Sunday, January 26, 2014

Toasted Kale & Pan Fried Chickpea Salad

If you haven't clued in that salads are more than just vegetables and dressing, then pull your head out of your rear and pay attention. Have I got your attention now? Good. 

We've added meats, cheeses, bread, removed the lettuce, swapped out trendy vegetables for hipster vegetables...what more can we do? A heck of a lot more! One of my favourite salads is a marinated vegetable salad, where the vegetables have been blanched just a teensy bit. The result is an entirely different combination of flavours and textures than one would get with a raw version of the salad. This is why this toasted kale salad sounded so appealing. Sadly the author that I nabbed this recipe from combined her kale with preserved Meyer lemons and I did not have the time nor the lemons to make that magic happen. Instead I used regular unpreserved lemons, which were scrumptious all the same. I really do want to try preserving lemons and using them in this recipe. It just isn't going to happen tonight. If you get a chance, check out the think below for the author's preserved lemon recipe.

Adapted from:

Serves 6


  • 1 large head of kale of your choice
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 T tablespoon paprika
  • 3 T chopped lemons
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 225 degrees

Wash the kale, removing the stems and chop into bite size pieces. Toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and arrange onto a cookie sheet(s). Toast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the kale is both wilted and crunchy (you'll know what I mean after 25 minutes).  In a pan, combine the chickpeas, canola oil, paprika and chopped lemons. Cook over medium-high heat until the chickpeas have browned. Remove from heat and combine the chickpea mixture in a bowl with the kale.  Add a little olive oil and sea salt, tossing it well. Serve with lemon slices on top as a garnish.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lighter Fare Part 2

I thought this idea for a salad was magic: a California roll in salad form. I love sushi, but I get enough carbohydrates in my day as it is without adding the substantial amount of white rice that it provides. The sushi salad is a good alternative and also another quickie meal as any salad should be. If your salad is taking longer to prepare than your entree, you have a high maintenance salad. 

Sushi Salad

Adapted from:

Serves 4-6


  • Head of romaine lettuce, 
  • Package of 6 crab sticks (real or fairy tale)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 T toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 sheets dried seaweed, torn into bit size pieces.
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T low fat yoghurt
  • 2 t wasabi
  • 2 t sriracha sauce
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, combine all ingredients, whisking well to ensure all elements blend together. Set the dressing aside.

Wash, dry and tear the lettuce into bite size pieces. Tear the seaweed into smaller pieces and add to the lettuce. Cut the crab sticks in half horizontally and shred the meat with your fingers. Add the crab, avocado and sesame seeds to the lettuce and seaweed.  Add about two thirds of the dressing to the salad and toss it well. Add more dressing if desired.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ready for Some Lighter Fare?

Ho, ho, ho....hold on a second here. I'm stuck in the wrong season. Let's back up to the six week-long downward spiral of unhealthy eating. The egg nog, the turkey, gravy, wine, wine, wine, sweets and that was just one meal we're talking about here.  My indulgence has come to a grinding halt as of today. Maybe a meal that doesn't prompt an immediate nap afterwards. How about a dish that isn't paired with Alka-Seltzer? I'll miss the good food, but I need a little normal.

Enter the following quick, easy and healthy recipes to kick off resolution season. Our soup and salad combo took me forty-five minutes to prepare and I wasn't even moving at my usual speedy pace. I've found a few other recipes of a similar vain and will share them a little later this month.

Black Bean Soup

You'll notice the picture doesn't display a bowl of blackish soup, but rest assured, there are indeed black beans in there. If heat isn't your bag, remove the chilies from the recipe and add everything from diced tomatoes to potato to thicken or enrich this basic recipe.

Adapted from:

Serves 4 small portions


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/3 yellow onion, chopped
  • red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 chilis in adobo
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 28 oz can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for serving
  • Sour cream for serving


Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the pepper and onion, sautéing until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, salt and pepper, incorporating the spices in with the vegetables. Stir in the chilies and as much adobo sauce as your taste buds can handle.

Pour in the vegetable stock and the black beans, bringing the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and puree if desired. The original recipe leaves the soup as is, but I chose to blend it. Add handfuls of chopped cilantro and sour cream to individual servings.

Farro & Kale Salad

Farro can sometimes be tough to find, so alternatives such as quinoa or barley are also good options. I found farro at Bulk Barn, but it was pricier than expected. I enjoy the chewy texture of farro and the fact that it cooks quickly. Worth a try if you haven't had farro yet.

Adapted from:

Serves 6


  • 2 cups uncooked farro
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • salt & pepper to taste


Bring the farro and four cups of water to a low boil for about twenty minutes. Once the farro is of a chewy consistency, remove it from the heat and rinse it in cold water.

Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle half of the oil overtop. Mix in the oil to help soften the leaves a little. Combine the cucumber, dates, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper to the farro and kale mix. Add the remaining oil, mixing well and serve immediately.