toasted coconut + persimmon salad with cranberries

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Weekends are the best.

Weekends for us mean that we get to slow down. We look forward to long brunches and multiple cups of coffee. I like getting my apron a little messy and experimenting with new recipes. There are a gazillion more reasons that I love weekends, but high up on the list is just being in the kitchen.

After a long and wonderful holiday visit in the States, let’s just say that my body has been craving/demanding/needing some very colourful and nutrient dense food as we indulged/celebrated/feasted on all the delicious comforts from home.

This recipe was not on my meal plan for the week. It came together, because I just started grabbing for things I had on hand. I felt like a true (salad) artist. A little bit of this… a little bit of that… mixing in this…I even had to google if it was okay to eat raw cranberries. Have you ever had a raw cranberry?!

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Alone, a raw cranberry is super tart. I definitely made a baby eating a lemon face, for sure. But… I tried it and I liked it. I liked it even more after reading about all the health benefits: an antioxidant powerhouse, a low-calorie flavour booster, UTI preventer, full of vitamin C, high in fiber and loaded with phytonutrients!  I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the combination of flavours when I topped them on the salad.

Coconut is also all the rage in the paleo world. It adds a healthy fat and nice crunch along with a good dose of fiber. The dark leafy greens have loads of vitamins and minerals and paired with healthy fats from the dressing your body will actually absorb more of their nutrients.

In addition to the cranberries, the persimmon gives this salad the most amazing flavour explosion on your tastebuds. Persimmon, also known as sharon fruit, are a winter fruit and in season October – February. They are the perfect way to boost the immune system and aid in digestion.

My love for salads is intense, as you probably know by now, and I love how much there is going on in this bowl.

tart + sweet
filling + flavourful
super healthy + crunchy
loaded with super foods+ fiber

The dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, and any sweetener of your choice with a little sea salt….simple, but oh so delicious.

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Toasted Coconut + Persimmon Salad with Cranberries

Prep time: 15 minutes // Serves: 2 mains // 4 sides 

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed greens, I also through in some kale
  • 2 persimmons, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup organic dried coconut chips
  • Optional protein: grilled chicken breast, green lentils, tofu/tempeh

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Go with Braggs!)
  • 1/2 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional sweetener: honey, coconut crystals or agave nectar

You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature, but I really enjoyed the greens and persimmons cold and everything else warm. It is oddly the perfect balance.

This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you are craving something quick and healthy. Bonus? I think this would please vegans and non-vegans alike as it is easy to toss some lean protein on board and the leftovers make a great lunch for the next day.

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What recipes have you accidentally made and loved? Do you have any advice for unique flavour combos?

Have a delicious week! x

winter fruit + watercress salad

mains, recipes, salads

As we enter the new year there is a lot of talk/goals/resolutions around healthy eating, detoxing, eating ‘clean’ and getting back on the wagon.

I am not a resolution maker, I do not like short-term detoxes and I do not believe you are on or off a wagon. I think every day is a new day. Every day we can make choices about how to fuel or not fuel or bodies and guilt belongs nowhere near our dinner tables. Amen?

Sometimes making a choice that you will feel good about just needs to be the easy choice. Quick. Healthy. Seasonal. Simple. This recipe will surely jazz up your winter with each sweet + flavour bursting bite.

Serves [1-2 mains] or [3–4  sides] / Prep time: 10 minutes

Salad Ingredients 

1 bunch watercress
1 large or 2 small apples
1 cup pomegranate seeds
handful of hazelnuts, or nut of your choice

Dressing Ingredients 

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup high-quality olive or walnut oil
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

 

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Instructions: 

  1. Cut apple into quarters and core. Slice thinly into bite-sized pieces
  2. Trim and compost the thick stems from the watercress, carefully wash leaves and thinner upper stems well in cold water, then gently pat or spin dry.
  3. Mix together oil, vinegar, mustard and sweetener in a small jar, and shake to mix.
  4. Divide greens onto 3 or 4 plates, and top with equal amounts of sliced apple.
  5. Drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat (or more if desired), and sprinkle with pomegranate and seeds.

 

What are some of your favourite healthy winter fruits or salad go-tos? Happy new year and have a delicious week!

x

 

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harvest salad with roasted winter squash

dressing, mains, salads

I am always on Team Salad. Warm months. Snowy months. Year-round.

