Category Archives: Salads

salads

Turmeric & Jalapeno Dressing (with charred corn and bell pepper salad)

My latest obsession is fresh turmeric.  I’ve read so many things about the health benefits of turmeric so when I saw some organic Peruvian turmeric at the corner market I HAD to grab some to experiment/play with!

Now that I’ve gotten over the initial trepidation of using a new spice, I’m incorporating it into all sorts of dishes, from rice to lentils to quinoa – and now even in my salad dressing(s)!

The following salad dressing requires, in my opinion, a hearty salad with some texture and crunch to balance out the heat of the jalapeño.  I really enjoy it with the following:

Charred Corn, Cabbage and Bell Pepper Salad (serves 2)

  • 2 cups green or red cabbage (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup julienned (thin strips) carrot
  • 1 cup julienned bell pepper (red, orange and/or yellow)
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1/3 cup red onion, shredded
  • Garnish options:  Roasted peanuts or cashews, feta cheese, fresh cilantro, cherry tomatoes, green onion

METHOD:  (this is just a suggestion.  You don’t need to char the vegetables to have a great salad!).

  • Cut/prepare vegetables.
  • Get a non-stick pan searing hot (it should be starting to smoke).
  • Add the corn in and do not stir or move it.  DO NOT ADD OIL OR BUTTER.  THE PAN SHOULD BE DRY OR THE VEGETABLES WILL COOK INSTEAD OF CHAR.
  • Once the corn starts ‘popping’ (literally, like popcorn), give the pan a shake.
  • When the corn starts to char/blacken, remove from pan and into a large mixing bowl.
  • Repeat process with red onions and then with bell peppers.  You only want to ‘flash’ them into the hot pan to give a nice char.  You’re not trying to cook them.  A few SECONDS in the pan is plenty.

Turmeric and Jalapeno Dressing (enough for 4 servings)

NOTE:  I use a microplane for grating ginger, garlic, turmeric and all citrus zest.  It is an essential kitchen tool, in my opinion.

 

  • 1 medium sized jalapeno, seeds removed (keep a few if you want the dressing really spicy!)
  • 1 4″ piece of turmeric, peeled and grated (or 3/4 tsp ground turmeric, but use the fresh stuff if you can!)
  • 1 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic (about 1 tsp), grated
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste

METHOD:  pulse all ingredients together in a food processor or hand-held blender and toss into salad.  Season salad with salt to taste.

 

NOTE:  If you have any dressing left over it’s wonderful thrown into quinoa, rice or lentils!!

 

 

 

Curried Lentil and Vegetable Salad

curried lentil and veg salad in bowl

My favourite thing about summer isn’t the beach or the warm, sunny weather.  It’s not the longer days and mid-afternoon cocktails (although those things are wonderful too!).  My favourite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from my garden and/or the local Farmer’s Market!

I LOVE making salads during the warmer months.  They’re light, healthy, delicious and there are a million different ways to make them.  I came up with a salad a few weeks ago for a get together at my  place and everyone agreed it was very yummy.  We snacked on this salad along with buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomato flatbreads, smoked salmon platters and grilled baguette slices topped with everything from mushroom duxelle to garlic and basil marinated cherry tomatoes.  And of course the rose, bubbles and Sauvignon Blanc was flowing (:  It was a perfect afternoon (and evening) on the patio spent with my favourite people, great drinks and wonderful food.  My idea of HEAVEN.

This salad is incredibly versatile.  If you really like an ingredient, by all means add more of it.  If there’s a vegetable you don’t like, just leave it out or substitute it with something you do like.  For example, you could use kale in place of cabbage or just use cauliflower if you don’t like broccoli.  You could use cilantro instead of parsley and cashews instead of almonds….  You get the idea.

Have fun with this salad and enjoy it by itself or topped with some grilled chicken or fish for an amazing, healthy dinner entrée!  Serve salad warm or chilled.

