Category Archives: Salad

Kale Beet Quinoa Salad

Being a herbivore, I eat a lot of vegetables. I roast, grill, and bake ’em. I steam, boil and puree ’em. I eat ’em raw and I eat ’em cooked. But probably my favourite, and most common, way to eat ’em is in a salad. I eat a salad or two every day. These days I’m getting my salad on by using seasonal vegetables as much as possible. Right now that means lots of slaws with cabbage and root vegetables. And kale salads. That’s what I’m giving you today … a kale salad recipe.

There are two vital things to do with kale to transform it into a salad green – tear or chop into small pieces and massage! I used to only eat kale salad at restaurants because I couldn’t be bothered to massage the stuff! But then I had a couple of experiences where I was served a salad with honkin’ big pieces of chewy, unmassaged kale, and I decided I’d better take things into my owns hands afterall! And I literally mean my own hands, because there ain’t no other way to massage kale than with your hands!

So here you go … get your salad on!


Kale Beet Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, cooked

4 roasted beets, diced

1 head of kale (I used Dinosaur Kale), torn into small pieces

2 tbsps olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp maple syrup

Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, set aside. Put the chopped beets in a large bowl and set aside. Put the torn kale into another bowl. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil onto the kale and sprinkle on about 1/4 tsp of salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale begins to soften up and release some juices. Pour the remaining tbsp of olive oil over the kale along with the red wine vinegar, the mustard, the maple syrup and 1/4 tsp of salt. Toss the massaged kale with the dressing ingredients. Add the kale to the beets and toss together. Add the quinoa and gently combine. The quinoa will turn purpley-pink in this salad … not necessarily a bad thing … I just wanted to warn you! Taste a spoonful of kale/beet/quinoa and adjust the dressing as needed. Needs more tartness? – add some more vinegar and/or mustard. Needs to be a little sweeter? – add some more maple syrup and/or some mustard.

If you prefer, you can whisk all the dressing ingredients together and massage it all right into the kale. Or you can massage the kale with oil and salt as above, then whisk the remaining dressing ingredients. Add the kale to the beets, pour in the dressing, toss gently, add the quinoa.




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Kale Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

I got a new blender this weekend! I bought it to replace my on-it’s-last-legs blender. This old blender operated only on the lowest setting or on pulse, plus the rubber ring that sits between the blade and the bottom of the blender pitcher disappeared!

The blender I ended up purchasing is a Hamilton Beach Professional 1500 watt Blender.


This blender is a compromise, or maybe a blending of two requirements … I wanted a high powered blender and “Tom” wanted a quiet blender. It turns out that the higher the wattage or power of a blender, the noisier it is and we wanted a blender with a minimum of 1000 watts. Well, it turns out that there actually are a few quiet high powered blenders out there. They can be very expensive though. We finally settled on this Hamilton Beach blender because it’s got the power, it’s got a quiet shield, it’s got a variety of settings including a self-clean setting, and it was on sale at London Drugs right near our house! The pitcher is a bit small at only 1 litre, but I think I can live with that.

As soon as we got the blender home, we wanted to try it out – me to try out the high power and “Tom” to test out the quiet shield. I decided to make the salad dressing for a kale salad in the blender (I would usually make a dressing in a measuring cup with a whisk). Well, let me tell you that a high powered blender whips salad dressings together so well that the oil and vinegar does not separate! So cool! And quiet? Yes indeed! “Tom” is very happy with that quiet shield!

Kale Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette


Unfortunately, this is the only picture I took of the salad. I took it with my phone in poor light.

3 tbsps apple cider vinegar

2 tbsps honey

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic (minced if you are whisking, cut in quarters if you are high power blendering)

pinch sea salt 2 tbsps olive oil

handful of walnuts, broken

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped into small pieces


5 or 6 fresh strawberries, large dice (I used local strawberries which are still available from the local road stand if you can believe it!)

