Today's Recipe of the Day is a refreshing salad made with seasonal vegetables and dressed with a homemade hemp-balsamic made with dates, Dijon mustard, hemp seeds, vinegar, lemon, and tamari - the perfect 'fill me up' meal.

The salad bowl calls for fiber-filled foods like chickpeas, quinoa, cauliflower, and nuts helping you feel fuller longer so you won't feel the need to reach for the bag of chips or any other unwanted calories. If one of your goals is to eat healthier and get back in shape, eating a salad for lunch every day will set you on the right track.

Salad dressings are normally full of sugar, preservatives, and other additives that can be easily avoided when you make your own. In this recipe, blend together dates, hemp seeds, balsamic vinegar, freshly squeezed orange juice, Dijon mustard, and tamari for a creamy, flavorful dressing that's low in calories and naturally sweetened with fruits. I recommend doubling this recipe and saving the rest in your fridge for the week. Aside from enjoying hemp-balsamic dressing on this salad, it also tastes amazing with crudité. Make this salad on repeat and enjoy the delicious tastes of plant-based salads.

Recipes excerpted from The Plant-Based Cookbook. Copyright © 2021 by Ashley Madden. Photography by Ashley Madden. Used with permission of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Loaded Lunch Salad with Creamy Hemp-Balsamic Dressing

Makes 1–2 salads (with leftover dressing)


Hemp-Balsamic Dressing

  • 2 pitted Medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 15–30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard (not grainy)
  • 2 teaspoons tamari


  • 3 cups leafy greens (baby lettuce, arugula, or spinach)
  • 1/3 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 small carrot, peeled into strips
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower
  • ¼–½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼–½ cup cooked chickpeas, lentils, or black beans or a big scoop of hummus
  • Pinch dulse flakes, optional
  • 1–2 tablespoons nuts, seeds, optional


  1. First, make the dressing. Drain the dates, reserving the soaking liquid, and add the drained dates, hemp seeds, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, Dijon, and tamari to the blender.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of soaking liquid and blend on high until smooth. Add more soaking liquid (or water) as needed to reach a pourable consistency. This dressing is ideally made in a smaller blender. If using a large blender, stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times throughout blending or double the batch.
  3. To assemble, add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl or arrange them in sections and drizzle with dressing. Store leftover dressing in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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