NOTE:  I use the trio of organic lentils and the organic quinoa that you buy in bags from Costco so the cook times mentioned below are based on that specific type of lentils.  If you’re using a different kind, ensure you follow the cooking directions on your package so you don’t over or under cook them or end up with tonnes of extra liquid (if you do, just drain it).

pictures of lentils and quinoa in bag

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large salads or 6 small)

Cooking in pot:

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1 cup cabbage (or kale)
  • 1/4 cup white onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp curry powder (I used a mild curry but use whatever you love!)
  • 1 1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt

Adding to above ingredients just before serving:

  • 3 cups broccoli (or cauliflower or BOTH)
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers (red, yellow, and/or orange)
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (or whatever amazing summer tomatoes you want!)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 rough chopped unsalted almonds (or cashews)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL:  1/8 cup olive oil to finish

METHOD

  • Finely dice/chop carrot, garlic and cabbage OR just buzz in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
  • Add olive oil, garlic, cabbage, carrot, salt, curry powder, and cumin into a pot and sauté on medium heat until ingredients are softened and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  • Add water (or stock) and bring to boil.
  • Add lentils and quinoa and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Simmer for 8 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop broccoli (and/or cauliflower) into bite sized florets and steam for 2 minutes MAXIMUM.
  • Run under cold water or plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  You want the broccoli to still have lots of crunch!
  • half or chop the tomatoes, dice the peppers into bite size pieces and chop the parsley.
  • Once slightly cooled, transfer lentil mixture to large bowl and add vegetables, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice, chopped almonds and cranberries.
  • Toss together to combine.
  • Add feta and mix gently so the feta doesn’t fall apart and turn the salad ‘creamy’.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice to your liking.

Transfer to bowls and serve on its own or topped with grilled fish or chicken.  Enjoy!

curried lentil and veg salad in bowl w spoon

 

 

 

 

Thai Vegetable & Rice Salad with Warm Peanut Sauce

thai vegetable salad

Last weekend I was going for a ‘girls night’ at my friends house and I wanted to make something  interesting, fun, simple and delicious to bring for dinner.

(My friend is a vegetarian so I didn’t include meat with this recipe but some strips of pork, steak or even chicken would be great with this dish.  Prawns would also be AWESOME).

This recipe turned out REALLY well.  We all agreed it was a keeper.  It’s inexpensive to make, full of amazing flavours and textures, incredibly nutritious and satisfying enough to eat for dinner without feeling hungry half an hour later.

NOTE:  Rice, peanut sauce AND eggs can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and simply reheated when you want to serve with salad!!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

Sauce

  • 1 red Thai chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • pinch salt

Salad

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 packed cups green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup scallions/green onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup beet, shredded
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced thin on bias
  • 1/2 cup carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, sliced (red, orange and/or yellow)
  • 1 cup english cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • OPTIONAL:  1/2 cup bean sprouts and/or 1 cup mango chunks for garnish!
  • GARNISH:  1/3 cup – 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Thai chile
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

METHOD

Sauce

  • Using a blender/hand-held mixer, pulse all ingredients together until blended and smooth.
  • Transfer peanut sauce to a small pot/saucepan and add 1/4 cup water.
  • Heat over low heat, whisking often, until smooth and hot.
  • Keep warm over very low heat until you’re ready to serve the salad.

Eggs

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add eggs and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Run eggs under cold water (or put into an ice bath) until cooled, then peel and set aside.

Rice

  • Add coconut oil, garlic kaffir lime leaves and whole thai chile to pot and sauté on low heat until garlic is fragrant.  About 2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, water and salt and bring to boil stirring often to ensure you don’t burn the coconut milk.
  • Add rice, stir, cover with lid and reduce heat to very low.
  • Cook rice for 55 minutes (or whatever the cook time for the rice you’re using reads).
  • Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and take out the lime leaves and thai chile.
  • Taste and adjust salt as desired.

Salad

  • Prepare all the vegetables and herbs as instructed above.
  • Mix together in bowl and season generously with salt.

