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A Day On A Plate: Leah Vanderveldt, Author of The New Nourishing

As a freelance writer and recipe developer, each day looks a little different for me, whether I’m in the kitchen testing stuff, out shopping at farmer’s markets, or going out to eat in Brooklyn to get the creative sparks firing — one thing remains constant: There’s a lot of veggies.

My first cookbook, The New Nourishing which is coming out this month (September), is all about plant-based comfort food.

And while I do pack a lot of foods that are considered “healthy” into my day, I also try not to fixate on labels or get all moral about food, because I believe that pizza and wine shared with good friends are equally as beneficial to me as a big green smoothie is.

Here’s what my day on a plate looks like.

Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl with Greens, Mango, Banana & Almond Butter

I like to exercise first thing in the morning, so by the time I make breakfast, I’m pretty hungry. Since it’s warm in New York right now, a big refreshing smoothie bowl is usually my brekkie of choice.

I make sure to load it up with protein, fat, and fiber to make sure I’m kicking the day off right and keep me going until lunch. I use nut butter as my protein base, along with coconut milk for healthy fat, and plenty of frozen spinach, zucchini, and fruit for fiber. I’ll usually add a little maca and ashwagandha to balance my hormones and stress levels. I like to top my smoothie bowls with some crunchy homemade granola and hemp seeds to keep things interesting.


Breakfast is usually followed by 10 minutes of meditation and a mug of French press coffee. I find that people fret over things like coffee and chocolate — are they good for us or bad for us? Like so much else, I think it’s more about the quality of what you’re consuming and how your individual body responds to it.

I feel more focused after my morning coffee — not to mention I love it! The ritual is satisfying, comforting, and delicious. I’m on a tarot kick at the moment too, so I try to pull a card every morning, learn about what it means, and do a little journaling to reflect on it.

Lunch: Big Salad / Salad of Salads

I just got back from travelling to London. Every time I go I have to have lunch at Ottolenghi at least once — the vegetable salads are irresistible! I came home full of inspiration, so I made a bunch of different salads to mix and match throughout the week. This bowl has: Roasted bell peppers with herbs, radicchio and marinated feta; beet and white bean hummus; roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes with a shallot dressing; plus avo to top everything off.

Snack: A few squares of chocolate & fruit or my all time favorite Dates with Peanut Butter & Sea Salt 

Sweet and salty, energizing and a little decadent-tasting, this is my fave afternoon pick-me-up.

If I’m in a more savory snack mood, I’ll have a little bowl or roasted veggies with hot sauce (I love Cholula or Frank’s) or some hummus and sliced cucumbers.

Dinner: Delicata Squash/Pumpkin Pesto Pizza

I’ve had a big hankering for pizza lately, so I made this with some dough I had in the freezer. I thawed that, topped it with pesto, roasted vegetables (delicata squash and onions), and arugula. It’s delish with a few dollops of ricotta or burrata and some chilli flakes, too.

Dessert: Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Sea Salt

I strongly believe in having dessert every night, it’s a bit of a tradition with my husband and I (he actually has the bigger sweet tooth!). Tonight it was chocolate chunk cookies. You might notice that I’m obsessed with flaked sea salt, especially on sweet things — Maldon is my go-to.

These cookies are vegan, gluten- and grain-free. I used chickpea (garbanzo) flour as the base, so they also have a good amount of protein. This is my most-craved recipe from the dessert chapter of my book and I make them every chance I get. They’re great for ice cream sandwiches, too.

Follow Leah on Instagram & Twitter

Buy Leahs book here: AUS, UK, USA

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