L.A. has dozens of delicious vegan restaurants. But when we don't have a chance to dash out to Café Gratitude, we still want to eat healthfully. That's why we're fans of Spork Foods, a West Hollywood company that offers three ways to learn at-home vegan cooking: hands-on classes, a cookbook and online videos.
Culinary school graduate Jenny Engel and her sister, Heather Goldberg, both longtime vegans, teach classes ($65) from the basic (Intro to Macrobiotics, Gluten-Free) to the unexpected (Vegan Bayou Cooking). Classes are two and a half hours long and limited to 12 people, so there's opportunity during these intimate sessions for even basic questions--and a post-class meal.
The recently published Spork-Fed cookbook ($11) has more than 75 illustrated recipes, ranging from Southwest black-bean-and-corn mini-burgers with smoky paprika-cashew cheese to chocolate-peanut-butter mousse--and all of them vegan. We love the lemony, protein-rich lentil-pecan pâté served with crudités or in a sandwich.
Need a little more instruction than the printed page but don't have time to hit a class? Try Spork's video cooking classes; $8 a month gives you online access to a new class every month, plus archives.
Spork Foods, 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 302, West Hollywood; 323-512-5544 or sporkfoods.com