In the blender, add the dressing ingredients, vinegar to oil. Blend on medium power for less than a minute, until ingredients have transformed into a smooth sauce. Toast the walnuts in a small frying pan over medium heat, shaking and stirring, for about a minute or so until the nuts smell toasty and just start to brown. Set aside to cool. Place the kale leaves in a large bowl. Add a drizzle of the salad dressing and a sprinkling of salt. Massage the sauce and salt into the kale until the leaves begin to wilt and reduce down. Add the strawberries to the bowl, pour on about 1/2 of the dressing, toss gently to combine. Sprinkle on the cooled walnuts.

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Greek(ish) Salad and Humous(ish)


I really love Greek salad and humous! I love the freshness of the vegetables in the salad and I love the wholsomeness of humous. Humous, of course, is a mainstay of a vegan’s diet and I make it weekly if not more often. And I make some version of Greek salad regularly as well. I call this one Greekish salad because it has what I consider the base of a Greek salad – cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing – then has a few other things thrown in that you wouldn’t typically find in a Greek salad. Same goes with the humous – a base of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice –  it’s a bit “ish” because I changed the type of beans. Read on to find out more.

Greekish Salad


1 English cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

10 (or so) grape tomatoes, cut in quarters

5 green onions, diced

1 cup of quinoa, cooked

handful of chopped green cabbage (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsps red wine vinegar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 tsp salt

several sprigs fresh oregano, minced (if you can get it)

Put the vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and oregano together then pour over the vegetables. Toss together.




1 1/2 cups navy beans

2 tbsps tahini

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for at least 5 minutes until very smooth, adding water 2 tbsps at a time. I like my humous to be not too thick and not too runny.


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Soup and Salad From Thug Kitchen

This week, I checked out Thug Kitchen 101 from the library. This is a vegan cookbook written in an interesting style. F-bombs throughout, I had to read it in small doses as the “thug” language was rather jarring! Once I got over the liberal use of swear words, I was able to read the recipes and found several good ones that I must try over the 3 week loan period. I started with these two – Southwestern Salad and Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup.


Southwestern Salad


1 avocado

1/4 cup chopped green onions, white part

1/2 cup corn kernels

3 tbsps. fresh lime juice

2 tbsps. rice vinegar (original recipe calls for 3 tbsps.)

2 tbsps. olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder


2+ cups short pasta, cooked

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans

1 cup corn kernels

1 medium carrot, shredded

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tomato, chopped (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups mixed into salad)

(original recipe calls for 1-2 jalapenos)

Place all the dressing ingredients in the blender and blend for 5 minutes until very smooth. Combine cooked pasta, black beans, corn, carrot, onion in a large bowl. Pour in about 2/3’s of the dressing and toss. Fold in cilantro. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes. At serving time, add the chopped tomatoes to the salad.


Turmeric and Sweet Potato Soup

(See notes below the recipe for the adaptations I made).


1 small onion, diced

1 yam, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)

2 tsps. ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsps. dried basil

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp. tamari or Braggs

5 cups vegetable broth

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup small pasta

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 cups kale

2 tbsps. lemon juice

Water saute onion for about 4 minutes over medium high. Add yam, pepper and jalapeno (if using) and cook for another 4 minutes, adding a tbsp. of water at a time to prevent sticking. Add turmeric, basil, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and tamari and stir for about 1 minute, allowing the vegetables to be coated in the spices. Add the broth and tomatoes and simmer for 8 minutes until yam is tender. Add the pasta, chickpeas and kale and simmer until pasta is cooked and kale is soft and wilted. Stir in lemon juice just before serving and warm through.


  • I had a little bit of leftover chickpea and kale curry so I stirred this into the soup

  • I omitted the chickpeas (because there were chickpeas in the leftover curry I added)

  • I used 2 fresh, whole tomatoes, skinned, instead of the canned tomatoes

  • I omitted the pasta and used 1/3 cup red lentils instead which helped to thicken the soup nicely and provided some good nutrition

  • I used 1/2 of a yam plus 4 small, new potatoes, diced, instead of a whole yam

  • I omitted the red bell pepper

  • I omitted the basil and paprika because I didn’t want to change the flavour profile provided by the leftover chickpea curry

  • I reduced the broth to 4 cups

  • I subbed 3 large handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped, for the kale, because I didn’t have any kale, but had lots of lovely, fresh spinach!





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Salad or Dessert?