ASSEMBLY

  • scoop warm rice into four bowls.
  • Add the salad into the bowls on top of the rice.
  • Drizzle each salad generously with warm peanut sauce.
  • 1/2 the eggs, season with salt and pepper and add an egg to each bowl.
  • Top salad with peanuts (and mango chunks if using).
  • Put extra peanut sauce into a small bowl so everyone can add extra sauce as desired.

veggie salad with peanut sauce

 

 

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

watermelon salad

I’ve been making this incredible salad for years now.  I first saw an even simpler version of it in Nigella Lawson’s cookbook, Forever Summer.  Over the years I have played around with it and in this case I have added tomato and cucumber because I love both of those ingredients and am always pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the taste of watermelon and tomatoes TOGETHER.  The olives and feta add a wonderful saltiness, the herbs add freshness and the lime juice adds the perfect amount of tang.

This salad is delicious on its own for lunch, or if I don’t feel like anything too heavy for dinner (like most nights in the summer), I just pair this salad with juicy barbecued chicken, sausage or kabobs and I have dinner ready in under 15 minutes without having to turn on the stove!

I love the simplicity of summer cooking/eating.  The prep should be quick and fuss free and the food should be satisfying without making you feel too full to move.

The most important thing to keep in mind when making this salad is the freshness and ripeness of the ingredients.  Each ingredient should be wonderful on its own.  This salad is only as good as its parts.  If you have bland tomatoes, spongy watermelon and limp, seedy cucumber, the salad will be mediocre.  Ensure your ingredients are at their best and this salad will be amazing.  This is why I only make it in the spring/summer so I can get everything locally (preferably my back yard!).

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 large or 4 small)

  • 3 – 4 cups watermelon – large bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp lime juice + 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/3 cup red onion – sliced very thin
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (you can use kalamata as well, but I prefer black)
  • 3/4 cup cucumber – sliced or diced (whatever you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes – quartered
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Garnish:  1/4 cup or more crumbled feta and drizzled olive oil

METHOD

  • Combine all ingredients except feta cheese in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
  • Taste and add more lime juice, salt and/or pepper as desired.
  • Transfer to serving bowl and top with feta and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy alone or paired with your favour meat or seafood!

Spring Asparagus, Orange and Spinach Salad

orange, asparagus and spinach salad

I saw some beautiful baby asparagus on sale for $2 a bunch at the corner vegetable market yesterday and immediately decided that I would buy it and find a way to incorporate with the fish I had thawed out for dinner (Snapper).

bunch of asparagus

It’s been unusually warm on the West Coast this spring and when it’s hot out I just want light foods like fresh fish/seafood or grilled meats paired with delicious salads and vegetables.

This is a light, tangy, healthy salad and it’s great on its own or as a side with your favourite meat or fish.  I absolutely love the combination of slightly crunchy asparagus spears, juicy orange, crunchy almonds and salty parmesan cheese.  I’ll be eating this salad a lot in the coming months!

About the recipe:  I decided to throw some chickpeas, avocado and almonds into this salad for added fibre and healthy, filling fat since I didn’t want to cook a grain/starch…  I used shallots because I LOVE shallots and ALWAYS have them on hand but if you don’t have them, red onion would also work.  I garnished with shaved parmesan but feta or even goats cheese would also work beautifully in this salad.

NOTE:  I made the dressing and cooked the asparagus in the pan with it to infuse the flavour because I wasn’t using the BBQ.  If you are barbecuing, I would suggest grilling the asparagus on the BBQ and making the dressing separately because grilled asparagus is AWESOME.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 large salads or 4 small ones)

  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas (pre-cooked and rinsed) – or other bean/lentil
  • 1/2 large avocado – diced
  • 1/3 cup orange segments + 1/4 tsp zest
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (or grainy dijon)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice + 1/4 tsp zest
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp shallot, diced
  • OPTION:  1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Garnish:  1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese & a handful unsalted almonds

METHOD

  • Trim off the fibrous/tough ends of the asparagus (note: to figure out where to cut the bottom off, simply bend a piece the asparagus.  It will break at the point where you should discard the bottom part).  Cut asparagus on a bias (angle) into bite sized pieces. NOTE:  IF GRILLING THE ASPARAGUS, DON’T CUT IT UP UNTIL AFTER IT’S COOKED OR IT WILL FALL THROUGH THE GRATE.
  • Zest and then segment the orange (see how to segment and orange): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQr9QQLtBU0
  • Add shallot and olive oil to a pan and cook on medium-high heat for one minute.
  • Add asparagus and sauté until asparagus is tender with a slight crunch (al dente).
  • Add chickpeas.

