Southwest Kale Salad with Kate from “She Be Kale-In It”


Whenever I scroll through Instagram, I am always on the lookout for a new bright, beautiful and ultra-healthy post from Kate Van Horn. On her account, She Be Kale In It, Kate has absolutely nailed her niche. It has been incredible to watch her journey, especially because Kate and I were college roommates! We met while in school at Arizona State University, so as a tribute to our southwest college days, we collaborated to create this amazing Southwest Kale Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing. Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a little Q&A so you can get to know Kate. You can also read my answers to Kate’s questions on her blog.


Gab: I love that your brand is “She Be Kale-In It.” What does “kale-in it” mean to you?
Kate: To me “kale-in it” means thriving. It means waking up and doing your best to be healthy both body and mind and to live a balanced lifestyle. It doesn’t mean you must be vegan, but rather that you listen to your body and treat it the best that you know how. To “kale it’” means to be confident in your skin and passionate about your health.

Gab: Are you vegan, vegetarian or in between?
Kate: I like to call my diet “label-less”. I have a history of a restrictive and unhealthy relationship with food, and although I attempted vegan it felt too strict for me and where I am currently in my life. I do however choose to be very mindful of my consumption and what foods I purchase. My fridge is only stocked with vegan food, but I will listen to my body and respond appropriately especially in social situations and special occasions!


Gab: How can we start incorporating more superfoods into our everyday diet?
Kate: Smoothies are probably the easiest time to blend all the superfoods in! Make a smoothie bowl and get creative by sprinkling superfoods like chia and hemp seed on the bowl with fresh fruit. I also love them on oatmeal.

Gab: Any tips for staying healthy on a budget?
Kate: The freezer is your friend! I always freeze any greens before they go bad, especially when I purchase a large bag of organic spinach and don’t go through it quickly. Superfoods are pretty pricey, instead of creating something with six different superfood ingredients, I focus on one or two and just use the others the next recipe.

Gab: Why do you think it’s important to be balanced in food and lifestyle?
Kate: I think balance is the only way to sustain a healthy habit. There are days I indulge, as we all should. But living with balance both through our physical exercise and diet allows us to become our strongest, most positive version of ourselves.


Now that you’ve gotten to know Kate a little bit, I think it’s time for you to get to know this incredible salad! Kate and I chose flavors that are popular in dishes from Arizona – black beans, corn, avocado, cilantro, lime – and added mango and cherry tomatoes. Because Kate’s blog is “Kale-In It” we had to make this a kale salad! My favorite part of the salad, though, is the dressing. Adding paprika gives the fresh and zesty cilantro lime dressing a subtle smokey flavor. I seriously could drink this stuff! Add your favorite protein to the salad to make it a full meal. Chicken, spicy tofu or even some steak would be amazing!


Southwest Kale Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing


  • Black beans
  • Diced mango
  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Baby kale
  • Optional: Your choice of protein


  • 1 large bunch of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  1. Add all dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Mix all salad ingredients together with proportions as you would like.
  3. Top with dressing and serve! Refrigerate leftover dressing in a Mason jar or container.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Kate from She Be Kale-In It and also try this incredible Southwest Kale Salad! Comment below if you want to see more collaborations on Gourmet Gab.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


April Trader Joe’s Faves


This month I’m sharing a few essentials as my favorite Trader Joe’s items of the month. While you could find similar items to these at your local grocery store, the TJ’s varieties have a great twist or price tag!

1 | Simply Nutty Bars: Dark Chocolate, Walnut, Fig and Date Bar
These snack bars beat all others in my book. They taste similar to a KIND bar, but are better! The combination of nuts with the chewy figs and dates is delicious. They almost feel a little bit like dessert, too, because they are dipped in dark chocolate. This sweet and savory bar is a great snack before I head to the gym.

2 | Bananas
While you can find bananas at any grocery store, Trader Joe’s bananas make my favorites list because they are only $0.19! I buy a bunch of 3-4 every Sunday and eat them with breakfast throughout the week. If they get brown before you can finish them, freeze them and use in banana bread. Top with peanut, almond or cookie butter for a snack!

3 | New Mexico Pinon Coffee
Trader Joe’s has a huge selection of coffee and tea, but after trying out a few roasts, I’ve come back to this one as my favorite. From the minute I open the seal and smell the aroma of the blend, I want to brew a cup! It’s mild, a little nutty and aromatic.

4 | Organic Blue Agave Sweetener
For the last few years I’ve switched from sweetening my coffee with sugar to agave. I love that it’s all-natural and concentrated so we don’t use that much. Trader Joe’s agave is affordable at less than $5.00! It’s also a great staple to have to sweeten yogurt, peanut butter toast, smoothies, oatmeal and more.

5 | Multigrain Tortilla Chips
Sometimes I refrain from buying these chips because I want to eat them up so quickly. The multigrain adds great texture to the tortilla chips, but doesn’t sacrifice one bit of flavor. My favorite part of these chips: they are dusted with just the right amount of salt. Scoop up some salsa with them and you’ll have a perfect little appetizer.

Have you tried any of these items? What Trader Joe’s finds would you recommend?

Love food. Love self. Love life.


