A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Tag Archives: encinitas

Healthy Creations: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_2638" align="alignnone" width="640"]Healthy Creations Healthy Creations[/caption]


ENCINITAS.  I love, love, love Healthy Creations.  I stop in every time I am up in Encinitas.  They don’t have a particularly fancy menu or crazy interior decor.  So what makes Healthy Creations so great?  Every menu item is created with careful thought and made with quality ingredients.  Quite simply, everything tastes amazing.




Healthy Creations always has two home made soups, one of which is usually vegan.  And believe me, they are worth sampling.  The butternut squash soup has become one of my favorites.  It is thick with an almost pumpkin flavor and reminds me of fall.


[caption id="attachment_2639" align="alignnone" width="640"]Butternut Squash Soup Butternut Squash Soup[/caption]


Another great option is the Vegetable Soup.  This is not the bland veggie soup out of a can, I grew up eating.  It is full of fresh vegetables and seasoned with just the right mix of herbs.


[caption id="attachment_2640" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegetable Soup Vegetable Soup[/caption]


Sandwiches and Burgers:


The Sunshine Veggie Burger is one of my staple orders.  The gluten free and soy free burger is topped with spring greens, tomatoes, sprouts, chipotle aioli, and avocado.  Just remember to ask for vegan bread as the burger is usually served on a bun that is NOT vegan.


[caption id="attachment_2641" align="alignnone" width="640"]Veggie Burger Veggie Burger[/caption]


Healthy Creations has recently added a vegan BLT to their menu.  House made coconut bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado are sandwiched between two pieces of vegan bread.  The vegan BLT’s I’ve tried in the past use tempeh bacon, so I was intrigued to try the coconut bacon.  I really enjoyed the taste, and  the fact that the coconut bacon isn’t a processed product like tempeh bacon!


[caption id="attachment_2642" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan BLT Vegan BLT[/caption]


And if you fall in love with the coconut bacon, it is available for purchase at Healthy Creations!


[caption id="attachment_2648" align="alignnone" width="493"]Coconut Bacon Coconut Bacon[/caption]




Healthy Creations doesn’t forget about dessert.  One item that shouldn’t be missed is the mini-cream sandwich.  The cookies are soft and chewy and the frosting inside is smooth and creamy.  I also love their size — they’re the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth without going overboard.


[caption id="attachment_2643" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mini Cream Sandwich Mini Cream Sandwich[/caption]


And then there is the Raw Lemon Bar.  Each bar has two layers: a sticky, cakey bottom and a tangy, lemony topping.  This is a refreshing dessert and a great choice if you  are looking for something sweet and light.


[caption id="attachment_2646" align="alignnone" width="640"]Raw Lemon Bar Raw Lemon Bar[/caption]


Drinks and Smoothies:


The drinks at Healthy Creations also should also not be overlooked.  My favorite? The Chocolate Malted Almond Milk.  This is the drink for anyone who has fond memories of chocolate malts from childhood.  Somehow when maca is combined with chocolate almond milk, the result is a rich and satisfying, malty flavored drink.  Mine always disappears before the food arrives!


[caption id="attachment_2644" align="alignnone" width="490"]Malted Chocolate Drink Malted Chocolate Drink[/caption]


If you’re feeling like something cool and fresh, I recommend ordering the Gogi Berry Bliss Smoothie.  This bright pink smoothie is made from strawberries, house made almond or coconut milk, goji berries, and dates, and is then topped with hemp seeds.  The fruit and house made milk combine to make a creamy and irresistible smoothie.


[caption id="attachment_2645" align="alignnone" width="511"]Strawberry Smoothie Strawberry Smoothie[/caption]


Healthy Creations has a cozy interior.  A perfect place to relax and enjoy a snack or a meal.  Customers order at the front and wait until food is brought out to their table.  Healthy Creations also has a “to-go” case with juices and pre-made, frozen meals.


[caption id="attachment_2649" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Healthy Creations Interior Healthy Creations[/caption]


Recently, Healthy Creations has created a separate menu listing their vegan options.  Now you don’t have to examine the ingredient lists to determine whether an item is vegan!  So thank you Healthy Creations! I can’t wait to visit again soon.


[caption id="attachment_2651" align="alignnone" width="640"]Healthy Creations Vegan Menu Healthy Creations Vegan Menu[/caption]


376 North El Camino Real

Encinitas, CA 92024


Native Foods: 100% Vegan

[caption id="attachment_2533" align="alignnone" width="652"]Native Foods Cafe Sign Native Foods Cafe Sign[/caption]


POINT LOMA and ENCINITAS.  If you have never been to Native Foods, you are missing out.  It is a haven for vegans and is guaranteed to impress even habitual meat eaters.  The menu boasts an array of starters, salads, bowls, burgers, and desserts that will leave you feeling satiated, happy, and planning your return trip!

On my most recent trip to the new Point Loma location, I started with the chili — white beans and Native chili meat simmered with tomatoes and special spices — and cornbread.  I thoroughly enjoyed this starter.  It has a great flavor thanks to the spices, and I enjoyed dunking my generous piece of cornbread in it!  We’ll just say that it disappeared (with the help of my lunch partner!).  Quickly.


