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Plant-based collagen. I always had very weak nails and hair, so it is a great resource! I add it to my porridge every morning.
Use vegetables in cakes. The cakes are so much lighter and there is almost no need for nuts in the frosting.
17½ oz pumpkin or squash, cored and diced in small cubes
2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of unrefined sea salt (or more to taste)
½ can coconut milk
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1²⁄³ oz tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
A small pinch of fenugreek seeds
Zest of 1 organic orange and some juice to taste
1 purple potato, sliced thin with a potato peeler (you can use a regular sweet potato)
4-6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
4 tbsp tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce
4 tbsp extra virgin sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp (or more) of smoked paprika
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 390°F. Lay the potato slices and the mushroom slices in an oven pan; use parchment paper as it will stain. Mix the condiments in a little bowl and pour on top. Place on the top rack and bake for 10-15 minutes (you can grill for a couple of minutes too). In a medium pan place the diced pumpkin or squash and massage with 1 tbsp coconut oil, the fennel, cumin and fenugreek seeds and the salt. Place in the oven on medium low for 30 min, even while the “bacon” is roasting. (I prefer to cook my coconut milk for 10-15 minutes in a small saucepan with the water or broth, but you don’t have to.)
When the pumpkin is nice and roasted, blend it with all other ingredients. Make sure you have a smooth cream, then adjust the salt. Serve with some coconut cream, the “bacon,” grated orange zest and a squeeze of orange juice, too. (Toasted seeds or nuts are also delicious here.)
The impact of food on health
Food has impacted my life immensely. Before I started a plant-based diet, my health was devastated by takeout meals rushed between office hours. I was a good cook, but food had become my last priority. Digestive issues pushed food even further down the list. When I started to eat plant-based, I rediscovered the joy of cooking for myself. And I gained a lot of other awareness around sustainability, my health improved and a whole new life unfolded.
My signature dressing to transform your salads:
Ume su—I use this Japanese salty vinegar to adjust virtually everything (except coffee). It comes from umeboshi plums, pickled with shiso leaves that make the vinegar a nice bright pink. I make a mixture of tahini, ume su and rice malt and I dilute it with hot water until runny. It has been my signature dressing for 10 years.
My 5-minute meal
Massaged kale salad with sunflower seeds, my tahini dressing and a leftover protein. I always keep some ready-to-go proteins in my fridge, like cooked beans, falafel or tofu.