A few years ago, the MLF and I went to Italy.
Italy is amazing for 1289573925792 reasons, but one of our favorite things we enjoyed most while there was the caprese salads.
So simple, so fresh, so delicious. We literally couldn’t go a meal without getting one and the handful of times we did we had major FOMO.
For those of you that don’t know a caprese salad traditionally consists of mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, oil and balsamic. It’s that easy, and THAT good.
The problem for me now obviously is the fact that mozzarella cheese is made from cow’s milk and is therefore NOT VEGAN. I make it a point to stay away from dairy for a number of reasons- the top three being:
1. We naturally don’t digest dairy well. Think about it: we are the only mammal that continues to drink milk after our development stage (aka babies) and the only mammal that drinks OTHER mammals milk. Our bodies weren’t built with the right enzymes to digest cow’s milk as an adult (in particular the two ingredients casein and lactose), and therefore we have a huge problem breaking it down which causes gas, bloating, constipation, etc. EW.
2. Dairy is also extremely acidifying to our bods. You know all the propaganda that we need milk for strong bones because of calcium? Well research has shown the opposite to be true. This is because milk causes an acidic effect in the body, and your body reacts by drawing calcium and salt from your bones in order to neutralize the acidity. This also means INFLAMMATION, which is a buzzword and real thing we should all know we want to avoid by now.
3. Hormones, antibiotics and chemicals- OH MY! We’ve all heard about how consuming these can have bad side effects like cough cough, cancer, cough cough. One of the most worrisome of these chemicals is recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered growth hormone used to increase milk production in cattle. According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Canada and European countries have banned American milk because it contains this hormone, which has been linked to increased rates of cancer. Milk containing rGBH is not labeled in the United States. YIKES!
So- I’ll step off my soapbox now. Hopefully I didn’t scare you too much, but maybe a little? Maybe you’re a bit more aware now? I’m not saying go cold turkey here, but perhaps start looking for some alternatives? I have plenty of friends that eat cheese but now drink almond milk. Small changes can make a big difference, and if you’re feeling crummy and don’t know why- dairy could likely be the culprit.
So, back to my caprese salad alternative. Let’s be honest, nothing tastes better than real cheese. However I want to feel better after I eat, not worse, and I’ve found a substitute that’s quite tasty without any of the nasty side effects.
It’s also only 8 ingredients, takes less than 5 minutes to make and there’s NO COOKING REQUIRED. How Caprezy!
Vegan Avocado Caprese Salad
- 1 handful or arugula
- a few pieces of basil, chopped
- 1 organic heirloom tomato, sliced into 6 pieces
- ½ avocado, sliced into 6 pieces
- 1 large slice Vegan Kite Hill Almond Cheese, soft ripened sliced into 6 pieces
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste
- Place arugula on plate. Then place a piece of tomato, top with almond cheese, then avocado. Do this with the remaining pieces around the plate. Top with basil, sea salt and pepper, olive oil and vinegar.
So easy, so caprezy!