Food 52- Mighty Salads

I’ll never forget the first time I made salad dressing from scratch. I was working at Wellness Place, a magical non-profit filled with superheroes who supported cancer survivors. As a program manager, I wanted to do a program focusing on healthy eating around the holidays (nutrition was always a big draw, plus I wanted an excuse to try new recipes!). I made this buttermilk avocado dressing, and my palate for salad dressings changed forever.

Laziness, however, took hold pretty quickly. A quick shake of a pre-made bottle (or heading to my beloved Just Salad or Sweetgreen) was the status quo for quite some time.

When the Blogging for Books program offered Food52’s newest salad book, I requested it immediately. I knew it would be just what I needed (a swift kick in the pants) to jump kick my salad making again.

Here are my thoughts about this book:

  • Unlike other cookbooks, you can dance around the ingredients a little. There were many recipes that had meat, but I was able to simply omit them, and they were still delicious!
  • Food52 will help you explore new ingredients, even if it takes some time to search for them. I went looking for Spanish Smoked Paprika (present in at least 2 of the recipes I tried), but could not find it my local grocery stores. Amazon saved the day, and I was able to buy it here.
  • Rethink your salad carbs. Gone are the days of bagged, over-salted dried croutons. These are the days of grilled baguettes and hefty grains.
  • One of my besties, Lauren, introduced me to the idea of mixing in herbs with whatever greens are present in my salad (thanks, girl!). There is no lack of herbs in this book, and you get bonus tips on how to incorporate them into your food.

My overall takeaway is that we all need inspiration to eat healthier. It’s books like this that make incorporating more leafy greens and veggies more about culinary exploration than shaming people into calorie-restriction with boring food. Take out your favorite veggies and get exploring!

Further Reading:

I received this book for free from the Blogging for Books program! All opinions are my own.


Mason Jar Overnight Oats with Raw Chia Seed Strawberry Jam

Oh Mason jars…I’ve seen so many of them pop up ever since I started my Pinterest page. Soon-to-be newlyweds finding ever-so resourceful ways of turning bland food items into hipster ambrosia. Health-conscious divas devising ever-clever mason jar salads to take to work.

Food is where my inner-hipster comes out, with my vegan- friendly items and penchant for looking at gluten-less options for friends.  I am just a plain old lacto/ovo vegetarian, yet the follow food recipes have become a regular on my breakfast table.

I recently did a Whole Foods 5% Giving Day at work, complete with preparation for a cooking demonstration. I was glad I did some ahead of time because I was able to sample this to WFM shoppers- and they loved it!

photo (8)
Jam on top of the oats
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Shaken, not stirred

Vanilla Bean Overnight Oats

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Cover with lid and shake until combined. Store in refrigerator overnight. Eat cold or warm!

Adapted from: Native Foods Vegan Café in Chicago, posted Cherries Jubilee Overnight Oats on bulletin board


Raw Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

 Ingredients (only 3 of them!)

  •  15 fresh strawberries (about 1 lb).
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or juice from a regular lemon or lime)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white or regular chia seeds



Dry and hull strawberries. Cut berries in half and put into a small food processor. Add lemon juice, and whirl until pureed, about 30-60 seconds. Add chia and pulse a couple of seconds until combined. Taste and add additional sweetener if you like.

Pour into a lidded jar or container and refrigerate overnight to allow chia to fully hydrate.  Jam will thicken up as the chia seeds coagulate. Keep jam in the refrigerator.

Adapted from: