L2C Challenge – Salad Samurai

Epic Fail… That’s the only way I can describe this month’s Learn to Cook Challenge. It is by no means a reflection of the Salad Samurai cookbook; rather, a series of events, including my own misunderstanding, meant that I was only able to make one recipe from this book…

If you’re new here, I started the L2C Challenge in 2021 as a way to get me in to the habit of cooking different meals and, if I’m being totally honest, as a way to justify my cookbook obsession. You see, I’ve always loved cookbooks. Each time I get one, I go through it from cover to cover and mark up all of the recipes that I want to try but that I likely will never make. So with this challenge, I pick one cookbook per month and make at least one recipe from that book per week. At the end of the month, I give my honest review of the recipes I tried and of the cookbook in general.

In case you’re interested, here are the cookbooks I’ve tried thus far…

Half Baked Harvest Every Day

Eat With Us

Beautiful Boards

Mandy’s Gourmet Salads

Jamie Oliver 7 Ways

Skinnytaste One & Done

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple

First off, this is the perfect example of why you should never buy a book for its cover… The full title of this book is – Salad Samurai 100 cutting-edge, ultra-hearty, easy-to-make salads you don’t have to be vegan to love… I didn’t realize when I chose this book that it is actually a vegan cookbook (had I taken a moment to read through the recipes, I would have noticed that very quickly…). While I have no issues with vegan cuisine, I have no interest in cooking with ingredients such as Tofu and Tempeh (it’s just a personal preference, please don’t hate…). So, right off the bat, I struggled to find recipes that I wanted to make.

Alas, because I am committed to this challenge, I did manage to find 4 recipes that I thought we would enjoy (although I planned to substitute the protein alternatives with actual meat). Since these are all salad dishes, I planned to make all 4 recipes the same week to make use of the fresh produce that was repeated in each of the salads. I bought all of my ingredients, cleaned and stored them in the fridge with the intention of cooking up a storm during the Victoria Day long weekend. Then… out of nowhere… the Ontario storm hit. We lost power and had no running water for 4 days. All my fresh meat and produce were no longer fresh. After that, if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t have it in me to go out and repurchase ingredients for recipes that I was not really excited to make in the first place…

So here is the one recipe I did make before our city shut down, as well as the recipes that I had planned to make…

The BKT (Bacon, Kale, Tomato) Bowl (p. 75)

While this is called the BKT, I omitted the cherry tomatoes because no one ever eats them in our house. So, really, its the BK bowl… The recipe calls for Tempeh Bacon but I used the good ol’ regular stuff. You can’t tell from the photo but there is actually avocado and red onions included in here. The star of the dish is the tangy vinaigrette – a mix of Dijon, maple syrup, vinegar and a few other complementary ingredients. It was more creamy than watery, so I doubled the recipe to make sure every inch of kale was covered in dressing. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!

The Ones that Didn’t Make It….

  • Seitan Bacon Wedge (p. 101)
  • Tempeh Taco Bowl (p. 147)
  • Overnight Oats (p. 167)


In the circumstances, it wouldn’t be fair to give this book a review. No cookbook should be judged based on one altered recipe. I will say that the one dressing that I did make was fresh and delicious and the steps were easy to follow. I think if you are vegan or interested in cooking with vegan substitutes, definitely look in to this book. I, however, will be giving this book to a friend who could likely put it to better use than I ever will…


Full disclosure – I’ve had the Fraiche Food Full Hearts cookbook since the moment Jillian and Tori released it back in 2019 but, like all my other cookbooks, there are still plenty of recipes in there that I have earmarked to try and never gotten around to…

That’s about to change and I can’t wait to dive more into this book next month!!!


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