Mid-April Recent Vegan Eats

Mid-April Recent Vegan Eats

Back at it with another recent vegan eats post! Amidst the season of excessive school work, I’m delaying some more research-intensive content since right now my brain is so overwhelmed I found myself sitting on the futon staring at the ceiling debating whether to continue working or just go to bed the past two nights.

To give you any sort of scope of how incredibly boring I am these days, upon reflecting on my weekend, I can safety say the most invigorating thing I did was impulsively add an avocado to my cart at Trader Joe’s after overhearing someone mention avocado toast and being stricken with an instant craving. It felt so bold and whimsical!

This weekend I’ve also been trying to secure an apartment for next fall (fingers crossed!) and have been relying on my compression braces to deal with carpal tunnel symptoms from excessive typing.

Wild weekend, I know. Today is actually exciting because it’s Millie’s birthday! So we are going to celebrate HARD (which I will recap in next week’s post). Here’s a photo from her first birthday party. I’m not crying, you are!

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Anyways, if you want some more nitty-gritty nutrition or climate reads, stay tuned or search the ‘nutrition’ or ‘climate’ tabs, but or for now, simply enjoy this recent vegan eats roundup in the meantime!

Giant Salads with Banza and Oodles of Nutritional Yeast

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When the weather starts to turn warm, I crave all things FRESH, including giant salads.The key to a meal-worthy salad in my books is including a variety of textures, flavors and including all three macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein).

This meal reflects a version of something I make often: leftover roasted veggies (in this case, purple sweet potatoes, yay carbs), organic mixed greens (I buy the family-sized for $4.49 every week at ShopRite during salad phases and plow through them), frozen thawed peas for a pop of freshness, flavor, protein and fiber, hemp hearts for fat, protein and omega-3s, raw cashews for more fat, protein, flavor and crunch, and cold Banza because pasta on salads = <3. I covered the whole thing with some Panera dressing I had in m fridge + oodles upon oodles of nutritional yeast.

If you haven’t put nutritional yeast on salads, you must give it a whirl. It somehow amplifies the entire experience exponentially. Please try it and thank me later. ;-).

Also, I cooked my noodles in the microwave and quickly cooled them in the fridge. Yes, I often cook noodles in the microwave. That’s what living in apartments in NYC with no working stove/oven for many years gives you – microwave and toaster oven skills galore. Some people asked me about this, and I could totally write a post/make a quick video tutorial. Let me know if you’re interested!

Fancy Fruit:

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My building had a surprise resident-appreciation breakfast the other morning, which was nice. On my way out, I grabbed a sesame bagel and filled a Pyrex container with fruit salad (shout out to my EHS department for always training me to BYOTupperware).

I adore fruit salad and for some reason it is such a treat to me. Maybe it’s because as a solo-living human I never buy all the ingredients to make it myself, so it’s novel. Or maybe it’s because it reminds me of staying in a hotel with continental breakfast, which is my favorite thing in the universe. Either way, when it comes to fruit salad, I’m always excited.

Non-fancy fruit:

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I go through phases where I want to just eat ALL OF THE FRUIT. This spring weather shift has made me want freshness at every meal and snack! That means oodles of fresh produce. I recognize that being able to consume fresh produce regularly is a privilege. Shout out to ShopRite for having organic pink lady apples at $1.49/ pound as their regular non-sale price. I don’t know how they do it, but I am here for it.

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Vegan Tomato Pie

Vegan Tomato Pie

In case you didn’t know, I moved to Jersey City, New Jersey last October and have really enjoyed it thus far.

Vegan Tomato Pie

After so many years in Manhattan, Jersey City has been a welcomed change of pace, and a couple weeks ago, in light of #InternationalNewJerseyDay, I did some googling to learn more about Jersey’s historical background and food scene.

delicious easy vegan tomato pie

While Wikipedia-ing and googling away, I discovered that addition to diner food and blueberries and bagels, New Jersey tomato pie is a thing.

