ready for
your close-up and dining out more to be seen than to eat,
it’s no surprise that Los Angeles is where vegan dining
with its healthful slant and clean-living bent is highly
evolved. Private chef to many top-drawer celebrities,
owner Eric Lechasseur takes a simple and direct approach
to vegan cuisine at his newly opened Seed Bistro in West
Los Angeles, an offshoot of his first vegan restaurant
based in beachside Venice.
In a spare yet comfortable space, Lechasseur offers a
farmers-market-driven menu and includes some gluten-free
and seitan- and tempeh-based options. Reflecting both his
Gallic roots and vegan commitment, there is a lentil and
mushroom “pâté” garnished with agar-thickened shiitake
mushroom juice gelée, accompanied by addictive in-house-made raw chia and sunflower seed crackers.
There are even two burgers on the menu, one with
Southwest inflections made from beans and grains and
served with guacamole and vegan soy cheese, slathered
• Use fresh farmers market
produce for highly flavored
• Dehydrating vegetables and
fruits concentrates flavor,
offering textural contrast in
salads or as garnishes on grain-based main dishes.
TIPS ON VEGAN COOKING
• Create a rich and satisfying
vegetable stock using root
vegetables and mushrooms,
fresh gingerroot, and generous
amounts of onion, leek, shallot
and garlic, seasoned with soy
• Use different cooking methods
(saute, char, sear, poach,
roast, wok fry, etc.) for a single
• Use a wide variety of fresh
herbs for highly seasoned
marinades that penetrate and
flavor dishes involving tofu and
in dressings and pesto.
• Nuts such as cashews, walnuts,
almonds and macadamias work
well as the basis for sauces and
• Explore various kinds of miso
paste for deeply flavored sauces,
dressings and additions to
• Try different kinds of soy
sauces in place of table salt for
complexly flavored dishes.
• Experiment with sea salts as
finishing touches on dishes.
with an ancho chili spread, and another using tempeh
topped with a vegan mayonnaise and a mango salsa. And
for those missing meat or not quite wholeheartedly vegan,
there’s a pepper “steak,” which uses seitan (also made in-house from wheat protein).
PHOTO CREDIT: top, The Veggie Grill; bottom, Donna Gentile Wierzbowski
But Lechasseur’s signature dish takes farmers market kale
and high-protein quinoa and enhances the combination
with a creamy miso tahini-based dressing, and then tops
the whole dish off with a thatch of chiffonade nori.
TOP: The All-American Stack at The Veggie Grill is a veggie burger with traditional