Kristin Cavallari Shares Her Morning Routine—Plus the One Vegetable She Can't Live Without

“I’ve never tried to say I’m a chef by any means, I’m just a mom who loves to cook.”

a photo of Kristin Cavallari
Photo: Aubrie Pick

You may know her from Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County or The Hills, but Kristin Cavallari isn't new to the food scene. The television personality and entrepreneur is the author of two New York Times bestselling cookbooks: Truly Comfort and True Roots. And on April 11, the star released her third cookbook Truly Simple, which focuses on quick and easy recipes that "anybody can make."

We jumped at the opportunity to sit down with Cavallari to talk about her new book and all things food. Want to know more about her favorite grab-and-go snacks, her top three pantry staples and the one vegetable she can't live without? Read on to find out—and check out her Salmon BLT Salad with Spicy Tomatillo Ranch recipe at the end of the article!

EatingWell: With Truly Simple being your third cookbook, what makes this one unique compared to your first two books, True Comfort and True Roots?

Cavallari: This one is the most meaningful to me because I did the entire thing completely myself. My other two cookbooks, I worked with a chef, and in a way I could hide behind that. It wasn't as vulnerable, whereas this cookbook is all me! I think it's a good reflection of where I'm currently at in my life. The recipes are all very easy; if I can make them, anybody can make them! I've never tried to say I'm a chef by any means, I'm just a mom who loves to cook. These are easy weeknight meals when you're running from one thing to the next with the kids and balancing all the schedules.

I've gotten to a point in my life where not everything has to be so perfect anymore. I used to be so strict about what I was putting in my body. I'm still very healthy and very conscious of it, but I've gotten a little bit more lax. True Roots and True Comfort had nothing "white" in them: no white flour, no white sugar, no white salt. But in Truly Simple, I bend a little bit in a few of the recipes, which really reflects where I am in my life and my new way of eating. Everything is a little bit more relaxed around here now.

EatingWell: If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life, what would it be and how would you prepare it?

Cavallari: I love this question! It would 100% be cauliflower. I love cauliflower because I think it's very versatile, and there's actually a Sweet Harissa Cauliflower recipe in Truly Simple that's my absolute favorite cauliflower recipe on the planet. If you've ever been to True Food Kitchen, their cauliflower was the inspiration behind it. There's this sweet harissa dressing that's on it, and there's little chopped-up dates in it, so it has that nice balance between sweet and savory. It's the absolute best.

EatingWell: Is there a food that you used to hate, but now love because of a certain dish or recipe?

Cavallari: Cilantro. They say that your taste buds change every seven years, and I believe that because in high school and my early 20s, I thought cilantro tasted like soap. I could not stand it. Now, I love it, and the recipe that changed my mind was a recipe in True Comfort. It's Spicy Peruvian Chicken, and the sauce has a ton of cilantro in it. It's the creamiest cilantro sauce, and it's so good, I could drink it.

EatingWell: What are the top three pantry staples you always have on hand?

Cavallari: I always have canned coconut milk, I love the simple one by Native Forest. Avocado oil is another big one because I'll fry and cook with it. And I would say a good-quality salt. I have this Icelandic sea salt that I'm obsessed with that I put on everything. I just think that salt elevates every meal. If I could only have one spice or seasoning to cook with, mine would obviously be salt.

EatingWell: What grab-and-go snacks do you reach for when you need to run from one thing to the next?

Cavallari: I love beef jerky, that's easy. I love dried mangos, especially the ones with chili salt on them. I have macadamia nuts packets that I love, and I love apples or any kind of fruit, too. My kids and I love these seaweed snacks that are lime flavored. And I love a ton of different bars; Lärabars are great.

EatingWell: Speaking of grab-and-go, what's your go-to breakfast for busy mornings? And what's your morning routine?

Cavallari: This morning, I woke up and made some fresh-squeezed orange juice for me and my boys. I also had some coffee. And then I made some bacon and eggs for them, which I had some of. My daughter had waffles, and I'll actually make a whole batch of waffles to freeze them so they're easy to pull out in the morning. After I dropped off the kids [at school] and worked out with my trainer, I ate a ton of this banana yogurt from the brand The Coconut Cult. They have really amazing yogurt with probiotics in it, and they have this Banana Bread flavor right now that's so good. I can eat the entire jar.

EatingWell: What does "eating well" mean to you?

Cavallari: Eating well to me means enjoying your food and having what I call "food freedom," where you can enjoy what you're eating without beating yourself up. You can eat anything in moderation.

a photo of Kristin Cavallari's "Truly Simple" recipe book cover
Courtesy Photo

Salmon BLT Salad with Spicy Tomatillo Ranch

This salad has a few of my favorite things: salmon (which has omega-3s and is so, so good for you), bacon (no explanation needed), avocado (healthy fats), and spicy tomatillo ranch dressing (just yum). Together, they create culinary heaven. If you aren't familiar with tomatillos, they're similar to tomatoes but are slightly less sweet and are perfect when drenched in ranch. This recipe has been adapted with permission from Truly Simple by Kristin Cavallari.

By Kristin Cavallari

Active: 30 minutes

Total: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 1½ cups salad, 3 oz. salmon & 2 Tbsp. dressing

Servings: 4



  • 1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 head butter lettuce, chopped
  • ¼ small red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red chives


  • 1½ cups mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 tomatillos, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste


Step 1

To prepare salad: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Step 2

Place salmon on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the salmon with oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the skin by scraping it off with a fork. Split the salmon into 4 pieces.

Step 3

Meanwhile, make dressing: Place the mayo, coconut milk, lime juice, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions, garlic, jalapeños, salt and a pinch of pepper in a high-powered blender. Blend on high until fully combined, about 30 seconds.

Step 4

Build the salads: Split the lettuce between 4 large bowls. Divide onion, avocado, tomato, bacon, and salmon among the bowls. Sprinkle the salads with chives and drizzle each with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. (Refrigerate the remaining dressing for another use.)

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

410 calories, 30g fat (6g sat. fat), 77mg cholesterol, 8g carbohydrates, 2g total sugars, 0g added sugar, 28g protein, 4g fiber, 477mg sodium, 1,056mg potassium)

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