Around the end of February, I decided to give up sugar. I wanted to cleanse my body, get over the cravings of an addiction, and add in another layer of healthy living to my life.


Here are some negative qualities of sugar that I’ve come across in my reading:

  • empty calories

  • bad for the liver

  • linked to cancer

  • fattening and can lead to obesity

  • can cause heart disease

  • can be highly addictive

How much sugar did I actually consume before eliminating it from my diet? Well, being a (mostly) vegan, I don’t eat cookies and cakes and such, but I do like chocolate! My latest chocolate binge began in December and carried on into the new year. There is always a lot of chocolate around during the holidays and then once Christmas is over, chocolate goes on sale and ya gotta buy it because it’s such a deal! And, I have to admit, I was eating milk chocolate – so deliciously sweet and smooth; so very not vegan; so very addictive!

Eating Chocolate

So, at the end of Dine Out Vancouver, I said, “That’s it! No more sugar!” I anticipated that it was going to be somewhat trying when I embarked on this sugar elimination campaign, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be too difficult. I was wrong! It was, and it continues to be, hard. It’s been about six weeks with no sugar and I still get cravings! At first, the cravings were every day, mostly in the evening. Nowadays, those cravings have tapered off, but every now and then, maybe a couple of times a week, when I’m relaxing in the living room in the evening, I get this restless craving for something … a nice big bite of milk chocolate! So, how do I deal with these cravings? Well, I live with a terrific partner who, for the most part, stays away from refined sugar. I’ve discovered Larabar, an energy bar made from dates and nuts.

larabar peanut butter

Plus, “Tom” and I have been exploring sweet replacements for sugar. We’ve always eaten a lot of fresh fruit, but now we eat more during the evenings – the danger time zone when fighting sugar addiction – such as fresh pineapple, mango, oranges, apples, bananas. (“Tom” is cutting up some pineapple as I type)!

And this brings me to the recipe I want to share with you. This salad is so sweetly, deliciously yummy that you could (and I have) eat it for dessert! The recipe was developed by Sherry Strong of Return to Food (


Now before you freak out about the colour and look of this salad, let me explain! I used my spiralizer for the first time to make this salad and I made spirals our of some wonderful organic purple carrots that I received in my CSA box. Looks kinda weird, but taste was yummy!


1 large carrot, spiralized or grated

1 large apple, spiralized or grated (skin on)

zest and juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup raisins, chopped

handful of walnuts, left whole or coarsely chopped

Toss the carrot and apple in a bowl with the lime zest and juice. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Eat! Simple, quick, healthy, satisfies the craving for sweet. Yum!



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Another Dinner Party – White Bean Salad and Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

This summer saw a few dinner parties. I posted about the party “Tom” and I had here. The next dinner party was a casual bday celebration outside on some friends’ patio. It was a potluck – not in the literal sense where everyone brings whatever, and all guests take their chances on what food is available, but where the hosts provided the main course and the guests brought complementary food. Our hosts made Puttanesca sauce with pasta, so I thought I’d bring a salad. But what kind of salad goes with the strong flavours of Puttanesca sauce? Here’s what was recommended by Moira Hodgson in Oprah Magazine:

White Bean Salad

(adapted from Moira Hodgson)


3 cups cooked navy beans

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 tsp salt (or more)

sprinkling of black pepper

Gently toss the beans, bell pepper, onion and tomato together. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the beans. Gently mix together and let marinate in fridge for a couple of hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.



I also decided to bring a dessert. I have been making my chocolate mousse pie for some time now, but I wanted to add in another layer … literally another layer, but also another layer of flavour. I had some late season local strawberries in the fridge so I created this:

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

(my own creation)


2 packages Oreo cookie type cookies

2 tbsps. coconut oil

1 recipe chocolate mousse

  • 1 full package (200 grams) organic fair trade baking chocolate (I use Camino semi-sweet)


  • 1 package silken tofu

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla (liquid or powder)

  • pinch sea salt

1 cup strawberries

1 tbsp. maple syrup

several strawberries cut in slices

Crumble 1/2 of the cookies in a blender, then transfer to a pie plate. Crumble the other 1/2 of the cookies in a blender with the coconut oil until well mixed. Mix the dry and oiled cookie crumbs together and press up the sides and into the bottom of the pie plate.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Slip the tofu into a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes (helps get rid of any beany taste).

