Crab cakes from CrossroadsEXPAND
Crab cakes from Crossroads

4 Courses to Make an Excellent Vegan Meal For Earth Day

On paper, Earth Day sounds awesome. For example, planting trees, speaking to elementary school classrooms about the benefits of recycling, cleaning up the beach and riding a bicycle to work are all great ways to help save our planet. Unfortunately, all those things suck. 

What doesn't suck but still helps the environment is eating vegan, which reduces pollution (both air and water), prevents rainforest destruction and cuts down on harmful greenhouse gases. Even better, you can leave the bike in the garage, meaning you won't show up to work drenched in sweat. That's called a "win-win situation." 

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Celebrated every April 22 since 1970, Earth Day is a global event highlighting environmental issues that cause harm to the planet. More than 190 countries participate in the festivities, which often include ways for people to make positive changes to their lives in order to protect, save and preserve Earth. Which, admittedly, doesn't suck but is not as much fun as eating and drinking.

Here, then, is a suggestion for four-courses (yes, booze is a course) you can eat in order to do your part for Earth Day without having to get your hands dirty. 

Vegan CobbEXPAND
Vegan Cobb
Steve Gifford

Appetizer: Vegan Cobb from Swingers
You go to Swingers because the waitresses are gorgeous, because the menu has pictures of Wilt Chamberlain, Kool-Aid Man and Iggy Pop, because it's 2:30 a.m. and you're drunk and because the girls sitting next to you and your friend are too cool to care that he used to be in Nine Inch Nails. You also go to Swingers because the vegan Cobb salad is one of the best salads in the city. Made with organic mixed baby greens, avocado, tomato, sauteed tofu, fake cheese, carrots and crispy onions and topped with tahini-dill dressing, you'll appreciate this staple of American cuisine because of its simplicity. 8020 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-653-5858.

Crab cakes from CrossroadsEXPAND
Crab cakes from Crossroads

Entree: Crab Cakes from Crossroads 
According to chef Tal Ronnen, the crab cakes at Crossroads are made from hearts of palm braised in Kombu seaweed, then pulsed in a food processor, which creates a texture similar to lump crab meat. Then they are blended with chickpeas, seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning and breaded with Panko. That might sound like a foreign language to the average eater (present company included), so allow me to translate: The crab cakes are Los Angeles' undisputed heavyweight champion of faux seafood meals and you'd be a damn fool not to eat them on Earth Day. Or any day.  8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-782-9245. 

Deep Fried OreosEXPAND
Deep Fried Oreos
Steve DeLuca

Dessert: Fried Oreos from Doomie's Home Cookin'
The fried Oreos at Doomie's Home Cookin' taste like food you'd find at a county fair, which is great because rarely does vegan grub land people in the ER. As if a potential heart attack isn't enough, remember this: Nothing says Earth Day like fried chocolate. And if you really want to party, get the fried Oreos a la mode (with vegan ice cream made from almond milk) because not only does ice cream go with everything, but the batter (and sugar and chocolate syrup) goes down much easier with something cold and soft. Those who fear ordering fair food at a restaurant need not worry, as Doomie's is a dimly-lit vegetarian/vegan eatery in the corner of a strip mall, so no one's going to see how excited you get when you devour this thing. 1253 Vine St., Los Angeles; 323-469-4897.

329 Days of Sun LagerEXPAND
329 Days of Sun Lager
Rachel Roque

Drink: 329 Lager from Golden Road Brewing
If you're a beer enthusiast, perhaps you'll enjoy Golden Road Brewing's 329 Days of Sun Lager. Named after the supposed 329 days of sunshine in Los Angeles (which seems a bit low, no?), this 4.8 percent American-style, bottom-fermented oat soda features notes of jasmine and honeysuckle. Or, if you're like me, you don't care about notes. Instead, you care about pairing the right beer with the right atmosphere. Luckily, the weather for Earth Day will be nice (I'm assuming because that's what the beer can told me) and nice weather calls for lagers. 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles; 213-373-4677.

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