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Recent Vegan Eats

Recent Vegan Eats

Hey friends! I skipped a recent eats post last week because I was traveling and transitioning jobs! More on that later. Here are some yummy recent eats from the past 2 weeks.

I was pretty lousy at remembering to photograph my food minus when I was in Cali, but that’s just the way it is sometimes! When I’m randomly subsiding off packets of nut butter and bagels and apples while spending days in airports and/or getting home at 1am before eating dinner, my phone is the last thing I’m thinking about when nourishing myself. And actually, I don’t think it would be healthy to remember to photograph everything I eat. Anyways, I’ll be better this week, I promise. 🙂 For now, enjoy some rather random snack and meal inspo, and of course, Millie pics!

Kashi Autumn Wheat with almond milk.

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I adore shredded wheat cereals. They remind me of straight-up-childhood. Sometimes I forget about them when I’m on Cheerio or Chex kicks. But I’ve been craving sweet shreds lately and I’m a stroke of serendipity, these were on sale at the store last week, so I picked them up.

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Easy Pesto Hummus Pasta

Easy Pesto Hummus Pasta

Meet your new favorite quick and super satisfying meal: easy Pesto Hummus Pasta! And guess what? If you’re a hummus lover, it’s probable you have everything you need to make it right now!

Vegan and Gluten Free Hummus Pesto Pasta

This recipe has a multitude of admirable qualities: 1) It comes together very quickly. 2) It’s one of the easiest “home cooked” meals you can make. 3) It’s super customizable based on what’s already in your kitchen. 4) It’s delicious and satisfying!

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Pasta with Charred Cherry Tomatoes, Broccolini and Vegan Parmesan

Pasta with Charred Cherry Tomatoes, Broccolini and Vegan Parmesan

Pastaaaaa. I have been craving pasta for quite some time now. I don’t know why. Probably because carbs = love.

Vegan Pasta with Brocollini Charred & Tomatoes Parmesan

Pasta has always been one of my favorite foods. I grew up with an Italian grandma and her penne arrabiata with charred peppers was the best.thing.ever. It has ruined almost all other pastas I’ve had since. Nothing like what Oma cooked up. Somewhere I have her recipe for her sauce. I can never make it quite like she did though…must be that Italian grandma magic.

I decided to make some pasta with some leftover veggies I got to take home from an event. I roasted up some cauliflower, broccolini, and tomatoes on Friday, and while I was eating them, the deliciousness of the roasted tomatoes just called for pasta.

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I was too lazy and hungry to make it at the time, but today I cooked up some whole wheat noodles, paired it with steamed broccoli, a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, salt & pepper, a bunch of Vegan Hemp Parmesan, and the real MVP, the charred tomatoes.

Super simple, very flavorful, and far from over-complicated. The way Italian-inspired food should be, as far as I’m concerned.

Vegan Pasta Brocollini with Charred Tomatoes Parmesan

Let’s talk pasta for a minute, shall we? At some point society demonized the glorious stuff. The thing is, there is nothing inherently significantly worse about pasta than many other forms of carbohydrates, especially when it’s whole grain.

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Easy Baked Plantains

Easy Baked Plantains

Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.plantain_baked_kbaked_coined_

Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.plantain_baked_kbaked_coins_vertical

Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.

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The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.

It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.

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A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.

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Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.

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I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).

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If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.

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Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.

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Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.

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Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.

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I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.

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Happy plantaining!

Easy Baked Plantains

Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium very spotted ripe plantains

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a knife, draw a slit lengthwise down each plantain.
  3. Wrap each plantain (skin on) in aluminum foil, or lay out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Bake plantains for 35-50 minutes (depending on size/oven) until soft and squeezeable to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Top and eat as desired.

Topping Ideas:

  • non-dairy butter + 1 teaspoon brown sugar + dash cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • black bean soup + salsa + cilantro
  • guacamole

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Do you ever get a cooking itch you just have to scratch? Like you get something in your head and you just can’t crush the desire to make it until it happens? That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago upon realizing I had never cooked with dried beans (seriously, WTF).

