#NoSadSalads

Last Five Salads: Are Tomatoes the only Veggie in Italy?

salad #4

salad #4

I had an amazing honeymoon in Italy where I ate my weight in pasta. Eating in the countryside felt good. It seems the only option is to eat local which is amazing because then the food is fresh. What a novel concept! Americans rarely eat local, but then again we are spoiled with the variety in our grocery stores. There weren't a lot of veggie side options at the restaurants I went to and I missed them so much. Thank goodness I'm back in the states and eating my weight in salads. I mean... Italy was stellar too, but it's always nice to come home. 

1. My Big Return Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • one apple, sliced
  • pepitas
  • two dried tomatoes, sliced
  • one huge carrot, peeled and sliced
  • matzo crackers, broken into pieces
  • dressing: splash of good olive oil, splash of maple syrup, splash of apple cider vinegar, and about a tablespoon of dijon mustard

2. Okay I Miss Pasta Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • four dried tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of sliced black olives
  • quinoa-corn penne pasta
  • one carrot, peeled and sliced
  • one handful of chopped walnuts
  • italian salad dressing from Annie's 

3. For Anyone Who Likes a Wet Salad

  • arugula 
  • half of a zucchini, grated
  • half an avocado, sliced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a generous handful of pomegranate seeds
  • dressing: a few splashes of nice olive oil, a dollop of dijon mustard, horseradish (add as much as you can handle), juice from half of a lime, 1 tbsp of maple syrup (or less) 

4. Hot and Cold Salad

  • arugula
  • half an avocado, sliced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • a generous handful of pomegranate seeds
  • pepitas
  • one sweet potato, rinsed, peeled and thinly sliced using a mandolin. roast in coconut oil and sea salt at 400 degrees. you can take them out when the texture looks wrinkly/dehydrated. Splash Cholula (or another hot sauce) on them before adding to your plate. 
  • dressing: a few splashes of nice olive oil, juice from half of a lime, 1 tbsp of maple syrup (or less), a pinch of sea salt 

5. Light and Bright Before a Big Meal Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • pomegranate seeds
  • half an avocado, sliced
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • a splash of nice olive oil
  • a dash of sea salt

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Last Five Salads: I Want My Skin to Flipping Glow

My wedding is less than a month away and I want my skin to effing glow. I did a hair and makeup trial a few weeks ago and I felt like I was wearing enough makeup to perform on Broadway. I should have taken a photo of my soon-to-be husband who happened to be home during the trial. His face showed a mixture of confusion and concern. When the hair and makeup artist left he said, "I think you look much better without that makeup." I agreed. That is why I am doing my best to drink water, get solid sleep, drink less alcohol than usual, avoid dairy, and eat all my veggies! I will be wearing makeup on the day of my wedding, but only about 30% of what I had on my face during the trial. Wish me luck. Here are my last five salads. #WEDDINGGLOW

Salad #4

Salad #4

 1. The Bride is Just Peachy Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • one peach, sliced
  • green beans
  • half an avocado
  • walnuts
  • italian dressing

 2. A Fall Wedding Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • one apple, sliced
  • acorn squash (rinse; cut into sections; remove seeds; roast with olive oil, nutmeg, pepper, and sea salt)
  • cannellini beans, rinsed
  • cashews
  • dressing: juice from half a lemon, white wine vinegar, and fancy olive oil

 3. You are the Apple of My Eye Salad

  • baby spinach, chopped
  • one apple, sliced
  • cherry tomatoes 
  • light drizzle of fancy olive oil
  • pepitas
  • half a can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • use a food processor to mix the following with the chickpeas:
    • about 1 tbsp vegan mayo
    • about 1 tbsp relish
    • a dash of paprika
    • a dash of black pepper
    • a dash of sea salt
    • juice from half a lemon