chickpeas and asp in pan

  • Turn heat to high and add red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow it to reduce for about a minute.Turn off heat and allow the asparagus and chickpeas to cool in pan with the dressing.
  • Meanwhile, using a large bowl, add your spinach, diced avocado, orange segments, orange and lemon zest, cherry tomatoes (if using) and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add cooled asparagus, chickpeas and using a spatula, scrape down all the dressing from the pan and add to bowl.
  • Gently combine all ingredients and check seasoning.  Add lemon juice and/or salt as desired.
  • Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese and almonds (whole or slivered).

Serve alone or with your favourite fish/meat!

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Couscous, Tomato and Herb Salad

couscous salad

As soon as it starts to warm up, dry up and stay light outside longer I feel an immediate shift in the kinds of foods I want to cook/eat.  (I also start leaning more towards a nice crisp white wine as opposed to the reds I enjoy so much when it’s darker and colder outside).

Instead of craving roasted meats, hearty pastas, comforting soups, root vegetables and other winter staples, I start shifting towards lighter foods.  Fresh fish and seafood, grilled meats and lighter salads filled with all kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

I love this couscous salad because it’s incredibly quick and easy to throw together, super healthy and delicious and really versatile.  I enjoy this salad on its own for lunch or I throw salmon, grilled chicken or prawns on it for a wonderful and fuss-free dinner!  It’s great both warm and cold so you can make this ahead of dinner and just serve it at room temperature, which makes it the perfect dish for entertaining or when you want to get most of the dinner prep done way ahead of time!

About the recipe:  I use whole wheat couscous to make it healthier and use chicken broth for flavour.  You can, of course, use regular couscous OR substitute couscous for quinoa!  If you’re a vegetarian, just use water or vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.  If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, this is wonderful with just parsley or you could even throw some mint or cilantro in there!  Personalize the salad however you want!

INGREDIENTS  (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup boiling hot chicken broth (or water/vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp shallot – small dice (use red onion if you don’t have shallot)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives (or use whatever kind of olives you like!) – sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper – diced (red, orange and/or yellow)
  • 1/4 cup green onion – sliced
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomato – quartered or sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta – crumbled + a little more for garnishing on top
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh pepper
  • OPTION:  1/2 cup diced english cucumber (if serving the salad cold)

METHOD

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine couscous, salt, pepper, shallot, lemon juice and half the olive oil and stir to mix.
  • Pour BOILING hot chicken broth or water over the couscous and immediately cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Mix in all other prepared ingredients in with the couscous.
  • Top with a little more feta and herbs for garnish and enjoy on its own or with grilled chicken, seafood or fish!

 

 

Beet and Orange Salad with Walnuts and Goats Cheese

 

beet salad with walnuts

I’ve been making slightly different versions of this beet salad for years and I’m never disappointed with the results.  It’s my favourite way to eat beets.  There is just something so amazing about the combination of sweetness from the beets and oranges, the crunch from the celery and walnuts and the creaminess of the goats cheese.  It all comes together beautifully when combined with a delicious bed of perfectly seasoned greens, dressed with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.  The result is an unbelievably fresh and delicious tasting salad.  It’s a perfect harmony of flavours and textures.

This salad is so easy it can be made any time, but it’s so good I tend to save it for special occasions or when I’m hosting a dinner party.  It really is as lovely to look at as it is to eat.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 4 – 6 cups mixed greens (I love the kale, swiss chard and baby spinach mix I get from Costco but use any kind of greens mix you like!)
  • 1 – 2 stalk(s) celery – dark green stringy parts peeled away and sliced into half-inch pieces on a bias/angle
  • 1 orange – peeled and segmented (click link for how to segment and orange)
  • 1/4 cup red onion – sliced as thinly as possible (or diced)
  • 1 cup or so cooked, peeled beets – cut into bite sized wedges  NOTE:  depending on the size of the beets, I usually cut each beet into 8 wedges
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • GARNISH: 1/4 cup green onion – sliced  & 1/4 cup goats cheese  NOTE:  you could also use blue cheese or even feta instead of goats cheese!
  • 1.5 Tbsp Citrus vinaigrette or so (use a little and add more as needed.  You DON’T want to overdress the salad).
  • salt and pepper to taste

