Hungry Haley

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Salad

Honey Mustard Chickpea Farro Salad for Two (Vegan option, Dairy-free)

Entree, Lunch, Salad, VegetarianHaley Hansen2 Comments

Here to save you from a lunch-routine rut with colorful, flavorful Honey Mustard Chickpea Farro Salads! These come together in less than 20 minutes and can easily become your favorite simple, tasty, and nourishing weekday lunch.

Honey Mustard Chickpea Farro Salad for Two (Vegan option, Dairy-free)

Lunches can be confusing. How much do I want to eat? What do I want to eat (duh)? Am I more of a snack or a substantial meal kinda person? How will I transport my lunch? And of course, when will I find the time to eat it? One last question: am I taking lunch too seriously? It’s an important matter. I spent years in junior high and high school eating sandwiches every. single. day. and right now I’m just not into that. Like, I have a kitchen in which I cook dinner six out of seven nights a week and leftovers are almost always a thing, so lunch should be manageable. Shouldn’t it?

Class starts at noon everyday this quarter, and I’d sure as heck eat in class if they weren’t such stressful classes. I want to enjoy my food, thank you. I don’t want to eat my lunch while learning about paracentesis (look it up) or while sifting through pages and pages and pages of research articles on the effect of a high-fat diet on endurance exercise performance. Every minute throughout these classes feels like a mouthful, so I’d prefer not to add a literal mouthful to the equation.

I walk from my house to school each day, which takes maybe 20 minutes one way, and if I discipline myself well enough to leave on time, it’s quite an enjoyable walk. The return home, however, is a different story. You know, I imagine it’s like the drive home from work for you grown adults/full-time office professionals - there’s traffic, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you just want to be home. I understand. Passersby might think I’m a training for the Olympic speed-walking team, just watching how quickly my legs move in anticipation of being at home with food.

Food. Lunch. That’s what we were talking about! By the time I make it back home, I want food and I’d really appreciate it as soon as possible, please. But the thing is that it’s mid-late afternoon and now I’m confused and asking myself some of those aforementioned questions all over again. My trusty go-to’s are carrots and hummus, toast, pasta salad, or those leftover roasted veggies from last night. All filling options, but nothing satisfying for my current cravings, which is an actual lunch: a balanced meal with carbs and protein and fat and, of course, flavor and texture and color. Aesthetic and a fancy name maybe with some specialty ingredients from Whole Foods or something are bonuses.

I first made this salad right after I made and ate an actual lunch for the first time in weeks, so I admired it’s beauty and then packed it up to eat over the course of the next few days. If my friends were into as into food as I am, I would’ve, like, snap-chatted this to all of them. Instead, I texted a picture to Mom and Uncle Tom - two of my foodie bff’s (adult version? I don’t know) - with a full breakdown of all the ingredients and how I made it.

GENIUS IDEA, HALEY - you should post this on your blog! I love my thoughts sometimes. Here ya’ go, lunch-lovers!

Honey Mustard Chickpea Farro Salad for Two (Vegan option, Dairy-free)

Makes 2 servings

For the salad:
1/2 cup uncooked farro
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups organic curly kale
2 large organic carrots, peeled and chopped into thin discs
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 lemon, cut in half
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

For the honey mustard dressing:
2 tbsp. brown mustard
2 tbsp. raw honey
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt

1. Cook the farro. In a small saucepan, stir the farro with 1 cup filtered water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, stir, and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated - the grains will double in size and may be . Then remove from heat and set aside.

2. Assemble the bowls. Divide the kale evenly between two bowls and drizzle each portion with 1/4 lemon wedge and 1 tsp. EVOO. Massage the lemon and oil into the kale leaves until they soften and turn a bright green color. Next, divide the chickpeas evenly between the bowls, followed by the carrots, avocado, and red onion.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until smooth. Drizzle this evenly over the salad bowls, and then top with sea salt and pepper, fresh chopped cilantro, and crushed red pepper (if using).

4. Serve immediately, or pack in airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to one week until you’re ready to eat them. They make perfect weekday lunches!

5. Enjoy!

NOTES:

Double this to make four salads - meal-prep for the week!

Honey Mustard Chickpea Farro Salad for Two (Vegan option, Dairy-free)

Pesto Pasta Salad (GF, Dairy-free)

Entree, GF, Lunch, Pasta, Salad, VegetarianHaley Hansen1 Comment

A Pesto Pasta Salad that is creamy and bursting with vibrant flavors - this dish comes to life with fresh basil, hearty pasta, and a healthier mayo-infused pesto sauce. It's ideal for warm-weather picnics, meal-prep lunches, and any other craving for a quick, refreshing, and delicious pasta salad. 