Sometimes when we transition from summer to fall, we need a warm hug and that is what this harvest bowl is all about- sweet and savoury – warm and crunchy – light yet satiating and full of seasonal goodness.

This harvest bowl is ridiculously healthy as it is  loaded with four kinds of fiber-rich and nutrient dense vegetables.  The maple-balsamic dressing adds a sweet kick and so dang good. I am wanting to put it on everything right now.

This time of year is the height of gourd (such a funny word) and root vegetable season. I find these vegetables to be incredibly warm, comforting and that they satisfy my hunger in these darker winter months. Why not enjoy the best of what the season has to offer? This harvest bowl brings so many great autumn flavours together.

 

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This salad is simple. While the squash is baking, simply sauté your seeds or nuts to crunchy perfection and blend up the super simple dressing. After the squash is roasted, assemble the salad and get ready for the flavor disco!

Harvest Salad with Roasted Winter Squash

Serves 4 small / 2 mains

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • ground sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

 Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C
  2. Cut the acorn squash into quarters and the butternut squash in half (longways) scoop out seeds and press the flesh a few times with a fork.
  3. Cut the acorn squash into 1/2 inch slices and dice the butternut squash into bite size chunks.
  4. Drizzle the squash with the oil and rub it around to coat, being sure to fully coat.
  5. Lay squash on a baking tray, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 35-45 minutes. * Test readiness by outer crispy edges and easy to pierce flesh. Be sure to occasionally stir the tray to prevent burning.
  6. Set aside to cool
  7. In a small food processor, blend all dressing ingredients until smooth and combined.
  8. Combine all the salad ingredients,  in a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  9. Share with your people and enjoy! notes below 

 

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Notes

  • Toppings: For a festive addition, use pomegranate, baked apples, or stewed cranberries.
  • Top with any nut or seed of your choice for a little extra crunch. Feeling like a creamy or tangy option? A soft cheese like goat or feta should do the trick!
  • Rubbing the raw kale with olive oil for a few minutes leaves it tender and takes away the bitterness (also easier to digest, read more here from Nutrition Stripped)
  • The dressing can be prepared ahead of time and will keep up to 3 days

 

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As always, I would love to hear if you try the recipe!  What are your favorite ways to use winter vegetables this time of year?

 

Have a delicious week!

x

 

roasted beet + blackberry salad with balsamic dressing

appetizer, dressing, mains, salads

 

I have a wildly delicious food spectrum this time of year.

My favourite thing to eat is a big, warm, bowl of comfort food from the slow cooker. My second favourite, on the other end of the spectrum, is a huge fall harvest salad.

Harvest salads are full of foods that are sweet and earthy, like beets, mushrooms, varieties of squash, pumpkin and root vegetables… If you are not a beet fan, I think that this salad could possibly change your mind. Roasting beets brings out their stunning colour and a natural sweetness that is hard to resist.

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What I love about this recipe is the mix of earthy beetroot with sweet blackberries – a flavour pairing that is gorgeous, not just visually (look at those deep gemlike colours!) but also in the way they balance each other. There is a lot of room for texture pairing here as well. A crunchy seed or nut with the softness of crumbled cheese or the soft roasted beets tastes right on.

But really, the fusion of blackberry and the balsamic dressing is truly where the tastebud disco takes place.  This dressing is so easy and we always keep a jar of it handy.

As I become more passionate about eating seasonally, we save money and it makes meal planning easier because I know what produce to expect at the store, and they’re usually on sale (one of the beautiful things about buying seasonal/local is that the item is usually in surplus!)

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ROASTED BEET + BLACKBERRY SALAD WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING

Ingredients

Serves 2 Main or 4 sides | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes

For the salad:

  • 6 cups of fresh greens (your pick, I had kale and spinach on hand)
  • 2 shredded fennel (watch this YouTube clip)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted beets (approx 4 large)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled cheese (if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, or toasted seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions

1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 425°F /220 °C. With a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets and chop them into small pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. In an oven safe dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast them in their packet for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow the beets to cool.

2. While the beets are cooking prepare the fennel. I found this YouTube video most helpful because this was the first time I cooked fennel. Be sure you put the ‘furry stuff’, aka dill, to the side, you can garnish your salad with it.

3. The dressing is super easy.  In a small jar, or other glass container, whisk all the ingredients together. Tighten lid + shake the dressing together.