Delicious Vegan Spicy Black Bean Soup

So one recent Saturday, I was digging through the clearance food items at Target (shocking, I know) and happened upon a 1 pound bag of organic black beans for $1.42. And I took it as fate.

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Cue the urge to make black bean soup. Spicy, hearty, black bean soup. Yum.

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

This recipe is sort of inspired by Panera Black Bean Soup. But I gotta say it – this might be a little better (sorry/still love you Panera).

Easy Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

This was my first time using dried beans for anything, and I must say, I totally understand why people prefer using dried beans over canned. The beans turned out al dente and were less mushy than canned beans.

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Yes, it took longer, but if you have the time (and you really don’t have to babysit the soup), I’d say it’s worth it!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean soup

I made this soup super spicy, but you don’t have to. The recipe includes ranges of spices to use and you can base how much you use on your taste preferences. Personally, I like it HOT HOT HOT so that’s just how I made it.

Vegan Black Bean Soup - Kbaked

This soup is excellent with some cubed avocado and cilantro on top. You could also top it with shredded cheese or vegan cheese, and tortilla chips. Up to you!

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Title Card

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 1-3 hours, depending on if you use dried or canned beans
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients – Soup:

  • 1 cup dried black beans or 2 cans black beans
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric (adjust all species to preference)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro & avocado for topping, plus any additional desired toppings (suggestion: vegan cheese, crushed tortilla chips)

Method:

  1. If using dried beans, soak for one hour in 4 cups water. Boil for 10 minutes and allow to simmer for additional hour.
  2. Place poblano pepper in foil and broil in 500 degree oven until charred.
  3. Meanwhile, dice onion and bell pepper. Mince garlic.
  4. Heat oil and onion and garlic on stove and cook on low heat until onions are translucent.
  5. Add spices and continue to cook. Add bell peppers and cook until peppers are soft.
  6. Remove charred pepper from oven. Peel off skin. Remove seeds. Dice. Add to other peppers.
  7. If using canned beans, rinse and drain. Add to large pot with 3 cups water or veggie broth.
  8. Add nutritional yeast, aminos/soy sauce and onions/peppers to beans and allow to simmer on low heat for one hour.
  9. Add juice of one lime. Top with cilantro and avocado and serve.

PS: You Can watch me make this on YouTube!

Soy Ginger Maple Baked Tempeh

Soy Ginger Maple Baked Tempeh

This right here is my recent go-to baked tempeh recipe. It’s the perfect combination of savory umami flavor, with a hint of maple sweetness, and a bit of heat from ginger. You can up the spice level with some Sriracha, but more on that later.Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 11.37.38 PM

Never had tempeh? Well perhaps you should give it a try.  Two important things about tempeh: 1) tempeh is made out by fermented soybeans into a weird dense cake thing, and 2) tempeh is way better than I just made it sound.

When I try to describe tempeh to people, I usually go with “it’s kinda like tofu, but heartier and with a toothier texture.”  If you’re looking for a cheap ($1.99 for an 8-ounce package at TJs!), versatile protein, give tempeh a try. It’s great on salads, in grain bowls, or in tacos.

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Someone recently asked me on Instagram how I make my tempeh, and actually this is a question I get a lot when I recommend it to people: “Like, what do I do with that log thing made of soybeans?”

Personally, I love tempeh so much, I can eat it cold, plain, and with salt. But for those less obsessed than I, here is one of my favorite ways to prepare it:

Prep Time:  5 minutes + at least one hour to marinate
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: at least 90 minutes, the longer you marinate, the more intense the flavor
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (depending on desired level of ginger-heat)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

Method:

  1. Cut tempeh into slices, cubs, or triangles (however you desire it)
  2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, oil, ginger, and Sriracha in a small bowl.
  3. Place tempeh in a small shallow dish and pour marinate evenly over the tempeh.
  4. Place tempeh in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes, up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor becomes.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Place tempeh on a backing sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour extra marinate from the pan over the tempeh.
  7. Bake for 22 minutes, then flip, and bake an additional 18-25 minutes, until desired texture is reached.
  8. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup with Wasabi Tofu

All aboard the hot mess express! Choo-choo we’re chuggin’ along. What mess, you ask? Well, let’s see. I move across the country in 5 days with zero help, I haven’t packed (but I did do some laundry! – #win), I don’t have an apartment to move into when I get there, AND I have about a million things to do before I leave, including work on Saturday. Heyyyyy reality, it’s really nice to ignore you.