 4. Heated Love Affair Salad (two servings)

  • iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • buffalo cauliflower from the Nom Yourself cookbook
  • ranch buttermilk dressing from the Nom Yourself cookbook (I halved the recipe)
  • two slices of pumpernickel bread cut into cubes then baked for ten minutes 
  • one cucumber, peeled and sliced

5.  Help Me Manage My Anxiety Salad

  • leaf lettuce, chopped
  • one tomato, sliced
  • one ear of sweet corn, use a knife to remove the kernels (hold it lengthwise above a cutting board)
  • green beans, with the ends cut off
  • raw almonds
  • two dried mango slices, cut into strips
  • dressing: a splash of nice olive oil, white wine vinegar, and horseradish mustard 

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Last Five Salads: Chasing That Full (Not Stuffed) Feeling

One of my favorite side effects of eating plant based meals is that I rarely feel the need to unbutton my pants and take a nap after eating. Sometimes I feel the opposite- filled with energy. Filled is the key word. Not all salads are created equally. There are many salads that are not filling and will just leave me hangry a few hours later. That's why I try to make sure my salads have enough protein (beans, quinoa, nuts, quinoa-based pasta) or fat (usually avocado) or both. If I don't make a hearty enough salad, then I usually pair it with a side like hummus and crackers. Check out the salads below to chase that full (not stuffed) feeling! 

Salad #5

Salad #5

1. Tie-Dye Pink Bean Salad (makes at least 3 servings)

  • one cup of dry lima beans- soak overnight (3:1 water to bean ratio plus some salt), rinse a few times until the water is clear, cover with water in a pot and turn the heat down once they boil, then cook for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. 
  • one can (drained) of artichokes
  • half of a roasted beet, diced (or a whole beet)
  • one handful of walnuts (break them into smaller pieces like a giant breaking rocks in the palm of their hand)
  • fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • a splash of fancy olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper

2. End of Summer Salad

  • mixed greens
  • one plum tomato, sliced
  • one carrot, sliced
  • two handfuls of cherries, pitted
  • walnuts
  • a splash of fancy olive oil
  • fresh juice from half of a lemon
  • a sprinkle of sea salt

3. Shaky Shaky Mango Salad

  • mixed greens
  • half a mango, sliced
  • chili powder
  • lime juice
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • shake it up!

4. Double Bean Blueberry Salad

  • mixed greens
  • blueberries
  • green beans
  • black beans, rinsed and slightly dried
  • dressing: fresh lemon juice, fancy olive oil, and dijon mustard

5. Massaged Kale Salad

  • shredded kale (without the stem)
  • massage kale with nice olive oil and fresh lemon juice (add olive oil slowly)
  • sea salt
  • roasted chickpeas (olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper)
  • sliced apples
  • optional: pepitas

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Last Five Salads: Never Have I Ever...

Never have I ever... eaten a salad for breakfast? I have! When I was a kid I ate cereal for breakfast everyday and I effing loved it. If you told me that as an adult I would occasionally eat veggies for breakfast I would have laughed until milk came out of my nose. Well, look who isn't laughing now! HA! Loads of people don't eat a full serving of vegetables until dinner time. Be a rebel and eat a veggie for breakfast once and a while.

Cherry on Top Salad (Salad #2)

Cherry on Top Salad (Salad #2)

1. Berry Nice to Meet You Spinach Brekky Salad

  • chopped spinach (my preference to chop it-not required)
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries (sliced)
  • blackberries
  • Italian dressing

2. Cherry on Top Salad

  • sliced cherries
  • green beans
  • chopped spinach
  • a few slices of zucchini
  • raw beet, peeled and shaved over the salad
  • walnuts
  • dressing: 1 tablespoon of miso paste, a splash of sesame oil, a splash of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, a small drizzle of soy sauce, and a splash of pure maple syrup (optional)

