5 Plant-Based Recipes by Santa Barbara Chefs

Souvenirs from the places you love to travel don’t always have to come from gift shops. We challenge you to channel your inner chef and take a bit of Santa Barbara’s delectable cuisine home with you; in celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we’ve teamed up with local Santa Barbara chefs to provide you with delicious, plant-based recipes using locally-sourced ingredients. And boy do our locals love to eat green! With farmers markets serving up fresh produce and a bounty of leafy goodness six days a week, it’s easy to procure the ingredients necessary to create these tasty, nutrient-rich recipes. 

Ranging in skill level from easy to advance, get ready to enjoy a savory Santa Barbara meal, while feeling good about the food you’re eating. It’s time to don your best apron and get to cooking with these five plant-based recipes. Bon appétit!

Plant-Based Recipes by Santa Barbara chefs

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Located in Downtown Santa Barbara, Satellite is a farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on conscious, quality farming and fresh local ingredients with an ever-evolving food program that showcases Santa Barbara’s bountiful seasonal harvests.

Chef Emma West’s Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe is both seasonal and nutritionally appropriate during these times of mindfulness and the desire to stay healthy. Loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients, be sure to stock up on these ingredients the next time you visit your local farmers market.

Click here to download this recipe for Curried Cauliflower Soup.

Photo Credit: Satellite

Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Tofu

Led by culinary masterminds, Chef Nui Pannak and Chef Jerry Lee, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar is a must-taste when visiting Santa Barbara, best known for their noodle dishes bursting with flavors of Southeast Asia. Inspired by the benefits of a plant-based dish, Chef Nui Pannak shares with us her Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Tofu recipe. Served over warm steamed brown rice, this dish makes for a delicious vegetarian meal with sautéd seasonal vegetables and pan-seared tofu. 

Click here to download this recipe for Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables with Tofu.

Central Coast Spring Vegetables

When dining at The Lark, guests are welcomed with an imaginative menu that celebrates Santa Barbara County’s wineries, farms, ocean and natural beauty by Executive Chef Jason Paluska. Deeply connected to the changing seasons, Chef Paluska’s recipe for Central Coast Spring Vegetables brings to light the feelings of spring and longing for crisp, fragile vegetables. And as Earth Day begs us to rejoice in the abundance of our area, this mélange of delicate local spring vegetables, balanced with the velvety, rich texture of poached eggs perfectly represents the bounty of Santa Barbara County in springtime.  

To make this dish extra delectable, try pairing it with a local Santa Barbara County wine. Executive Chef Jason Paluska recommends Stolpman Vineyards’ Combe Trousseau 2018 or Habit’s Grüner Veltliner, Rancho Arroyo Perdidto Vineyard. Not into wine? No problem. An alternative pairing calls for The Apiary’s Rustique Mead. 

Click here to download the recipe for The Lark’s Cold Central Coast Spring Vegetables.

Photo Credit: Macduff Everton

Market Spring Cabbage

Owned by James Beard Award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr, Bibi Ji is an Indian restaurant, wine bar and bottle on Santa Barbara’s State Street with a menu that’s as local as it gets. The locally inspired menu incorporates the signature flavors of Indian cuisine while incorporating local, organic, and sustainable ingredients from our farmers and fisherman. specialties such as Hope Ranch black mussels and Santa Barbara sea urchin, as well as the freshest farmers market produce.

Located in the epicenter of Downtown Santa Barbara it’s easy for Bibi Ji to serve meals that are packed with local produce, as the weekly farmer’s market is mere steps away from the restaurant’s front door. To honor Santa Barbara’s farmers with a Bibi Ji-style flare, Rajat Parr has created the Market Spring Cabbage for your Earth Day eating pleasure. It’s a dish that Parr regularly prepares at home and can be used as a side or as the main course on a vegetarian table. While there are very few ingredients required to make the dish, the foundation of traditional Indian flavors stands out in many ways.

Click here to download the recipe for Market Spring Cabbage.

Photo Credit: Raj Parr

Vegetable Napoleon

A local’s favorite, opal restaurant & bar infuses California’s eclectic cuisine with creative influences from around the world. Head Chef Felipe Barajas uses the freshest of ingredients to create dishes inspired by the colorful multi-cultural heritage of America, often with an Asian flair. On today’s menu, dig into Vegetable Napoleon, one of the restaurant’s most popular vegetarian dishes. Stacked with a Gorgonzola Potato Cake, Wild Mushrooms, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Grilled Eggplant, Sautéed Garlic Spinach, Grilled Polenta, Roasted Red Peppers, a Roasted Tomato Sauce, and Fresh Grated Parmigiano Reggiano there’s no denying that this dish is a multi-layered vegetarian treat! 

Click here to download the recipe for Vegetable Napoleon.

Photo Credit: Kelly Lane