The Green Ingredient for healthy eaters

The+Green+Ingredient+is+located+at+201+E.+Main+St.%2C+Suite+112%2C+inside+the+Chase+Building.+Open+Mon.-Fri.+7+a.m.-+3+p.m.

Veronica Enriquez

The Green Ingredient is located at 201 E. Main St., Suite 112, inside the Chase Building. Open Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Jaime Quesada, Contributor

Getting fresh greens is sometimes hard to come by in El Paso. While many restaurants do offer vegetarian plates, an all-green vegetable menu has been introduced to the downtown area, located inside the Chase Tower building at 201 E. Mills.

The Green Ingredient is a vegetarian restaurant first started by Jacqueline Cordova, who studied how to prepare raw foods at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Ga and also a health coach from integrated nutrition in New York.

The menu-while on the surface seems actively vegetarian–it still offers different meats as well.

“This restaurant isn’t vegetarian as much as it is a healthier option where we provide balanced meals of vegetables and healthy meats,” Cordova said.

Providing health education is a big part of what the Green Ingredient does. Their website offers blogs with health tips, studies and explanations as to why certain foods are bad for you.

Moreover, Cordova’s previous work of providing workshops and tours continues. In her workshops, she teaches guests how to be a healthier eater. As a result of this, Cordova will be taking grocery store tours in October, where she will teach what to look for in nutritional facts and ingredients.

“My parents never focused on nutritious meals so I never really emphasized on it myself,” said Candace Alvarado, junior kinesiology major.

Although the menu is a single page, the restaurant boasts that it offers quality over quantity. In the salads section, you can choose from a meat-infused salad, where you can add either chicken or salmon. You can also pick from a classic Mediterranean salad or the roasted cauliflower and beet salad.

If you are willing to keep it a green salad, the menu offers a mix-and-match section, choosing from 11 different salads. Clients also have the option to serve themselves a full plate of just one type of vegetable or they may get up to two ingredients in their salad. For those guests who may like a protein with their vegetarian selections, they can choose from tuna, egg and chicken variations.

The menu, aside from salads, provides vegetarian takes on burgers and sandwiches as well. A GI Panini is filled with grilled portabella mushrooms, eggplant, red bell peppers and more and a raw taco is made from walnuts and pecans as the meat, pico de gallo and avocado cream wrapped in romaine hearts.

Cordova said that the nuts, included in almost all their plates, are soaked to remove enzyme inhibitors. This makes the food easier to digest. The cookies also go through a ten hour process of dehydration instead of baking. Dehydration keeps all the nutrients and vitamins that baking would otherwise burn off.

“Everything on our menu has been carefully selected and prepared to be a healthy meal without losing any flavor,” Cordova said.

This is just their lunch menu, their morning menu is an entirely different and worth looking over.

They offer pancakes with agave nectar, yogurt and fresh berries, while their GI omelets come with pesto, asparagus, tomato and feta cheese.

Their beverages go through the same health process. The Green Ingredient provides different mixed waters instead of soft drinks. Their main drink is infused with cucumber and lime, but their other mixed waters change constantly. Their menu presently offers plum infused with cinnamon water and organic black tea.

“I usually eat healthy meals but when I don’t, it is because I don’t have time to prepare something before hand.” said Armand Salas junior criminal justice major.

If the menu seems overwhelming, the wait staff is well prepared to orientate you toward wherever the direction your palette wishes to go.

Jaime Quesada may be reached at [email protected]