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My Weekday Plant-Based Trader Joe’s Salad Bowl Hack (with Veggie Burger Taco Meat!)

Mar 5, 2018

Tee: Urban Outfitters (runs INSANELY small! Size up! I’m wearing a Medium here and it’s still very fitted! It’s so soft and comfy though!) Jeans: Levi’s Wedgie Straight Jeans Lipstick: RMS Beauty in “RMS red”

Happy Monday guys!

Did you have a good weekend?

We had so much fun visiting my friends In Arizona! I will share more on that in a post to come ?Today we’re talking about something a litttlleee bit different–but it’s a topic you’ve been asking for, so I hope it doesn’t disappoint! I’m sharing my favorite healthy lunch, and a bunch of different ways to make it!

If you read this post on my experience with a plant-based diet, you know I typically cook plant based during the week when I’m at home. On the flip-side, when I eat out, I eat what I want! It’s been a really easy way for me to reduce my meat and dairy intake (for personal health reasons) but also doesn’t make me feel like I’m depriving myself. (Because LBH–I love cheeseburgers, a great steak, and chicken fingers in moderation.)

Anyway, I’m almost always home at lunch, so I try to have easy things on-hand to make something quick, filling and healthy–thus, veggie salad bowls are often my go-to! I share them a lot on Instagram and so many of you have asked for the recipe. (Even though “recipe” is not an accurate way to describe it? You’ll see why in a second.) Side note: I should NOT quit my day job to become a food blogger or food photographer. How do they make food look so pretty!? ?

So, my favorite part about these bowls is that you don’t miss the meat at all (seriously, even your guy will approve!)–the trick is to use a crispy sautéed veggie burger patty to replace the meat. It’s SO good! Here’s how to make them.

What you need:

This is really difficult, sooo… brace yourself.

Here’s how to make them:

Heat a cast iron skillet with the oil of your choosing over medium heat, and get it nice and hot! (I like the cast iron because it puts a really nice crust on anything you cook in it, but if you don’t have one, that’s okay too! Just use whatever pan you have on hand!)

Throw in your favorite veggie burger patty. (Make sure it’s a good one, because this is going to make or break how good your bowl tastes as it’s the main element of flavor!) I use Trader Joe’s Southwest Quinoa Cowboy burgers and they work great here! Another great one for a different flavor would be TJ’s Thai Sweet Chili burgers! (I make tacos with these and they are sooo good!)

Place in the skillet (if it’s frozen, that’s fine, you don’t need to thaw it first). Chop it up as you sauté it, like you would if you were making ground beef for tacos.

Cook it for longer than you think you need to, because you want the texture to get crispy and chewy, more similar to meat. I can’t give you an approximate cook time because I judge as I go along (you should do this too! If you know how to cook by taste and sight, you will become a natural and won’t need to heavily rely on recipes!) Just taste as you go along and you’ll be in great shape. (This goes for all food, not just veggie burgers!)

The quinoa burgers have a tendency to be more creamy due to the black beans, so you definitely want to make you get most of the moisture out so it’s a bit more crumbly and has a nice crust.

Once you’ve reached your desired texture, spoon out on to a plate to cool slightly. (I don’t like it to be super hot because I don’t like hot salad ?)

While it cools, assemble your other bowl ingredients!

(My level of ultimate laziness will now be revealed to you. I hope you’re taking notes.)


Using your hands, reach into the bag and pull out a handful TJ’s Southwestern chopped salad mix. Place into bowl.

Now, reach into TJ’s Cruciferous Crunch salad mix and get a palmful of that kaley-brussely-cabbagey goodness. Place that into the same bowl.

Mix together with Southwestern chopped salad dressing, and top with the tortilla strips and pepitas that come with the Southwestern chopped salad mix.

Now, add half of a diced avocado. (Or a whole one. I mean, live a little.)

I told you, it was REALLY HARD.

Note: If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s don’t worry, I have purchased similar Southwestern chopped salad and Kale slaw mixes at other stores with similar results! Just add your own pepitas and crushed tortilla chips! You can also make your own lime vinaigrette if you prefer–just whisk together some olive oil, squeeze of lime juice, salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin, garlic, and a drizzle of honey. No, I don’t measure these things–just taste as you go and add a little of this and a little of that until you get it right!

Other ways to mix up your bowls:

I make so many variations of these bowls on a regular basis, here are a couple of my favorite riffs:

Brown Rice + Hot sauce: I love TJ’s frozen brown rice packets. I’ll microwave one and combine it with my favorite hot sauce–their Green Dragon hot sauce is my favorite! It’s so good mixed in with salads or as the base of a rice bowl!

Roasted Veggies: Instead of a veggie burger patty, I like roasting whatever veggies I have on hand and throwing them in with some Cruciferous Crunch mix, brown rice, and avocado.

In other news–I’m actually off to NYC today for a really awesome project! I’ll be sharing more on that later as well, but be sure to follow along on Instagram stories to hang out with me behind the scenes!

Do you have any easy weekday lunch favorites? I’d love to hear them if you could share them below!

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