Pradeep’s Indian Cuisine

1405 Montana Ave, Santa Monica

It is so bizarre to me that Indian food is only something I tried about two summers ago, as it is now definitely one of my favorite cuisines. Only when I started changing my diet did I start looking for delicious spices, flavors, vegetables, and sauces, which naturally led me right to Indian food.

The summer I worked on The Crohn’s Moans documentary (just a few weeks before I went vegan, but was already pescetarian/no dairy), my director and I got Indian food everywhere we went. I remember an authentic Indian place we went to in Seattle, the many times we ate Indian food in San Fransisco and Palo Alto, and almost every Whole Foods we went to, we were getting the fresh indian food from the buffet. I loved it. I couldn’t believe I had never eaten it before.

As for cooking at home, a staple in my diet is High Carb Hannah’s Easy Vegan Dahl; I start with her recipe and add lots more spices and vegetables to make it my own. But even this #broke college grad needs to know a few good places to eat out sometimes- someone might want to take me on a date and I want to be prepared with a place I know I can eat (I know, I’m wondering what world this would happen in too…but you never know!). Indian food is such a good cuisine to eat out if you’re vegan, since most places, even if they aren’t strictly vegan, have countless vegan options.

Once I moved to Santa Monica, I knew I had to find a local Indian place that I really liked that could make me something oil free. I found Pradeep’s, an amazing place on Montana Ave. with just about the friendliest, kindest, and most accommodating staff. They have an entire section of their menu for vegetarian and vegan dishes, and they all come with rice and a salad (which are both BOMB). It would have been hard for me to decide which entree to get, since all of the veggie combo plates looked amazing, but luckily for me, only one main dish could be made completely oil free. I ordered the Seasonal Mix Vegeterables, which were curry infused carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and green peas and they made it special for me with an oil free ginger carrot sauce (ah-may-zing) along with the salad with their house chutney on it and tumeric-infused rice. My lovely friend, Morgan, also got a delicious vegan dish.

A+ on the atmosphere, A+ on the staff, A+ on the food. Have gone back, will go back, but will definitely be going for lunch next time since it’s more affordable.

 

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Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro, Culver City

Sage is one of my favorite spots in LA. I’m not actually super into the whole super trendy place, but it’s hard to not love a place that has lights strung up outside and a menu with not one, but TWO dishes you can safely eat that are seriously fantastic AND a beer garden.

Unfortunately, the delicious chocolate chip pancakes from across the table were not oil free but if you’re just going vegan and don’t care- go for it. I definitely think eating more nutrient dense foods, less processed foods and additives is the healthier way to eat but I don’t believe in criticizing another person’s choice who doesn’t feel compelled to be extremely health conscious. For me, with a condition where I actually use this type of lifestyle/diet as medicine, it is really important for me to follow it as strictly as possible (think about someone who takes their medicine, this is mine). So my dish was the raw tacos: walnut cranberry ‘meat’, sundried tomato, cashew cheese, guacamole, jicama and pico de gallo in a lettuce taco shell. (How cool- I actually found a recipe online that replicates this- gotta try it ASAP obvs leaving out the oil!). I’m not sure if it’s naturally oil free or if it can just be made oil free, so if you’re going to order this I would just make sure to tell your server. It’s funny, I tried a tiny tiny bite of my friend’s pancakes which were great (but I can make pancakes whenever I want so I don’t usually order them out) and even though she loved them (not vegan, couldn’t tell they were vegan, but really, how could you ever, the non-vegan ingredients don’t give a pancake flavor!!) but really wished she ordered my dish and ended up eating a lot off my plate. The dish is seriously fantastic.

I almost never go out and order a salad, but the second dish I can eat at Sage is an awesome salad that I never feel like I’m wasting a meal out ordering. The “Goatless Greek” is a chopped, tossed salad with massaged kale, quinoa, carrots, cucumbers, spicy cabbage, tomatoes, onion, avocado, apple, kalamata olives, jalapeño agave sauce, raw dill cheese, and cashew alfredo. It’s delicious. Same thing about oil free- not sure if it’s usually this way but you can definitely ask them to make it this way.

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