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Colourful Quinoa Salad

23 Jun
Salad with quinoa, cucumber, tomato, carrots and green onion.

Salad with quinoa, cucumber, tomato, carrots and green onion.

  • 1 cup quinoa, cook as instructed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup english cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Uncooked quinoa.

Uncooked quinoa.

Finely chopped english cucumber, tomatoes and green onions; and a carrot.

Finely chopped english cucumber, tomatoes and green onions; and a carrot.

1. For a warm salad, combine all the ingredients immediately after the quinoa is finished cooking. Enjoy!

2. For a cold salad, allow the quinoa to cool before combining all the ingredients and chill for at least an 1 hour in the fridge.

Chicken Salad Rolls

29 Apr
Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Freshly made salad rolls with chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

Salad rolls are traditionally served cool and hence ideal for summer time. They are also light, refreshing and healthy.

  • rice paper, about 15 sheets
  • (rice) vermicelli noodles, boiled as instructed and then thoroughly rinsed with cold water, drain well
  • 1lb ground chicken*
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a few tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 tbsps honey
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • one carrot, cut into match sticks
  • cucumber (same amount as carrots), cut into match sticks
  • juice of half a lime
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • a few fresh basil leaves

*Instead of chicken, try grilled shrimp or thinly sliced bbq beef or pork. For a vegetarian style salad roll, visit Frugal Feeding.

Rice paper.

Rice paper.

1. In a bowl, combine carrots, cucumber and lime juice. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Allow mixture to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

Cucumbers and carrots with lime juice and sea salt.

2. In a wok on high heat, add in oil, garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft, then add in chicken.

3. Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground chicken as much as possible. If chicken appears dry, add a splash of water.

4. When the chicken is almost done, season with honey, ground pepper and soy.

5. Choose a shallow dish with sides that is  large enough to fit the rice paper. (A pie plate works nicely.)

6. Fill dish halfway with hot water.  TIP: have a kettle of just boiled water ready on the side and once the water in the dish begins to cool, top up with more kettle water.

7. Gently place one rice paper sheet into water. The rice paper will soften in a few seconds. Once this is achieved, remove from the water and onto a plate or cutting board.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli noodles.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, carrots and cucumbers.

Rice paper with vermicelli, chicken, basil, carrots and cucumbers.

8. Add a small handful of vermicelli noodles, a scoop of the ground chicken and a few of the marinated carrots and cucumber. Place the filling a little off center.

9. Tear a few pieces of basil leave and add to the filling.

Rolling the rice rolls.

Rolling the rice rolls.

10. Begin by rolling the portion of the rice paper nearest the filling. Roll about halfway and then fold the sides inward towards the center. Finish rolling. The rice paper is naturally sticky so it will seal itself.

11.  The first salad roll is finished. Repeat steps 7 to 9 to make the remaining rolls.

12. Chill salad rolls in the fridge before serving. Store in an airtight contain so that the rice paper does not dry out.

Assembling the salad rolls is very simple but a little time consuming. This task may be fun for kids.

Taco Salad

4 Dec
Taco salad.

Taco salad.

  • 6 to 8 crispy taco chips
  • 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 to 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 5 to 7 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small english cucumber, cubed
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • water

1. Heat a pot on high. Once hot, add in 1 tbsp of oil and onions. Cook until onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

2. Add in garlic, beef and 1 to 2 tbsps of water. The water will help the beef to separate. Stir often.

3. Season with sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Just before the beef is finished cooking, add in half the lime juice.

5. Let the beef cool for a few minutes before adding to the top of the salad. If the beef is too hot, the salad vegetables may wilt and the cheese may melt.  TIP: Cook the beef in advance up to the day before. When ready to use, gently warm.

6. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Season with a light sprinkle of sea salt.

7. To make the dressing, combine the dijon, the remaining lime juice and 2 to 3 tbsps of olive oil. Season with freshly ground pepper.

