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.