Meatless Monday: 4 Additions to a Heartier Salad

Salads sometimes get a bad rap for being nothing more than a sad serving of wilted iceberg lettuce topped with shreds of carrot–but they sure don’t have to be! Try one of these tips this Meatless Monday and you’ll surely change your mind about the potential of salads.

Here are four additions to build a heartier salad:

1. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds add a nice crunch to your favorite salad. The protein in nuts and seeds will help you stay full from your salad longer.

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Arranging my almonds in a neat way

2. Beans: My go to meal is always some sort of bean served on a bed of greens. For a Mexican style salad, try pinto or black beans with romaine lettuce and salsa. For Mediterranean flavors, try garbanzo beans with mixed greens and a touch of olive oil.

3. Tofu: Tofu is a perfect addition to virtually any dish that needs an extra boost. From blending it into smoothies to crumbling it into tacos–tofu always serves a plant-based eater very well. And that’s no different for salads. Simply chop up some extra-firm tofu and top over your favorite blend of leaves. You can even saute the pieces slightly to add a bit more flavor. Wait till the tofu is cool to add to your salad.

4. Cheese: If you eat dairy, a sprinkle of your favorite shredded cheese adds a nice flavor to your salad. Some say that the fat in dairy can help you digest leaves a bit better. Just a tiny sprinkle of cheese will go a long way.

What’s your favorite addition to salad? Do you eat them often?

Noshin’ on Nachos

Sometimes I’m hungry for a snack a bit heartier than an orange. I scavenged around the cabinets looking for something to satisfy my hunger. A bag of tortilla chips lead me to drool as I remembered my favorite after-school snack. Here’s my ‘recipe’ for an easy and filling dish to keep you full in between meals. I’ve found that the best vegan cheese for melting is the Daiya brand and would recommend it for making these quick nachos.

2 Minute Nachos

Ingredients

Tortilla chips

Your favorite blend of shredded cheese–Daiya for Vegans or dairy-based for Vegetarians

½ tomato, diced

¼ bell pepper, diced

Hot sauce or salsa

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Directions

Place tortilla chips onto a microwavable plate

Sprinkle with cheese

Place plate in microwave and warm for 10-20 seconds. Cooking time varies depending on microwave. Vegan cheese may require longer time to melt–warm on 10 second intervals until it melts.

Drizzle on hot sauce

Top with diced bell pepper and tomato

Modern Art in the Kitchen

Doesn’t this looks neat?

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Smoothies are so pretty. And it came from this:

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A cup of frozen pineapple, a handful of frozen raspberries, and 5 frozen strawberries. A half cup of water.

Blend. Enjoy your edible art.

A note: I like to make my smoothies extra thick, think enough to eat with a spoon. Add more water to yours if you’d like to drink it.

Plant-Based Living around the Web

Here are a few of my favorite recipes and stories from the week.

A crafty second life of wine bottles: Treehugger shares a neat way to create something functional and pretty by recycling.

General Tso’s no chicken bowls: Oh My Veggies shares a yummy recipe for a main or side dish.

Climate change intensifies drought: New York Times shares a thoughtful article on how the relationship between climate change and the California drought.

What’s the most interesting green tip, recipe, or idea you’ve learned recently?

An Indulgent Morning

This Friday morning, I woke up craving something sweet for breakfast. Something a little more sophisticated than the cloying Cocoa Puffs I usually reserve for dessert. I was hungry and knew that a bowl of cereal would’t satisfy my growling stomach.

Rummaging around the cupboards, I saw a box of oats. Then it dawned on me–chocolatey oatmeal. Grabbing the dark chocolate I always have on hand, I quickly went to work. It was surely a rich breakfast, and one that I’d easily whip up again for a leisurely morning.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

One cup of oats (steel-cut or old-fashioned, whichever you prefer)

Two cups water

a few squares of your favorite chocolate

Mix-ins like chopped fruit or nuts

Directions

Bring two cups of water to a boil

Add in oats and cook until soft

Break chocolate into small pieces and place into bowl

Serve cooked oatmeal in bowls while still warm but not hot

Swirl chocolate and oatmeal together

Top with your favorite fruit and/or nuts

Indulge and Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite breakfast meal? Do you save it for special days or make it frequently?

P.S. A huge thank you to my readers who took the time to comment on last week’s post. I’ve been thinking a lot about your insightful responses.

You Weigh In

The very best thing about having a blog is engaging with you–my fabulous, insightful reader. Today I thought I’d ask you a question that’s been on my mind. I hope you’ll find some time this weekend to weigh in!

To the veg*n eaters, what is the hardest part, in your opinion, about maintaining a plant-based diet?

If you’re not yet a veg*n (vegetarian or vegan), but would like to be, what would you say is the biggest challenge holding you back?

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Weighing the fruits of my labor

Maybe it’s a lack of convenient, on-the-go types of meals that are readily available to our omnivore friends. Perhaps it’s a challenge to eat enough nutritious, filling plant-based foods. Or, it could be that you just don’t know where to start!

Whatever your reason, I’m all ears!