amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Spring carrot pea shoot salad and a James Beard Award !

POSTED ON May 17, 2015

Carrot salad 2

It was with a full, but heavy heart that I spent this past Mother’s day. My Mother had just left to return to Australia after a 2 ½ week surprise visit. Having spent 23 years living overseas, I’ve had quite a few of these goodbyes and none of them has ever been easy. When she arrived at my door after a particularly long day of cooking, it took a while before I could get my head around what I was seeing. To think that I knew nothing of all the planning and time it took to get half way around the world and there she was suddenly, physically here? I felt like I was dreaming. My sister was very pleased with her success at planning, organizing and keeping it all under wraps—if you’ve read the recipe for the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake in my book, you’ll know I once did the same. I have to say she did an excellent job; I didn’t have the slightest clue!

My mother’s surprise arrival meant that she would be here for the James Beard Awards, which also felt surreal and especially so when I won (!!) My book won the award for Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian cookbook against some seriously tough competition. Being nominated felt like such an honor, but to win and be able to share the moment with my family was something I will never forget. Seeing authors accepting awards with speeches in hand made me a little nervous that I hadn’t written one, in fact at that point I was completely nauseated and couldn’t eat or drink the multiple courses of food and wine that were placed in front of me. Hearing my book announced and then everyone at our table scream was such a thrill, and I’m not sure if I was walking slowly or not, but it took forever to get to the stage. Once there, shockingly, all the words and people I wanted to thank came to me. I felt complete clarity. I am thrilled that a book like mine that is over 90% vegan and talks about composting is recognized by the James Beard Foundation.

I dedicated the award to my mother for all the thought, time and energy she spent creating wholesome meals for our family when we were growing up.

Thank you to everyone for all the thoughtful messages and emails, it has been so uplifting and encouraging to read them all.

Carrot salad

Carrot salad 1

On to the salad! I have been adding variations of this salad to my clients’ menus for the last couple of weeks, as it gives the perfect touch of spring freshness without asparagus, fiddle heads or ramps. You can use any sort of shoot, sprout or micro green you find at the Farmer’s market or any that are popping up in your own garden. Not surprisingly, the salad is delicious with avocado and other herbs like chopped parsley or a few sprigs of cilantro, but the mint is key as it makes you feel like you’re actually eating it in a garden. The addition of cooked brown rice is surprisingly delicious and makes this otherwise light salad more substantial—there is something incredibly addictive about the taste of brown rice combined with the simple dressing. The dressing takes about 10 seconds to make, so after you’ve shaved the carrots it all comes together very quickly.


Amy x

Carrot salad 3

Carrot salad 4


Spring carrot and pea shoot salad with chives and brown rice and a simple flax dressing.


4 tablespoons flax oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

Sea salt to taste


5 medium colored carrots, shaved into long strips

4 cups pea shoots

3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

¼ cup chopped chives

½ cup cooked and cooled brown rice, my basic go-to recipe is this one

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn a bit

Radish sprouts to garnish

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well to combine. Add salt to taste—I like to make it well seasoned as the carrots benefits from a good pinch of salt. You an also add the salt after tossing the salad.

Make the salad:

Add all the salad ingredients to a medium bowl, drizzle the dressing over and toss to combine. The brown rice has a tendency to fall to the bottom, so be sure to scoop low when serving. Taste for seasoning, garnish with radish sprouts and serve.




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  • Susan Ball says:

    So happy for your success. I preordered your book and must say it is beautiful. Your recipes are so fresh and exciting. We are in the process of beginning to eat healthier with much less animal protein and this will be where I draw from for many of my recipes. Thank you Amy for all of your hard work.

  • Aysegul says:

    Oh what a nice surprise Amy… I am sure your mom is so SO proud of you and your wonderful achievements.
    I am one of the many people, who read your book cover to cover, highlighting the important parts with a highlighter, which in my husband’s eyes makes me a crazy person. He says ” I am married to a crazy lady, who reads cookbooks like a text book before bed time..”.. But I have to say, I learned so much from your book about how to make small changes in my kitchen and cooking routine, which I believe will make a huge affect in our health in the long run. Thank you for providing such an amazing source and sharing your knowledge.
    This salad looks amazing. Yet another one I am looking forward to making in my own kitchen.
    I wish you all the best of luck and hope that you are enjoying your success.

