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My husband and I recently took a trip up the California Coast for our wedding anniversary. One of our stops up highway 1 was San Luis Obispo (“SLO”), while we were there we ate at one of our favorite Cali eateries ‘The Natural Cafe’ (we think it is a California chain), it’s not a local restaurant but they have lots of veggie friendly options. I was instructed by a friend from home to try their ‘Village Salad’ which consists of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, brown rice, tofu and a little cheese. Nothing too out of the ordinary but the brown rice was my favorite part and I couldn’t wait to get home and make my own version.

This salad came together with what I had in the house and in the garden, nothing out of the ordinary, but when I posted this picture on Instagram (follow me @comsohippiechef) I got quite a few likes and thought it was worth sharing. Instead of tofu, I used crispy garbanzo beans which I started using last summer instead of croutons, definitely a favorite in our house. I also included the brown rice which is what I loved the most about the salad we ate while we were in SLO, but I was lucky to have greens from my garden as well as the flowers that were a result of my greens bolting a little to soon. The rest of the ingredients were left over from other meals. Feel free to use what you have but I do recommend that you try the brown rice and crispy garbanzo beans. I urge you to ‘slow’ down and Enjoy!


My SLO Salad– serves 2

4 c. greens of choice, divided (I used greens from my garden)

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced, divided (I used one of those really long ones)

1 organic tomato, cut in quartered and diced, divide

1 lb. organic asparagus, tops only! Use the bottoms for the pasta dish I’ll be posting next.  (I roasted these in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper @375 degrees for 10-15 min)

1 avocado, cut in half and sliced, half for each salad

1/2 c. cooked brown rice for each salad

1/4 c. crispy garbanzo beans for each salad (2c. fresh cooked, or canned chickpeas, toss with 2 tsp. olive oil 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. Toum (local garlic condiment)- bake 400 degrees for 30-45 min. or until cripsy)

edible flowers (if you have them), you could use sprouts instead

half a lemon

salt and pepper


1. I start by placing the greens on the bottom of the bowl, I squeeze a little lemon over the greens and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

2. Arrange the rest of the ingredients over the greens. I gave each ingredient its own space on the greens, I think it looks really pretty this way. Top with edible flowers.

3. Eat with you favorite dressing!

Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing- makes 1 c.

1/2 c. organic sesame tahini (usually by the nut butters)

1/4 c. water

1 organic lemon, zest and juice

2 T. vinegar, I used Slide Ridge Honey Wine Vinegar

2 T. organic tamari, you could use lite soy sauce or liquid amino’s

2 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 c. fresh herbs from garden (I used a combo of mint, basil, cilantro and parsley)

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Put all the ingredients in the food processor or blender. Blend until well mixed. Place in the fridge. (The dressing will thicken up in the fridge, so it is best used at room temperature.)


Usually during the summer I lay off this segment, I want to have more time with friends and family while the weather is good. I hope you will understand. Spending time outdoors with the ones you love eating fresh, local and seasonal food is the best nutrition!