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.

staple summer meal: tabbouleh


Hi everyone!  Happy Monday, just popping on here for a quick recipe post to share with you all.  Over the weekend, I shared what I bought at the market and what I planned to cook with it- read it HERE.  BUT I found some leftover bulgur wheat when I was clearing out the pantry, saw my fresh tomatoes, and was really feeling a fresh herby salad.  Plans out the window, as per usual.

So, yesterday morning, I made tabbouleh for the kids and Joel to have at dinner (I worked that evening) and I thought I’d share the recipe here, because it’s such a perfect summer meal.  Simple, fresh, doesn’t heat up your kitchen much, lots of raw cooling veggies and herbs, and so tasty.  It’s unfussy and ready to be packed up for the beach or other impromptu outings.  There are SO many amazing versions of tabbouleh, this one just happens to be the one I’m loving lately.  It’s based on THIS recipe by Ottolenghi.  I didn’t eat this batch since it contains wheat, but I’ve made this many times with both quinoa and millet in place of the bulgur and its still perfect.


This will keep in the fridge a few days, and doubles (or triples!) well to take to a potluck, BBQ or picnic- or to just have on hand for a few days of lunches.  We served it with THESE amazing cumin tahini lentils, which are an all time favorite recipe of ours (I always double the recipe to have leftovers).  It would also be amazing with some falafels or hummus!  This should serve approx 4 as a side.  Enjoy and tag me on Instagram @mamaeatsplants with your rendition so I can see!

lentils tahini tabbouleh


simple fresh tabbouleh

1 cup bulgur wheat (or sub quinoa or millet for gf option)

4 medium tomatoes, chopped, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large cucumber, chopped small- approx 1/4 inch pieces

2 shallots, chopped small (or red onion or 4 stalks green onion)

1 large garlic clove, minced/crushed

1 large bunch parsley, chopped finely

1 bunch mint, stems removed and leaves chopped finely

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

juice and zest of 1-2 large lemons (I like things REALLY lemony and I use 2.  adjust accordingly)

good quality extra virgin olive oil, to taste- anywhere from a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup. (easily omitted if you prefer not to consume oil)

salt and black pepper, to taste


Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add in the bulgur and simmer approximately 12 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and remove residual sticky starch.  If using quinoa, use the same method but should only take about 10 minutes.  Set strainer with grains aside while you chop all the veggies and herbs.

Toss all ingredients together in a big serving bowl.  Taste and adjust seasonings- add more salt, lemon or garlic as needed and enjoy!


a june market haul + what I’m cooking with it this week

market haul zero waste vegan

Hello friends!  I’m finally getting around to writing up a weekly market haul, the past weeks I’ve slacked on doing this because we’ve been out on weekends.  But, here’s a lovely June haul + what I’m planning to cook with it.  Keep in mind that this is not ALL the food I have in the house- of course I have other bulk staples still in the pantry to round this out.  Let me know if you’d like a “pantry staples” type post to explain what I always have on hand to make healthy meals.  It has been HOT HOT HOT here and we’ve been out and about at the pool and day trips lately to cool down.  I’ve been making big batches of food so that I always have something on hand to pack in our tiffin for impromptu outings.  I ALWAYS bring food with us when we go out, because inevitably someone gets hungry, and then there just aren’t usually healthy, vegan, zero waste options readily available.  After getting in the habit of doing this, it’s actually pretty easy to remember.  I also keep a 1/2 gallon of filtered water in the trunk just in case (saved our butts more than once- I use an upcycled Kombucha growler), and some almonds in the glove compartment for emergencies.  Also: a set of silverware, a napkin or two, a mason jar and a few folded newspaper sachets for keeping compost like cherry pits or avocado skins until we get back home- see @zerowastechica post HERE for a how-to.

summer food

Ok, now to the food, here’s what I bought, and what I’m planning to make, with links to recipes when possible.

huge giant head of green cabbage:  for making a new batch of sauerkraut, an absolute staple in our house to top grain bowls, salads, sammies, toast and more.  I aim to include fermented food into my diet daily, and find that adding it to meals really improves digestion.  Find my recipe HERE.