3. Lemony Pasta Salad

  • sliced cherry tomatoes
  • chopped green beans
  • some thin slices of apple
  • pasta cooked, drained, then cooled
  • a handful of zoodles
  • fresh lemon juice
  • a few splashes of fancy olive oil (not the cheapest kind on the shelf)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • faux parmesan cheese (I used the brand Follow Your Heart)
  • optional: diced red onion, lemon zest

4. Unlikely Combo Salad

  • tofu- drained, smooshed (try to get more of the water out onto a paper towel), sliced into squares, lightly covered in grapeseed or olive oil, coated with a mix of spices (black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and paprika), and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • chopped spinach
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • a few diced mint leaves
  • 1 roasted beat (peeled and sliced)
  • a splash of balsamic vinagrette

5. Zesty Watermelon Avocado Salad

  • cubed watermelon
  • spinach
  • chopped mint leaves
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • half and avocado, diced
  • a dash of cumin, chili powder and sea salt
  • juice from half a lemon

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Last Five Salads: F.U. Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is flavorless yet so many restaurants use it as a default green. I don't think I'm high maintenance (ask someone who knows me to verify), but seeing it as the only leafy green option on a menu makes me want to throw a fit. I encourage you to taste a wide variety of salad greens. Here are some options to get you started: arugula (for people who like a slight kick in the bum), romaine (for people who don't want to think about it), butter/bibb/Boston lettuce (for people who like soft things), baby spinach (for people who really enjoy the taste of vegetables), and nada nada (for creative rebels who eat salads without leafy greens). Crunch crunch! That's the sound of your salads getting more exciting.

Salad #5 (this one went the "nada nada" route)

Salad #5 (this one went the "nada nada" route)

1. I Ran Out of Garlic Powder (so I used Adobo) Tofu Salad

  • Tofu- drained, smooshed (try to get more of the water out onto a paper towel), sliced into squares, lightly covered in grapeseed or olive oil, coated with Goya Adobo, and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • 1 spiralized zuke
  • cherry tomatoes
  • splash of white wine vinegar
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • sprinkle pepper on top

2. This Fridge is Looking Bare Salad

  • Tofu- leftover from salad #1
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 1 sliced bosc pear
  • Italian dressing
  • Chopped spinach

3. Grapefruity Tooty Salad

  • roasted slices of sweet potato (use olive oil and a spice mix of kosher salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and turmeric)
  • slices from half a grapefruit
  • chopped spinach 
  • walnuts
  • dressing: 1:1 ratio of a mild tasting olive oil (this is when you use the fancy stuff) and pure maple syrup with a dash of sea salt

4. Eat the Rainbow Salad

  • chopped spinach
  • orange grape tomatoes
  • 1 mini cuke sliced
  • 1 peach sliced
  • some roasted and sliced purple mini potatoes (use olive oil and a spice mix of kosher salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and turmeric)
  • a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

5. Mango Slaw Salad

  • chopped purple cabbage
  • thinly sliced carrots
  • diced mango
  • italian dressing

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Last Five Salads: Follow me to Bean Town!

By continuing this series of salad posts on my crusade to stomp out the myth that all salads are sad, sacks of veggies who are worthless and boring I have inadvertently taken on a personal challenge to expand the variety of salads I eat. This is where the beans come in. They sometimes make you toot. But that is their job technically and you should love them for it. The average American is fiber deficient. What are the risks? Constipation, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity. Womp womp. I'm all set thanks. If you're down to head to Bean Town follow me! 

