Coconut Cabbage Salad with Mint Pesto Tofu

Firstly, thank you to all of you who took the time to read my last post and leave such thoughtful comments. I often feel like the internet is so saturated and this blog goes unread (except by my mom and boyfriend lol) but last week fueled some motivation to keep sharing authentically on here. Although it is very theraputic for me and I LOVE creating this blog its also something I do to inspire and connect with others. So thank you. That last post was lengthy and the fact that many of you took the time to read it and comment moves and surprises me in the best way.

You see…, time is the most vaulable resource you have.

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Purple Cauliflower Salad with Cabbage, Cilantro and Lemon Vinaigrette

Purple Cauliflower Salad Caras Kitchen

The color of this salad is so striking to me and elevates the entire dining experience. Heres why:  Aside from being beautiful, the purple cauli offers additional nutrients then the standard white. Its hue is due to the presence of a flavoniod called anthocyanins which have been found to help regulate blood sugar levels, control body weight and potentially lower your risk for cancer. All good things in my book.

This salad has a really nice crunch that is so satisfying yet is no fuss to put together, perfect to make ahead as well since the flavors need time to blend. It is eaten as a main course around my place but it would be perfect served as a side along salmon, baked tofu or poached egg for brunch.

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Holiday Kale Salad with Fennel, Sweet Potato, Apple and Pomegranate

Winter Kale Salad 058 #vegan #glutenfree #kale

Over the last 9 years I have been living apart from my immediate family spending 8 of them in Los Angeles and 1 in Melboune, Australia. There have been many years where I haven’t made it home for the holidays for various reasons including school, work, boyfriends or because sometimes going home for the holiday’s is difficult. Like many, my parents are divorced and figuring out which parent to spend what holidays with isn’t always easy. On the upside, so many people I know and love in LA also don’t go home for the holidays so there is always a friends-giving or gathering of the like so I’ve never felt like I missed out. However this Thanksgiving I am traveling with my dad back to Chicago to see the extended family- cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My traditional Italian family is not very vegan or vegetarian friendly so I have been thinking a lot about what I want to contribute to the meal and this kale salad recipe is a serious contender. 
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Easy Summer Salad with Heirlooms, Peaches, Corn and Fresh Herbs {Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free}

Heriloom and Peach Salad2The summer brings with it so many memories of  backyard BBQ’s at friends houses and bonfires at the beach when I was growing up. Its the time of year when I feel most carefree, regardless of whether my life has freed up at all or not. Maybe its the warm weather or the fact that my first 18 years of life summer came with little responsibility, this season always makes me feel lighter and more at ease. Although, this year a vacation is not on the books and I am busier then ever with work, I am looking forward to longer days that turn into warm nights, bike rides at the beach in the glowing setting sun and dinning al fresco with my friends. This salad will most likely be on high rotation due to the accessability of the ingredients, minimal time required to assemble and the burst of seasonal flavors. Had I had some on hand at the time I would have added some garbanzo beans or avocado to balance out the acidity but it is still sweet and refreshing just the way it is. I hope you enjoy!

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Grilled Corn, Watermelon and Arugula Salad {Vegan, Gluten Free}

Watermelon, Grilled Corn and Arugula Salad 6Over Memorial Day weekend I went to Arizona to be with my family and I always chuckly at the concerned texts from my mother as she tries to figure out how she is going to feed me while I am there. Like being vegan is a far reaching waste land where all that exists to eat is broccoli, carrots and romaine lettuce. Remove meat and cheese from the equation and she becomes paralyzed at the thought of cooking, frantically texting me the day before I arrive. I’ve been on a plant based diet for five years and eat a wider array of foods now then I ever did when I was an omnivore.  Eating this way forces you to expand while within the seasons and whats available. Meat is available year round but fruits and vegetables are not, coming and going as the seasons change (or atleast they should without the overuse of pesticides, and forced ripening). You also have to eat a wide array of foods to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, too. Its a win win in my mind.

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Sweet Sesame Tofu Sticks with Thai Cabbage Salad {Vegan, Gluten Free}

Sesame tofu cabbage salad

Raise your hand if you are a salad lover! (did anyone raise their hand?) I find it a huge blessing that I actually like to eat vibrant fruits and vegetables. Although, people can agrue that you can change what your body craves by changing the microbial oncology (minute 37) in your gut, its nice to have been born this way.

Seriously, there are nights when all I want to eat is roasted broccoli and I have a creative salad for dinner several nights a week. Something I’ve learned over the years of salad making is that salad dressing can make or break your salad so I have made a conscious effort to start spending more time developing salad dressing from scratch instead of from the jar like I used to. The dressing for this salad has so many wonderful notes in it: a little bite of spiciness from the red pepper, rich nutty warmth from the sesame oil, a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup and a bright tangy kick from the lime juicy. It reminds me of my travels to Thailand and I think you are going to love it!

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