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup with Wasabi Tofu-Vegan

Also, a massive wrench was just thrown into my life and everything is more complicated now. People keep asking me “What are you going to do?” to which I respond, “Go get an iced coffee and chill.” And that’s about all I can handle right now. Hi, adulthood, you scare me.

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup with Wasabi Soy Tofu - Vegan

Anyways, when it comes to crazy times, nothing comforts me more than baking, and/or making a nice home-cooked meal. Home-cooked meals = comfort x 20. Even when you cook it yourself. It can’t be beat.

So the Recipe Redux challenge for August was, “Back to the Table,” and asked contributors to share a recipe that was either an old family favorite or a current family favorite – just something that brought or brings your family together as school and fall and reality sink back in. Speaking of school, hellooo graduate school at Columbia University, I’ll see you Monday! And hopefully maybe I’ll have an apartment by then…

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup with Wasabi Tofu - Vegan .

Anyways, my mom used to make the most amazing home cooked meals ever! Favorites were always her pastas and soups (she kicks BUTT at those), and other dishes full of perfectly cooked or roasted vegetables nd homemade salads with homemade dressing and berry crisps for dessert. Yum. You raised me well, mama. Thanks.

Life is much different now than back when I could sit with a family of four and eat. Lots has changed. And family meals have taken on a new meaning. I did actually live with my mom this year, and we actually did share a lot of dinners. But now-a-days with a different family structure and just the two of us, “family dinner,” has a much different meaning.

Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Soup with Wasabi Tofu - Vegan

My mom isn’t really  able to cook much anymore, so we made a lot of simple things and/or went out to sushi. Every Monday and Tuesday is half-price sushi and hibachi and ramen and noodle bowls an excellent Japanese place nearby. So right now, to me, family meals mean Japanese.

No complaints; I love Japanese food. It’s simple, clean, and allows flavors to speak for themselves. The weekly-Japanese dinners inspired this meal, as now I associate Japanese food as mommy time.

Miso Ginger Broth

So here is a big bowl of delicious soba noodles in an umami ginger miso broth. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s. I then added some marinated Wasabi Baked Tofu because marinated baked tofu is delicious and I just found wasabi paste on clearance at Target for $0.84 and felt like I won the lottery. WHOO! I love wasabi. #feeltheburn.

This dish probably is not in anyway authentic Japanese cuisine (just like chicken parmesan is faux-Italian), but hey – it’s inspired by Japanese flavors and my current definition of a family dinner. Hope you enjoy! And if you like Japenese-ish things, check out this Miso Ginger Baked Tofu, this Miso Hummus,  or these Soba Noodle Asian Kale Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing. Yums.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
Level: Easy

serves 2-3 as entree, 4 as side

Ingredients – Ginger Miso Soba NoodleSoup:

  • 32 ounces (1 box) Ginger Miso Broth (from Trader Joe’s – you can substitute other miso broth and add additional ginger) with 1/2 cup reserved for tofu marinade.
  • 4-ounces soba noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (can substitute dried ground ginger)
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup sugar snap peas or broccoli (or both!)
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions

Ingredients – Wasabi Tofu:

  • 1/2 cup Ginger Miso Broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-4 teaspoons wasabi paste, (depending on desired level of spice ~ I tend to like things really hot)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice (can substitute one tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha (optional)

Directions:

  1. Drain as much liquid from the tofu as possible by pressing gently with a paper towel. Prepare marinade by combining Ginger Miso Broth, Soy Sauce, wasabi paste, freshly grated ginger, orange juice, and Sriracha. Whisk well.
  2. Slice tofu into bite-sized pieces and place in a low baking dish (a 9×9-inch or similar baking tray should work). Pour marinade over tofu. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator, at least 30 minutes (ideally 2-3 hours)
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare soba noodles according to directions on package, drain and rinse in cold water and set aside.
  4. Place tofu in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until firm, browned, and crispy around the edges, flipping halfway through if desired. When finished, remove from oven and allow to cool. While it’s baking, you can prepare the broth, below.
  5. Dice scallions and garlic. Dice green onions and set aside. If using broccoli, wash and cut into bite sized pieces. Wash and dice mushrooms.
  6. In a large skillet pan over medium heat, warm oil with scallions and garlic and allow to simmer until scallions become translucent. Add freshly grated ginger and allow to simmer. Add broccoli and/or snap peas and mushrooms and cook until vegetables become slightly tender, 4-6 minutes. Add broth and allow to warm and simmer, about 15 minutes.
  7. Add soba noodles to broth and warm for an addition 2-3 minutes.
  8. Serve in bowls and top with tofu and green onions, and Sriracha if desired. Serve with this Asian Kale Salad.

For more Recipe Redux Back to The Table Meals, click around below:

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Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon

I’m going to keep this quick because my life is an exploding hot mess of busy these days. More on this in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Avocado Iron Salt Toast

Now moving on to HAPPY THINGS. Like the fact that my dog is still cute. And the fact that salt exists. I love salt. Salt is arguably the greatest flavor enhancer of all times. It’s like the auto-tune of food.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Let’s also talk about iron, shall we? As a vegan, people always give me that annoying “BUT HOW DO YOU GET ANY PROTEIN?” stuff and I roll my eyes back into my head so far I can see my brain. Besides whole grains, nuts, vegetables (kale has 3 grams protein per cup!), tofu, etc etc, it’s truly not a concern. More concerning for vegans? B Vitamins and iron. At least according to my nutrition professors and to my opinion.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons & radishes

I actually do make an effort to get enough iron and B vitamins from foods. And so when my friend John approached me with this cool Iron Salt he’d created, I thought it was awesome. Each 1/4 teaspoon has 10% DV of salt. And as a bonus it’s pretty and pink and tastes great. COOL. I love it. And no I’m not just saying that. I’m a woman of honesty. And it’s also made in Brooklyn, which instantly makes it trendy and hip. #cool

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Anyways, I made some recipes with the stuff and genuinely do love the product! You can order it here.Look out for some of my recipes that will be popping up on the Iron Salt Blog, which I’ll also share here. The first of which is this Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon. It’s satisfying, tangy, creamy smooth, and totally rad (not just rad-ish ;-)). The radishes add a nice sharp flavor, and the lemon makes them sparkle. The Iron Salt brings it all together by highlighting each flavor, tying them all together, adding a nice crunch, and obviously, making it look really pretty.  It’s a nice way to mix up your avocado toast game. Enjoy! HAPPY SALT!

Avocado Iron Salt Toast 3

Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Lemon

This toast is refreshing, different, and filling, yet light. The Iron Salt highlights the earthy flavors of avocado, while the radishes and lemon provide an intriguing and fresh flavor contrast. An delightful dish for breakfast or as part of a light lunch, this toast is truly a nutritional powerhouse. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. If you don’t have radishes or lemon on hand, sub fresh tomatoes and basil, or cilantro with red peppers and lime juice.

Serves one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread or gluten-free bread
  • ⅓ avocado
  • 2 radishes
  • ¼ of a small lemon
  • ½ teaspoon Iron Salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. In a small bowl, mash avocado and add ¼ teaspoon of Iron Salt. Spread on toast.
  3. Thinly slice radishes and lemon. Layer radishes and lemon on toast. Garnish with remaining iron salt. Drizzle with additional lemon juice and olive oil, if desired.
  4. Enjoy