I recently had the pleasure of visiting a 100% raw, vegan, gluten-free, and non-gmo restaurant called Leafy Greens Cafe in St. Petersburg, Florida. Leafy Greens is one of the first Fresh Food markets in the Tampa Bay area. When I saw the menu, I knew I had to make the trip. I haven’t found anything like this that exists in the The Washington metropolitan area. I fell in love with the owner’s story about how she started her restaurant.
“In early 2007, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, which is a degenerative immune system disease. I was told that, without treatment, I could die in five years.
This is a genuine wake-up call for anyone. I began a raw food diet the next day. I bought a small cookbook but found that the recipes were horrible—the food was pureed in a blender and had no flavor or texture. My then-partner, now chef, Doug, and I almost gave up but because of my health (and because I had purchased a week of food for the raw food venture), we decided to purchase another cookbook that was highly recommended online “RAW the uncook book” by Juliano.
After one meal we were hooked. The food was wholesome and amazing. In four months, my blood was totally transformed and the doctor released me saying that she could find no sign of any illness.
After my amazing experience, I decided that I had an obligation to introduce as many people as possible to the delicious vegan food we love and, in doing so, help humanity find a way to heal itself from the life threatening diseases that effect our well being in today’s world.”
—Denise Rispoli Becknell (Source: Leafy Greens)
Leafy Greens offers several varieties of infused water. Everyone in my party opted for the ginger and orange infusion over the strawberry basil.
I ordered the Tuscan Pizza. The crust is made out of walnut and hemp seeds and the “cheese” is made from cashew hummus. The pizza is topped with marinara sauce, marinated sweet baby peppers, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, ginger, tomatoes and basil, grape tomato wedges and italian herbs. This was so much tastier than a traditional pizza.
The rest of my party ordered the raw Tacos. Two large romaine leaves were used as the “tortilla”. The cashew hummus was used here again as the “cheese”, and guacamole was used as a spread on the leaves. The Tacos are topped with raw walnut taco “meat”, shredded red and green cabbage, red bell peppers, carrots, cubes of grape tomatoes, and red onion. Leafy Greens’ uses their own chipotle cashew dressing to finish the Tacos off with a slight kick.
Leafy Greens’ desserts change daily because they are made from scratch. This gives the chefs the opportunity to exercise some creativity. Mango Cobbler was one of the desserts featured on the menu during my visit. The cobbler is made from both blended and pureed mango and the topping is a combination of dates, almonds, pecans, walnuts. The tartness of the strawberries really balanced out the strong sweetness of the mango.
If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend visiting Leafy Greens Cafe. Which item(s) are you dying to try? Let me know in the comment section below.