Roasted Autumn Vegetable & Blue Cheese Salad

Roast Autumn Vegetable Salad

I am alllll about embracing the flavors of fall this year (and every year). If I can roast it, I’m gonna roast it. If I can caramelize it, I’m gonna caramelize it. If I am able to add pumpkin seeds to it, I’m prooobably gonna add pumpkin seeds to it! You get what I’m saying. Also, not in fall but in general life, if I can put avocado on something, you bet your butt I will.

All that being said and understood, this recipe should come as no surprise. Pair sweet, sweet roasted fall vegetables with cool, creamy avocado and crisp, clean lettuce. Top with a tangy, bright dressing and a bit of salty blue cheese, and you’re in autumn salad heaven.

Roasted Autumn Vegetable & Blue Cheese Salad

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Creamy Cashew Quinoa Cole Slaw

Thai Cashew Cole Slaw

This is a very ME recipe. Asian-inspired flavors? Check. Quinoa? Check. Some sort of shredded cabbage/slaw component? Check. Cashews? CHECK, of course! Oh, and avocado, but at this point that should go without saying.

There is nothing not to love about this salad. Slash slaw. Slash pilaf. Okay, I’m not really sure what exactly to call it. It’s easy to throw together on a busy night. It’s packed with nutritious vegetables, protein, and fiber. It can be your full meal or a side. If you want some meat/additional protein, you could easily top with shrimp or chicken. Make it your own!

Creamy Cashew Quinoa Cole Slaw

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Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

Honeyed Strawberry Avocado Salad with Almonds

At this point I feel like I’m getting a reputation among my friends… a reputation for being the person who always brings the salad to the dinner party or cookout. Here’s the thing, though: salads are not boring if you do ’em right. I like to load mine with all sorts of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and nice cheese. I’m also a fan of making my own dressing, which, on top of being better for you, adds so much more flavor and depth than your usual store-bought variety. (But if you are using a store-bought, my favorite brand is Briannas, which I’ve mentioned before in a similar recipe.)

I threw together one of my huge salads when I hosted our Bachelorette League at my place last week. Since I was making a big amount and I was a little crunched for time after work, I had my man help me out. And by “my man” I don’t mean my boyfriend Rob. I mean my man Joe. My man TRADER JOE. I got everything I needed from him for this dinner (including a bunch of cheap yet delicious wine, not pictured). Love u forever, TJs.

Honeyed Strawberry, Avocado, and Almond Salad

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Strawberry Fields Spinach Salad

Strawberry Fields Salad

This recipe is so simple I almost feel bad posting it as a “recipe”… except for I don’t feel bad, because it is SOOOO GOOD. You’ll see.

I originally experienced this heavenly combo during one of my weekly girls’ night dinner parties. I knew it was going to be a winner when I saw the dressing employed: Rich Poppy Seed Dressing from Brianna’s. Normally I don’t love bottled salad dressings, but this Brianna’s is different. I’ve been a big fan of their poppy seed dressing since I discovered it years ago. It’s an amazing complement to every sort of fruit (including peaches, as indicated on the bottle—and also avocado!)

The sweetness of the strawberries and the dressing is an obvious pairing with the tangy, creamy goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. The surprise here is the quinoa—usually I serve cooled quinoa in salads, but this one keeps it warm. This allows the goat cheese to melt into the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients, and slightly wilt the spinach. It all melts and mixes together just enough, not too much. The key? Slightly warm quinoa, not super hot right off the stove!

Sweet Strawberry Fields Salad

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Keepin’ it Light: Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Now that the holidays have passed and things are calming down, I’ve been trying to focus on easy, nutrition-packed meals, like this one! This super simple quinoa salad is a lovely mix of flavors and textures. Cool, creamy avocado and spicy squash are folded into a protein packed mix of quinoa and black beans. With some other vegetables and a bright splash of lime for good measure.

This particular creation was actually dreamed up thanks to a bunch of leftovers I had the other night. I had some friends over to watch The Bachelor (don’t judge—criticizing sobbing drunk girls on TV is amazing) and I prepped homemade burrito bowls for our dinner. This is the salad that came out of all the remaining components. There is literally NOTHING bad for you here. 100% health. Tons of protein, tons of vegetables, and some good fats from coconut oil. You’re welcome.

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Food Porn of the Day: Jamaican Pizza

I’m not usually the world’s #1 pizza craver but when I’m in the mood I’m IN THE MOOD, and lately I’ve been in the mood thanks to the discovery of my boy Macaulay Culkin’s pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band. (WHAT? Yes. Culkin will always hold a special place in my heart and VU is my all-time favorite band, so this bit of breaking news is extremely relevant to my interests.)

A few days ago I fulfilled my cravings with a funky pizza party and I just had to share it with everyone. This combination is truly a Christmas miracle that I think everyone should try for themselves immediately:

East Side Pies Jamaican Pizza

Jerk chicken, pineapple, red onion, jalapeño, habanero, and avocado. AVOCADO. Its cool creaminess is the perfect foil for all that heat. I got this sucker from East Side Pies here in Austin. I wrote about their lil smokies & egg creation last year, but I figured this revelation of flavors deserves another mention. Macaulay should write a song about this.

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Cabbage Cashew Detox Salad

Cabbage Cashew Detox Salad

This is one of my favorite things to make when I’ve been indulging a little toooo much and need to give myself a nutritional jumpstart. It’s chock full of cruciferous vegetables (namely broccoli and cabbage), which are great because not only do they contain tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they’re also said to lower your risk of cancer and regulate inflammation. Basically you can eat a ton of this salad and feel awesome about yourself, especially if you’ve been slacking in the nutrition department!

You’re not depriving yourself, though; the added avocado and cashews, both rich with flavor and texture, make every bite an indulgent yet 100% good-for-you treat. That’s the beauty of heart-healthy fats, people!

Another fantastic thing about this recipe is how easy it is. You can seriously throw it together in about ten minutes, tops. If you’re especially pressed for time and don’t feel like chopping up a big pile of cabbage and broccoli, you can even take a shortcut by using a bagged broccoli slaw, which should be easy to find in the produce area of your average grocery store.

When I’m in a hurry and “cheating” with bagged veggies, I personally like using Mann’s Rainbow Salad, because not only is it a delightful blend of shredded broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots, but it also reminds me of the hilarious/amazing song “Text” by Mann feat. Jason Derulo. I am a ridiculous person.

Cabbage Cashew Detox Salad

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