Annette Baker and Marianne Lacko opened Nature's Plate in the Lake Highlands area in Dallas in 2015. Photos courtesy of Nature's Plate.

Aug. 4, 2017

Two health conscious sisters are making it easy for Dallasites to eat their veggies.

Nature's Plate entreeAnnette Baker and Marianne Lacko of Dallas, the owners of Nature's Plate in Dallas, both believed that whole, plant-based foods were part of the solution to some of society’s biggest issues – including obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and general lack of health/vitality.

Hoppin' John Plate features black eyed peas served over brown rice with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed kale with onions.

Having both been vegan for 15 years, in 2012 they began cooking and selling food for friends and family who were interested in the lifestyle. 

“We were doing our own weekly food prep cooking on Sunday to have lunches for the week,” explained Baker, “and a co-worker of Marianne's told her ‘If I had someone to cook for me, I would eat healthy lunches like you every day.’” 

At the time, Lacko was taking care of her young daughter so initially Baker took the lead as cook.

Nature's Plate Eggless Egg Salad"[It was] for fun and to help someone else eat healthy,” Baker said. “Other people asked to participate, and the idea for the business grew from there.”

Eggless egg salad.

In a couple of years, their business grew beyond their small circle. In 2015, they opened a storefront in a Lake Highlands shopping center. 

Today, the all-vegan venture offers a menu that changes weekly with breakfast items, entrees, bowls, soups and snacks along with smoothies and baked goods. Items can be purchased individually or as part of a meal plan. Everything on the Nature’s Plate menu is made with plants using no meat, dairy, eggs, honey or other animal products.  

Nature's Plate Veggie Burger“We also avoid refined grains, white sugar and anything with GMOs,” Lacko said.

The most popular dishes are the Veggie Mac, Lemon Tahini Bowl, Sweet Potato Enchiladas and the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. The sisters recently began making fresh smoothies too. In fact, the Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie has quickly become one of their top sellers.

L Streets Burger.

Their clientele includes busy families and professionals who live in the area looking for quick, healthy meal options or a way to add more plants into their diet routine, Baker said 

“We also have vegan customers who travel much further to have access to a variety of plant-based options.”

Planning to open a second storefront in Dallas before the end of 2017, the company now offers weekly drop offs in Plano and Oak Cliff.

Nature's Plate cookiesNature’s Plate has been growing since they opened the doors. In July, typically a slow month, they observed uptick in business they attribute to release of the documentary, What the Health.

A client favorite – peanut butter and chocolate sandwich cookies.

“Our business grew several times over as soon as we opened the storefront,” Lacko said. “And compared to our first month in the store, we're making at least three times the number of meals now. We're extremely grateful for our loyal customers – many of our meal plan subscribers have been with us since shortly after we opened.”

The ladies are also serious about sustainability and use compostable cups and utensils, recyclable meal dishes that are often 30 percent post consumer recycled and paper bags that are 100 percent post consumer recycled. They also use recycled paper goods like paper towels, napkins and toilet paper and sustainable cleaning products to the extent allowed by health code.

Customers get reuseable insulated bags for weekly exchange. Kitchen waste is composted at Texas Worm Ranch. Recyclable waste like plastic, tin, aluminum and paper gets picked up by Recycle Revolution.

“We're local, we both live within a mile of the store and we make all of our food on site from mostly organic ingredients,” said Baker. “We love helping people eat good quality, healthy food and showing that plant-based options can taste great and make you feel great.”  

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