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Jo's Healthy Recipe

Instructor JO RUFFIN shares the healthy meal she swears by and talks about why she chooses to eat vegan...

When I was 17, my mom was diagnosed with kidney failure, so my brother and I decided to start following macrobiotics to support her. It's a Japanese style way of eating/living that's known for helping to cure cancers and diseases. We went from eating chicken and macaroni & cheese to millet and beans! Then four years ago, I decided to go vegan because I've always been such a huge animal lover. The last thing I needed to give up was fish and to start making sure my products were cruelty-free and vegan. 

I love being vegan. It is one of the best choices I've made! It has made more more aware of the food industry and environment. It also has made me more adventurous when it comes to trying new food. If it is vegan, I will eat it! 

My favorite vegan restaurants in NYC are Blossom on Carmine, Peacefood Cafe and Angelica Kitchen. I'm also a huge fan of Dun-Well Doughnuts in Brooklyn. #heartbursting! In Los Angeles, my favorites are Native Foods, Real Food Daily, Flore Vegan and Veggie Grill.

But I also love to prepare my food at home. My staple meal is Tofu, Coconut Quinoa and my favorite Kale Salad, and here's how I make it:

1. Grab one package of extra firm tofu (I get mine from Trader Joe's) and drain the water, then press it with a paper towel. Try to get as much water out as possible, then chop tofu vertically into 8 equal pieces. 
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and toss in tofu. (I like to add in Bragg's Liquid Aminos (a healthy soy sauce substitute) and sometimes garlic powder too. Another option is to let the tofu marinate in the Braggs and then toss it in the skillet. 
3. Pan fry each side of the tofu. (I usually do both sides twice.) 
4. To make coconut quinoa, add 1 cup quinoa, 10 ounces of coconut milk (from the can), 6 ounces of water and half an onion (chopped) into another pot. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer. (Coconut quinoa is rich and delicious, and it will probably change your life.) 
5. For my favorite kale salad (which I ate for two years straight and now I'm back to doing it again after a brief hiatus), grab as much raw kale as you want and put it in a bowl. To make the dressing, grab a juicy lemon, agave nectar and sea salt. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl, then add agave and a pinch of salt to taste. Dressing should be a little more sweet than sour, so stir and sample and add more agave until it is just right. Then, pour olive oil on your kale. Add the dressing and then massage your kale and dressing. Yes, you read that right, massage your kale. To add a little crunch, toss in pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds which are incredible for you. 
6. Put it all on a plate and enjoy!

Catch Jo's classes at Soul Roslyn and Soul Scarsdale! Questions or comments? Email!
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