Hello, Team Booyah!

Don’t worry – I didn’t forget about you. I have a crazy busy week this week, and I haven’t had much time to make fantastic booyah creations in the kitchen this week.Β  As the unofficial vegan cuisine expert, I offered to coordinate a menu of vegan-friendly food options for visitors to my workplace this week, and so I put together a vegan-friendly menu comprised of some of my favorite recipes that I’ve previously posted here on Bubbles and Booyah. πŸ˜‰ I’ve added links to all of the recipes, so you guys can check them out too, in case you missed them the first time around. πŸ™‚

Main entrees:

  1. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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Red quinoa with garbanzo beans, spinach, tomato, bell pepper, onion, Kalamata olives, fresh herbs, hemp seeds and a red wine vinaigrette dressing

  1. Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

photo 3 (2)Quinoa with edamame, carrot, bell pepper, red cabbage, with a sesame ginger dressing

  1. Green Goddess Bowl

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Sprouted quinoa and sprouted lentils with steamed kale and broccoli tossed in a tahini-lemon sauce

  1. Mexican Quinoa and Tempeh Salad

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Mexican-inspired tempeh with quinoa, black beans, corn, tomato, bell pepper, onion, and lime

Side Dishes:

  1. Kale Salad

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Fresh kale with edamame, chickpeas, fresh herbs, carrots, craisins, almonds and an Italian herb vinaigrette dressing

  1. Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad

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Fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion and fresh herbs tossed in a light apple cider vinaigrette dressing

Desserts

  1. Vegan Brownies

Recipe coming soon πŸ˜‰ Stay tuned!

  1. Raw Apricot and Date Power Bites

Apricot, dates, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil balls rolled in flaked coconut

Β 

Ta daaaa! I have eaten my fair share of icky veggie burgers, sad salads and lame veggie sandwiches over the years while traveling, I would never impose any of those depressing meals on anyone. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Hopefully the menu appeals to the visitors’ tastes. I have high hopes they will enjoy the dishes I make as much as I have.

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In unrelated Booyah News, I *finally* returned to my beloved yoga studio for an intense bendy session. It was SO NEEDED. Like, way overdue. All I could hear in my head was my very dear friend and yoga instructor Rachel, who was telling me that the best thing for sore muscles (from logging all those miles and working out most days of the week) is to do gentle, restorative yoga stretching. Some of the poses can help you regain range of motion, reduce swelling in your legs, and improve circulation to speed your recovery. Remember when Rachel and I did a little yoga sequence during the Fourth of July weekend? She came up with a flow to help relieve the soreness I was feeling from running 10 miles. We held each position for at least fiveβ€”and up to 15β€”minutes, where I focused on relaxing my entire body and taking slow, full breaths. As last night’s yoga instructor said, “Do less.” I tend to tense my shoulders, face, everything – mentally instructing myself to “do less” when easing into poses helped me let go and just let my body naturally fall into position. I’m not that bendy or great at yoga (I can only touch my toes on a good day), but you don’t have to be a Cirque du Soleil performer to reap the benefits of yoga. Go on, try it out. You can do it right at home! Check out this 20 minute sequence on YouTube:

I hope you guys all have a great day today!! I’ll be back at the end of the week with Friday Faves πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad

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My sister has been making this quinoa salad for YEARS – it was her brainchild and even bears her name in a Nutrition cookbook. I thought, however, that naming it the “Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad” on B&B was better than calling it the J[REDACTED]’s Quinoa Salad. πŸ˜‰ Regardless of its name, she came up with it and it’s the ultimate bring to the BBQ/make for a party/take for lunch salad because it’s a) ridiculously easy – if you can chop vegetables, you got this; b) exceptionally delicious (and also full of stuff that’s good for you); and c) vegan (dairy & egg free), gluten free and soy free. YES on all levels. And since it’s about to be 86Β°F / 30Β°C and ridiculously humid today in Boston, it only requires one simmering pot of water – so it won’t turn your kitchen into a furnace. Love that.