Salad #4

Salad #4

1. Magic Lima Bean Cool-down Salad

  • dry lima beans- soak overnight (3:1 water to bean ratio plus some salt), rinse a few times until the water is clear, cover with water in a pot and turn the heat down once they boil, then cook for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. 
  • a generous amount of red wine vinegar that will season the salad, but not make your tongue curl up and runaway (add gradually!)
  • a splash of olive oil
  • diced carrots
  • diced cucumber
  • diced shallot
  • a handful of rinsed chickpeas from a can
  • sea salt and pepper to season

2. Lemon Garlic Fist Pump Salad

  • chopped spinach (my preference to chop it-not required)
  • chopped green beans
  • one sliced bosc pear
  • canned, drained artichokes
  • rinsed, drained chickpeas
  • dressing: lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and minced garlic (one clove or half if it's a plump one)

3. Plantain-Avo-Pom-Bean Salad

  • chopped spinach (my preference to chop it-not required)
  • half an avocado
  • pomegranate seeds
  • leftover maduros (cooked sweet plantains)
  • black beans rinsed, drained, then lightly seasoned with sea salt and pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil

4. Zoodle Doodle Salad (if you're ready for a break from beans)

  • 2 small zucchinis (sliced or spiralized)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • pomegranate seeds
  • dressing: half an avocado mixed with a small splash of apple cider vinegar, a few splashes of olive oil, and lemon juice

5. Black Bean Salsa Bowl Salad

  • arugula
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 clementine
  • pepitas
  • a light splash of olive oil
  • black beans rinsed, drained, then lightly seasoned with sea salt and pepper
  • a serving of roasted spaghetti squash
  • lightly salted plantain chips
  • cherry tomatoes
  • spicy mango salsa (add right before serving)

Last Five Salads: Nothing about my meal prep is precious.

I love to do things well, but I am also great at justifying that my methods and results are "good enough". It keeps things low stress! It's rare that I go to the grocery store without a list in hand, but if the store is out of two main ingredients then I just wing it. First, I google "replacement for..." then, I decide if the dish will be ruined with or without the replacement. To live your life in this manner and cook to match it you need three things: creativity, courage, and a tiny bit of kitchen experience. It's safe to say that I will never have a career as a recipe tester. However, I will learn a lot and have fun doing it. Meal prep shouldn't be precious. Make a salad with random ingredients this week. Pick one salad dressing you like then add five ingredients: protein/nuts/seeds, veggie #1, veggie #2, veggie #3, and a fruit. If you feel like life is lacking pizzazz it might be time to add a veg/fruit you have never tried before! Let's go crazy.  

Salad #3

Salad #3

1. I Roasted Stuff on Sunday Salad

  • arugula (with half a lemon's juice mixed in)
  • one roasted beet (can be purchased in stores or made at home)
  • roasted chickpeas (olive oil, salt, and pepper)
  • small roasted potatoes (olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper)
  • one apple sliced
  • baby carrots 

2. I Dream of Blueberries Salad

  • arugula 
  • chopped purple cabbage
  • half an avocado
  • pepitas
  • blueberries
  • roasted chickpeas
  • small roasted potatoes
  • dressing: one to one ratio of pure maple syrup and fresh-squeezed lime juice

3. Oh Snap, Green Bean Pasta Salad

  • cooked pasta cooled (I like Ancient Harvest because it has quinoa/protein in it)
  • slowly add vegan mayo (i.e. Vegenaise) until you like the level of wetness
  • slowly add yellow mustard until you feel the kick
  • chopped green beans
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • canned, drained artichoke hearts 
  • chopped scallions or diced red onion
  • salt & pepper (if needed)

4. Kick to the Face Salad

  • chopped red cabbage
  • chopped green beans
  • sliced, roasted beets
  • canned, drained artichoke hearts
  • dressing: 1:1 ratio of horseradish mustard and lemon juice then add a bit of olive oil until you like the consistency

5. Avocado is Bae Salad

  • arugula
  • canned, drained artichoke hearts
  • half an avocado
  • sliced radishes
  • sliced cukes
  • rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • Annie's Tuscany Italian dressing
  • pepitas

Last Five Salads: Is it too late to get a beach body?

Take your body to the beach. Put on a bathing suit. Ta-da! Now you have a beach body. If you want to feel healthier while lounging on a towel, then I recommend eating food that has water and fiber in it. Here come the salads!!! I never thought I would say this, but I love eating salads for lunch on warm days. Sometimes I have a big salad with a small side dish (i.e. hummus with crackers) and sometimes just the salad. I do whatever I effing want. Live your life. 