Ready for some life updates? I hope so, because nothing else excitingly news-worthy or funny or highly deserving of mentioning here is coming to mind. Talking about myself doesn't come easily and I don't like to do it often, but I do need to remind myself every so often that this is my own space and occasional sharing about my life is not selfish. Right? 

First life update: I conquered the absolute most challenging quarter of my four-and-a-half years in school! By the end of the 11 weeks, I'd completed 17 units, 15 quizzes, 13 midterms, 7 finals, 4 groups projects, and 1 essay. Don't ask about my social life because it didn't exist. I survived because I knew before the quarter began that it was going to be extremely difficult. I struggled because I simply could not find the desire to pray about it, to read my Bible, to worship in church on Sundays (or even go to church, for that matter). Not seeking God, for a combination of complex reasons, made the anatomy midterms and the metabolism lab reports seem like a piece of cake. 

Second life update: I finally found the desire to seek God again. Be it the far less stressful load this quarter, the understanding that life is indescribably tough without a relationship with Him, or a combination of the two, I'm not sure. I'm just thankful that when I wake up in the morning and bring my bible downstairs to read it while I drink my coffee, I actually do read it instead of just stare at it.  

Third life update:  my parents moved from the house in SoCal in which we've spent the last 15 years to a new house in Minnesota. And this happened, like, three days ago, so we're still processing the fact that the pages of our family's book have actually turned for good and it's time to let God starting writing the new chapter for us. Saying goodbye - both to the house and to the friends we've made in California that feel like family - was, by a landslide, the hardest part. Granted, I didn't take part in any of the logistics of the whole process - the signing of various papers, talking with the realtor, etc. My parents have been ready to move for a while, as SoCal became too expensive, too crowded, and too far removed from our family for just the two of them to handle (my brother and I both love elsewhere). So, here's to beginning the new chapter! 

Pesto Pasta Salad (GF, Dairy-free)

Fourth life update: In just under two months, most of my best friends will graduate from Cal Poly and prepare to move back home, to grad school, or wherever a job is waiting for them. Excited for their futures and proud of them, you bet I am. Nervously anticipating the day they all leave, you bet I am. But we aren't going to think about that yet! Instead, we're going to be thankful my class load this quarter allows me to actually spend time with them and be present in each moment, be it watching movies and giggling about dumb jokes on Friday nights or wine tasting on weekend afternoons. Gosh, I love them. 

And that's all I've got for life updates at the moment. I hope you found them interesting! Thanks for reading along :) 

Pesto Pasta Salad (GF, Dairy-free)

PS this is, by a long-shot, the best pasta salad I have e v e r made. The six servings lasted me maybe three days. Just sayin'. 

Makes 6 servings (with extra pesto) 

For the pesto: 
4 cups fresh basil leaves, torn and stems removed
1/4 cup walnuts
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. oil (grapeseed, avocado, or olive work best) 
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pasta: 
8 oz. pasta (I used Banza
3/4 cup mayo (I love the Primal Kitchen brand)
1/2 cup pesto
2 cups kale, washed and trimmed
2 cup finely sliced red cabbage
1 tbsp. oil
mixed greens, for serving (optional)

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Strain and cool. If using Banza pasta, I recommend also rinsing with cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.

  2. Prepare the pesto while the pasta cools by pulsing the ingredients in a food processor until the basil leaves are finely chopped and the nuts are almost a finely ground consistency. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl (I used a huge casserole dish - whatever works), massage the kale leaves with 1 tbsp. oil to soften them. They will turn a beautiful, vibrant green color and tenderize, which is much easier for digestion. Add the chopped cabbage and pasta and stir to combine.

  4. In the bowl with the pesto, stir in the mayo until well incorporated and then add this to the mixing bowl with the pasta and veggies. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix the pesto aioli (mayo + pesto = pesto aioli) in with the pasta and veggies until everything is coated with the aioli.

  5. Serve with mixed greens and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Pesto Pasta Salad (GF, Dairy-free)

Easy Falafel Salad w/ Tahini Dressing (Vegan, GF)

Salad, Lunch, VeganHaley HansenComment

Crispy homemade falafel over fresh greens - a salad with more flavor and texture than ever! Whip this Easy Falafel Salad with Tahini Dressing up in less than 30 minutes for a refreshing Middle-Eastern-inspired lunch or dinner with tons of veggies. 

There's just something about wearing an apron that makes me feel - excuse my French - baaaaaada$$. 

That feeling used to come from my track uniform/workout clothes (high school years). And before that, it was my keychain with my car keys on it (teenage years). Anything before that doesn't fit into my memory anymore, so don't ask. 

But, back to the apron. My mom always used to ask me, whenever we'd begin prepping for dinner, if I wanted to put one on, too. "Ehh, no I'm okay", I'd respond, not really seeing the point in wearing one unless we planned to throw flour at each other or something. 

