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For Sakara Wellness Coach and avid plant cook, Sasha Pagni, this is a “summer of childhood joys, lone cowgirls, and exploring the depths of our home.” A Californian born and raised, she’s been making the most of a homebound summer going on short-distance road trips, big hikes, and languid picnics, always sustained by something delicious and plant-rich to ring in nature’s reverence.

In making bites and treats for her backyard adventures, Pagni is transforming summertime recipes into herbal, healing creations. She’s reinvented the technicolor popsicle, fruity cocktail, and now she’s taking on the American classic, macaroni salad. Forgoing low-quality vegetable oils or preservative-heavy mayonnaise, Pagni whips up a sauce using soaked cashews, a source of zinc and high in plant protein, then adds bright acidity with apple cider vinegar and zip from Dijon mustard. The heart of the salad is a mix of mashed cannellini and garbanzo beans. Both offer a substantial amount of plant protein and fiber, along with a bevy of minerals including folate, copper, and magnesium. Pagni further punches up the nutrient-density—and crunch—with pickles, celery, and radish. Topped with paprika, flaky salt, and sundried tomatoes, this salad is tangy, smoky, and sturdy enough to take on the run.

Note: Pagni suggests setting out the cashews to soak in water the night before you prepare the sauce. The following day, once the salad is chilled and ready to serve, she loves to pair it with Spicy Green Seed Crackers for an enriching, anytime meal. 



  • 1 can organic cannellini beans
  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans
  • 1-2 small organic radishes, chopped
  • 1 organic carrot, grated, or chopped finely
  • 1 organic celery stalk, chopped
  • ¼ organic red onion, diced finely 
  • 2  cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • ½ organic cucumber (or a few pickles), chopped
  • 1 organic avocado, smashed
  • ¼ cup chopped organic parsley
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard or Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • A handful of seeds/nuts of choice (used here: almonds and pumpkin seeds)
  • A handful of sundried tomatoes
  • Sprouts or microgreens
  • Flaky salt and pepper, to taste

Cashew Sauce

  • ½ cup of cashews, soaked overnight
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Make the dressing: Start by soaking cashews overnight in water or soak for about 1 hour in hot water. Place cashews in a blender, with ¼ cup of water and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time, as needed. Once it begins to smooth out, add apple cider vinegar, turmeric, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. The finished sauce should have no remaining pieces of cashew. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  2. Drain and rinse beans and add them to a large bowl. With a fork or potato masher, gently mash about half of the beans to create a creamy texture. 
  3. Add chopped celery, onion, radish, carrot, garlic, cucumber (or a mix of cucumber and pickles), and smashed avocado to the bowl of beans. Mix ingredients gently with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Add mustard and cashew sauce to the bowl, mixing until well combined. 
  5. Fold in chopped parsley, paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well. 
  6. Top with sundried tomatoes, nuts, and seeds.
  7. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours (or overnight). If needed, it can be eaten right away.
  8. When ready to eat, top with fresh sprouts or microgreens, more nuts or seeds and enjoy! 






Filed Under: Recipes

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