8. Add the dressing to the vegetables. Toss well.

9. Top dressed salad with beef, then cheddar cheese.

10. Place the shells along the perimeter of the salad.

11. Finished.

Strawberry, Kiwi and Plum Salad

17 Jul

A bowl of fresh sliced strawberries, sweet plums and kiwi.

  • 1lb strawberries, washed and sliced in half
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 2 plums, washed and cut into bite size pieces
  • a couple of tbsp honey (optional)
Try to use the freshest sweetest (and if possible organic or farmer’s market) fruits as they are the star attraction and should be of the best quality. Mix the strawberry, kiwi and plum in a large bowl. Chill for a couple of hours so the flavours have some time to meld. If desired, add a drizzle of honey before serving.

I like the combination of sweet plum and strawberries with the slightly sour kiwi. It is also a lovely colour combination.

Greek Salad (Olives Optional)

5 Jun

Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions with a balsamic dressing topped with feta.

  • 4 to 6 tomatoes depending on the size, cut into bite-size pieces
  • one bell pepper, sliced
  • half an onion, thinly sliced
  • one english cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup of feta, roughly crumbled
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • dried oregano
  • olives (optional)

In a large salad bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, onions and bell peppers.  Splash a generous amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle a light layer of salt and oregano over the vegetables. Mix well. Top with feta. Feel free to include olives. I just don’t like olives but wish I did! The salad is now finished.

Waldorf Salad with Cranberries

6 Mar

Lillian's Waldorf salad with cranberries.

A guest post by Lillian who created her own unique version of the classic Waldorf salad.

  •  1/4 red onion — finally chopped and seasoned with coarse sea salt
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce — washed and chopped
  • 2 slices of multigrain bread — toasted and cut in quarters
  • 1 small apple — any kind — cut into small cubes (about 1 cm cubes)
  • 1/3 finely chopped red (or yellow) pepper
  • 1/3 long English cucumber — sliced
  • 1  fresh lemon — squeezed for dressing
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin hard pressed olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper — amount to your liking
  • 2 tablespoons of light Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon of (unsweetened) dried cranberries
  •  2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, place salted onions and squeeze mixture with (clean) hands. This will have a marinating effect on the onions and will remove the strong taste from them as well as allow all the flavours of the salad to meld. Add lettuce, apples and cranberries. Then add lemon juice, olive oil, ground black pepper and Miracle Whip.  Toss everything together and then fold in walnuts, red/yellow pepper and cucumber slices. Arrange the toast around the rim of the bowl (see photo). Enjoy!

Note: No extra salt should be required. Can substitute with red/green butter lettuce

Thank you to Lillian for taking the time for sharing her Waldorf salad creation.

Spinach, Egg and Mushroom Salad

10 Jan

The following recipe is inspired by a spinach salad I ate at Pasquale’s in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At Pasquale’s, their insalata spinaci is served with mushrooms, spinach and bacon. I enjoyed the taste and texture of the buttery mushrooms and eggs against the crunchy spinach and crispy bacon. The dressing is light but slightly creamy and is the perfect accompaniment to the flavours and texture in the salad.

A large order of Pasquale's insalata spinaci, $9.95.

Here is my version of Pasquale’s insalata spinaci:

  • three handfuls of baby spinach
  • two brown tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • four cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and each chopped into thirds
  • one sprig of fresh oregano, remove the leaves from the stem, discard stem
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps grated parmesan cheese plus a bit more for garnishing
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

A bowl of baby spinach, brown tomatoes, eggs, mushrooms, onions and fresh oregano.

In a large bowl, add in the baby spinach. This will be the bed of the salad.  Add to the spinach, the sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, oregano leaves and eggs. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and a bit of parmesan on top.

A sprinkle of salt, pepper and parmesan cheese a top the salad.

To make the dressing, combine the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, mustard and olive oil.  Add the dressing right before serving.

The dressing consists of grated parmesan cheese, lemon juice, dijon mustard and olive oil.

Try to serve the salad while the eggs are still warm. I really enjoy a hint of warmth against cool veggies.