What could be a better summer refresher than insalata caprese, that magical combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella? A vegan version, thanks to salad samurai Terry Hope Romero
Meatless Monday: The Punk, the Samurai, and the Salad Bowl — Terry Hope Romero Mixes it Up
Originally posted on 08/25/2014 for Huffington Post.
“Vegan and punk — there’s a strong relationship. We’re angry at the world and let’s make it a better place,” says Terry Hope Romero, who teamed up with Isa Chandra Moskowitz for “Post Punk Kitchen.” The two made the world better with the bestselling “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.” Now Romero takes on “sucktastic salads.” Enter “The Salad Samurai.”
As she did with “Vegan Eats World,” Romero rounds up a big world of fusion and flavors for 100 cutting-edge salads, like Herbed Pea Ricotta With Tomatoes and Basil, Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad and Sesame Noodles in the Dojo that’s worthy of a samurai. Sayonara, sucktastic, hello “hot and tasty, grilled and sauteed, cool and crisp, engaging and yummy.”
Romero did it all for you, baby. And for herself. Though she can still make a rockin’ vegan cupcake, “I feel better when I eat better,” she says.”Less sugar, more vegetables, more protein. Salad I can eat on an everyday basis.” Especially these salads, that get “back to basics in new and interesting ways. Doing a book like this feels like how I live now.”
How she lives now is busy. You, too? No worries. “Salad Samurai” recipes are bold, but totally doable. Romero gives you the recipes as well as their individual components from spirited dressings to crunchy, cool toppings, so you can mix, match and tap into your own inner salad samurai.
It’s all very far from the salad of Romero’s teen vegetarian days. “Iceberg lettuce, horrible plastic tomato, bottled ranch dressing. It was the saddest thing.” The first wave of vegan restaurants wasn’t much better. “They were like, ‘We’re just going to use the same thing in everything. Tamari. Sucanet. Whole wheat flour. And tofu —the hard kind.’” No wonder Romero was an angry punk. Hungry, too.
Around that time, Romero met Moskowitz. “She knew I liked to cook, she liked to cook, she was asking me do I want to work with her on a vegan punk rock cooking show.” Glamorous? No. Punk? Definitely “Oh, my God, we taught ourselves everything on that show. It was public access, no budget, super DIY.”
Even so, the show tapped into the vegan zeitgeist that hadn’t existed before. “It is dramatic how much it’s changed. Americans are more interested in variety, in ethnic food. They like to think about cooking at home. I feel like you’re able to say vegan and people kind of get it,” says Romero. “For vegans, it’s incredibly awesome.”
“It’s the most exciting thing in vegan right now,” says Romero. Well, Romero’s salads aren’t too shabby, either. She’s back on camera with “Vegan Mashup,” but never far from her punk roots. ‘We have a tiny bit more budget and a few nicer cameras, but we’re still a DIY kinda thing.”