Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

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). | Simple herb-marinated beans

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! | Simple herb-marinated beans

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. | Simple herb-marinated beans

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 🙂 | Simple herb-marinated beans

Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
Recipe type: Salad
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These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans! | Simple herb-marinated beans

Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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. | Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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! | Apple and Brussels Sprout 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 🙂 | Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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. | Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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.

Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw
Recipe type: Dinner
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This is a tangy, crunch slaw that holds up well in the fridge, with flavours improving the longer it sits.
For the salad
  • 1 tart apple (like Pink Lady), julienned
  • 12 - 15 brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
For the dressing
  • 3 tbsp non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Mix the apple, shredded brussels sprouts, chili pepper, green onions and cilantro in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and pour over the salad. Toss to combine.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
  4. Let sit in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy this Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw! | Apple and Brussels Sprout Slaw

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Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad

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. | 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! | Spicy carrot and fig salad

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. | Spicy carrot and fig salad

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! 🙂

Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad
Recipe type: Dinner
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Inspired in part, by the Marrakesh Carrots in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon cookbook.
  • ½ cup dry wheat berries (or farro or other grain)
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
  5. 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.

Enjoy! | Spicy carrot and fig salad

Apricot and Kale Salad with Cumin-Scented Chicken

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 🙂 | Apricot and kale salad

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. | Apricot and kale salad

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.

Apricot and Kale Salad with Cumin-Scented Chicken
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Total time: 
For the salad:
  • 1 bunch of kale, thinly chopped
  • 4 ripe apricots (or any in-season fruit)
  • Handful of blueberries (grapes would be great)
Add ins:
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley
  • Roast chicken breast, shredded
For the Vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • ½ fresh lemon, juice and zest
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. 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.
  2. Slice the apricots into medium-sized wedges and roughly chop or shred any roast chicken you have on hand. Add to the salad.
  3. Toss in blueberries, sunflower seeds, toasted almonds and chopped cilantro.
  4. Mix thoroughly and serve.
This salad holds up well in the fridge over a few days. Great for leftover lunches.

Enjoy! | Apricot and kale salad | Apricot and kale salad

Easy Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

If you’re living on the West Coast, you’re probably in for another soggy weekend and are looking for something to warm you up. If you’re living in Eastern Canada, you’re probably in for another hot weekend and are looking for something that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. My food solution for both? This easy chicken satay! | Easy chicken satay

One of the first cookbooks Jonty and I bought together (along with a Toast-R-Oven that we still have today, over 15 years later!) was this Thai cookbook. The recipes were easy to make, with relatively few ingredients, and the food always tasted good. For two young students on a very tight budget, this was a good thing, as it meant we didn’t have to go out to our local Thai restaurant for our spicy-food kick – we could just make it at home!

Fast-forward 15 years later, and we’re still looking for ways to incorporate the spicy, flavourful Thai-inspired foods. Chicken satay is one of those dishes that people love to eat. Maybe it’s the food-on-a-stick thing, or maybe it’s the spicy peanut flavour. Whatever the reason, this recipe is a keeper and with BBQ season in full swing, it makes a great addition to any summer grilling plans.

As with most marinaded foods, the longer you leave the chicken hanging out in the marinade, the more flavourful the satay will be. I mixed this up in the morning and grilled the chicken in the afternoon, a few hours later. If you can leave it for at least 30 minutes, however, I suspect your taste buds will be more than happy!

If you have a handful of skewers, feel free to use them. If you’re a skewer-free house, don’t rush out to buy any, just grill the chicken pieces as is. In one way, it’s almost easier if you don’t use skewers!

The only accompaniment you need for the chicken satay is a simple peanut sauce, and we’re pretty firm that you cannot omit this, because peanut sauce is one of the greatest sauces known to humankind 🙂 We shared a recipe for our easy peanut sauce a few weeks ago, and now’s the time to bring it out! If you want to make an even easier peanut sauce, just blend up some peanut butter, lime juice and soy sauce and thin with water. | Easy chicken satay

We mixed up a simple salad to serve the chicken satay with, and it was a perfect bowl-food dinner! | Easy chicken satay

So get your summer grill on and make this easy chicken satay!

Easy Chicken Satay
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Adapted from the book Simply Thai Cooking
  • 750 - 800 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 5-mm thick slices
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 - 3 red Thai chilis, finely chopped (or omit, if you don't like spicy food)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  1. Slice the chicken into 5-mm thick strips, that run the length of the chicken breast. To make this easier, place the chicken in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm it up.
  2. Mix up marinade and pour over the strips of chicken. Marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
  3. Grill the chicken under broiler or on the BBQ.
  4. Serve the chicken satay with a simple salad and peanut sauce.

Enjoy! | Easy chicken sataySave