Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad with Red Pepper Dressing

Holy moly, it’s already April! Can you believe it? While winter has definitely left the southwest, warm days and cool nights have me craving dishes that are a mix of fresh and crisp, but also warm and comforting. Enter: this Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad, made super easily.

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Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

My first encounter with Wild Garden was actually through one of Vegan Cuts’s snack boxes! It contained their travel hummus, which I thought was so cool. Plus, it ended up that it was delicious. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of trying more of their products like their flavorful marinades and obviously some pilafs. 😉 In case you’re not familiar, WG focuses on Mediterranean foods with their Shawarma and Persian marinades, grain pilafs and tasty assortment of hummus.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I LOVE making food from scratch at home. (Duh) But, honestly, making involved sauces or waiting for grains to cook when I’m hungry NOW can be a little tedious. So, when I can have a pilaf ready in 90 seconds (woah) and a sauce or hummus all set to go, I’m a happy camper! Sidenote: the Rice & Lentil Pilaf has butter, so forgo that one.

Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

Before getting into the recipe, I have to say, it’s been in the works for a bit, but technology can be merciless sometimes! I’ve had on and off issues with some of the most-used programs on my computer, namely Lightroom for photo editing and Word. Freezing, not saving, not opening, not even letting me restart my computer. Just complete and utter chaos!

Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

It all came to a head a few days ago, when I was trying to get work done and literally could not do it because of these malfunctions. In the midst of all of this, I thought about how much technical stuff I have to keep track of on the daily to make sure my work life and life in general run semi-smoothly.

If I dwell too long on a thought like that, it can become SO overwhelming, but at the same time I gave myself a little kudos for what I’m able to keep together. It’s times like these, where creativity suffers and convenience becomes extremely helpful. A time where a dish like this arugula bulgur pilaf salad shines!

Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

Using a Bulgur Pilaf from Wild Garden to create a dish that comes together quickly and easily makes this recipe ideal for weeknight meals or a light lunch to bring with you to work. On top of that, I used their Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dip to create a simple and very delicious dressing.

Arugula Bulgur Pilaf Salad - A tangy mix of warm, quick pilaf with a crunchy refreshing salad, and red pepper dressing. Perfect for Spring! #vegan #WildGarden #soyfree

When the warm pilaf is combined with fresh fruits and vegetables for this gorgeous arugula bulgur pilaf salad, it really creates a dish that is pleasing to eat. With crunchy carrot ribbons, peppery arugula, salty olives, crisp cucumber slices, juicy tomatoes and creamy dressing, how can you resist? And if you’re feeling extra hungry, top this bad boy with roasted chickpeas or steamed tempeh.

You can use Wild Garden’s store locator to find their products near you, or order online! 99% of their selection of marinades, pilafs and hummus are vegan-friendly and I can’t wait to make some more recipes with them.

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Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip

I know that some of you *cough* East Coast *cough* are buried in snow, at the moment, but in Southern California Spring is here! You know what that means? Plenty of berries, beautiful produce, and more daylight. For me, this also means incorporating colors aside from gray, black, off-white, and dark green, into my wardrobe and everyday life. It’s easily done with these adorable plates from Lenox, which this delicious Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake sits upon!

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

You may remember similar plates and bowls from the first post that I did with this reputable dish company. But, I couldn’t resist obtaining the Around the Table Floral designs; I’m super in love with the size of the dessert plates and bowls. They’re perfect for serving up cute brunch appetizers, tasty tea sandwiches, or of course, slices of gluten-free blackberry banana cake.

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

Aside from looking pretty, Lenox’s stoneware is dishwasher and microwave safe, which makes cleanup even better. If you’re anything like me and break a piece (says the lady who has broken Pyrex in a sink before), you can replace it through Lenox for 50% off (a lifetime guarantee!). Lenox was also voted to be “America’s Most Recommended Fine Dining and Giftware” by Women’s Choice Award, who surveys women across the US to see what products they love best.

