summer staple: peach, tomato, basil salad

peach tomato summer salad

The weekend is here again, and I’m cleaning out the fridge in preparation for the farmers market tomorrow.  This week was slow, fun, and spontaneous and I really enjoyed it.  I started working even more deeply on saying “no” to commitments when I felt like it, letting go of attachments to my (self imagined) “expectations” of how my day would go, and saying “sorry” less.  These are a few areas I can really feel pressured in, I’m a total people pleaser and can feel uncomfortable asserting my own needs without feeling guilty.  Can anyone else relate?  Anyway, a huge part of being able to heal from arthritis was learning to say “no” when I needed to, without feeling bad about it.  That means not committing to things that didn’t light me up.  The SPACE that saying “yes” to those commitments was taking up meant there wasn’t room for self care, interpersonal relationships, and forging that deeper, meaningful bond with my kids.  There wasn’t room to be spontaneous, or dive deeper into healing.  Clearing this literally made ROOM for me to heal.  Learning to honor myself and say “no” when I wanted to, was so hard at first.  I felt super guilty about it.  But, as I practiced more and more, it got easier each time I did it, and this lightness came in that I had never felt before.  It’s hard to explain.  I want to encourage you, if you’re also someone that feels pressured or inadvertently says “yes” when your intuition says, “no”- to just be mindful of this tendency of yours.  And if you feel inspired, to practice saying no to something that doesn’t light you up this week.  And if you do, I’d really love to know.

Sooo… the food.  I showed this super simple salad a few times on my IG stories and a bunch of you were into it, so I thought I’d share on the blog for easy reference here.

In summer, I like to make these fruit and veggie combo salads, they’re so good and fresh and highlight the most of these perfect flavors in the juiciest time of year.  Often when it’s hot, cooked food simply does not appeal to me, especially mid day.  So I eat these salads instead.  Sometimes for dinner I’ll make a salad like this + hummus and cucs/lettuce + sautéed shisito peppers + olives for a simple mezze dinner.  Or add some avocado or chickpeas.  Usually for these I just throw together a fruit, a raw veggie, and a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, or chili flakes.  Other great combos: watermelon + cilantro + tomato, plum + arugula, cantaloupe + cucumber, apricot + mint and pistachio, mango + Thai basil + toasted sesame seeds + sesame oil instead of olive.

Lately, I’ve had the most amazing, amazing peaches and nectarines.  Floral, juicy, intensely deep flavors.  They’re so good on their own, but they also pair perfectly with dead ripe, deep red summer tomatoes.  Something about the two together is MAGIC.  Try it and let me know if you think so too.  Since this salad is so simply, use the best, ripest, juiciest fruit you can find.  I like a deep dark unfiltered olive oil here- the unctuous bitterness contrasts sharply and satisfyingly with the sweet fruit- but feel free to leave it out if you don’t do oil.  Same with the salt, a flaky salt like Maldon goes best here although any salt will do.

peaches nectarine summer

simple peach + tomato summer salad

2 peaches

1 large tomato

handful of basil, either left whole or chopped- I used both green and purple from our garden

drizzle of good, deep, extra virgin olive oil

pinch flaky sea salt

cracked black pepper OR fine chili flakes (like gochujaru or aleppo– these varieties are 100% worth seeking out or ordering online, the nuances are so rich compared to a store bought standard chili flake)

Slice up the tomatoes and peaches into similar size wedges.  Sprinkle over the basil.  Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper or chili.

pink pickled radishes

radish

I love to pickle veggies to keep in the fridge to add a pop of color and bright acidity to meals.  It just makes everything seem special when you have something hot pink in your bowl.  I usually pickle onions, beets, and lately, radishes.  Radishes are in season now and at their best- crunchy, fresh and juicy.  I love them raw, but also they’re so good pickled- and perfect for people who may not usually enjoy them because of their peppery bite.  The pickling process tames their sharpness.

These take hardly any time to make, turn a beautiful light pink, and will keep in your fridge about a week.  Fair warning, though, their sulfur content can make them quite stinky, so be prepared.  But they taste fabulous and are so healthy for you: rich in antioxidants, magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese and b vitamins, plus potently cancer fighting and supportive of liver and kidney health.

Add in anything you like to the pickling liquid, like garlic cloves, black peppercorns, ginger slices, fennel seeds, or any other spice.  Most often, I make these without any spice at all and they’re still amazing.  You can add a touch of sweetener if you prefer it less tart (maybe about 1 tablespoon sugar for the recipe) but I prefer it without, personally.

some photos of the radishes in action:

cashew ricotta bowl butternut broccoli

with roasted potato, butternut + its seeds, broccoli, and cashew ricotta

spring Quinoa fennel salad

in a spring quinoa salad with citrus and mint

lunch bowl beet radish tahini snap pea

with pickled chioggia beets, avocado, chickpeas, snap peas, parsley, tahini dressing

Lunch tiffin zero waste glory bowl vegan

in a glory bowl to go lunch at the beach

tofu Bang mi sandwich

On a quick tofu banh mi iteration for Vin’s lunch (check out the hashtag #mamaeatsplantsbanhmi for this recipe).

