Loaded Chopped Salad with Vegan Dressing

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Keeping up our healthy diet through January has been a challenge. But, let’s not give up just yet! After all, we are only three weeks into 2016! Today we’re sharing a super easy, loaded chopped salad. I don’t know about you, but I totally think lettuce tastes a little better with lots and lots of crunchy toppings. This salad couldn’t be easier to make, and better yet, it is LOADED with nutrients. We topped it off with a 5 minute vegan mustard vinaigrette that we’re sure you will continue to use over and over again for other salads. As we’ve mentioned before, from-scratch salad dressings are easier than you might expect and so much better for you! Ditch all the preservatives and added sugars and start making your own dressings and vinaigrettes today, we promise it’s simple! This one is kid-tested and mom and dad approved. Pick and choose your toppings and get creative! The salad we are showing has hard boiled eggs and turkey bacon on it, so leave those out if you are vegan (obviously!). You can also add cheese if your diet is dairy-friendly. The options are endless!

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-6 strips turkey bacon, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 bag fresh green beans or haricot vests, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Agave syrup
  • 6-8 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Simply wash and chop/dice all of the salad ingredients as listed above. Arrange them in a large salad bowl with the lettuce on the bottom and other ingredients on top.

To make the dressing, add the mustard, vinegar and Agave to a medium size bowl. Whisk together with a fork until well combined. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, a little at a time, continuing to whisk. When the olive oil is evenly incorporated, season with salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve immediately. Check out the video below for step-by-step instructions!

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Meatless Mondays: Hearts of Palm Tacos

Happy New Year! Apologies for us being M.I.A. the past few weeks, the busy holiday season sure got the best of us! We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday full of love and lots of delicious food!

Now, back to business, today we are starting a new weekly feature here on the blog: Meatless Mondays! Every Monday we will feature a vegan or vegetarian dish tasty enough for both our omnivorous and vegan readers. If you’re like us, you probably over-indulged a bit during the holidays (by a bit we mean three-too many Christmas sugar cookies and ten-too-many glasses of champagne, but you know, who’s counting?). It can be difficult to get back into a healthy eating routine and Meatless Mondays are an effortless way to cut calories and add some more plant-based nutrition back into your diet. For us omnivores this might seem scary (my carnivorous boyfriend wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea), but incorporating a meat-free night into your weekly dinner plans is both healthy and good for the environment, and can be delicious, too!

This week, we are sharing a healthy, vegan and gluten-free take on tacos! Instead of meat we are using hearts of palm. If you’re unfamiliar with this fibrous vegetable, it is the edible inner portion of a cabbage Palm tree. You can buy them at most grocery stores and they come in a can. Their taste is very similar to that of an artichoke heart. This simple recipe requires shredding the hearts of palm, which can be a bit tedious. However, the rest of the recipe is a piece of cake (vegan, gluten-free cake, of course)! The shredded hearts are marinated in a mixture of chile in adobo sauce as well as a chipotle cooking sauce that can be found at most grocery stores. Not a lot of work here, which is ideal for a Monday night. Let’s get started.

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HEARTS OF PALM TACOS

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz.) hearts of palm
  • 1/4 cup chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with chipotle chopped
  • 1/2 cup Herdez cooking sauce available at most grocery stores
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas
  • avocado and pico de gallo for topping (optional)

The prep for this recipe requires chopping the onions and garlic as well as shredding the hearts of palm.

Here is the star of the show: the hearts of palm!

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Typically, about four hearts come in a can which is enough to fill about 6 tacos. Here is where the tedious shredding comes into play. If possible, I recommend doing this the night before to save yourself some time after a tiring workday. To shred the hearts of palm, pull back the layers of the hearts and shred like you would a cheese stick. It takes some practice but you’ll get the hang of it after the first one, and of course it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look something like this when you’re done shredding:

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After shredding, sautée the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.

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Next add the shredded hearts of palm to the onion and garlic mixture and cook for a few minutes so the onion flavor can be absorbed.

Now add the adobo sauce and Herdez cooking sauce and stir. Also add the salt and cumin here.

Let the hearts of palm and onion and garlic mixture cook for about 5-7 minutes, just until everything is nice and hot.Spoon the mixture into your favorite taco shells (these are my favorites right now, I also like to fry them in a pan with a bit of oil for some extra crispiness) and top with fresh pico de gallo and avocado! Time for a Monday night fiesta, enjoy!

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Bacon and Brussels

Given our namesake, it is only appropriate that we share our favorite brussels recipes with you. Brussels sprouts are a staple in our house and offer rich nutritional value as well as delicious nutty flavor that both vegans and omnivores are sure to love. Jess prefers her brussels sprouts with a hint of lemon and a spicy kick, while Nikki prepares hers with every carnivore’s favorite: bacon. But even if we’re pressed for time during a busy work week, brussels sprouts can still be a quick and healthy side dish. Just drizzle the brussels with a little olive oil and salt and pop them in the oven (at 400 degrees) for 35-40 minutes. If you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous, click the Read More link below to check out our favorite preparations of this hearty vegetable.

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Click the link below to read about our favorite ways to prepare Brussels!

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