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

While their website is great to comb through for quality dishes, many of which are on sale, you can easily find Lenox at Bed, Bath & Beyond (don’t forget those coupons!) and Macy’s. They also sell beautiful barware and holiday dishes, which you can see in my posts for Sparkling Fall Sangria and Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

Now, back to this gluten-free blackberry banana cake! I don’t play around with gluten-free baking very much, and while it’s gotten easier as I go, there are still failures and missteps. Like, when I first went to make the cake, got the batter mixed and realized that I had left out the apple cider vinegar. UH, WHOOPS. I rapidly tried to mix the ACV in, to catalyze the baking soda and threw it into the oven.

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

You might be surprised that the center turned into the most bizarre souffle-type thing ever? Halfway through the baking time I figured out that this clearly wasn’t going to work out. So, I immediately started on a second batch, thanking my past self for buying more blackberries than was necessary. The end product was this beautiful gluten-free blackberry banana cake that is in between a sheet cake and a light bread.

Gluten-free Blackberry Banana Cake with Vegan Whip - Delicious, light, and perfect for Spring! Especially with these cute plates from Lenox <3 #glutenfree #sponsored #vegan #soyfree #eggfree #dairyfree #nutfree

Either way, it’s super delicious for breakfast or dessert! And even better with this incredibly easy and light vegan whip, made from aquafaba. If you’re into a heavier whip, try this coconut milk version out, that I used for banana crepes – #throwback – and that I use just as frequently as aquafaba fluff.

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Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Black beans with rice, Rustic salsa and a simple guacamole stuffed inside roasted sweet potatoes! From The First Mess Cookbook #glutenfree #soyfree #giveaway

Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes {The First Mess}

Today, is a fabulous day! Not only is it Taco Tuesday, but it is also the release date for Laura Wright’s, The First Mess Cookbook! This is super exciting because Laura runs the blog The First Mess, and has been sharing gorgeous recipes and photos since 2011. We started blogging around the same time and I have followed her posts for quite a while. I love reading about her adventures in gardening and gazing at the vibrant dishes she creates. Speaking of vibrant dishes, I’m sharing her recipe for Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and Rustic Salsa with you, and hosting a giveaway!

Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Black beans with rice, Rustic salsa and a simple guacamole stuffed inside roasted sweet potatoes! From The First Mess Cookbook #glutenfree #soyfree #giveaway

Yes, I know that I mentioned Taco Tuesday, but a burrito is kind of like a taco’s cousin, twice-removed, so it seems appropriate enough to share this recipe. Plus, how can you resist a dish with the name Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes? You can’t! Baked sweet potatoes, stuffed with seasoned black beans and rice, homemade Rustic Salsa, a simple guacamole and crunchy cabbage are what make up this tasty meal.

Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Black beans with rice, Rustic salsa and a simple guacamole stuffed inside roasted sweet potatoes! From The First Mess Cookbook #glutenfree #soyfree #giveaway

Along with this recipe, are many others, as can be expected from a cookbook with nearly 300 pages! Laura opens the book with a chapter on what you need as staples for a healthy, vegan pantry; and what tools will be immensely helpful. The rest of the book is broken up into your somewhat standard dish categories, like “Mornings and Breakfasts”, “Hearty Mains and Big Plates” (where the Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes reside), “Energizing Drinks and Small Bites”, and more.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/yacks/33276653156/in/dateposted-public/

As I said before, the photographs in The First Mess Cookbook are stunning in the typical style of Laura; high-contrast with a good mixture of color and a feeling of comfort. It’s honestly super hard to look through this book in one go without drooling. If the mix of beautiful food and delectable eats doesn’t get you motivated to hop in the kitchen and get to cooking, I’m not sure that I can help you.

Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Black beans with rice, Rustic salsa and a simple guacamole stuffed inside roasted sweet potatoes! From The First Mess Cookbook #glutenfree #soyfree #giveaway

Aside from the Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, some other dishes that immediately caught my eye were the Peaches, Peas and Beans Summer Salad, Vanilla Corn Cake with Roasted Strawberries, Gingered Brussels Sprout and Shiitake Pot Stickers and Whipped Lentil Chipotle Dip. Really, I could probably type out the entire table of contents, but those caught my eyes and appetite!

Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Black beans with rice, Rustic salsa and a simple guacamole stuffed inside roasted sweet potatoes! From The First Mess Cookbook #glutenfree #soyfree #giveaway

And now, the recipe! Find how to enter the giveaway after the filling and flavorful Burrito-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!

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