At the helm of Plenty on Bell is long-time Los Alamos chef Jesper Johansson, who has cooked on this street since 1999. A native of Sweden, he’s gained a large local following with his down-to-earth dishes and scrumptious breakfasts.
At Plenty on Bell, Johansson focuses on local, farm-to-table comfort food. Dishes on the menu are influenced by his family background of traditional baking and cooking from scratch, as well as the local produce here in Santa Barbara county. Much of the herbs and produce is sourced from the chef’s gardens in Los Alamos, then turned into comfort food Johansson grew up with in Sweden. Traditional baking and cooking everything from scratch defined his childhood home, with fun, festive cooking for friends on weekends.
Bowls are a signature dish, featuring weekly and seasonal specials and vegan options with around-the-world flavors like white beans & sausage, mussels & frites or Italian pastas. This Spring Farro Bowl features tender Spring vegetables and locally-grown farro from Kandarian Organic Farms. An ancestor of modern wheat, emmer farro is a heritage grain that’s nutrient-dense, GMO-free, nutty and chewy. And it’s 100% organic.
Johansson first rinses the farro, then puts about a cup in 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and cooks it for about 20 minutes. It should double in size and be al dente when it’s ready. Meanwhile, he blanches the peas and asparagus for about a minute, then transfers to an ice bath. He chops or thinly slices the asparagus, carrots, leeks, radishes, spinach, mint and parsley. To make the dressing, Johnansson puts sherry vinegar, a mix of whole grain and Dijon mustard, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small jar and shakes it to combine. He then mixes all ingredients together and tops with fresh herbs to serve – grated cheese or harrissa would also work.