Anywho, one of my friends was giving me a hard time about the way I eat (as a veg, you learn to roll with the punches early on or having your eating habits questioned gets really irritating really quickly). For once, it wasn’t the ubiquitous “Omg don’t you miss eating bacon/steak/wings so much?!”/”Where do you get your protein?” (For the record, my new favorite response is “what’s protein?” with a blank look on your face. I’ve found you start to NGAF when you’ve been a veg for over half your life and have heard this shiz for the past 16 years, and as a biochemist, I mean – bitch, please. Don’t even talk to me about protein.)/”Blah blah blah blah” (Because you also start to tune it out after awhile too – my choices aren’t your choices, so you do you, boo. I’ll be doing me over here. BYE!). Okay, I could really go on forever on but I’ll save it for another time. This time, when given a hard time about my eating habits it was more of, “You don’t like cooking multiple dishes, do you? You basically cook one thing and just eat that?” My response: um, YES. Because I’m BUSY dude – I have stuff to do. And as much as I would love to stand around drinking red wine and cooking all day like the vegetarian Julia Child, I have a career, a life and I’m perpetually training for some physical challenge. And I’m pretty content with that. So yeah – the majority of the time during the week, yes. I do just cook one dish and eat it for part of the week: because it’s easy, you don’t have to do a million dishes, stand in front of the stove for a long time after you’ve already been standing in front of a laboratory hood for eight hours, and you’ve got a training run tomorrow at 5 am and have to go to sleep in like 45 minutes. I assume most people feel that way during the week – everyone loves a quick, easy, flavorful, filling and nutritious meal all in one shot, amiright?! Obviously, I love to cook (why else would I be writing this blog πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ ) and when I have the luxury of time I get to go balls to the wall. So, for everyone of you who are too busy loving life to stay chained to your stove – here’s another B&B QEFFN (quick, easy, flavorful, filling and nutritious, whose acronym looks dangerously close to “queefin” – I’m going to have to work on that) meal for you all to enjoy. It’s really, really delicious and shares zero resemblance to any embarrassing scenarios. πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

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Here what you need for this quinoa salad: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, grape tomatoes, quinoa, grated carrot, bell pepper, radishes, scallions and chickpeas.

Wicked Easy Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of radishes, sliced
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3+ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh herbs: basil, parsley, oregano, mint, etc.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: Cook your quinoa. Bring the veggie broth or water to a boil and add the quinoa. Turn the heat to love, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the germ has separated from the seed (the tiny spirals that appear when the quinoa is done cooking). While your quinoa is simmering away, prep all of your veggies. Toss all of your veggies into a large bowl.
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Listening to some great summer tunes like Tom Petty is highly recommended.

Step Two: When the quinoa is finished cooking, add the olive oil and stir to coat all of the quinoa. Allow it to cool down to room temperature (or just slightly above, I’m super impatient) so it doesn’t “cook” the veggies.
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You want these veggies to be fresh to death.

Step Three: Combine the quinoa and veggies, stirring well to mix. Add the vinegar to taste.
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Don’t throw the hot quinoa in there! You will have major life choice regrets if you do. It’s so much better to let it cool out. πŸ™‚

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Stir it all up and add salt, pepper and vinegar to taste.

Step Four: Adjust any seasoning and add the fresh herbs. I only added a huge handful of chopped basil, because that is what I had on hand.

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Step Five: Serve with extra chopped herbs as a garnish. Enjoy! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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Here’s what’s really great about this salad: you can serve it with tortilla chips at a party/BBQ/snack time, or you can eat a big ol’ scoop of it plain. Or you can put it on top of your lunch salad, roll it up in a wrap with hummus and veggies, put it on a mezze platter or whatever you are feeling like doing at the moment. It’s so versatile! It tastes fresh, crunchy from the veggies, light and refreshing – perfect for summer,Β  yet it’s still extremely satisfying and filling. And, according to My Fitness Pal, each serving (1/5 of this recipe, if you eat a beastly amount like I did) has 384 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 14.6 grams of protein (wait, did you hear that haters?! It has a bunch of plant protein!!) and is in the 80%s for both your daily value of Vitamin A and C. Whussup, now!

Dude, it’s just really good. I can’t wait for you to try it.

Hope you all are having fantastic hump days!! Also – FOUR DAYS TIL MY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYY πŸ˜€ Woo woo!

With warmth,

L

Top 5 Best Booyah Summer Salads

It’s officially summer! That means you should be spending more time outside, barefoot and dancing to live music, floating in the ocean or running like the wind in the sunshine, and less time in front of your stove cooking. I’ve chosen my top five favorite salads for summertime – perfect for picnics, BBQs, or eating directly out of the container in front of your fridge before you jet off and do something fun with your people. All five are packed to the brim with nutrients and flavor, so you don’t have to worry about eating something healthy before heading out to that outdoor concert you’re about to dance your booty off at. These salads are my personal favorites, and I truly hope that you fall in love with them as much as I already have.