Easy Lunch: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad


With this cold and rainy streak of April, I’m feeling like roasting veggies again. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots are a few that roast beautifully since they their natural sweetness comes out and the edges get caramelized. All three of these would work perfect in this salad. As you’ve seen on my Sunday Meal Prep stories on Snapchat (follow along with me: gourmetgab), I make a big batch of the salad and eat for several days at work. This particular salad held up so well because instead of the typical spring mix lettuce or spinach I used shaved brussels sprouts!


I used to think of Brussels sprouts and roasted vegetables as fall foods, but living in Indiana this year where there are actually seasons has me thinking twice. On these gloomy spring days, I still crave something hearty. The Brussels sprouts definitely add a give great body to this salad. You can buy them pre-shaved at Trader Joe’s or slice them up thinly yourself. In this salad I also added farro, dried cranberries and slivered almonds. The farro grain adds great texture and nutrients to keep you full for hours past lunch. It’s full of fiber and has a delicious nutty flavor. The dried cranberries add a surprise tart and chewy bite. Several kinds of nut would work well in this salad: toasted almonds, candied pecans or even pepitas (pumpkin seeds)! I used slivered almonds, but use whatever you have in your pantry. Dress the salad with a vinaigrette dressing right before you are ready to eat. It’s as simple as that!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Serves 3-4

  • 1 package shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash (used in photos above), sweet potatoes or carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked farro
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • Optional: feta, goat or gorgonzola cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss vegetable of choice in about 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender and slightly caramelized. About 25-30 minutes.
  2. While vegetable is roasting, cook farro on the stove according to package directions.
  3. Prepare balsamic vinaigrette. See video here!
  4. Remove roasted vegetable from the oven and let cool.
  5. Divide ingredients into small plastic containers: Brussels sprouts, roasted vegetable, farro, dried cranberries, almonds and cheese if adding. Reserve vinaigrette dressing until right before eating.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


5 Stylish Ways to Store Sea Salt


Salt is an ingredient we reach for while cooking almost any recipe. Just a small sprinkle on almost any food item will make the taste instantly enhanced. It ranges the spectrum of cuisines and culture. When you buy sea salt in a container from the store, it doesn’t look the prettiest sitting on the counter. I’ve pulled together five different ways you can store your sea salt depending on the style of your kitchen.

Modern | Does this look familiar? If you are an Alton Brown fan, you would have seen him using this salt container in his old show Good Eats. I love that the top flips up and it comes with a tiny little spoon to scoop out a pinch of salt.

Trendy | Incorporate Pantone’s color of the year into your kitchen with this salt box. The rose quartz color is a lovely contrast against the white salt and the modern font adds a little bit of a retro detail.

Traditional | I rely on my Le Creuset dutch oven for a majority of my winter soups and stews, but their salt crock will be useful everyday of every seasons. If you already own a Le Creuset piece, find the color that matches your items. If this will be your first investment, you will be picking a classic item that will be used daily!

Shabby Chic | This dueling salt and pepper storage container reminds me of something Joanna Gaines would have in her farmhouse kitchen. I love the creamy color and practicality of the two seasonings in one.

Eclectic | Dreaming of collecting cookbooks, artwork and spices from around the world? This salt box will be the perfect addition to your kitchen with it’s character and unique, eco-friendly bamboo material.

If you are currently buying and cooking with regular table salt, I think it’s time you give sea salt a try. While it sounds more expensive, sea salt is only about $2.00 at the grocery store and it will last you for months. My favorite sea salt is from Trader Joe’s and it’s only $1.79! The most notable difference between table salt and sea salt is the texture. I also believe sea salt has better flavor, but you can learn about all the specifics in this article. I hope you not only give sea salt a try, but also invest in a stylish way to store it for everyday use in your kitchen.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


1-Minute Salad Dressings (Video)

One of the easiest ways to elevate a salad is to make your own dressing. With some olive oil, vinegar and spices you can easily create a custom vinaigrette in just about one minute. Put all the ingredients into a mason jar or container, shake it like a Polaroid picture, and you’ve got yourself a dressing. In my latest Gourmet Gab video I’ll show you how fast it is to make a two dressings: balsamic and a honey mustard vinaigrettes. You’ll save money since these use items you probably already have in your pantry and also be healthier since these don’t have any preservatives!

Vinaigrettes usually follow a 3-to-1 ratio, meaning three parts olive oil to one part vinegar. The best thing about making your own dressing for salads is that customize it to fit your preferences. Like it more tart? Add more vinegar. Hoping for more sweetness? Add some honey! Want it to be a little more smooth? Add more olive oil. I made the honey mustard vinaigrette a little more thick, but feel free to add more olive oil to smooth it out.


All of these are approximate measurements. The dressing is meant to be easy to assemble (and eyeball!) when you’re in a hurry or on the go. Here is more-or-less what I incorporate into my dressings depending on the day!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons mustard (regular, dijon, spicy, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add all ingredients for either the balsamic or honey mustard vinaigrette to a mason jar or container and shake until combined. Taste and adjust as needed. Serve over salad or use as a dipping sauce.

Love food. Love self. Love life.