Put the tofu into the blender with the milk and blend until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt and blend for 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Pour the chocolate mousse into the pie plate on top of the cookie crumb base. Put in fridge for an hour or so until the mousse cools and firms up.


Put the cup of strawberries into a blender and blend until liquid. Add in the maple syrup and blend briefly. Ladle the strawberry puree onto the chocolate mousse, letting the puree spread on its own to the edges.

Top with sliced strawberries.

Chill in fridge for at least an hour. Serve straight from the fridge.




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Vegan Raita and Kachumber Salad

Over the weekend, I made a new curry … well, new to me … or rather, a new take on a familiar curry. I found a great recipe for Chana Saag (Curried Chickpeas and Spinach) in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook, Isa Does It.


The recipe, as I said, was for Chana Saag … Coconut Chana Saag as a matter of fact:


Now, I’ve made Chana Masala (curried chickpeas) before and I’ve made different types of Saag (spinach curry) and I’ve made curry with a coconut milk sauce, but this recipe kind of combines all of this – chickpeas, spinach and coconut milk – and turns out a really delicious curry. Try it out why don’t you? It’s pretty easy and quick to make and it’s very tasty.


So, yep, I decided to make the curry, but I wanted some interesting sides to go along with it. Of course, I cooked some rice – white basmati with peas (“Tom’s” favourite) – but I really wanted a salad. I did a little research on Pinterest and on the internet and discovered that curries are often accompanied by a salad called Kachumber Salad. The name alone is enough reason to make it! This salad is usually made up of chopped cucumber, tomato and onion with a bit of acid and salt as a dressing. I changed this up a bit by adding cabbage and using green onion. As for the raita (yogurt and cucumber or other chopped/grated vegetables), it’s a standard condiment for curries, so I decided to invent a vegan version of raita using cashews to replace the yogurt. “Tom” and I were very pleased with not only the curry, but the salad and the raita, so I thought I would share the love and post the recipes. I really hope you try one or more of these recipes next time you’re cooking Indian. And please use the comment section to tell me what you think.

Kachumber Salad


1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

about 1 quarter of a small head of savoy or green cabbage, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

4 or 5 leaves mint, coarsely chopped

juice of a lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the vegetables, cilantro and mint in a bowl and gently toss. Pour in the lime juice and sprinkle in the salt and gently toss again. Leave the salad to marinate for a bit, maybe 20 minutes. If you leave it too long, the juice from the cucumber and tomato will dilute the salad. This salad is best eaten all at once. This recipe makes 3 servings.

Cashew Cucumber Raita


1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling hot water

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps. water

juice of 1 lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and grated

1 green onion, chopped

handful of cilantro, finely chopped

4-5 leaves mint, finely chopped

Put the cashews, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, cumin, ginger, cayenne and salt in a blender and blend for 1 t0 2 minutes until everything starts to blend together. Stop, scrape down the sides and add 1 tbsp. water. Blend again for a couple of minutes. Add another tbsp. water if needed to make everything blend smoothly, but not too runny. Blend for a total of 5 minutes for the smoothest results.

Mix the cucumber, green onion, cilantro and mint together in a bowl. Pour in the cashew mixture and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes then taste and adjust for seasoning. (If your curry is quite hot and spicy, you might want to add more cilantro and mint to the raita; if it’s a milder curry, you might want to add some more cayenne and/or cumin).






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Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Salads are pretty great, don’t ya think? I mean, there’s gotta be an infinite number of ways you can combine some vegetables, maybe some grains or some noodles, possibly some fruit. And then there’s the dressing. You can take your same ol’, same ol’ salad and add a new dressing and it’s not so same ol’ anymore, is it? Or you can take your standby dressing and pour it on a different base of vegetables and you’ve got something new! Take this salad for example. I introduced this salad way back in April 2014 – a chopped salad with all the ingredients arranged separately in the bowl – and, last week I recreated it with a few different vegetables and a new dressing. Voila! A new salad!


The salad ingredients choices are my own, but the dressing is inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing.


Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

(Ingredient amounts depend on how many servings you want to make. The dressing makes about 4 servings.)

quinoa, cooked

red cabbage


orange bell pepper

green onion




1/2 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lime  (3 tbsps.)

juice of 1/2 orange (3 tbsps.)

2 tsp agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp cumin

a sprinkle of cayenne (less than 1/8 tsp)

2-3 tbsps. water

Arrange the quinoa and vegetables in individual bowls. I like to chop up one ingredient and arrange in the bowls, then chop up the next ingredient and arrange in bowls and so on.

Put all the dressing ingredients except the water in a tall container and blend with an immersion blender. When things start to get too thick, add in the water, 1 tbsp. at a time until the dressing blends smoothly and is pourable but not runny.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients. Admire your artistry, then toss everything together in your personal bowl!




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Vegan “Cheese” Sauce and Garlic Aioli

I made another yummy taco salad last weekend. I had a house guest staying so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out some new recipes … you know, give “Tom” a break from being the only taste tester. The new recipes we sampled were vegan taco “meat”, vegan “cheese” sauce and a cashew garlic aioli. All were pretty good, but the cheese sauce and the aioli were outstanding!


The cheese sauce is made from potatoes and carrots! I found the recipe on A Dash of Compassion. Here it is:


Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

(adapted from A Dash of Compassion’s Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce –

Serve the cheese sauce with this taco salad or make nachos or however and wherever a cheese sauce goes in your world! 


2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (about 4 or 5 medium sized potatoes)

3/4 cup chopped carrots (about 1 large and 1 small or 2 medium carrots)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1/3 cup water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsps. salt

Cook the potatoes and carrots together until very soft. Drain, rinse with cold water, set aside to cool a bit. Combine everything in a saucepan and blend with an immersion blender. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, if needed to make a pourable sauce. (I added 2 tbsps. water).

Cashew Garlic Aioli

(adapted from Vegan Heaven’s Vegan Sour Cream –


Use this aioli anywhere you would use sour cream or mayonnaise. We ate it as a dip for fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and as one of the condiments for the taco salad.


1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling water

2 tbsps. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup + water

Drain the cashews from their soaking water. Put cashews, lemon juice and garlic in a blender. Blend for about a minute. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, to the blender in order to get the sauce to blend freely, but not so much to make the sauce too runny. Blend for 5 minutes in total to get a smooth sauce.




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Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Tamari Dressing

So, anyone else get sucked into Pokemon Go?

Like I did?

I don’t really know very much about Pokemon beyond a few famous characters:














But sitting at a triple Pokestop with lures catching multiple random Pokemon and eavesdropping on the conversations of the other much younger players taught me that there are some very desirable and rare Pokemon out there and I’ve caught a few! Here are some of them:













I’ve been having so much fun with Pokemon Go that I’ve been a bit distracted! I even missed a massage appointment yesterday because I was so immersed in the Pokemon Go experience! (I rescheduled and have written reminders to myself in various locations so I won’t forget!)

Fortunately, Pokemon Go has not replaced Vegan Meal Creation and I want to share a yummy cold noodle salad I made last night.

Asian Noodle Salad with Sesame Tamari Dressing


1 375 gram box of spaghetti noodles (whole wheat or added fibre)

4 small-medium carrots, grated or chopped up in a food processor

1/4 of a small purple cabbage, small-medium dice

5 green onions, diced

1/2 a large red or yellow or orange bell pepper, small-medium dice

1 cup green chickpeas (or sub edamame)

several beet leaves, diced (or 2 or 3 handfuls of spinach leaves)

handful of cilantro, diced


4 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp tamari sauce

2 tsp Bragg Liquid Soy Seasoning

4 tsp agave nectar

4 tsp rice vinegar

2 tsp minced garlic

1/8 tsp chili flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside in a large bowl.

Put all the vegetables into another large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the noodles and use some tongs to toss until evenly coated. If you have time, let the noodles marinate in the dressing for an hour or two or more in the fridge.

Add the noodles to the vegetables and toss until the vegetables are evening distributed through the noodles. If you have time, let the salad marinate for 30 minutes or so in the fridge.




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