Vegan Friendly: Lean and Green
LA JOLLA. Lean and Green stays true to its name. The restaurant, set back from the busy street, is an oasis for those seeking organic and vegan wraps, bowls, smoothies and juices.
Slight digression. Being a soup loving vegan is not easy, right? Often the following scenario plays out when I go to a new restaurant. I flip to the soup section of the menu and see an option like tomato soup. I smile, thankful that the restaurant has a vegan option. But just to be safe, I ask the server whether the soup is vegan (it is surprising how often restaurants fail to list a soup’s ingredients!), only to learn that there is cream in the soup.
Lean and Green avoids such disappointment with its seasonal, vegan soups. My most recent obsession is the Spicy Pumpkin Soup. A combination of pumpkin, coconut milk, and curry, the soup weaves rich, smooth, and spicy flavors together. A strong start to the meal.
I love that Lean and Green dedicates a whole section of the menu to “Bowls.” The bowls have a base of organic brown rice. Next, there is a layer of vegetables, nuts, beans, and other delicious toppings. An enticing sauce tops off the bowl.
My current favorite is the Miso Bowl made from brown rice, broccoli, carrots, fresh jalapenos, and topped with a sesame miso sauce. The miso sauce is tangy and lightly coats the rice and fresh vegetables. Perfect. (Note: the bowl portions are not huge. If you are super hungry, you might need more than just a bowl!)
Another great option is the Teriyaki Bowl – brown rice, broccoli, and pine nuts, topped with gluten free teriyaki sauce. The pine nuts take this bowl to the next level. They add crunch and a richer flavor. (Veterans of the bulk foods aisle know that pine nuts are ridiculously expensive. So I appreciate a restaurant willing to include them in a dish. Crazy delicious.)
Not feeling like a bowl? Lean and Green makes a delicious Vegan Delight wrap. Roasted eggplant or tofu is wrapped up with basil, roasted red bell peppers, baby spinach, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. A great meal on the run!
The menu would not be complete without a selection of juice and smoothies. My favorite is the Crazy Jungle smoothie made from almond milk, spinach, cucumber, avocado, banana, and ice. This bright green smoothie is sweet and creamy. An easy way to get some vegetables without trying!
Upon entering Lean and Green, your eye is first drawn to the tree growing out of the middle of the floor. The two walls are made completely of glass and ensure that plenty of light enters the restaurant. Customers order at a register and are then able to sit at either indoor or outdoor tables. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite or settle in with a book or laptop.
7825 Fay Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037