LA is home to some of the best Mexican food and an ever-growing number of health-conscious foodies. Well, foodies, you’re in luck thanks to a new wave of modern Mexican — a scene of Latino chefs who are going back to their plant-based roots and reshaping traditional Mexican food.
And Jocelyn Ramirez, chef and founder of Todo Verde in East LA, is no exception.
Back to the roots
On a mission to create savory, healthy plant-based food inspired by her Mexican-Ecuadorian roots and recipes passed down for generations, Ramirez created Todo Verde in 2015. What started out as a means to heal her cancer-stricken father has since become a full-fledged catering business that dishes out plant-based alternatives to traditional Mexican dishes, agua fresca, and superfood smoothies.
So, what kinds of dishes can you expect? From hearts of palm ceviche to mushroom mole, Todo Verde’s menu includes fresh, organic, and 100% plant-based ingredients from local vendors (talk about a win-win). Also on the menu are Jackfruit Fajitas with bell pepper and zucchini in a cilantro rub that is sure to win over even the most hardcore meat-lovers. For anyone kale-averse (no judgment here), Chile Relleno is your jam. Stuffed with roasted potato and huitlacoche (aka corn mushroom or corn smut) and topped with cashew crema, tempeh chicharron, and tamarindo salsa, it’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet and with each bite you’ll forget you’re not eating meat.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their famed refreshing agua frescas, which started it all.
Quench your thirst with the customer-fave Amorcito Agua Fresca, a blend of strawberry, rose, chia, and maple syrup — all of which are on display on their Instagram feed. Just be warned that you’re going to get a major hankering for everything you see. But don’t you fret — you can find Todo Verde at Smorgasburg LA in DTLA every Sunday from 10am–4pm as well as at other upcoming events.
Ramirez is dedicated to providing awareness and access to affordable plant-based eats and using food as a catalyst for bringing people together in an area lacking healthy food options. So much so, she has launched a crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising $50,000 to realize her dream of opening a Todo Verde storefront to serve her Eastside community and beyond seven days a week. The money will go toward everything from kitchen equipment to permits and renovation costs as well as community programs focused on health and wellness.
There’s no denying that Todo Verde’s food does your body good. Well, now you can do your part in doing good for the greater LA community by contributing to the campaign or just spreading the word!