What sets apart the pastrami, turkey, and salami at Highland Park’s latest butcher shop? The popular deli meats are all vegan. Joe Egender and Maciel Bañales Luna are behind Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher & Deli, the first of its kind in Los Angeles.
Hailing from Mexico, Lunal’s influence on the deli sandwiches range from the Sloppy Pepe, made with plant-based chorizo and queso, to meatless Mexican ribs with pickled onions, arugula, and vegan mayo served on ciabatta.
With a background in medicine and nutrition, Luna has a doctorate in obesity and expenditure. She explains that many meat alternatives found in supermarkets contain preservatives and that’s why she creates proteins made from chickpeas, seitan, beans, tofu, and vegetables.
She’s from Durango, Mexico, where meat is a prominent part of the daily diet. Luna says, “I feel very fortunate because I grew up with parents who were in many ways ahead of their time. My dad was environmentally conscious and my mom made a lot of effort to cook healthy meals.”
She continues to work at perfecting her blue cheese made from cashews and prosciutto. Egender says steak is the ultimate goal of plant-based butchers and admits nobody has hit the mark yet. Stay tuned.