4.The presentation and assembly of your salad- my favorite part. Divide the greens between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with half the beets, half the blueberries, half the fennel, half the cheese (if you are going for it), and top with half the crunchy seeds or nut. Drizzle the salad with the dressing or serve on the side.

5. Enjoy the tastebud disco!

As always, I hope you have a delicious week. Let me know if you try the salad and what your favourite fall recipes are! x

 

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superfood blueberry + quinoa salad

mains, salads, sides

Blueberries and summer – they just go together.

This time of year we all seem a bit more interested in fresh salads and light meals. This recipe is one I tried last summer from The Minimalist Baker (before going AIP) but I absolutely loved it and think it is worth passing along! This salad is perfect for summer and will give you an excuse to pick up some fresh blueberries at a farmer’s market near you. This salad is in season, full of flavour and packed with superfoods!

The dressing really brings all the flavours alive and dancing on your tastebuds: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little sweetener and a good amount of pureed blueberries! It is a perfect vegetarian option, packed with plant-strong goodness. It is sweet yet subtle. It is quick but well constructed. A perfect option for a summery, crunchy lunch or dinner!

 

Serves: 2 entries / 4 sides 

Ingredients

SALAD
DRESSING
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (honey or date syrup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) olive oil
  • Pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup (approx 50 g) blueberries
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Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa (easy guide here) or use ready-to-go version.
  2. In a food processor or small blender, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, blueberries, maple syrup, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. On a plate, or low large bowl, arrange mixed greens and top with cooked quinoa blueberries, nuts and avocado. Serve with dressing. It’s that easy!

 Notes

  • If you are following the AIP lifestyle, toasted coconut chips make a great substitution for the grain and nuts.
  • I used pre-cooked quinoa for convenience, by all the means cook your own, read here for easy instructions.
  • I have used hazelnuts and sliced almonds in the recipe but my favourite is pistachio and pecan mix. Use your favourite!
  • A crumbled goat cheese or feta would be a nice addition if you tolerate dairy

 

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What are you favourite recipes that use seasonal fruits or ingredients? I hope you have a delicious weekend!

x

warm turmeric roasted beet + sweet pea salad

mains, recipes, salads, sides

Salad is my favourite food and this time of year I am constantly tossing them together. There are so many creative and delicious ways to dress up leafy greens! They top my list because they are quick, nutrient-dense, budget-friendly and the toppings are endless. This recipe combines the anti-inflammatory spice of turmeric with warm roasted beetroot and sweet spring garden peas. Simply drizzle with a bit of balsamic and you are good to go.

Ingredients

3 red beets, roots and stems removed
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric + ginger powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh spring onion
3/4 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas, thawed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C

2. Wrap red beets loosely in foil. Place in a roasting pan; roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until just tender. Cool completely. Peel beets, and cut into quarters; sprinkle with garlic salt and tumeric powder, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil + vinegars stirring constantly with a whisk. Add beets; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with tumeric, ginger powder + garlic salt.

4. Prepare bowl(s) with lettuce mix and top with chopped celery, peas and marinated beets.

5. Share with your people, or enjoy solo. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Looking to add some protein? This salad will be fantastic with roast chicken or grilled salmon
  • If you tolerate dairy, some goat cheese would be the perfect compliment to the sweet beets and peas.
  • Add a little extra crunch with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • This recipe inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to look through. Next time I make this, I will definitely be adding heaps of avocado.

 

Have a delicious week and let me know, what are your go-to spring inspired salads?

x

 

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warm mushroom + toasted hazelnut salad

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Most of us know that our tastebuds react to four tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But did you know there’s a fifth taste called ‘umami’?  Uuuuumami! (That’s oo-ma-mee.)

Umami has been translated from Japanese as ‘yummy, deliciousness’ or a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. It is the taste sensation we often associate with food items that are ‘meaty’ and have a slow-cooked taste. This is why Black Bean Burgers, Lentil Meatballs and Portobello Mushroom Pizzas exist and make perfect vegetarian and vegan alternatives- it’s the umami! Again, this is the stuff I nerd out on. Very interesting TED talk on the topic and all you have to do is google ‘what is umami?’ and you can go down my same rabbit trail.