[caption id="attachment_2534" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Chili and Cornbread Vegan Chili and Cornbread[/caption]


You can’t go wrong when ordering one of the bowls from Native Foods.  The Rockin’ Morrocan is a satisfying mix of grilled veggies and quinoa mixed with tofu or Native Chicken and topped with homemade Moroccan sauce, currants, and toasted almonds.  There is a lot going on in this bowl, but it is all good!  I love the crunch from the toasted almonds mixed with the sweetness from the currants.  Plus, you end up eating a good number of veggies without even realizing it!


[caption id="attachment_2535" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rockin' Moroccan Bowl Vegan Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl[/caption]


I have fond memories of inhaling fish tacos on San Diego’s pervasive “Taco Tuesdays.”  Since becoming vegan, I’ve looked for a replacement.  And I finally found it in Native Food’s Baja Blackened Tacos.  These tacos are comprised of two grilled soft corn tortillas stuffed with blackened Native Tempeh and topped with creamy chipotle sauce, salsa fresca, shredded cabbage, and guacamole.  Delightful!!    Native Foods completely transforms the tempeh, so it is soft and tender to bite.  The best part?  The creamy chipotle sauce and guacamole give these plant-based tacos a rich, full flavor and ensures they are not dry.


[caption id="attachment_2536" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Baja Blackened Tacos Vegan Baja Blackened Tacos[/caption]


Native Foods doesn’t rely on typical offerings to prop up the burger section of their menu.  Instead, you will find unique items like the Portobello and Sausage Burger.  Juicy grilled portobellos and home made Native Sausage Seitan make up the base of this burger.  It’s then topped with caramelized onions, salsa pomodoro, sweet roasted garlic, creamy pumpkin seed pesto and mayo.  The full-bodied sausage seitan contrasted nicely with the mellow portobello flavor.  Plus, the caramelized onions were cooked to perfection.  And who can say no to pumpkin seed pesto?  This is a choice that is sure to please everyone.


[caption id="attachment_2537" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Portobello and Sausage Burger Vegan Portobello and Sausage Burger[/caption]


Native Foods has some great home made beverage options that are great alternatives to soda.  Pick from Lavender Lemonade, Watermelon Fresca, or home brewed iced teas.  The Hibiscus iced tea pictured below was a refreshing option.  Particularly, if you are visiting Native Foods during part of a heat wave like I was!  And did I mention that you get unlimited re-fills?  That means you can rotate among the drinks if you want to try them all!


[caption id="attachment_2540" align="alignnone" width="460"]Hibiscus Tea Hibiscus Tea[/caption]


Of course, I couldn’t get out of Native Foods without a dessert.  They are too good.  And for a chocoholic like me, the chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting was the perfect choice.  The desserts are all made in house, and you can tell.  Each chocolately bite was well worth the indulgence.


[caption id="attachment_2538" align="alignnone" width="523"]Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Vegan Chocolate Cupcake[/caption]


Native Foods has a friendly, bright interior.  It’s perfect place to pick up a “to go” lunch when you’re in a hurry or to sit and linger with friends and family.  The staff is also extremely helpful in offering suggestions whether it’s your first time visiting or you just want to try something new.


[caption id="attachment_2539" align="alignnone" width="640"]Interior Native Foods Interior Native Foods[/caption]


Native Foods also provides outdoor patio seating with umbrellas.  A perfect spot to enjoy warm weather and relax.


[caption id="attachment_2541" align="alignnone" width="640"]Native Foods Interior Native Foods Interior[/caption]


Native Foods is also a great to place if you have any additional dietary restrictions or preferences.  The restaurant offers gluten-free, soy free, and nut free menus for customers’ convenience (check out the links below).  So enjoy!



Point Loma:

3369 Rosecrans Street

San Diego, CA 92110




127 N. El Camino Real

Encinitas, CA 92024



Naked Cafe: Vegan Friendly

Naked Cafe Sign


POINT LOMA, SOLANA BEACH, ENCINITAS, and CARLSBAD.  Naked food is good food.  Specifically, Naked Café offers satisfying dishes built from natural, whole foods.  Beans, greens, and rice play a large role in the bowls, plates, and wraps, while fresh herbs, spices, salsas, and sauces produce robust flavors.  The vegan options are excellent.

My favorite item on the menu is the “OM.”  The product of an enlightened yogi, perhaps?  Lotus root, corn, celery, carrots and shitake mushrooms are sautéed to perfection, then laid enticingly over brown rice and black beans. A whole grain tortilla and fresh salsa come on the side.  I like to mix everything up together and pile it onto my tortilla.  This dish is filling, but not heavy.  Perfect.