Lately, though, I've worn my apron almost every single day. Every. Single. Day. And I refuse to take it off until absolutely necessary. In other words, I'm tied up in my apron from about 8 AM until sometime around 3 or 4 PM. It's absolutely awesome. 

I'm not always working with messy ingredients (like in the case of this falafel salad), so the apron technically isn't necessary. However, it's become a sort of uniform for me. With my apron on, I know it's game-time. Maybe that sounds weird or lame or old-fashioned of me, but I freakin' love it. I wrap the strings around my waist, tie a bow in the front, and can somehow put away for the time-being all other items on my to-do list, all other commitments yearning for my attention. 

Easy Falafel Salad w/ Tahini Dressing (Vegan, GF)

In my apron, I first fell in love with cooking. I helped my grandma make her signature raspberry jam years ago. I whipped up endless batches of Christmas cookies for Mom's friends and Dad's coworkers. I conquered my first ever batch of fluffy vegan cinnamon rolls. I tried my hand at a less-fried version of falafel and succeeded. 

My apron has taken the place of my track uniform and my keychain. Hooray for growing up! 

My apron made prepping this salad that much more enjoyable, meaningful.

Easy Falafel Salad w/ Tahini Dressing (Vegan, GF)

Speaking of this salad...

Do you LOVE falafel as much as I do? I suppose I should ask first if you even know how much I love falafel? If you don't, well... it's inexplicable. In other words, it's the true kind of love. Even though it's fried (a cooking method I usually try to avoid), I just can't say no. Wrap it up it a warm, homemade pita pocket and OHMYWORD I'm practically begging on my knees. 

But, like, salads are good, too, right? Because sometimes that pita adds that much more heaviness to an already filling meal. Besides, nothing beats crisp greens in almost-triple-digit weather! 

Makes 2 salads

2 large carrots, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
mixed greens
Homemade Falafel (one batch is fine)
Tahini Dressing
Cilantro and parsley, for garnish

  1. Once all the veggies have been chopped, the greens have been washed, and the falafel and tahini dressing have been prepped, all that's left to do is toss the ingredients together in bowls!
  2. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving. Enjoy! 
Easy Falafel Salad w/ Tahini Dressing (Vegan, GF)

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Salad, VegetarianHaley HansenComment

If you haven't yet added grilled hearty whole-grain bread to your salads, then meet this Simple Summer Panzanella Salad. It's a refreshing, satisfying, and exciting combination that isn't just lettuce and veggies. Enjoy!

I'm currently working on releasing from my mind the fact that this post should've been finished two nights ago and posted yesterday morning. Oops. 

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Once again, I'm here in San Luis Obispo, my favorite place in the world (as of right now, at least), as I decided to make this a long weekend trip to visit my girls. And once again again, we made zero plans and somehow found more fun and laughter and adventure than we ever have. Weird, huh? That being said, I did have some plans to squeeze in a little blog-work over the weekend, but those were squashed by last minute decisions to go star-gazing or line-dancing or late-night-chit-chatting until 1 AM.

My inner worker-bee wanted to scream when I chose my friends over the blog, but God held my hand (as always) and led me with comfort into the innumerable blessings He weaves into my friendships. The wine and mojitos might have helped with that, too, but it was mostly God - let's be honest. 

There's something about SLO that God is using to change me. He changed my heart big time last year, when I finally discovered the realness of His beauty and the meaning of life with Him, but that wasn't all He had planned. As I drove up here the other night and passed the "San Luis Obispo - 7 miles" sign, I felt my heart take a deep breath and sigh with the most contentment it has in a long time. Actually... that might've been a record-breaking amount of contentment. 

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

So much so that when I talk about my love for SLO with my friends, it almost sounds like I'm really considering where a serious relationship is going. Like, that what's-next-for-us-because-I-really-like-you stage. Like, I've-never-felt-this-way-about-any-place-before feeling. Like, I-can't-imagine-my-life-elsewhere type thing. 

Like, I-want-to-soak-up-every-last-drop-of-it-before-we-part feeling. In other words, I want to spend minimal time on my laptop and maximum time appreciating what God gives me here. Want to know what I've been up to this weekend? YAY I'm so excited to share with you! 

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Thursday

Trip to Cambria and Cayucos with a picnic and a stop at Brown Butter Cookie Co. with Grace (bff, as I call her) + lazy afternoon + dinner at the farmers' market + line dancing alllllllll night. 

Friday

Chill morning + afternoon walk along the beach with a friend and a latte + ice cream cookie sandwich (!!!!) + pizza and good music and good friends (and new friends) + star-gazing. 

Saturday 

Farmer's market + half a hike (only half for me because of the wounds) + another lazy afternoon + a friend's grand opening for his new gym + dinner with bff + more dancing, but not in lines (more like in loud, crowded bars). 