various stone fruit: apricots, plums, peaches.  Getting them in as much as we can during their fleeting season.  We eat plain or top our morning oats of afternoon chia pudding with them.

limes:  I’ve been really into squeezing TONS of lime all over my salads and watermelon.

eggplant:  for more ratatouille, see the recipe and video post HERE.

ratatouille vegan

bell peppers: for more ratatouille, see above.  Also, to roast and add to this quick hummus pasta.  And to take to the pool along with other crunchy veggies for dipping in hummus or guac.

cucumbers:  for snacking and salads.

carrots:  for french style grated carrot salad with parsley and vinaigrette a la THIS recipe (and I like to add shallots and lentils too).  Keeps well in the fridge a few days and is perfectly packable for lunch.

pattypan squash:  for the aforementioned ratatouille.  Also, I love making THIS recipe for a simple, delicious rendition- btw, she has a lot of good simple recipes on that channel.

bananas:  we love making “nice cream” when the weather is hot- frozen bananas blended up with cocoa powder, vanilla and a splash of nut milk and pureed till smooth soft serve consistency.  Top with a dollop of almond butter and some cacao nibs or coconut flakes and it’s heaven.

romano beans:  if you’ve never had them before, I highly reccomend keeping your eye out for them.  An heirloom Italian bean, these are wide and flat green beans that have a really tender texture and superb flavor.  I simply steam them whole.  I’ve also made THIS recipe with them before (omit the feta or use THIS tofu feta recipe).

sun gold cherry tomatoes:  this variety is my all time favorite for cherry tomatoes.  Super sweet, nice acid balance, and tons of flavor, they’re perfect to snack on or add to quinoa salads, potato salads, or stew on top of polenta.  They also pair really well with vanilla like in THIS recipe that I’ve made a million times.

sun gold cherry tomato

early girl tomatoes:  a consistent, classic red tomato variety, I’ll be adding these both to the ratatouille and salads.

red onion:  for pickling.  Pickled onions pep up any dish and look so beautiful.  Recipe HERE.

pickled onions

parsley:  for the carrot salad, and I also like to pick off whole leaves and add them into salads for a delicious flavor (same with dill).

avocados:  california avocados are going strong and they’re quite cheap here.  We eat them a lot, on bowls, sandwiches and toast.

bavarian buttercrunch lettuce:  so crispy and juicy, I’ll be using this baby for salads with my citrus tahini dressing- recipe in THIS post– scroll down to the “buddha bowl” recipe.

salad citrus tahini dressing no oil

dried mango:  for another batch of Loni Jane’s burcha, so good in the morning or on the go, it really fills you up and is packed with nutrients.

French lentils:  I got a huge jar of these guys, I love them any which way, they are amazing because they cook relatively quickly and don’t get mushy or lose their shape like other lentils.  So, they are perfect to add to salads, grain salads, soups etc.  My favorite ways to cook them are THIS simple salad, adding them to the aforementioned carrot salad, or THIS recipe with cumin and tahini and tomatoes.

carrot salad vegan french David Leibovitz

organic soybeans:  trying my hand at making my own tempeh (one of my favorite foods, but comes in plastic always.). Recipe HERE.  I will use banana leaves to wrap instead of the plastic ziploc.


links to what I made last week:

chickpea tahini brownies:  so delicious and grain free, I used coconut sugar and maple syrup in place of the cane sugar and honey.  Recipe HERE.
chickpea brownies

moros y cristianos aka cuban style black beans and rice:  an easy one pot meal that’s super satisfying.  We brought this to a picnic dinner last week, packed in our tiffins and topped with avocado, pickled onion and chiles.  Recipe HERE.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

creamy macaroni salad:  this whole food, plant based recipe was so delicious and a perfect dinner or lunch for hot days when you want something cool, or for bring to a picnic or BBQ.  Recipe HERE.

macaroni salad vegan gluten free