Salad #2

Salad #2

1. Zuke Suit Riot Salad

  • 1 small sliced zucchini
  • 1 thinly sliced apple
  • lots of mint leaves
  • sliced radishes
  • a drizzle of grapeseed oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • additional ingredient idea: roasted brussels sprouts (with olive oil, salt, pepper)

2. Squash the Competition Salad

  • half a head of cauliflower- rinsed, stem removed, and florets run through a food processor until it resembles couscous 
  • the juice and zest from half a lemon mixed into the cauliflower
  • a drizzle of pure maple syrup mixed into the cauliflower
  • acorn squash- roasted in olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (40 minutes at 400)
  • chickpeas- rinsed, dried, and roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper (10 minutes at 400)
  • raisins

3. Double Greens Empty the Fridge Salad

  • remainder of the chickpeas from salad #2
  • remainder of the acorn squash from salad #2
  • arugula
  • baby spinach
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • additional ingredient idea: sliced radishes or baby carrots

4. Elevated Basic B#*@! Salad

  • arugula
  • slices from half an orange
  • baby carrots
  • sliced radishes
  • some fresh corn (shuck corn, hold perpendicular to cutting board, and use a knife to remove the corn from the husk)
  • yellow cherry tomatoes
  • lots of pepitas
  • italian dressing

5. I Licked the Bowl Caesar Salad

  • butter lettuce
  • chickpeas rinsed, dried, and roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper (10 minutes at 400)
  • quinoa cooked and cooled
  • vegan caesar dressing adapted from The Plantpower Way (pulse the following ingredients in a food processor: 1/2 cup raw cashews, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 small clove garlic, 2 tbsp avocado, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce, juice from 1/2 a lemon, pepper, 1/2 cup water) 

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Last Five Salads: Like a Raccoon Attacking the Trash

Like a raccoon attacking the trash- that's how I eat salads when they are great/well-done/epic. I'm pretty serious about #NoSadSalads. A sad salad is the "garden salad" that many restaurants serve and it's super depressing. It lacks ingredients, creativity, and nutrition. I hate that so many people think that's all a salad can be. That's why I plan do to a regular post with the last five salads I ate!

Salad #3

Salad #3

1. Rae Moves to the West Coast Salad

  • arugula
  • baby spinach
  • parsley
  • green onion
  • roasted beet (rinse a beet, cut off the top, cover in olive oil, wrap like a hershey kiss in foil, bake for 1 hour at 450, wait til it cools to throw in salad)
  • quinoa 
  • carrots
  • chickpeas
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • dijon mustard
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • pure maple syrup

2. I Missed You Grapes Salad 

  • baby spinach
  • red cabbage
  • seedless purple grapes
  • italian dressing
  • cashews (no salt)
  • avocado

3. I'll Eat Anything That's Purple & Green Salad

  • arugula
  • red cabbage
  • bartlett pear (or a different variety)
  • grapeseed oil
  • balsamic fig vinegar
  • diced red onion
  • avocado
  • chickpeas roasted (with olive oil, salt and pepper) or plain

4. I Wish I Was In Mexico Salad (adapted from this recipe)

  • tat soi
  • baby spinach
  • red cabbage
  • orange
  • lime wedge (for the fresh juice)
  • a splash of grape seed oil
  • black beans cooked in chili powder, salt, garlic powder, and pepper 
  • avocado

5. She's My Side Chick(pea) Salad Sandwich

  • chickpeas rinsed, drained, and dried (then throw in food processor with veganaise through lemon juice ingredients so half of it looks like the consistency of hummus) 
  • veganaise (about 2 tbps)
  • sweet relish
  • horseradish (I like a kick)
  • pepper
  • lemon juice
  • spinach or butter lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 pieces of toasted bread

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