I became interested in preparing food at a young age. Very early on, through my Grandmothers, I was able to see the beautiful connection with making food for people not only to provide sustenance but to demonstrate love. That desire to express love through food brought me to the steps of the Culinary Institute of America in 1990 where I flourished. But my journey was far from over. In 1997, only 4 years after leaving the Culinary Institute and working in high-end NYC restaurants, I made another connection: the gourmet meals I was serving up were once living, breathing, sentient beings.

My epiphany, while cleaning soft shell crabs and making veal stock, was swift and powerful: there was no way I could continue along this path of pain and death. So for more than 21 years now I have worked tirelessly behind the scenes of many groundbreaking plant-based operations and projects from the head chef at Angelica Kitchen and Organic Avenue to writing for Vegetarian Times to new BeyondBrands projects such as Good Catch!

Summertime is a great time to eat from the garden or farmer’s market. Here is one of my favorite summer recipes. Enjoy in JOY!

Summer Stone Fruit & Dandelion Salad

By Pete Cervoni

Yield: 4 Servings

I originally envisioned this fresh, cooling summer salad to feature fresh peaches but when I went to the market to shop for this recipe, the plums were just screaming out at me: they were so fresh and juicy and redolent with the smell of summer. The cherries snuck in here because I had a bunch on hand and wanted to try out my new handheld cherry pitter!

I like using coconut yogurt a lot as a base for salad dressings: it has a wonderful creamy, yet light texture, a nice tart finish and best of all, all those beneficial probiotics! I make my own coconut yogurt but you can easily find coconut yogurt in the refrigerated section of your natural foods store.

I left the dandelion greens and romaine leaves whole for a reason: I wanted this salad to be one eaten with a fork and knife. I also made the hazelnut recipe for a little more than needed because they’re pretty tasty and you might want more of these on hand!


Dandelion Greens, whole leaves (no stems)    6 Cups, lightly packed

Romaine Lettuce, hearts                                  6 Cups, lightly packed

Fresh Plums, thinly sliced halves                     1 ½ Cups

Fresh Cherries, pitted, halved                          1 C

Fresh Mint leaves, hand torn                           1/2 Cup


Hazelnuts                                                        1 ¼ Cups

Vegan Butter, melted                                      2 Tablespoons

Cinnamon Powder                                          1 teaspoon

Cane Sugar                                                      1 ½ teaspoons

Salt, Himalayan                                               ½  teaspoon


Coconut Yogurt, plain                                     2/3 Cups

Scallion, thinly sliced                                      1/3 Cup

Salt, Himalayan                                               1/8 teaspoon

Black Pepper, freshly cracked                         ¼ teaspoon


1.   Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.

2.   Combine hazelnuts with melted butter, cinnamon powder, cane sugar and salt and toss to coat well.

3.   Place hazelnuts on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast at 300-degrees for 15 minutes, tossing several times to ensure even roasting.

4.   Allow hazelnuts to cool before placing in salad.


1.   Combine Coconut Yogurt with thinly sliced scallion, salt and black pepper and stir to combine.

2.   Reserve for final plating.


1.   Combine dandelion greens, romaine and fresh torn mint leaves and toss with yogurt dressing until the greens are well coated.

2.   Divide the greens into 4 equal portions and place on serving plates.

3.   Arrange sliced plums and halved cherries on the greens.

4.   Place a few tablespoons of hazelnuts on top for garnish.

5.   Enjoy!


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