1. Mediterranean Quinoa Power UP Salad

This salad combines my favorite summer flavors: fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs, tossed with quinoa in an out of this world vinaigrette dressing and topped with feta (don’t worry my fellow vegans – there’s a great mock feta recipe in there, too!). So delicious.

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2. Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

Not only is this the prettiest rainbow colored salad that ever existed, it’s full of good stuff for you and is super quick and easy to whip up. You can throw this salad together in under 30 minutes and impress the hell out of your friends/your boo because it is stunning to look at. And it tastes even better. πŸ˜‰

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3. L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Um, NOMS. This salad is super easy, super quick and packed with flavor. It requires zero cooking, just can opening skills. You can eat it plain (as shown below), or cook up your favorite grain and throw it on top (farro is especially bomb, and is how I put it all together in the original recipe). The chickpeas and edamame give this salad a boost of protein, and it actually gets even better once it’s chilled overnight in the fridge.

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4. Green Goddess Bowl

Ok, this one might be cheating because it’s less of a salad per se and more of a bowl. However, I’ve included it on this list because of the freakin’ out of this damn world Tahini-Lemon sauce, that would basically make anything you find at the farmer’s market taste amazeballs. So, you can basically take this food equation and run with it: Grain + Protein + Veggie + Tahini-Lemon Sauce = YES YES YES YES YES. It’s really that good. In the original recipe, my bowl was composed of quinoa, lentils, broccoli and kale, but there is literally no combination that would not be stellar as SIN.

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5. Mexican Quinoa and Tempeh Salad

Last but not least, this Mexican-inspired quinoa and tempeh salad is a fiber and protein packed one pot meal, and can even double as a maj taco or burrito filling. It’s also the gateway dish to fall in love with Tempeh as your new fave plant protein (Shhhh, don’t tell the meat-eaters!). Light, flavorful and super healthy, this one is a serious winner.

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Which one is your favorite?? Tell me all about it the comments.

With warmth,

L

PS: I had an unexpectedly great ass-kicking this morning in bootcamp and it felt SUPERB!! We were all feeling pretty lame for our normal Tuesday morning Gal Workout this morning, so we decided to head to bootcamp instead. We had a substitute instructor who lead a stellar Tabata workout. I hope you guys get a little of that Booyah feeling today, too. XOXOX.

5 Ingredient Taboule

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It’s summmmaaatime! Okay, well after this weekend it is. Pull out your white pants and gingham, because Memorial Day is upon us! I whipped up this super simple 5 ingredient “taboule” that is the perfect vegan/gluten-free dish to bring to your Mem Day BBQ or just eat all week like it ain’t no thang (as I did – none of this taboule salad made it to see the weekend, nom nom!). Instead of the usual suspects bulgur and couscous, quinoa is used as the grain here, and is complemented by chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. Drizzle that sucker with some olive oil and you have a super simple, super delicious, fresh-tasting summer dish. The best part about this dish is that with simplicity comes options – you can jazz it up any way you see fit. Add avocado and feta, garlic and lemon, or rice vinegar and onions and turn this basic into anything you want. I keep it in its default state until I’m ready to eat it, and then add whatever I’m feeling to jazz it up – or nothing, as it’s pretty damn good by itself. It’s also a great day when you can add a scoop of this to top of your usual lunch salad, stick it in a veggie sandwich, eat it as a side dish with dinner, or throw some Gardin Chick’n Strips right on top and call it a day. So, here we go!

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Everything you need: quinoa, tomatoes, parsley, cucumber, olive oil. Seriously, that’s it.

5 Ingredient Taboule

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of water

1 1/3 cups of grape tomatoes, halved

1 large English cucumber, diced

1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Step One: Cook your quinoa. Add 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the germ has begun to separate from the seed. Want more tips? Check out this amazing How to Cook Quinoa article – they’ve got all the good ones.
Step Two: Prep your veggies. Slice those tomatoes in half, dice the cuke and roughly chop up your parsley. Place into a large bowl. Done. Now you can go file your nails, shake your booty to Rihanna’s BBHMM or sit at your kitchen table and enjoy a glass of vino with your boo (or solo) while you’re waiting for the quinoa to be done.
Step Three: Combine. Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. YUM.
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All of the ingredients just mellowing out and ready to be eaten.

Step Four: Enjoy, beauts! πŸ˜€

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I devoured my first bowl of taboule completely plain-o and it was delicious. The freshness of the cucumber and tomato really pop when they are balanced by such simple flavors – so gooood!! I brought several portions for lunch this week, and added a little vinegar to give it a bit of a zip and it was fantastic. There isn’t much you can’t add here – just about everything tastes amazing with this simple flavor combination. YUM. I really hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do.

