SunPower Natural Cafe: A vegetarian restaurant that carnivores enjoy

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This summer, my family became vegetarian. As the main chef in the house, I dug through countless vegetarian cookbooks and googled a huge amount of on-line recipes to find meat-free entrees and healthful side dishes. After three long days of vegetarian home cooking, I was more than ready to go out and find a neighborhood restaurant that could become our new favorite spot. SunPower Natural Café on Cahuenga is just the place to change any carnivore into a happy, meatless eater.

Satoshi's Kale, Seitan Blue Corn Tacos with Mexican Quinoa Photo Courtesy: Sunpower Natural Cafe

“More than half our customers are meat eaters,” co-owner Ronald Russell said. “There is an “ ‘Oh My God’ reaction to our food,” he explained, and I have to agree because after one bite of the SunPower Nachos, I was sure sold.

SunPower Natural Café opened in May 2009 and offers lunch, dinner, desserts and fruit drinks that are organic, vegan and often “raw”.  SunPower Café is proud to say their food hasn’t been fried, killed or overcooked. The ingredients are nutrient rich, good-for-you, and tasty too. Seasonal ingredients are used in daily specials and take advantage of peak flavor.

Meatless, wheat-less and dairy free burgers, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and salads are created using a variety of nuts (including sunflower, brazil and cashew nuts), veggies, and spice blends. Russell  has been vegetarian for 35 years and combined his favorite dishes with recipes from Chef Joseph Waller (past chef at Inn of the 7th Ray) to produce the menu at SunPower Natural Cafe.

Raw Supreme Pizza - Crunchy sunflower seed crust with marinara sauce, cashew cheese, savory SunPower "sausage," tomatoes and marinated peppers and onions...with a side of cookies. Photo: Karen Young

Popular items include the SunPower Nachos, a full plate of “chips” ( made from either thinly sliced jicama or traditional baked corn chips) loaded with “chorizo” sausage (a recipe including sundried tomato and sunflower seeds), cashew cheese, salsa, guacamole and black olives. ($12). Individual pizzas are made with either a crunchy, gluten-free crust made of sunflower seeds or a whole wheat crust. The nut crust is chewy and hearty enough that you don’t miss the flour and the marinara or pesto sauce are homemade ($11). Pizza toppings include fresh veggies, creamy cashew cheese and SunPower “sausage.” Flavorful, non-beef Burgers are made with a sunflower seed base that truly mimics the texture of ground beef and are seasoned with fresh veggies including mushrooms and peppers ($11-12). All sandwiches are served with a choice of sides, such as kale salad or homemade hummus and pita.

SunPower Café juices are squeezed fresh from beets, celery, kale, spinach and carrots and the vegan desserts are rich, satisfying and tummy-friendly. My favorite is the Cookie Dough Pie (a chilled dessert loaded with coconut cream and chocolate), and there’s also Tiramisu, brownies, cheesecake, and cupcakes.

SunPower Burger with Kale Salad. Photo: Karen Young

Catering is also available and special events such as monthly cooking classes and guest speakers are worth checking out.

SunPower Natural Café 3711 Cahuenga Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604-3504(818) 308-7420 Monday – Wednesday 11am to 8pm Thursday-Saturday 11am to 10pm CLOSED SUNDAY Street parking

Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who took the school bus with Michael and Janet Jackson and worked at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in its heyday. She likes to spend her free time finding bargains at Crossroads Trading Company, eating Chinese chicken salad at Stanley’s and admiring the view from Fryman Canyon. Check out her new blog: – reading, watching and eating.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.