beet and orange salad

METHOD

  • Cook beets by adding them to a pot of cold, well salted water.  Bring them to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce into the middle of the beets.
  • Drain beets and allow to cool slightly.  When the beets are cool enough to handle, slice of both ends and the skin should slide right off.  If it doesn’t come off easily just peel with a vegetable peeler.
  • Slice each beet into bite sized wedges (around 8 wedges per beet) and put in fridge to chill.
  • NOTE:  Beets can be cooked and sliced up to 3 – 4 days ahead of time!
  • Make a small batch of citrus vinaigrette.  NOTE:  this can be made up to 1 week ahead of time!
  • In a large bowl combine greens mix, celery, onion, orange segments, and citrus vinaigrette.  Season with salt and pepper and gently toss to mix everything together.
  • Adjust seasoning and amount of dressing as desired.
  • Add seasoned beets and put onto plates/into bowls.
  • Garnish with green onion, walnuts and goats cheese.

Mexican Charred Corn and Black Bean Salad

charred corn and black bean salad with rice and feta

charred corn and black bean salad with rice and feta

This salad has become a favourite of mine.  I love it because it’s healthy, inexpensive and SO easy to make.  The best part though is it’s versatility.  You can serve this salad as a vegetarian/vegan dish or you can top it with anything from grilled chicken to fish or prawns.  I also like to add a few spoonfuls into eggs, soups and/or on a green salad for added flavour and texture.  Lastly, I’m HUGE fan of adding this salad into wraps with some shredded chicken or turkey and a little chipotle sauce and guacamole!  If I want to turn this into more of a ‘Caribbean’ dish  I’ll add some mango and Jerk chicken to the salad.

What elevates this dish from good to great is charring/blackening the corn.  It really brings out a unique and wonderful flavour.  I also like to either grill my red onion and bell peppers on the BBQ before dicing or ‘char’ them in a hot pan with the corn.  Again, it just intensifies the flavour.  These steps aren’t a necessity, but if you have the time and patience to do them, it really does bring this recipe to the ‘next level’.

SUGGESTION: If you want to serve this salad with avocado and/or feta cheese I strongly suggest just adding those ingredients on the top as a garnish.  If you mix them into the salad, the dish becomes creamy and milky and it’s not as nice to look at that way.  Also, if you want to keep this salad in the fridge for more than 1 to 2 days, just add the tomato ‘to order’.  Tomatoes (and cucumbers) don’t last well once they’re cut up so I always leave them out until I’m serving a dish if I’m not serving it the same day (:

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1 can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup corn, thawed and patted DRY with paper towel
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed bell peppers (red, orange, yellow – or combo of all!), diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup tomato (cherry, roma, or vine tomato are all fine), diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 2 – 3 tsp lime juice, + 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • OPTION: 2 tsp jalapeno pepper, minced (if you want a little heat) or 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • OPTION:  1 cup cooked rice (brown, jasmine, white, wild or whatever you like!
  • GARNISH OPTION:  Top with feta cheese!

NOTE:  I often cook some brown rice with a little onion, garlic, cumin and kaffir lime leaf  and add it into the salad once it’s cooled just to add another flavour element into the dish.  I especially like adding the rice when I’m putting the salad mix into wraps and serving it ‘fajita style’.

METHOD

NOTE ABOUT CHARRING:  Charring is basically browning something deeply (almost burning/scorching) to bring out the flavour.  This is done quickly using high heat so you don’t cook the product.  You just get the desired colour and flavour.  When the corn is put in a smoking hot pan it will pop just like popcorn!  BE CAREFUL.  I hold a pan lid a few inches above the pan to avoid corn shooting out all over the place.  You DO NOT want to put a lid right on the pan or it will create steam.

