Making the switch to a plant-based diet can feel overwhelming. You might be wondering, but what will I eat? How will I ever be full eating rabbit food? If I love animals so much, then why am I eating all of their food?! (haha) Or, the classic, “But where will I get my protein?!” Have you seen the gorilla? That big ol’ jungle beast didn’t get ripped eating animals — he did it on plants. And, I’ll show you how you can too by cutting out the middle man — er animal.
The salads of your childhood are not the same ones that you’d turn to today for a healthy meal replacement. When I was growing up, a salad was limp iceberg lettuce, a few shredded carrots and maybe three slices of thinly sliced cucumbers and a tomato if you were lucky all covered in a heavy pour of store bought Italian or sugar-laden French dressing. Nobody could expect to be satiated from eating that rabbit food. Today, building a salad for health and satiety needs to have a few components:
An abundance of greens (kale, spinach, rocket (arugula), dandelion greens, mixed greens, sprouts, cos lettuce…)
A rainbow assortment of veggies (radishes, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, purple cabbage, beetroot…)
A grounding carb (roasted sweet potato, quinoa, millet, pumpkin, brown or black rice, wild rice, butternut squash)
Healthy fats (avocado, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed or hemp oil, coconut shreds…)
Protein (nuts, seeds, beans, quinoa works here too, hemp seeds, non-gmo tempeh, tofu, chia seeds...)
Basically grab a big bowl and go to town making different salads. For a simple, healthy “dressing,” I always like to squirt lime juice on my salads and mash avocado into the greens. Then, I mix it all up, seasoning it with black pepper and if I’m feeling spicy, a bit of red chili flakes. Holla! Oh, and how will you fill up? Well, you’ll soon come to tune into your body and what it wants and what it takes to feel full. My favorite thing about starting a plant-based diet was the food freedom. There was NO MORE RESTRICTION! I could eat and eat until my belly was happy and full. Yay for that!
“My favorite thing about starting a plant-based diet was the food freedom. There was NO MORE RESTRICTION. Yay for that!”
So, on to this protein-packed salad. Thanks to the super high and bioavailable protein in hemp seeds, this Caesar salad packs a hefty nutritional punch. Combined with an abundance of fiber, a rich array of vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega fats to support immune health and help fight lifestyle diseases, and that’s some serious plant power.
Let’s get to making it, so you can see for yourself just how amazing, strengthening and fill salads should be!
Hemp Caesar Salad with Smoky “Parmesan” Crumble
based on Oprah’s amazing recipe here
2 heads of curly kale, destemmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 head romaine (cos) lettuce, chopped
16 roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
Mary’s Gone Crackers, optional (adds a fun, crouton-like crunch)
For the Smoky Parmesan Crumble
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp smoked paprika
pinch of sea salt
Hemp Caesar Dressing
1/2 cup hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt
Make your crumble by blitzing the seeds, nutritional yeast and spices in your food processor until they reach a sand-like consistency.
Make your dressing: Put all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blitz on high until smooth and creamy.
For the Salad:
Place the kale into the mixing bowl and squeeze a little lime juice (maybe 1/2 a small lime) on its leaves. With your hands, literally massage the greens to help break them down and make it easier on digestion.
Add the romaine/cos, tomatoes and dressing to the salad. I think a heavy pour works best. You’ll likely have some dressing remaining, so store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days. (This dressing also works great as a veggie dip!)
Mix it all together. Top with some Smokey “Parmesan” Crumble.
As always, I’d love to hear how you go when making this salad. So, take a pic of your final creation and tag me on Insta @pb_n_julie or comment below. Lots of love, light and veggies to you sweet friends! xx, Julie