I enjoy this mushroom salad because it’s warm, colourful, nutty, packed with flavour from the vinaigrette and makes a great light dinner option that is quick and inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For the salad:

1/2 cup hazelnuts (or preferred nut)
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

2 handfuls of small cherry tomatoes
2 pounds mushrooms (chestnut or button are delicious, cleaned and sliced)
6 ounces salad greens (kale, arugula, spinach or a mix of your choice)
1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon

2 tbs coconut oil

 

For the dressing: 

3 tbs white wine vinegar or balsamic

9tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme + rosemary

salt+ pepper

 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly.

Chop the hazelnuts and mushrooms coarsely in a small food processor.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, add the mushrooms, thyme, salt + pepper.

Sauté the mushroom mix for about 5 minutes, softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used). Add tomatoes, cook till soft not mushy.

Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Spoon hot mushrooms + tomatoes over the salad greens.

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For the dressing: whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 5 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle dressing over salad  and toss

Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more vinegar.

Share with your people. x

 Notes

  • If you tolerate dairy, add some freshly grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese
  • Not a hazelnut fan? Use almonds or pumpkin seeds for a crunch
  • To be AIP compliant, omit nuts/seeds, dairy + tomato. Can substitute a roasted vegetable of your choice. Toasted shredded sweet potato or parsnip perhaps?

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Basil Vinaigrette

dips, dressing, recipes, salads

If you’re like me, I find a simple dressing recipe and then I tend to stick to it for a long time, like a long time. I am a creature of habit, a happy camper with a jar of good ‘ol balsamic vinegar, olive oil and spoonful of mustard seeds.  So I decided to mix things up a a bit. I know… crazy! This tangy and super simple basil dressing is the perfect friend for your veggies and your tastebuds. I also recommend using it as a light marinade for grilled veggies, tofu or protein of your choice.

INGREDIENTS

a good handful of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove

1/4 cup diced red onion
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of white wine vinegar
salt + pepper to taste

*Optional 4-5 walnut halves if you tolerate nuts

METHOD

In a small food processor, blend the basil, walnuts, garlic and lemon juice, adding just enough olive oil and vinegar to reach your desired consistency. Store in a small jar

NOTES

* Best if used fresh, but will keep up to three days in the refrigerator

* Mixed with greek yogurt it would make a delicious chip or vegetable dip

For some extra inspiration or looking for the BEST dressings and sauces check out the delicious things over at Tessemaes Dressings. Their dressings and sauces have minimal ingredients, V/GF/DF/SF, Whole30 approved and full of flavor!

Use the code ‘NEWBIE’ for 20% your first order! 

 

strawberry + mixed greens salad with toasted nuts

mains, recipes, salads, sides

The bright and beautiful strawberries used in this recipe were picked at Craigie’s Farm. This pick-your-own farm and cafe is one of Edinburgh’s treasures and it is easy to see why city folk like myself flock to the farm on weekends. We wandered up and down the greenhouses and fields filling our baskets with strawberries, raspberries and cherries. This proved to be highly addicting. My baskets were full but I just couldn’t stop looking for deep, red, ripe fruit. I would find one and say, “okay, this is the last one” but it would turn into another fifteen minutes of foraging. Needless to say, the entire experience made me rethink the times I have sat and plowed through a carton of raspberries in 1.5 minutes. This week when I looked at my berries, I thought more about the colors, the textures, the hands that picked them and the joy of finding them- but I still ate them rather quickly. 

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One of the best parts about summer? Salads! And tossing fruit into our salads! Hooray! I love salads because they are customizable and can be easily experimented with. Putting in the stuff you like and picking out the stuff you decide you are not crazy about is easy peasy. The idea of strawberries on salad is not a new concept. There are many wonderful strawberry salad recipes out there, two of my favorites that you can view here are from the wonderfully talented The Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.

This strawberry salad is fresh, satisfying and super… super easy to make.  I always prefer a little crunch in my salad, so tossing in some unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted nuts are delightful additions. They also provide important healthy fats and a protein boost, win-win.
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INGREDIENTS
DRESSING

3 tbs olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tsp date syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix all ingredients in small jar, set aside

SALAD

1-2 c (150-200g) quartered strawberries

200g arugula + watercress mix

200g spinach

3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs raw hazelnut + almond (or nuts of choice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and place nuts on lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes then set aside

Add mixed greens, strawberries, coconut and toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl

Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of balsamic dressing and toss gently

Notes
*Serve additional dressing, nuts and coconut on the side
*Best when fresh. Share it for 2 entrees or 4 small salads
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