Happy Thursday, everyone! Almost to the *LONG* weekend! πŸ˜‰

With warmth,

L

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

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Woohooo! Tomorrow is the first day of Spring! It’s finally here! Even though it was 19Β°F / -7Β°C with a wind chill of 7Β°F / -13Β°C this morning when I went to boot camp (which was beyond epic, and if you want to know why check out my Instagram video of us playing adult Hungry Hungry Hippos at 6 am this morning), I have moved past winter meals and am going straight for the good, warm-weather stuff. Don’t get me wrong; I love stews, stewps and everything in between, but I am ready for some fresh, crunchy, light dishes (also I’ve been eating my weight in vegan So Delicious Coconut Almond Ice Cream Bars, so…yeah). This delicious vegan and gluten free quinoa dish is a spring/summer staple in my kitchen; not only is it SUPER quick and easy (you can whip up this sucker in under 30 minutes), but it’s really quite versatile. It holds its own as the main attraction (you could eat just this and have a pretty balanced meal, which I frequently do on those warm days when you don’t want to actually cook anything), but it also makes a good summer BBQ/party side dish, and the leftovers are phenomenal served over greens (i.e.hello lunch pack!). It’s packed with nutrients too: the brightly colored veggies are full of vitamins and antioxidants, and the quinoa adds an additional protein boost, bringing the final tally up to 13 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber in a single, ~330 calorie serving. And, even though it tastes (almost deceptively) fresh and light, it is still hearty and filling. If you REALLY want to go for it, throw some of my L’s Best Baked Tofu on top, and you’ve got a super protein packed dish – YUM. Also, it’s just like really pretty and nice to look at. Without further ado:

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Here’s what you need: sesame seeds, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, quinoa, fresh ginger, frozen edamame, bell pepper, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame
3/4 cup of grated carrots
5 rainbow mini bell peppers, diced (or about one whole bell pepper)
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 inch of fresh ginger, finely minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Step One: Get all your veggies ready. In a large glass bowl, place frozen edamame (no need to thaw, simply tossing with the warm quinoa later will do the trick), carrots, peppers and cabbage.

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Step Two: Start the quinoa. Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes.
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You can use whatever kind of quinoa you’d like, I actually combined white, sprouted and red together (dude, you know when you have like a tiny bit left of each kind and your pantry is overflowing with 80% empty bags of every kind of quinoa under the sun? Well that is what was happening, so I just threw them all together and it worked like a charm).

Step Three: Meanwhile, whip up the dressing. Whisk together the sesame seeds, rice vinegar, ginger and sesame oil.

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Step Four: Combine. Once the quinoa is done, scoop the warm quinoa over the veggies, and toss with the sesame ginger dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Throw the steamy quinoa right on top of the veggies.

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Toss well with the dressing to combine.

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So colorful! πŸ˜€

Step Five: Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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photo 3 (3)YUMMMMM. Season with an extra drizzle of rice vinegar if you’d like, and enjoy! This dish is omnivore approved, I made it frequently over the summer and it was always a fan favorite among friends and family (it was my Go-To “dish to pass” for most of the summer parties I attended). It’s light but filling, and full of good stuff for you. Throw whatever else you’d like in there – steamed asparagus, leeks, zucchini – whatever else you have on hand/think would add some spring flavaaa – it is sure to be delicious. Also, if you’re not a quinoa addict like I am, brown rice is an excellent grain stand-in here. I’m definitely excited for the leftovers later tonight, the cold weather be dammed!

I hope you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did, and I hope you all have a great Thursday! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L ❀

xoxox

Tahini-Lemon Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

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With all the craziness of travel, friends visiting, work being crazy (aka life in general), I haven’t been able to bring you a delicious L meal creation in a while. Well loves, the time has come! Last night I made an unbelievably fresh, bright and wholesome dish that is bound to get you as amped about life as I am. It was 56Β°F / 13Β°C yesterday (that’s basically tropical for Boston), and snow piles and hearts were melting everywhere. SPRING! FINALLY! I wanted something GREEN, fresh and bright that was simultaneously filling and wholesome. What better way than to whip up a little quinoa salad with some roasted veggies and a to-die-for sauce (pretty much marrying my favorite things to do with food)?? Well, not much. I created a Tahini-Lemon Sauce/Spread/Dip to give this dish its creamy-nutty-earthy flavor that is balanced by the bright acidity and freshness of the lemon. Basically, it is DAMN good (as well as vegan and gluten-free to boot – total crowd pleaser!). I had broccoli and cauliflower on hand, so I roasted those and added them into the mix; you can use whatever you have available or whatever you’re feeling in the moment. I added some extra protein with the addition of shelled edamame, you could add your fave bean (chickpeas, cannelinis, lentils) or some baked tofu/tempeh. It’s pretty much a freestyle dish that you can tailor to your needs and tastes. Let’s get this started, shall we?

