I feel like it’s been awhile since I posted a food recipe (and with this post, I’m using the word recipe quite loosely). It’s not that we haven’t been cooking, it’s just that our food choices have been pretty basic and routine. I suppose that’s what summer time is about, though. More time spent outside, less time around the stove 🙂 We’ve been eating a version of this Greek salad for quite a few weeks now, so I thought I would share it.
This Greek salad doesn’t deviate much from the classic version. Sharp red onion becomes mellow in the balsamic vinegar, crunchy cucumbers and peppers add a sweet bite, and juicy tomatoes round out the salad combo. We add fresh mint, too, because it’s a great way to use up the monster bushels that currently seem to be in the markets.
What makes our version different is our secret high-protein ingredient. Dry curds! Have you ever had them? It’s cottage cheese, but without the milk fat. When you open the tub, you’re staring at… you guessed it… dry curds.
So, why go this route, instead of using the standard feta cheese? Well, we often try to limit our intake of super-salty foods, and we’re always looking for ways to add more protein into our meals. This power-house source of protein gives you a whopping 22 grams of protein in half a cup. This is a win-win addition, in our books!
I won’t lie – the dry curds don’t taste like feta cheese (they actually don’t have much taste on their own). But with a really flavourful balsamic vinegar and copious amounts of fresh herbs, I would argue this salad doesn’t need the extra salt.
This high-protein Greek salad has found its way into many of our meals. We have it alongside chicken or tuna sandwiches, it gets topped with perfectly poached eggs, and we’re not opposed to using it as a makeshift salsa with our salmon tacos! And it still tastes really good as leftovers a day or two later.
How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier).
I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch!
I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch.
The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.
We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂
Did you watch the Superbowl this past weekend? We did not. We don’t have cable, so we didn’t even watch the commercials, like many choose to do. Instead, we climbed in the last bouldering competition of the season (I managed to nab third place!). It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially if you prefer to play versus watch.
Just because we don’t watch football, doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy some of the classic football-watching nibbles! On Saturday we picked up a bone-in pork-shoulder from the local butcher to make the most delicious slow-cooked pulled pork, and I baked a batch of my super-soft slider buns (Jonty was still taking his welding course, so I had the kitchen to myself). And what goes hand-in-hand with a meal like this? A good-old tangy, crunchy slaw!
The great thing about a meal like this is that you can make everything a day or two before, and it tastes better the longer it sits. And after a good day of hard bouldering, coming home to dinner all prepped to eat, is like wonderful gift to yourself 🙂
This apple and brussels sprout slaw makes use of the great winter fruits and veggies at the market. Feel free to use the standard green cabbage, if you don’t like brussels sprouts or can’t find them in the store. And I would urge you to find a great tart, crunchy apple for this recipe (we use our favourite Pink Lady apples). When pairing the slaw with something like pulled pork, we find the acid in the coleslaw helps to cut down the richness of the pork.
If you’re still living under a blanket of snow (apparently Vancouver still wants to hit us with the white stuff this year!) this is a great winter salad to add a bit of colour and crunch to your meal.
I had never eaten a fresh fig until a few years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted any from her neighbour’s tree. “Yes!”, was the obvious answer! Fresh figs are a wonderfully tasty fruit, especially when their skin starts to give way and a bit of their nectar seeps out. And when a fig is perfectly ripe (or over-ripe!), it has a sweetness that pairs perfectly with a little spice. Case in point is this Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad.
The idea for this salad came about after a trip into Whole Foods, where they had strategically placed the best looking figs right at the entrance to the store. They were staring me down, and I was sucked in immediately. Good thing they are in season right now, because they were actually a reasonable price, so I couldn’t refuse!
There are only a handful of ingredients in this salad – a few tangled carrots are tossed with a spicy vinaigrette and the wheat berries give a nice nutty chew and a bit more substance to the salad. I really think the spicy vinaigrette brings out the best of the sweet fresh figs!
Like most of our salads, the recipe here is a general guide. If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the chilies. If you have other veggies in you fridge, feel free to use them up. We like adding grains like farro or wheat berries to our salads, as they hold up well in the fridge over a few days, and keep us feeling full well into the afternoon.
So if you’ve never eaten a fresh fig before, make friends with a fig-laden neighbour, or grab a pint of them at the store while they are still in season, and make this salad! 🙂
3 - 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and grated or spiralized
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
4 fresh figs, sliced
2 red Thai chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, if you want a milder heat)
1 good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 good handful fresh basil, shredded
1 lime, zest and juice
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
Rinse the wheat berries under running water. Place in a medium sauce pan and pour enough water in to cover them by at least 5 cm. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until tender to the bite, about 25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool before adding to the salad.
While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Place the carrots, shallot, green onions, dates, fresh figs and chilies into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
Add the lime juice and zest, the olive oil and fresh cilantro and basil. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric and ground nutmeg. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
Serve the salad with added sliced fresh figs on top, if desired.
This salad tastes very good after sitting for a bit. It will hold up well in the fridge for at least 2 days.
I feel like we’ve been heavy on the dessert posts over the last few weeks, but as tasty as they are, that’s not all we fill our bellies with – honest! During the week, we aim to have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, which usually means we fill our plates with a salad and some type of protein, saving our treats and time-consuming meals to enjoy on the weekend. It’s a good thing we love our greens! Salads are so easy to throw together and rarely require a recipe, case in point was this apricot and kale salad, although the last-minute addition of a cumin vinaigrette definitely elevated our salad game this evening 🙂
Our salads are quite formulaic and we generally add ingredients that follow the same basic FASST rule. What’s this rule I speak of? Well, let me tell you 🙂
The FASST rule:
FAT: Use an oil (olive, peanut, sesame) in your dressing, or slice up an avocado. Fats help the body get the most nutrients out of your salad greens.
ACID: A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, or vinegar (white wine, red wine, balsamic) will really brighten up the taste of your food.
SALT: Add just a pinch of salt to really bring out the flavours. A splash of tamari, soy sauce or fish sauce will do the same.
SWEET: The sweet balances out the salt. More often than not, we add fruit. Fresh fruit is easy in the summer, but dried fruit (dates, cranberries, raisins) are nice and easy as well. No fruit in your house? Add a drizzle of maple syrup in with the olive oil.
TEXTURE: Adding some crunch or chew to your salads will keep them interesting and filling. We add cooked grains (farro, quinoa, lentils) or nuts and seeds, and usually other raw veggies.
The time-saving weeknight cheat:
We will often buy a roast chicken earlier in the week and add it to our meals over the following few days. It’s a life-saver on those nights when you’re rushing home from work, or when you need to bulk out a meal and time is of the essence. This salad comes together in about 15 minutes and, like all of our weeknight salads, can be filled with whatever you have in the fridge.
Hopefully you’ll take advantage of the last of the late-summer stone fruits! I know that peaches and nectarines would be great in this salad, too.
Finely chop the kale. Whisk up the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl or jar and pour over the kale leaves. Quickly massage the vinaigrette into the leaves, to soften. Allow this to sit while you prep the remaining ingredients.
Slice the apricots into medium-sized wedges and roughly chop or shred any roast chicken you have on hand. Add to the salad.
Toss in blueberries, sunflower seeds, toasted almonds and chopped cilantro.
Mix thoroughly and serve.
This salad holds up well in the fridge over a few days. Great for leftover lunches.