Trinidad Mac-Auliffe exudes the boundless energy that makes you think: I’ll have what she’s having. Fortunately, you can. A visual artist by training, Mac-Auliffe has added a new medium to her creative repertoire—a catering and personal chef service (found at istrinidad.com). Her plant-based dishes can help the body heal and soothe autoimmune issues. Hers is not the strictly raw, vegan food you know and dread. It’s filling, flavorful, and as easy on your body as it is on your eyes.
Almond-Chia Bread Sandwich
This is the real wonder bread: soaked and sprouted almond and chia seeds mixed with truffle oil and sea salt, then “dehydrated” into impressively pliable and flavorful (not dry!) slices. “Sprouting makes plant-based foods better for your digestive system,” she says. “When the seed is closed, it has inhibitors that protect it. But when it opens it becomes a plant, making it more digestible and alkaline”—mitigating the acidity created by meat-dairy-sugar-heavy diets. Topped with basil-walnut pesto, marinara sauce, fresh avocado, grilled squash, roasted red peppers, and scallions, it’s a welcome addition to the lunchbox.
Growing up in Chile, Mac-Auliffe always ate food fresh from the vine—a double whammy of flavor and health. “At culinary school I took a nutrition course, but there was no concept of actual health,” she says. “I thought I can take this to the next level.” Fantastic flavors carry this taco: The shell, made from organic corn, peppers, flax seeds, and spices, is filled with what she laughingly terms “classic” iceberg lettuce, walnut meat pulsed with dried tomato, fresh avocado and tomatoes, caramelized onions, a chiffonade of parsley, and a cashew-based “cream.” “It’s so healthy,” she says. “It’s like eating an apple.” One very tasty apple.
“Your body can get a hangover from processed food and sugar,” Mac-Auliffe explains. And whether it’s a low-level sickness or serious autoimmune issues, the right foods can help heal. Mac-Auliffe can custom-create a menu based on doctor’s orders or provide intensive coaching on how to shop and cook for a healthier lifestyle. “It’s so creative and yet also so powerful.” Here, spiral-cut squash is covered in an amino-filled curry sauce and tossed with roasted cumin-spiced carrots, cranberries, sesame seeds, cucumber, fresh and caramelized onion, and roasted sweet-and-spicy sprouted sunflower seeds.
Sprouted Quinoa Pizza
For Mac-Auliffe, it’s never about extremes. She herself is not vegetarian, gluten-free, or a proponent of any specific diet—she just understands the mental and physical benefits of quality, fresh food, and prepares it with plenty of flair. Case in point, her pizza: the dough is made from sprouted quinoa, millet, coconut flour, golden flax seeds, and oil. “It’s a complete protein—much better than that vegan goo, seitan,” she explains. Topped with cashew “cheese,” sundried tomato marinara, fresh arugula, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, merlot salt (as good as it sounds), and sauteed mushrooms.
Photographs by Aaron M. Conway/OMS
Originally published in the January 2015 issue