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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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I'm not a huge fan of salads in the winter but one day I was craving some greens and came up with this warm and hearty salad. I wanted to make a salad that wouldn't leave you feeling cold after eating a big bowl of it. I even tried it out on a group of my guy friends and they all loved it.

The dressing is unexpected and delicious. The roasted mushrooms give it lots of flavor combined with the tang of lemon and red wine vinegar and it is rounded out by herby thyme leaves. I added even more flavor and texture with the addition of shallots and pine nuts.  

I love kale salads when they are done right (which sadly, isn't always). My two rules for a kale salad: first, you need a hearty (or creamy) flavorful dressing to stand up to it and second, give it a quick massage to make it milder and less bitter, plus it gets rid of some of the toughness.

I used to think I didn't liked kale salads but since following these two rules my mind has been changed and now I love them! Even if you don't think you like kale salads, I recommend you give this a try! It is probably unlike any salad you have ever had and it is packed with flavor. It gives kale a whole new look. 

Peace and kale, 



Roasted Mushroom Kale Salad


1 small container of mushrooms (5 oz.), thinly sliced*
3 tbsp sesame (or olive) oil, divided
2 tbsp tamari**
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stem
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp water
black pepper, freshly grounded, to taste
1 or 2 shallots, thinly sliced


1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and stir to coat.  Saute for about 2 minutes and then add tamari and thyme leaves.  Cook until all the liquid has been cooked out.  Remove from heat.

2. In a small blender or food processor add 1/2 cup of the cooked mushrooms and thyme, the remaining 2 tbsp of oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, water and black pepper.  Blend until smooth.

3. Put the chopped or torn kale in a large bowl and massage for 1 to 2 minutes.  With clean hands, mash the kale in your hands.

4. Toss the kale with the dressing, the remaining mushrooms, pine nuts and shallots.  Top with the rest of the pine nuts and serve!

Notes: *I used crimini/baby bellas for this recipe.  Shitakes would be delicious as well and in a pinch button mushrooms would work.  **Replace with coconut aminos for soy free.  


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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.