While writing this post, I realized I didn’t know anything about one of OM’s ingredients, the lotus root.  I have learned that the lotus root is an aquatic tuber that offers a strong nutritional punch with nutrients like Vitamin C, copper, and iron.  For more information and facts on the lotus root check out:



The "OM" Vegan Bowl


Next, the Green Transcendence Wrap.  With a name like that, how could it not be good for you?  Your spinach tortilla holds tofu, siracha, basil, onions, tomato, and fresh spinach.  The tofu in this wrap may catch your eye, but it is the siracha, basil, and onions that will make your taste buds dance.  The dish comes with two sides: (1) organic quinoa and  (2) organic baby greens.  The quinoa is light and fluffy with a tangy dressing.  I could eat a whole plate of it.  And the greens do not disappoint.


Vegan Green Transcendence Wrap


And what would lunch be without a sweet ending? Cool and refreshing, the Banana Blackberry Smoothie is an excellent choice.


Banana Blackberry Vegan Smoothie


Naked Café has four locations.  The restaurant in Solana Beach is tucked away next to the grass park overlooking the ocean.  It is a beautiful spot to walk around with your smoothie.  The Point Loma and Encinitas locations are ensconced in strip malls.  It is a testament to the quality of the food that people drive into these vicious parking lots.  As for Carlsbad, it is next on my list!  Note: all of the locations I’ve visited have outdoor seating areas that are pet friendly and the perfect place to enjoy the San Diego weather.

Finally, keep your eye on the clock.  Naked Café closes at 2:30pm, because it is focused on the breakfast and lunch crowd.


Naked Cafe Interior


Point Loma

3555 Rosecrans St #109

San Diego, CA 92110



Solana Beach

106 S. Sierra Ave.

Solana Beach, CA 92075




288-C N. El Camino Real

Encinitas, CA 92024




300 Carlsbad Village Dr.

Suite 107A

Carlsbad, CA 92008


Cafe Lotus and Juice Bar: Vegan Friendly

Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar Sign


ENCINITAS.  At the Lotus Café and Juice Bar, my only problem is narrowing down the options and making a decision.  The menu offers a variety of vegan dishes and classifies each dish as (1) vegan “as is;” (2) easily modified to vegan (i.e., replacing dairy cheese with vegan cheese), or (3) vegan but for the honey.

What’s the deal with honey, you ask?  Honey is a hot topic in the vegan world.  Some feel strongly that true vegans do not consume honey, whereas others invite honey into the vegan tent because honey is not meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.   For each side of the great honey debate:

Honey is vegan: http://www.satyamag.com/sept05/greger.html

Honey is NOT vegan: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

On my most recent trip to Lotus Café, I tried the Indian Curry Bowl.  I enjoyed fresh steamed vegetables mixed in a curry sauce, served over organic brown rice with organic, whole wheat chapati—Indian unleavened flatbread—on the side.  The vegetables tasted fresh, and the dressing is well seasoned but not too spicy.  I also loved scooping the vegetables and rice onto the warm chapati!


Indian Curry Bowl


Next up was the Nirvana Burrito.  (I had a wing man, or so I tell people.)  A generous portion of sautéed vegetables, pinto beans, and organic rice are wrapped in chapati, then covered with ranchero sauce, vegan cheese, and guacamole.  This hefty burrito holds its own against even the “California” burritos littered about San Diego.  But at the same time, it does not hit your stomach like a brick.  Plus, you get a side salad of crisp green lettuce and sprouts, with fun vegan dressings like tofu dill or tahini.


Nirvana Burrito


As the name Lotus Café and Juice Bar suggests, this establishment boasts an array of juices, smoothies, and shakes.

With such creative options, it’s easy to order something special!  First, I sampled the Priya Pitaya Smoothie, which blends organic pitaya, pineapple, banana, and papaya juice.

Pitaya?  Exactly, I had no idea.  But after some research, I learned pitaya is a pink skinned fruit that comes from a cactus plant and has a mild flavor like a melon or kiwi.  The global marketing machine touts this fruit as the next “superfood,” due to its high levels of Vitamin C and phytoalbumin, an antioxidant believed to prevent the formation of free radicals.  Based on the meteoric rise of acai, I predict a pitaya invasion.

The smoothie was tropical, mild, and delicious.  I would definitely recommend trying this smoothie!  And if you love things that are bright pink, then this drink is probably mandatory.

Me, I love anything with coconut.  The Coc-Aloha is a smoothie with pineapple, banana, and pineapple-coconut juice.  The mixing of the coconut and pineapple flavors conjures the presence of a pina colada.  It’s creamy and fruity without being overly sweet.


Priya Pitaya SmoothieCoco-Aloha Smoothie


Lotus also offers an ever changing, delicious selection of baked goods.  Vegan desserts are clearly marked.  I tried a vegan and gluten free cupcake featuring the irresistible combination of dense, moist chocolate cake with thick peanut butter icing.  Again, I swear I had a wing man.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake


The pictures on this post are from the Hillcrest location.  The earth tones of the walls, the wooden booths, the artwork, and the music all help create a relaxing atmosphere.  There is also an outdoor covered patio that allows diners to enjoy their food outside.


Lotus Cafe Interior 2Cafe Lotus Outside Patio


UPDATE: As of August 6, 2013, the Cafe Lotus and Juice Bar’s Hillcrest location has CLOSED.


765 S Coast Highway 101

Encinitas, CA 92024