A healthy restaurant in Preston Center has introduced a separate new menu for a very very special group of diners: vegans.
Lala's Mexican Café, the fast-casual restaurant from Michelle Mireles, who also owns Jorge's TexMex Café at Dallas' One Arts Plaza, has been serving up its healthy Mexican food to weekday office workers, families on-the-go, and gym bunnies who frequent the area.
This is one healthy neighborhood, and one that also has an increasing number of vegan diners, Mirales says. "We've always offered vegetarian and vegan dishes, but with the higher demand, we decided to add new menu items and consolidate them on their own menu," she says.
Mirales' awareness of the benefits of vegan dining was raised when members of her family began to eat that way in response to various health issues and saw a marked improvement. "Some people think it's a diet but it's really an approach to eating," she says.
She's invented creative dishes such as her vegan "chorizo," made from quinoa, the protein-rich grain that cooks quickly, has a crumbly texture, and takes on whatever spices you add.
"We season it with the same seasonings you'd use for chorizo, and add that vegan favorite, nutritional yeast," she says. "We've had people who are not vegan who prefer this to regular chorizo."
Other dishes on the new menu include vegan chile con queso; spinach enchilada with vegan cheese; a bowl with grilled hearts of palm on a bed of riced broccoli; sweet potato tacos on organic grilled corn tortillas; veggie fajitas; vegan jicama tacos; and an amazing vegan dark-chocolate cake with coconut ice cream.
She's super into her riced broccoli which you can also order as a side dish.
"Cauliflower rice has become a popular side dish, but I didn't like it as much," she says. "I'm all about the greens and their nutritional benefits. And as a side note, broccoli is a little more porous than cauliflower, so the flavors you add sink in a little more, and you get a tastier dish."
"We work a lot harder on flavor with our vegan dishes," she says. "And we rely less on tofu or soy than many vegan recipes, keeping it plant-based as much as possible."
Her queso is a departure from the more common vegan recipes that use cashews as a base.
"Our has coconut meat and some arrowroot," she says. "We don't use flour or milk. We're seeing more kids who can't eat conventional queso, and we love having this as an option. Something like that really pushes me above and beyond to create something for them."