I’d love to see what you’re adding them too!  If you share, please tag me in your photo @mamaeatsplants so I can see it!  I hope these bring brightness to your day, especially if spring has still not quite reached you yet.  Lots of love xx

 

quick pickled pink radishes  

ingredients:

1 bunch radishes

1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

add ins: here I did 1 dried chile de arbol and 1 teaspoon each coriander seed and mustard seeds

method:

Slice radishes thinly (I used a mandolin to make quick work of this task).  Add to a jar with a lid.

radish

In a small pot, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.

pickling

Pour the hot liquid over the radishes and let sit until cool, about 20 minutes.

Radish pickles

Put the lid on and refrigerate up to a week- they are still good to eat past this but start to lose flavor after this point and turn a dull color.

radish pickles

quick + healthy meals

Hey everyone!  SO many of you reached out to me asking for really quick meals for when you’ve had a long day, a tough day, you have kids screaming at your feet, you just don’t want to cook, and/or you’re just not feeling it.

So here goes.  I’ve compiled a little list of easy + fast meals for just that!  I haven’t added a shopping list this week because some of the meals are very flexible- ie use what you have, what’s accessible, and what’s in season/local/on sale as far as veggies.

Also, there’s no shame in canned food- Eden Foods and Amy’s both make outstanding canned vegan chili with great healthy ingredients.  I always keep a can or two on hand for emergency days- then just heat up and top with cilantro, maybe some avocado if you have it, lime and hot sauce and you’re good to go.

If you keep a freezer stash it can help a lot too- I usually double recipes for soups, chili, beans and freeze the other half in mason jars for quick meals.

Vegan zero waste groceries california

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta: this baby comes together in about 15-20, mostly the time waiting for the water to boil for pasta water.  Super easy + it makes extra hummus so you’ll have some for lunches the next day!  Inspired by Madeleine Olivia- she has great easy recipes- I’ve embedded her video on cheap vegan dinners below.

Hummus pasta fast vegan easy friendly free

magical marinarathis is an absolute STANDBY in our house thanks to my friend Juli from Pure Kitchen.  She’s an amazing vegan mama of three and has been developing plant based recipes for over 15 years (she used to make Kookie Karma if you guys remember those!).  This sauce is NO COOK, just blend it smooth and pour over freshly cooked pasta (I like to use Jovial GF).  Add on a little side salad or throw some veggies in in the last minute or two of cooking time with the pasta.

Magical marinara vegan blender sauce

quinoa and tahini bowl:  one of my favorite meals to make, get a pot of quinoa going (1 cup quinoa, 1.5 cups water, add a clove of minced garlic or two if you’re feeling it, bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and let cook for 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, sauté up a bunch of veggies- any kind or combo you have is good.  Sometimes I like to add in a scoop (or can) of cooked chickpeas too.  While veg and quinoa cooks, mix up the sauce.  You can add any sauce or dressing you like, but my two faves are 1) citrus tahini sauce and 2) nut butter, soy, and lime.

For the tahini sauce I whisk together a few tablespoons of tahini, juice and zest of lemon and or orange, clove of garlic, salt, and enough water to thin out as desired.  For the nut butter sauce I thin out a scoop of nut butter (almond, cashew, and peanut are all nice) with lime juice and zest, tamari or aminos, splash maple syrup (optional) and a touch of water as needed.  Maybe some chili flakes or garlic too.  This “dragon bowl” sauce is delicious on it too.

Tahini bowl quinoa gluten free

kale soup with giant beans

Saute onion and sliced shiitakes together on high heat with some oil until they’re caramelized- in the meantime chop up some celery and carrot.  If you have any herbs like rosemary or thyme add some of those too or a few cloves sliced garlic.  Add that to the pot along with some hot water ~5 cups (I use my kettle) and some veggie bouillon to taste (or sub broth).  Bring that to a boil and wilt in 1 bunch of chopped kale, a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast and serve with chili flakes + lemon wedges or add avocado too.

Vegan soup kale

tofu and kimchi stew

this is one that I’ve come back to again and again when I have very little time.  I use the Mother in Law brand gochujang which has clean ingredients and my own homemade kimchi.  I like to add in shiitake mushrooms and some rice or rice noodles in this too.

vegan kimchi stew

pan fried giant beans with kale on toast

this is a great meal of beans and greens that is really tasty and easy.  If you don’t eat bread or can’t find GF bread, you can use sweet potato “toast” instead and it tastes delicious that way.  Or eat it in a tortilla!

Toast beans kale

peanut noodles

these noodles are super easy and taste great- tangy, creamy, and vibrant.  They taste amazing as leftovers too!  I imagine you could do almond or cashew instead of peanut with good results.

