Over spring break, I stayed on campus and was able to work on my sustainability project. Basically, my project consists of reading, research, recipe testing, blogging, and promoting plant-based eating.

Day One

I went to three grocery stores. My first stop was a small grocery store called Aldi. I really appreciated their lack of paper and plastic bags. (That was the first grocery store I’ve ever been in like that.) I also loved the prices. They had a fair amount of organic products as well. Not the greatest variety, but excellent place to quickly go in and out of for the necessities.

The second store I went to was a small local co-op called Local Harvest. It was a bit of a drive, but definitely worth it. It had special ingredients that I needed such as nutritional yeast, vegan mayo, and Daiya cheese. It was a bit pricy compared to Aldi, but it felt good to support a local business that sources many products locally. I appreciated the weigh-your-own option. There was a variety of nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

My last stop of the day was good ole’ Trader Joe’s. (I’m assuming everyone already knows how amazing this store is.)

After a long afternoon of grocery shopping, I was absolutely famished and in need of a low-maintenance meal. I made a delicious 100% plant-based pasta salad from The Vegan Way cookbook.


I used pasta made from quinoa and brown rice, kidney beans, organic kale, avocado, and hot house tomatoes.

  • Tip: Brown rice & quinoa pasta great for those who need a GF option.


I coated everything with a dressing recipe from the book.

My version of the recipe contained:

  • Whole grain mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil
  • A bit of fresh dried basil
    • For more flavor, use fresh basil and dry it in a toaster oven
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

I stepped up my sustainability game by using local maple syrup made by students at my college.


This salad is packed with protein, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, texture, and flavor. It was a perfect light, yet satisfying supper. It’s simple, affordable, and absolutely delicious.

I definitely plan on making it again.

My only regret: I wish I made more of the dressing and stored it for a later use. I would use it on anything (wraps, a dip for veggies, sandwiches, you name it).

I was dying to taste the shredded Daiya “cheese” so I decided to make a little post-dinner appetizer type dish. I sliced up a tomato, placed fresh basil leaf on each slice, sprinkled the “cheese” on top, and added a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. I placed them in the toaster oven for a few minutes and….


That’s all folks. Stay tuned for more 100% plant-based recipes 🙂