Desert Roots Kitchen, Tempe, AZ – Organic and Green in the Heart of the Desert!

414 S. Mill Avenue #111
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 382-0228

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Desert Roots Kitchen
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by Deanne Bryce

 

Desert Roots Kitchen Staff

Desert Roots Kitchen Staff

 

During a road trip between the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park , my husband Steve and I spent one night and morning in Phoenix.  In search of a place to enjoy lunch after a morning visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, we found Desert Roots Kitchen  (DRK) through an online search for organic foods. We discovered on arrival that Desert Roots Kitchen is 100% vegan. Their menu changes daily and they make everything from scratch in-house (except the dolmas). Desert Roots Kitchen cooks with many organic ingredients, especially staples like beans, lentils, produce, etc.  They support and use local ingredients when possible, which is increasing and constantly evolving.

Desert Roots Kitchen

Desert Roots Kitchen

 

Since the restaurant is 100% vegan, no animal products are used nor brought into the restaurant. The restaurant menu is mostly gluten free by default and they are mindful when preparing foods that contain gluten to avoid cross-contamination.

 

Desert Roots Kitchen Menu

Desert Roots Kitchen Menu Changes Daily

 

We ordered red lentil tomato veggie soup with crunchy celery and an olive hummus plate served with fresh pitas, tomato, cucumber, and carrots. The dominant spice for the soup was black pepper and perhaps some cayenne.  The chef at DRK didn’t overuse soy as many vegetarian and vegan cooks do as an easy trick for adding protein. The protein came from beans, chickpeas and  lentils… yes all good sources of protein with the added desirable fiber content to our diets.   Steve had the wrap of the day which was a mixed bean burrito with enchilada and sweet corn sauce.  Being a restaurant trained chef he is hard to impress but he too enjoyed the flavor combinations. His two sides were lemon tahini kale rice with chickpeas and red cargo rice with mushrooms, green beans and water chestnuts.

 

Desert Roots Kitchen-Mixed Bean Burrito

 

Desert Roots Kitchen purchases a weekly Farmbox from Sunizona Family Farms (‘veganically grown’) and are a pick-up location for Farmbox orders.  DRK also uses some local distributors, and are increasing use of local produce and products such as flours, beans, nuts, etc.

 

Desert Roots Kitchen Deli Case With Fresh, Organically Grown Ingredients

Desert Roots Kitchen Deli Case With Fresh, Organically Grown Ingredients

 

There is no indoor seating as this is principally a take-out establishment.  The owner explained: “We have patio seating outside and no seating inside. Almost half of our customers come in for pick up. We have about 20 seats outside and sometimes people eat in the gazebo (I call it overflow seating). It hardly rains, but if and when it does, we have a canopy to protect the patio and stay dry while eating outside. The canopy also serves as a nice shade as well as cooling misters for the hotter months.”

 

Desert Roots Kitchen - Outdoor Seating

Desert Roots Kitchen – Outdoor Patio Seating

 

The chef said in an interview after we ate there, “Sometimes we purchase local produce at the farmers markets. All produce grown locally is organic, but not always certified organic. That is ok with me, as I support local businesses and prefer locally grown products, whether officially certified or not. It costs a lot to be certified, and as long as it is truly non-gmo, a label or certification is unnecessary to me.”

 

redlentiltomatoveggiesoup

 

When I asked about the oil they use in any preparation, the chef explained: “We use little to no oil at DRK. We are a class 4 cold kitchen, which means we do not have a hood, gas, or facilities to prepare certain ways, mainly cooking wth oil. We cannot/do not saute or deep fry. With our facilities by default, we use less oil than majority of restaurants. Many dishes such as quinoas, lentils, raw dishes and more, contain no oil at all. And the ones that do, we use vegetable oil (never canola oil), or olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed, and safflower.”

 

Desert Roots Kitchen-Black Bean Burrito

Desert Roots Kitchen – Black Bean Burrito

 

If you find yourself in the Phoenix area this restaurant is not far from Arizona State University at Tempe and about 10 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport .  If you put the address in you map device you will arrive at location of a mixed-use complex.  The restaurant does not have much if any indoor seating.  The owner found a way to make DRK comfortable with service and outside patio seating.

Article Links:

Desert Botanical GardenGrand CanyonJoshua Tree National Park, Sunizona Family Farms

 

Deanne Bryce is a native Californian who currently lives in Iowa with her husband, Steve.  Empty nesters and former restaurant owners, Deanne and Steve look for places in their travels which cook with locally sourced foods, which they share with their Real Local Cooking  followers and now with Veggin’ Out and About!

In addition to food blogging and dreaming about the next place to visit, Deanne also likes to use her expertise as a leadership coach to share insights about leadership development on her leadership blog, A Cup of Leadership, and with clients. You can Contact Deanne  to recommend restaurants within Iowa, make suggestions or comments or to just say hello.


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