Sunday 

Early morning walk + church + wine-tasting (also !!!!!) + well, recovering from wine tasting. 

Monday (today) 

Catching up a little bit on life + bbq-ing with friends. 

Tuesday (tomorrow)

Heading out, hopefully for the last time ever, and counting the days until I can come back! 

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Moral of the story here: I've found "the one" in terms of home. I hope you have/do soon too! 

Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Good thing I can make this panzanella salad no matter where I am because it's daaaaaang good, too. 

Makes 4-6 servings

1 loaf whole-grain bread, sliced
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olives (green or kalamata)
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Use 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to lightly brush each bread slice (both sides). Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and grill each slice until charred on both sides, then remove from pan and set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop into thick 1-inch cubes. 
  2. Combine the tomatoes, feta, olives, and basil in a large mixing bowl and stir in the bread cubes. 
  3. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Refrigerate or serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week. 
  4. Enjoy!
Simple Summer Panzanella Salad

Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)

Vegan, Lunch, SaladHaley HansenComment

Currently adjusting to the realization that the place I'd thought of as "home" for so fifteen years is no longer my home. Whoa. 

Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)

In 2003, my family and I moved from Minnesota (where almost our entire family and all of our friends surrounded us) to California. By doing the math, you'll calculate that I was seven years old at the time and my brother was about ten. He found the transition significantly more terrifying and unfair (as any young boy would) than I did, yet I still felt as though I was stepping into the unknown, mostly because my child brain barely understood the concept of the United States. 

Since the summer of 2003, we've lived in and loved Southern California, for the most part. That other unloved part is the traffic, the heat, and the "vibe" we feel, which is too complicated for me to explain. However, I grew up there. I found my first real best friends as I started second grade and walked alongside them through the rest of elementary school. I attached to a different group of friends in junior high and found out about who Jesus is. I entered high school and got my period and played sports and rode the teenage-rollercoaster-of-emotions over and over. I battled my eating disorder and found my first boyfriend and, with him, my first kiss and my first love. I graduated high school and committed to college. 

Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)

And then... I went to college, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, if you're wondering. The first segment of my first year away from home was saturated with tears of homesickness and feelings of not belonging. Once those tears dried feelings dissolved (which is easier than done, as always), I found the group of sisters in Christ God had waiting for me to push me towards Him and towards growth and the better version of myself. 

The two years in between then and now have not been absent of tears and homesickness, by any means. Neither, though, have they been absent of discovery (of self and other) and recovery, of smiles and laughter so strong it hurts, of trial + error and finding faith in it all. San Luis Obispo has captured my heart, no doubt about it, but I've been reluctant to call it "home", for reasons I don't even know.  

Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)

I chose to spend this summer in Southern California, to take a break from SLO and rent and blah blah blah. Despite the busy-ness of SoCal, for some reason I feel like I can hear myself think a bit more than I can in SLO (probably because I don't spend much time with anyone else besides myself and my parents). That's what has always pulled me back to SoCal - the comfort. 

But it's feeling too comfortable now. Like, boring-comfortable - a bean bag chair that sinks when I sit in it, a mattress without any structure or spring. In other words, there is nothing to challenge me or offer much opportunity for growth. AND, for the past fourteen years, my family and I have made few community connections (though those few are still going strong and wonderful as could be). 

Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)

San Luis Obispo, though... my goodness. There's been growth beyond expectation, friendship beyond imagination, and comfort surpassing any level I ever thought I'd need. I found, through God, what a life of freedom instead of slavery around food feels like. I found my best friends/sisters in Christ (which, four years ago, I thought of only as pretend). I found my passion for food and cooking intertwined with health and fitness. 

I found my home. This is home. 

Home isn't where I was born or where my family is or where I grew up or where I spent my teenage years. Home is the place I can't - physically, emotionally, spiritually - be separated from for more than a month, the place where my best friends are not too far away, the place where I'm connected to my community, the place where I found and feel most at peace and in love with myself. 

Home is San Luis Obispo. I love home. 

I just had to get that off my chest because I'm SO happy about it and couldn't help but share it. 

Anyway, about this salad - insanely easy to throw together and unbelievably delicious! Perfect for quick lunches, summer picnics, and even taco toppings! 

Salad:
1 15-oz. can black beans
2 cups finely chopped purple cabbage
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
extra cilantro, for garnish

Dressing:
Creamy Lemon Avocado Sauce + non-dairy milk

  1. Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. 
  2. Whisk the sauce and non-dairy milk until a thin, dressing-like consistency is reached. Pour over the salad and toss again to combine. 
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and then serve. 
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days (any longer and it will smell baaaaaad, believe me). 
  5. Enjoy!
Baja Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Creamy Lemon Avocado Dressing (Vegan, GF)