  • Karl says:

    this is super news! And so deserved! Amazing amazing. Congrats.

  • Oh I am so, so pleased for you. I LOVE your book and am delighted it’s been recognised in the way that it should! And your mom must be so, so proud.
    P.S. I am SO making this salad. It looks deeeelish.

  • Cathi says:

    I echo the sentiments of Aysehul, above. I too have read your book cover to cover with a highlighter. I have marked the pages and turned them back and forth so many times I am sad to say it is falling apart…..literally. It is so well written and full of so much good information. I LOVE it and use it every day. My husband, too, thinks I am crazy. Your award is well deserved and your mom must be enormously proud. (You must have had an awesome childhood). I can’t wait to try your salad recipe. I’d love to meet you sometime.

  • Cara says:

    Hi Amy, that is fantastic news that you won the James Beard Award!!! You fully deserve it! I also love your story about it all. Kudos to you, your exquisite cookbook, the Foundation for recognizing the importance of your healthy, beautiful, hard earned work, and your mom!

  • Jillian says:

    Congratulations Amy – a very well deserved award for your beautiful book and your dedication to this fine style of food.
    I loved your story of Pamela surprising you with her visit. I’ve just returned from a great road trip to Victoria then back to Queensland and on return went along the Gwydir Highway past Dundurrabin ! Lots of happy memories of time and FOOD enjoyed there. I did try to call Pamela from there on the slight chance that she may have been there, and made the comment “she’s probably in New York” Love Jillian xx

  • This looks amazing and sending a millions hugs and congratulations for winning the James Beard award, that is fantastic and truly well deserved!

  • Amy, your post made me teary. To say it was such a special surprise to have your mom surprise you and be there for the award ceremony doesn’t seem to give it justice. But I’m so happy for you, and as you said, that a book like yours is getting the attention it deserves! Love this salad, especially that dressing and the variations of this that are in your book.

  • Allison says:

    Congratulations! That is so awesome! I love your cookbook and have been enjoying cooking my way through it; a number of your recipes have become regular weekly rotations! And the desserts look so amazing, especially that Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. Thanks for another delicious recipe!

  • KarenLR says:

    Just got your book a few weeks ago and I LOVE it, and seem to be cooking my way through it. Congratulations on such a well-deserved honor. May the celebrations go on and on!

  • Gwen H. says:

    I am so happy for your success. I will try the salad for my next church potluck.

  • Cindy Vaughn says:

    Congratulations Amy!!!

  • Julia says:

    Dear Amy, I´m so happy to read that you could share this special moment in your life surrounded by your family! And as I already told you via Instagram, I love your book and its the first one i pull from the shelf when i need some inspiration or want to look up cooking techniques etc. so you deserve to be awarded for it!!
    I have one question, as you mentioned in the text here, that you make this salad so you don´t have to use “asparagus, fiddle heads or ramps”. So why wouldn´t you want them in the menu? Or do you just want to change things up in between ?
    Best wishes to you and I will try this recipe soon!

  • How lovely to read about your mother’s surprise visit and that you actually won the award – so so well deserved! Your book is a masterpiece, and one of the cook books in my collection that I actually use. A lot. Love the look of that salad too! //Sonja

  • Chau says:

    Much congrats to a well-deserved award, Amy! I am enamored with your cookbook. I’ve had it for weeks now and it’s gotten the most usage out of all the cookbooks I’ve ever had my hands on. Your recipes and your approach to cooking speak to what food does for my body and soul 🙂 Your elegant and ingenious way of bringing harmony to all the ingredients in a dish is not only scrumptious but accessible for everyday cooking. I thank you for inspiring me and for nourishing me with your delectable recipes!

    P.S The black sesame flax dressing has become a staple of mine now!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Chau,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write! It is so exciting to know that my recipes are being cooking and enjoyed–so glad the black sesame dressing has become a staple in your kitchen too!

      Happy cooking and thanks again for writing!

      Amy x

  • Anna says:

    Hi Amy this looks gorgeous and I’d love to make it this weekend for a barbecue. Any ideas for good alternatives for umeboshi vinegar?!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Anna,

      You can use apple cider vinegar instead and just add salt to taste. Umeboshi vinegar is both salty and sour so its perfect for dressings.
      Hope you enjoyed it!

      Amy x

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