  • Get a large pan hot to the point where it’s smoking.  You need the pan to be really hot.  DO NOT ADD OIL.  The pan should be DRY.
  • Once the pan is HOT, add the corn and diced red onion.  DO NOT overcrowd the pan.  Ensure the corn and onion are spread out pretty evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  • DO NOT stir, shake or move the corn and onion.  Let it sit for around a minute or two or until corn is browned on one side.
  • NOW you can give the corn a stir.  It should be dark brown on the spots that were touching the pans surface directly.  Allow other side of corn and onion to brown for another minute then remove from heat and put in bowl.
  • NOTE:  If you would like to char your diced bell peppers, you can repeat the exact same steps as above with the peppers  (the only reason I don’t throw them in with the corn is because there isn’t enough room in my pan!).
  • Mix all other ingredients together in bowl and adjust seasoning until desired flavour is reached.

Serve alone or top with avocado, feta cheese, chicken, fish or any combination of these!

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber and Cabbage Salad with Pomegranate

cucumber cabbage salad in bowl

I absolutely LOVE chickpeas and decided to make my own falafel the other night.  Instead of serving it in a pita shell, I made garlic and cumin scented jasmine rice, a dill lemon yogurt dip and a refreshing cucumber cabbage salad with pomegranate and tomatoes.  This salad was delicious with the falafel.  It would also go really well as a side to chicken, burgers or ribs!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 as a side dish)

  • 1/2 head small green cabbage (around 3 cups) – shredded as thinly as possible
  • 1 cup english cucumber – cut into match sticks
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup red onion – sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp canola or grape seed oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup tomatoes – chopped (cherry tomatoes would be great.  Just half them)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion – chopped
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • OPTION:  1/2 cup feta cheese – for garnishing

METHOD

  • Toss everything together (except feta and salt) in bowl.
  • Let sit for in fridge for one hour before serving to soften the cabbage a bit.
  • Add the salt to the salad and toss (NOTE:  only add salt right before serving so it doesn’t draw out the moisture from the cucumbers and tomatoes leaving a puddle of liquid at the bottom of the salad)
  • Taste and adjust salt, pepper and lemon juice as desired.
  • Transfer to serving dish and garnish with crumbled feta.

cucumber cabbage salad with pomegranate

 

 

Whole Wheat Couscous with Peas, Tomatoes, Almonds and Feta

whole wheat couscous with peas, tomatoes, almonds, herbs and feta

whole wheat couscous with peas, tomatoes, almonds, herbs and feta

I normally eat quinoa instead of couscous because it’s healthier, but I love couscous, so when I saw a whole wheat version at the grocery store, I was all over it!

I was having people over for dinner the other night and was serving salmon.  I wanted to ensure I was spending more time socializing than cooking once people were here, so this couscous side dish was a perfect choice.  The lemon and dill salmon paired perfectly with this dish (as would any fish or seafood). I was able to make it before the guests arrived and serve it tepid (room temperature) for a truly ‘no fuss’, super quick, healthy meal that was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat.

The measurements below are guidelines only!  Feel free to throw as much of any of these ingredients in as you like.  You really can’t go wrong as long as you season properly (:

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas – thawed (or fresh cooked peas)
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup green onion – chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint – chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • OPTION:  1/3 cup fresh basil – chopped (or 1/8 cup pesto)  – I used pesto for this dish
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (more if you want the couscous to be less dry)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (large dice.  Any tomato would do as long as it’s ripe and delicious.  I used red, orange and yellow cocktail vine tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp or so salt
  • pepper to taste

METHOD

  • Bring chicken stock to a boil on stove.
  • In large mixing bowl add couscous, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and half the parsley (and pesto if using!).  Stir all together.
  • Pour boiling chicken stock over couscous. Quickly cover the mixture with Saran/plastic wrap.  Ensure it is on tight so no steam gets out.  The steam is what will cook the couscous.
  • Let sit for 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Remove Saran wrap and add tomatoes, green onion and peas.  Season vegetables with a little salt and pepper and add the herbs, feta and almonds.
  • Adjust the seasoning and lemon juice as desired.  NOTE:  If you find the couscous a bit dry, feel free to add a little more olive oil.

Serve by itself or with chicken, fish or seafood for a delicious, healthy, simple entree.