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Nine Things You Never Knew About Terry Hope Romero

BY: KATIE CORTESE | 6.12.2014 |

Nine Things You Never Knew About Terry Hope RomeroThis June, vegan chef Terry Hope Romero releases her seventh cookbook, Salad Samurai. It is a compilation of 100 whole-meal salads for every season that are hearty enough to sate even the barbecue-loving crowd. I recently spoke with Romero about her ideal salad recipe to serve dads on Father’s Day. Below, Romero shares some little-known salad-based facts about herself, including her favorite breakfast salad, and what she feeds people who hate salad (hint: it’s salad).

GROUPON: How did you come up with the name Salad Samurai?

TERRY HOPE ROMERO: I really wanted to call it Salad Ninja, but my publisher wouldn’t let me [laughs]. I am kind of a whimsical person and nerdy, and I just wanted my book to sound fun and have an edge to it. For people to become a master of salad by embracing it this way.

G: What is your system in the kitchen for creating new recipes?

THR: Every author is different. Usually I have an idea in mind and write the recipe first. I write out the ingredients and how much I think is needed and I write out the full instructions. As I start cutting and measuring things, I make adjustments. Then I work it a few times.

G: Are there any ingredients you don’t consider a salad item?

THR: Honestly, after this book, no. I put everything you can think of [into the recipes.]

G: What are some of the most surprising/unique ingredients you have used in a salad?

THR: Every kind of nut imaginable, fruits, a lot of stir-fried items, coconut bacon (turning dried coconut into bacon), sauerkraut for the vegan version of a reuben salad, black rice, kimchi, and sweet-potato chips as a garnish.

G: Anything we won’t find in your cookbook?

THR: There is no fake cheese in this book. And really no fake meats. I use tofu, tempeh, and homemade seitan, but no vegan hot dogs.

G: What type of salad would you eat for breakfast?

THR: A smoothie bowl. It’s a very thick smoothie that is spoon-able. I take frozen bananas and berries and protein powder and blend it until it’s creamy and add some almond milk and granola or berries on it. I eat that two to three times a week.

G: What is the weirdest place you have eaten a salad?

THR: I have had a lot of weird outdoor New York picnics. Maybe sitting outside on 42nd Street waiting for someone. And airports are always weird.

G: Which of your salads would you recommend to someone who hates salad?

THR: The Man Salads, if you want to call them that. [The one] with barbecue tofu, or the tempeh Reubenesque sauerkraut salad. I have five or six different caesar salads. Everyone loves caesar salads with a creamy cashew-based dressing. And a big salad of hot and cold combinations, because it takes someone away from the fact that it’s a salad.

G: What would you say to people who think salads aren’t filling enough to make a whole meal?

THR: Get with the program! It’s 2014. People love eating salads for lunch, and getting big salads. That is the inspiration for me. I really had a lot of fun making salads for every season.

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Chef photo by John Stavropoulos.