Healthy SoCal spot Lemonade has big plans for fall (with recipe!)

The veggie-centric lunch spot that keeps healthy, Angeleno-foodies happy is making moves to bring its cuisine far beyond the Hollywood Hills.
(Photo: Lemonade)
(Photo: Lemonade)

Healthy lunch spot Lemonade has really big expansion plans for fall—and they may include your neighborhood.

The fast casual eatery opened in West Hollywood in 2008, and 14 locations and six years later, healthy foodies from Newport Beach to Dubai line up regularly for Voodoo Indian lentils and Sesame Roasted Carrots (and yes, lemonade), served cafeteria style.

Come November, Lemonade will open new locations in San Diego, Santa Monica, and Dubai (its second in Abu Dhabi), with plans to expand to San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Texas (locale TBA) over the next two years.

(Photo: Alan Jackson)
(Photo: Alan Jackson)

What has made it so successful (and tasty), says chef and founder Alan Jackson, is the restaurant’s nonchalant attitude towards dining. “Our recipes are sort of at my whim,” Jackson says. “Sometimes a new recipe comes from spontaneously throwing great leftovers together. That’s the spirit of California cooking.”

While there are meat options on the menu, Jackson describes Lemonade as a “vegetable centric” restaurant that sources organic and local when possible, with a focus on avoiding the Dirty Dozen. The menu changes eight times a year to stay seasonal, with a few permanent dishes that he says would cause him to get “nasty emails” if he took them off.

Want an example? He shared the recipe for Lemonade’s Ahi Tuna with Snap Peas, Watermelon Radish, and Ginger Vinaigrette, which is also featured in The Lemonade Cookbook. Napa Valley chardonnay pairing of your choice highly recommended. —Jamie McKillop

(Photo: Lemonade)
(Photo: Lemonade)

Lemonade’s Ahi Tuna with Snap Peas, Watermelon Radish, and Ginger Vinaigrette

Makes 4 cups

1⁄2 lb seared ahi tuna (here’s how to sear it), cooled and cut into 1⁄4 inch chunks
1⁄2 lb sugar snap peas, strings removed and cut into thirds
2 watermelon radishes or 6 regular radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1⁄2 cup ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1⁄4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 tsp coarse salt
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the seared tuna, snap peas, radishes, and sesame seeds. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, add the mint, season with salt and pepper, and toss well to combine. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together.

Ginger Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tsp honey or agave nectar
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup canola oil
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, combine the soy, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, garlic, mustard, and sesame seeds. Blend until smooth. With the motor running; slowly add the canola oil until emulsified. Season with pepper.

Chef Notes

Make sure the fish is line caught. It should be firm and bright red in color. If watermelon radishes are not available, daikon or regular radishes make fine substitutes.

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