Something about the New Year always makes it feel like the perfect opportunity to hit the refresh button. For our fresh start, we are reevaluating our go-to meals and finding ways to incorporate more fresh produce daily. Even though we are vegan, that doesn’t mean we’re always eating fresh fruits and vegetables. We still find ourselves falling into a routine where the majority of our meals are processed. So, it’s time to get creative again and fill our plates with colorful plant-based nutrients.

Typically, we make the same meals each week. We always know we’re going to have tacos one day, pasta with roasted carrots and mushrooms another day, and then sweet potatoes and burgers another. To include more fresh produce, we’ve decided that we’re going to embrace salads. While salad can seem boring, it’s a great way to create a vibrant and nutritious meal, especially if you make your own dressings.

When we think of salad, we’re not just thinking lettuce and some toppings. We’re thinking Caesar pasta salad, taco salad, roasted sweet potato and avocado salad, thai salad, and so on. It’s time for us to upgrade our lunches, and we’re having fun trying new recipes and not shying away from the challenge of mixing it up.

One new dish we’re obsessing over is our vegan and gluten-free cucumber dill pasta salad. It’s super quick to make, and our Vitamix makes creating the dressing practically effortless. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is preparing the cashews for your dressing, but we recently learned a trick: Instead of soaking a cup of cashews for an hour or more, you can just boil them for five minutes before placing them in the blender. Along with the cashews, add three tablespoons of white wine vinegar, one tablespoon of avocado oil, one-fourth cup of fresh chopped dill, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend your dressing and place to the side. For our pasta, we used Banza chickpea pasta for a vegan and gluten-free option, but you can use any pasta you’d like. Toss cooked pasta, homemade dressing, and one chopped cucumber in a large bowl and serve. If you’d like some more color, cherry tomatoes are a great addition.

Hitting refresh by adding fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily meals can be fun. You can keep it as simple as you’d like, or be as creative as you’d like. Making your own dressings is also the perfect way to know exactly what you’re putting on your plate and into your body, and there’s no better time to start than now. Happy New Year!


H (@h.m.pearson) is a former division 1 softball player, now full time vegan lifestyle content creator. Kelsey's #1 fan.

As for Kelsey @kelseystacypearson), she’s a former elementary teacher turned dream chaser, writing her first LGBTQ+ young adult novel.