Tahini-Lemon Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (heaping if you’re into it as much as I am)
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water or veggie broth
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup of frozen edamame
  • Hemp seeds, for sprinkling on top
  • A few drizzles of olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step One: Roast the veggies. Preheat the oven to 425Β°F. Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet (or two medium baking sheets, if your oven is as small as my tiny apartment-sized one). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat the florets evenly. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned (you may want to toss them halfway but I didn’t and the world kept on spinnin’).

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Step Two: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the water or broth to a boil. Stir in your quinoa, cover and bring the heat to low. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 minutes; then add the frozen edamame and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
Step Three: Still meanwhile, on the other side of the kitchen – whip up your Tahini-Lemon Sauce/Spread/Dip (I can’t think of a word mash up for that one a la “Stewp”, still working on it…). In a food processor, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Blend until smooth. Mine was super thick – like more of a spread than a sauce. You have a few options here: you can add some olive oil (I simply added a drizzle to make the consistency smooth, but not more), or water/broth to thin it out to where you want it. I like it super thick because I use it as a spread on sandwiches/to dip carrots into while I’m waiting for dinner to be done, etc. It’s pretty flavorful, so you won’t need a lot and can save the rest for something delicious.

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Step Four: Combine. Once the edamame/quinoa is done, transfer to a large bowl while it is still hot. Add three-ish heaping tablespoons of the tahini-lemon sauce and stir until it is evenly distributed. It’s okay if it’s kinda thick and clumpy (mine was!) but if you’re not into it, add a little water or a little extra drizzle of olive oil to thin the consistency. Add the roasted veggies on top and mix well to combine. Add any salt and pepper to taste, if necessary (I did not need any).

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Step Five: Serve warm with hemp seeds sprinkled on top. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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Dude, this was so good. It has a definite Green Goddess feel to it that I was really digging last night. It really hit the spot; it’s nutritious, filling and flavorful (all of the things I generally go for in a meal). The best part is that you can make a sandwich wrap with the leftovers for lunch, or you can throw a scoop over your lunch salad (it is so good served over arugula!). It’s versatile and fresh, and tastes great served warm or right out of the container in the fridge (guilty). I truly hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, it’s simple but the flavors are bangin’ (and dude – I am SO pumped that I have some of that bomb Tahini-Lemon spread left over, because I am going to eat that as soon as I get home tonight).

Hope you guys are having a great Thursday today! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

With warmth,

L

PS: Sarah’s bootcamp this morning was killer and I think my face will be bright red until lunch time. That is all.

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

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L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Here’s what happens when you don’t really feel like using more than one pot, you’ve got some kale in your fridge that you don’t have any epic plans for (/it has been giving you the side eye), and an abundance of useful pantry items: you make this kale salad, worthy of even Beyonce’s adoration. It’s simple, filling, full of nutrients and also just a nice change up from the usual suspects in your dinnertime rotation (soups, chili, stewps – easy one pot liquid-based meals that we all depend on to nourish us through the winter). For whatever reason, yesterday as I was looking outside, it hit me how far away summer is. It’s February. That means it’s *almost* March, which is basically spring, and that means warmer temperatures and not wearing a protective cocoon of sweaters and huge puffy coats everyday. My feeling/internal woe of, “I want summer!” is a little too early in the season and must be dampened appropriately, or it’s going to feel like an eternity before the 5 feet of snow on the ground in Boston transform into the puddles you jump in, wearing your cute Hunter boots, on the way to play Frisbee in the Common. To satisfy my inner lament, I took a summer-y dish and winterized it through this easy food equation: raw kale salad + farro = YES. We’ve already dug into my love for all things farro in a previous post (which you can find here) so I won’t rehash my little farro love fest again. This kale salad however, is another story. It’s full of plant protein – combining edamame AND chickpeas to give you the one-two punch of veggie protein power, along with carrots for color and craisins for a little sweetness. Add this amazing lemon vinaigrette dressing I threw together on the fly last night, and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome meal right there. The best part is that because kale is so hearty and cruciferous and stuff, it won’t wilt if you store this salad already dressed in the fridge (unlike those other lame lettuce-based salads that turn into a limp pile of sadness overnight). Um, can anyone say Make Ahead Meal Planning for the Week?? You may have just found the perfect mason jar salad to bring to work/school for lunch – simply divide the leftovers into large wide mouth mason jars, and store in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go lunch (yessss, life just got so much easier). To round this meal out and add some more deliciousness/nutrients, farro is the perfect grain complement to heap on top. Without further ado:

