LiveWell Louisiana

Sprouting Up

New Orleans' vegan food options are growing.
June 16th, 2014 by: Lianna Patch

Brand-new plant-based restaurant Seed, which opened in April in the former Blue Plate Café location on Prytania Street, isn’t trying to pressure you into veganism. It just wants you to keep an open mind. “Part of what we’re trying to do is promote the plant-based diet standing on its own — and not preach too much,” says owner Edgar Cooper. “We want to show that [this food] is just as filling, flavorful and interesting as dishes with meat and animal-related ingredients.”

Seed was born out of Cooper’s travels and his own adherence to a plant-based diet since 1995. “As part of my software development and consulting job, I got to travel all over the world,” he says. Last October, he witnessed the destruction of orangutan habitats in Borneo — an issue directly impacted by humans’ dependence on palm oil. Inspired by the people he saw working to save these habitats, Cooper decided to start a sustainable business upon his return to New Orleans. He didn’t know it would be a restaurant, but serendipity intervened when he was looking to invest in real estate. “Everything just came together at the right time,” he says.

With chef Edward Rhinehart (formerly of Restaurant R’evolution), and Nicholas Hale and Leslie Garner (of Spiral Diner, a much-loved vegan outpost in Dallas), Cooper spent three months developing Seed’s menu. Popular specialties include the raw Pad Thai, made with spiral-cut cucumber and carrot “noodles,” mung bean sprouts, jicama, peanuts and lime-peanut dressing; and the Southern Fried Nuggets, created with locally made, deep-fried tofu, breaded in chickpea flour and served with a choice of dipping sauces or inside a po-boy.

So far, the “seedback” has been wholly positive. “It’s been really amazing,” Cooper says. “There’s a bigger-than-I-thought vegetarian and vegan community here, plus just a lot of people trying to eat healthier.”

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