Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oasis Vegetarian Cafe

I have now been to Oasis Vegetarian Cafe, located at 11550 Pierce Street, Riverside, CA 92505 (951-688-5423) twice and I really love it. If it was not a half hour drive for me, I would eat there regularly. It is near La Sierra University, a ways off the 91 Freeway La Sierra exit. It is hole-in-the-wall order window

 connected to La Sierra Natural Foods, an all vegetarian market. There are a couple of tables near the order window, or there is the option of going inside the market  into a separate room where you can sit down and they will bring the food to you. 
It is not fancy by any means, paper plates and plastic utensils, so I am comfortable using it as a lunch meeting place with my daughter, Rachael, and my two rambunctious granddaughters.  The first time we went our favorite menu item (both Rachael and I) was the Oasis (vegan) burrito which is rice, black beans, guacamole, vegan cream  and pico de gallo on a whole wheat flour tortilla. 
Oasis burrito
It is stuffed full with a nice flavorful combination of the foregoing and can be complemented with the addition of a homemade green salsa which is available in a squeeze bottle inside. I am not normally a fan of rice in burritos, but the amount is restrained, and combined with the black beans and cream it is a great combination. We ordered it again on our second visit and it did not disappoint. On our second visit, Rachael and I both liked the plant (vegan) wrap the best, 
plant wrap
even more than the burrito which we had for the second time. The plant wrap has grilled eggplant, hummus, spinach, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and pico de gallo on a wheat tortilla. The eggplant is nicely cooked, meaty and tasty with the hummus. 
plant wrap - big chunks of eggplant
I liked it so much that after we left, I was sorely tempted to go back and buy another one for the road. The steak wrap is also very good. It includes hummus, soy steak, spinach and pico de gallo on a flour tortilla. 
steak wrap
The soy steak has some nice crispiness to it and a nice flavor. The vegan papusa is corn masa filled with beans and fake cheese, cooked on a grill, served with what they call sauerkraut, but what I call lightly marinated cabbage, and tomato sauce. 
The papusa has a nice look and texture, and is good, but a little bland. 
The homemade salsa was a nice and needed add-on. The vegan tamales are corn masa, soy steak, olives, red bell peppers, and tomato sauce wrapped in plantain leaves Central South American style. 
The ingredients sound good and it looks good, but I found it more bland than the papusa and I did not like the texture of it. I probably will not order it again. I love non-vegan Central American style tamales, particularly the moistness of them, but this did not do it for me.  I did not realize until going back and reading the menu for this post that it had soy steak in it. Something about how it was cooked impacted the texture and taste in a negative way. The avocado wrap has lots of avocado, hummus, spinach, sunflower seeds and pico de gallo on a flour tortilla. 
avocado wrap
The avocado was the ingredient that stood out. It was good, but it did not approach the burrito, plant wrap or steak wrap as far as taste is concerned. The vegan carnitas 
vegan carnitas
come on a corn tortilla, fried soy steak, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onions and tomato sauce. It was one of the last things we tried so it got a little cold. It was okay. 
vegan carnitas
I probably would not order it again, but I never have been a carnitas fan. We had a quinoa vegetable soup which was nice and chunky, but very bland. 
quinoa vegetable soup
I did find an unusual ingredient, I'm not sure if it was yuca or some other root vegetable, but it was very starchy and a little stiff. I actually did not mind it as an ingredient, it was just something I don't normally eat and it stood out. We had a very good strawberry banana soy milk shake and finally, we tried a piece of vegan tiramisu, 
vegan tiramisu
made with soymilk, soy whip cream, blue agave and coconut oil, among other ingredients.  It was okay - a little stiff, and not extremely flavorful, but not too bad if you don't normally eat those things because of a vegan diet. All-in-all, I will continue to go back, try new menu items and eat again items that I particularly like. Oasis is now on my A list for places to eat when I am anywhere near the area. 


  1. Next time you go, bring me one of those vegan burritos.

  2. Hmm, I think I am going to have to go and try that place.