Kale Salad with a Creamy Walnut Dressing

Dress up your salad with a delicious vegan dressing filled with "healthy" fats and great flavor

(Oprima aquí para la receta en Español)

March is considered National Nutrition Month® (NNM). It’s an educational campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that focuses on the importance of making healthy food choices and good physical activity habits. Every year, there is a different theme and this year it’s “Put Your Best Fork Forward”, serving as a reminder for everyone that each bite counts – one forkful at a time.

In light of this year’s theme, I wanted to share with you some helpful plant-based tips that you can make at home to ensure a healthier eating pattern towards a sustainable plant-based lifestyle.

  1. Incorporate more veggies – This may be a given by now but a plant-based lifestyle may consist of more carbohydrates when first transitioning. By focusing on incorporating more of your favorite vegetables into your meals, this helps obtain more nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber which are important for a balanced nutrition.  

  2. Add legumes and grains – While it’s easy to obtain enough protein on a plant-based diet, focus on adding a variety of legumes and grains to your meals and snacks. Legumes and grains are a great source of plant-protein and having a variety over the course of your day can help meet adequate intake of protein, particularly that of essential amino acids (which are the building blocks of protein). Lysine - one of the nine essential amino acids - is considered the limiting amino acids in vegan diets. Plant foods that provide lysine are: tofu, tempeh, lentils, quinoa, and soy-containing meats-substitutes.

  3. Choose “healthy” fats – Our bodies need fat to help absorb certain nutrients, they play a role in the development of hormones and also act as a cushion to protect our organs. Aim for adding more of the “good” or “healthy” fats in your meal planning, which include both the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are found in foods such as: avocado, walnuts, peanuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

  4. Enjoy your meals – A good way to have a good relationship with food is to enjoy your meal or snack. I mean, really enjoy it! Enjoying what you eat is one of life’s pleasures. Savor the flavor and texture, eat slowly, and enjoy the company you are with.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month® everyday by making each bite count, the plant-based way!


Serves: 2 – 3 servings
Total Time: 35 – 45 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 3 – 4 cups kale, tightly packed
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large parsnips, washed and cubed
  • 2 - 3 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted

Dressing

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Zest of one lemon + 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons agave
  • ¾ cup water
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Dressing

  1. In a food processor or high-speed blender, add all ingredients for the dressing and blend until smooth and creamy.

Salad + Salad Ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, place cubed parsnips, canola oil, salt and pepper and mix. Then place in a baking sheet and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  4. In a medium non-stick pan, toast walnuts over medium heat for about 5 – 7 minutes and stir occasionally. Allow to cool before adding to salad.
  5. Prepare all other vegetables for salad by shredding carrots and slicing watermelon radishes.
  6. In a bowl, arrange all salad ingredients and pour walnut dressing. Mix well to coat salad.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

* Leftover walnut dressing can be covered and placed in the refrigerator for up to 3 - 5 days for
  later use.

Tempeh Sandwich with Chipotle Cashew Aioli

A vegan sandwich with simple ingredients and packed with a flavorful cashew aioli

I love a good sandwich. It’s easy to prep, it’s convenient enough to take on-the-go, and it is one of my favorite picnic foods! 

Like any other food, you can be creative in loading a sandwich with just about anything. But the secret to a good sandwich – in my opinion – is a good slice of bread and flavorful condiments. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a little mayo and mustard but sometimes it’s fun to switch it up. Take for example this creamy chipotle aioli made exclusively from cashews. It’s so good and nutritious! With the leftovers, you can use it as a spread for veggie wraps and it’s actually a great dipping sauce for chips.

Besides the tasty cashew aioli spread, the highlight of this sandwich is tempeh (pronounced TEM-pay). Tempeh is made from fermented cooked soybeans made into a cake form. It has a hearty and nutty flavor and a great advantage is that you don’t have to press it like you do with tofu to remove some of the moisture. Just cut it up any way you want it or crumble it and you’re ready to go! Tempeh is also a great plant-protein and provides fiber, calcium, and B vitamins. You can find tempeh at your local grocery store in the natural or vegan refrigerated section.

Now, if you’ve skimmed through the ingredients by now, don’t be intimidated. The process of it all is pretty simple.  I like my sandwich to have a little bit of a crunch and adding a couple of slices of cucumber and radishes does the trick without taking away from the flavors of the cashew aioli or tempeh.   

Let us know if you make this sandwich by using the hashtag #nutritiousvida on Instagram!


Tempeh Sandwich with Chipotle Cashew Aioli

Serves: 3 - 5 sandwiches
Total Time: 20 - 30 minutes

Ingredients

Chipotle Cashew Aioli

  • ¾ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice of one lime (or 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice)
  • 8 teaspoons of filtered water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tempeh Slices

  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 8oz package of tempeh

Sandwich Toppings (All)

  • 2 slices of bread per sandwich (I like Dave’s Killer Bread)
  • 4-6 slices of tempeh
  • Cashew aioli on each slice
  • Cucumber slices
  • Radish slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Clover sprouts (or any of your favorite type of sprouts)
  • Butter lettuce

Directions

Chipotle Cashew Aioli

  1. Place the cashews in a container and pour enough filtered water to cover. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
     
  2. In a high-speed blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Tempeh Slices

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil and spices.

  2. Cut tempeh into slices (yields about 20 slices).

  3. Add tempeh to mixing bowl and coat well with spices.

  4. In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add tempeh and cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sandwich

 

  1. Toast bread (if desired) and spread cashew aioli to each slice.

  2. Add and layer with toppings and tempeh slices.