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All the ingredients for L’s Kale and Farro salad: 1 bunch of kale, basil, farro, chickpeas, grated carrot, edamame, craisins, almond slices and mint.

L’s Bangin’ Kale and Farro Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup of farro
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 bunch of kale, rinsed, destemmed, and chopped in salad-sized pieces
  • 1 handful (~a cup) of grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup of craisins
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1 15.5-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • half of a handful each of fresh mint and fresh basil, chopped
  • Sliced Almonds for topping
  • Whatever else you’re feeling

Dressing

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Italian herb blend (mine had oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Step One: First, start the farro by adding the farro and water to a medium-sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for 30 minutes, and drain off any excess liquid when it’s done. Now for the raw salad part: after de-stemming your kale, rinse well. To dry the leaves, salad spin or pat dry with paper towels. Finely chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.
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Make sure you give the kale a good rinse because it will be eaten raw in this recipe. πŸ™‚

Step Two: Combine the other salad ingredients: carrots, craisins, edamame, chickpeas. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the salad.
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All the salad ingredients ready to go! πŸ˜€

Step Three: Whip up your dressing! Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to emulsify. Side note: The best dressing technique is to add all your “water-based” ingredients and solids first (so, lemon juice, herbs, Dijon and garlic), and whisk those well. Then, add your olive oil slowly while whisking really fast in order to emulsify all the ingredients. Just throwing that out there, but feel free to use whatever technique you want. πŸ˜‰
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Use those muscles to give the dressing a good whisk.

Step Four: Toss to combine. All the beans will sink to the bottom of your bowl/serving platter so make sure you give this a quick toss each time before serving. You can add the cooled and cooked farro directly in the mix, but I didn’t have a bowl big enough (#smallkitchenprobz) so I kept them separate and just heaped my steaming-hot farro right on top, and it was pretty spectacular. Throw a few slivered almonds on top for some crunch if you’d like, too (I keep them separate because, unlike the kale, these will get soggy if stored dressed in the fridge).
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To toss, I used these kind of too-small tongs. I recommend you use actual salad servers (you know – the giant fork and spoon your grandma uses) to toss because then you can really get in there and mix it well, coating all of the ingredients evenly with the dressing (especially bc this dressing is amazing and you don’t want to miss distributing it all over this sal).

Step Five: Enjoy!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
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Kale Salad, completely naked. Looks good, eh? Well let me tell you – it is.

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Salad topped off with a few slivered almonds. Yum.

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Steaming-hot farro thrown right on top. I didn’t really think this through because the slivered almonds are hiding directly below the farro. But they are there – take my word for it.

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Here is my half-eaten plate from last night. It’s nice to heap as much or as little farro as you’d like on top of your salad, because you can kind of continue to toss and mix the two as you eat your dish. Amazinggggg! πŸ˜€

I highly recommend that you listen to the song Flower Sermon by Lotus as you make this salad, and dance around your kitchen like a total hippie at a music festival (I mean, that’s what I did). It’s important to listen to some great jams while you cook because: Life. Enjoy it. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

This salad packs a lot of great things in there, and is really low maintenance and easy to make. The bright pop of the lemon vinaigrette is a refreshing shift from most of the heavier, winter flavors I’ve been eating lately, and I’m really loving the change of pace. Plus, it reminds me that summer isn’t TOO far away. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hold music festivals in my kitchen while I whip up some great, delicious meals. Everyone get out your flower headbands and flow-y tops (or if you’re a dude – uh…Rainbow sandals and old concert t’s??).

I hope you guys enjoy this baby as much as I did (and will continue to enjoy at lunch today – woohoo!). It’s a good one. πŸ˜€

Happy Thursday – we are almost there!! Let’s boogie down til we get to Friday. πŸ™‚

With warmth,

L ❀

PS: This.

beyonce kale

This is basically how I felt making this salad last night.