Peanut noodles vegan gluten free

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta

Hummus pasta fast vegan easy friendly free

Here’s a quick and easy meal you can whip up after a long or hard day.  Hummus seems weird to put in pasta, I know, but its really creamy and packed with protein, minerals, and flavor.  You could use jarred roasted red bell peppers if you wanted…also few red onion chunks would be good thrown in with the red bell to broil.  I used parsley but I think this would have been even better with arugula (my bulk arugula looked terrible this day so I didn’t buy).  It would also be great with some olives thrown on top.

Red bell pepper broiled pasta

You could use store hummus instead but you have to wait for the pasta to boil anyway and it tastes so good + you’ll have some hummus leftover for lunch or snack tomorrow, so win-win.

Hummus vegan easy fast zero waste

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta with broiled red pepper, chili flake, and parsley

4 servings dry pasta (I used bulk GF brown rice pasta but use whatever you want)

1 large red bell pepper

1 can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved (equivalent of ~1.5 cups freshly cooked)

1/3 cup creamy tahini

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 or more cloves garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil (or sub chickpea liquid)

big handful parsley, leaves removed and stems saved for stock or composted (i think this would be even more relish with arugula but I didn’t have any)

to serve: chili flakes, flaky sea salt, lemon wedges, and optional nooch or vegan parm (I didn’t use but would be good)

method:

Start a pot of water boiling.  If you have an electric kettle, I’ve been using that to boil the water first and it cuts the time so much.

While you’re waiting, slice the bell pepper into 1/4 inch thickish strips and toss with a touch of olive oil.  Put it on a baking sheet and put under the broiler, let it run about 5-10 minutes, depending on how close the sheet is to the broiler, be careful not to let it char too far.

Your water should be boiling, dump in the pasta, stir and set a timer for how long it states on the box or bin.

Next, start on the hummus: dump in the can of chickpeas, lemon zest + juice (approx 3 tablespoons), garlic, salt, tahini.  Let the processor run to get it mostly smooth, then add in the olive oil or chickpea liquid with the machine running.  I found I needed to add in an extra tablespoon of water/liquid, but this will depend on your beans.  Eyeball it and don’t worry.

Check on the red peppers, toss if necessary, and drain the pasta.  Toss the pasta with enough hummus to coat it (use more or less as you see fit) and then top with the bell peppers, chili flakes, parsley, chili flakes, and lemon wedges.

Serve and eat!  Store any leftover hummus for about 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge (like a jar or snaplock) although I doubt it will last that long.

pasta vegan gluten free hummus

rainbow pickles to jazz up your fridge

quick easy healthy vegan Buddha bowl gluten free

It’s really no surprise that I love to make quick healthy meals, and the secret to keeping it fresh and not getting bored is CONDIMENTS.

That’s right, but I’m not taking about the crusty jar of mustard sitting in the back of your fridge.  I’m talking about fresh, tangy, rainbow colored pickled veggies to add some sass and flavor into your grain bowls and salads.  I love making and adding red cabbage sauerkraut to our foods, but I also like to keep some quick pickled veggies in the fridge, too.  ESPECIALLY  in winter a pop of color is so nice when you just need cheery food to counteract all the grays.

You can (and should) quick pickle just about any veggie.  Here I’m doing yellow beets and red onions, but carrots, cauliflower, radishes, cucumber, chard stems, zucchini, really anything goes.

pickled beets onion rainbow grain bowlturmeric + lemongrass pickled beets

2 large yellow beets, baked or steamed whole, then peeled and sliced thinly

2 inch piece of lemongrass, smashed with a rolling pin to release the aromatic oils

1 inch chunk of ginger, smashed with a rolling pin

1 inch chunk fresh OR 1 teaspoon dried turmeric

3/4 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 star anise (optional)

method

place the sliced beets in a glass jar or container that can be stored in the fridge.  In a small saucepan, add in all the other ingredients.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook 2-3 minutes, then pour the hot vinegar mix over the beets.  Put the top on and let cool before you refrigerate.  Stores 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

pickled red onions coriander vegan zero waste

pickled pink onions

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced- thin or thick, however you like it

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar- any kind, I used agave but you can use honey, granulated, whatever OPTIONAL but balances the acidity

optional flavorings:

2 teaspoons coriander seeds 

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 small dried chile (like arbol)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

method

Add all ingredients in a small pot.  Bring to a boil and cook a few minutes, until onions slightly soften, mixing as needed.  Alternatively, heat up everything except the onions and place onions in glass jar, then pour liquid over. Pour into a glass jar or storage container. Cover and let cool before refrigerating.  Keeps 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

buddha bowl vegan kraut rainbow veggies gluten free

I hope you give these guys a try, they’re delicious and make even the most basic food pretty and fun.  Try them on avocado toast, in a Buddha bowl, in a sandwich, on top of salads, tacos, or just out of the jar.

*In the bowl pictured at the top, I have quinoa, white beans, sautéed kale, kraut, lemon, cilantro, radish, carrot, pickled beets, everything bagel spice, aleppo chili flakes and toasted pumpkin seeds.  This bowl took me about 5 minutes to chuck together since I had all the components ready to go in my fridge- I just sautéed the kale and piled everything else in.

xx Amanda