Traditional Pesto with Spinach 

Sneak some iron and Vitamin K into your pesto with this easy addition. Plus, it means you can add less fresh basil, which is less of a burden on your wallet. This recipe is safe for my gluten-free and vegetarian friends!

2 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil
1 1/2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese, grated OR 2 quarter size chunks (not the stuff in the can)
1/4 cup pine nuts (you can sub walnuts if they’re cheaper)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

– blend all ingredients in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle until smooth
– see below for suggested ways to cook with pesto
– keep refrigerated for up to 5 days or freeze

Things to add fresh pesto to:
– add to freshly cooked, hot pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– use as a base for pizza or flatbread (see flatbread dough recipe)
– saute veggies and toss with pesto during the last minute of cooking for a quick stir-fry
– spread on toast, top with avocado and tomato
– spread it on a turkey sandwich with aged cheddar cheese

Yield: 1 1/2 cups pesto


Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini

Get into the fall spirit with this colourful, Thanksgiving-themed dish! This recipe is safe for my gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian friends.

1 butternut squash
1 tsp honey
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped rough
1 cup kale, chopped rough
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 lemon wedges
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lactose-free Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt

– preheat oven to 204C (400F)
– wash and scrub the outside of the squash with warm water
– slice it in half lengthwise, leaving the stem on
– hollow out the seeds
– drizzle with olive oil and honey
– place skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
– bake for 1 hour
– in a bowl, blend tahini, water, Greek yogurt, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, set aside until serving
– place pine nuts on a baking sheet, place in 204C (400F) oven for 2 minutes, set aside until service
– heat a pan on medium high heat, add olive oil
– saute garlic for 1 min
– add kale and cook until wilted
– add garlic and kale to a bowl and add sage
– once squash is done, cut out chunks from the center, keep a boarder around the skin so the hollowed out shell can stand on its own
– add the squash chunks to the garlic and kale, smash the squash slightly and blend everything together
– add the mixture back into the shell of the squash, drizzle with tahini, pine nuts and serve with a lemon wedge

Yield: serves 2

Garlicky Basmati with Turmeric

Despite going to culinary school, rice was the one thing I always found hard to make. I could never seem to get it right until my aunt shared her method with me (and hers is the best!). This is rice 101 and you can use this same method for cooking basically any type of rice, no culinary school required.

2 cups boiling water
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1 tsp turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt

– add 2 cups (plus just a little more) water to a small pot on high heat
– bring to a boil
– add the rice, turmeric, garlic and salt and stir gently once or twice
– cover and reduce heat to a low simmer (if you have an electric stove, your burner will take some time to cool down, move the pot so it’s half over the element and half off, this will keep it from boiling; once the element cools down, add the pot back over the entire element)
– simmer for 20 mins or until liquid is absorbed
– taste a piece of the rice, if it isn’t cooked add a bit more water and let it simmer a few more minutes
– once cooked, lightly fluff with a fork and serve hot
* The key is to not stir the rice while it cooks or it will become sticky!

Yield: 2 servings (2 cups)

Pan-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Carrots

You can’t go wrong with a recipe that only requires one pan. Let’s face it, the less dishes the better. This one is a real winner, everything tastes good, the chicken is juicy and there’s minimal dishes.

2 chicken breasts, skin-less, bone-in (one side will have the rib bones, one won’t have any)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped rough
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 medium size carrots, peel and trim the ends
10 cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

– heat a rondeau pan on medium high heat
– preheat oven to 190C (375F)
– in a microwave safe ramekin, add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice and rosemary
– microwave until the butter is melted, stirring everything together
– season the chicken well with salt and pepper on the side without the bones and brush with melted butter, discard the brush or whatever you’re using to brush the raw chicken and do not return it to the butter because you will contaminate it
– place chicken butter side down in the hot pan, season the side facing up (should have the bones) with salt and pepper and using a new brush, cover with butter
– sear until golden brown, about 3 mins
– turn over and sear the other side, about 3 mins
– remove from pan and place on a plate
– in the same pan, add some of the butter and the carrots
– toss the carrots in the butter so they are coated and ensure they are lying flat side by side on the bottom of the pan
– return chicken, bone side down, on top of the carrots
– place in middle rack of the oven for 20 mins
– add white wine and finish cooking for another 40 minutes, or until chicken is done (reaches an internal temp of 74C, 165F when probed in the thickest part)
– periodically baste the chicken with butter while in the oven and turn the carrots
– during the last 8 minutes in the oven, add the cherry tomatoes to the same pan
– serve hot

Yield: 2 portions

Rustic Ratatouille 

Welcome in the fall with this warm, Rustic Ratatouille! This recipe gives the traditional French dish a Mediterranean twist, while still staying true to its roots. Safe for my vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free friends.

2 shallots, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, chopped rough
3 yellow bell peppers, chopped medium
1 small eggplant, chopped medium
1 small green zucchini, chopped medium
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/8 cup kalamata olives
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh basil
1 can diced tomatoes (764 ml)
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

– heat a rondeau pan to medium high heat, add olive oil
– saute onions and garlic until garlic turns golden brown in colour
– add peppers, cook for 4 mins
– add eggplant, zucchini, herbs, capers and olives, saute for 2 mins
– add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and then lower the heat, cook for 10 mins
– season with salt and pepper as needed
– serve hot

Yield: 4 servings 

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Stuffed Peppers

Don’t know what to make for dinner tonight? Try this out! This recipe is gluten-free and meat-free but is still packed with iron, vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve it alongside rapini or another green veggie.


For the peppers:
1 yellow pepper, cut in half and cleaned
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 heaping cups fresh baby kale
2 heaping cups fresh baby spinach
extra virgin olive oil

For the Salmon:
1 salmon portion
2 tbsp capers, drained
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the Peppers:
– preheat oven to 176C (350F)
– slice peppers in half and remove seeds, keep the stem; this helps the filling from falling out
– brush olive oil over the skin of the pepper
– heat a pan on medium high heat
– add olive oil and saute garlic for 2 mins
– add kale and spinach
– cook until kale and spinach are wilted, remove from heat
– add feta, fold it into the wilted greens
– let cool and stuff into the peppers
– line a baking tray with parchment paper
– place peppers on tray and bake for 15 mins
– serve hot

For the Salmon:
– preheat oven to 176C (350C)
– heat a pan on high heat, add olive oil
– saute salmon until golden brown on one side
– flip over and place in oven for 12 mins, or until salmon is cooked
– while salmon cooks, heat a small sauce pan on medium heat
– add butter and saute garlic for 2 mins
– add capers, Dijon mustard and white wine
– whisk ingredients until blended
– let cook until thickened slightly
– serve over cooked salmon and garnish with a grilled lemon

Jalapeño Basil Hummus 

Add some protein to your diet with this Jalapeño Basil Hummus, it couldn’t be easier!
This makes a great, healthy breakfast; just spread it on multi-grain toast and top it with tomato slices and fresh spinach or add it to a sandwich for lunch. This recipe is safe for my vegetarian, diabetic and gluten-free friends!

1 can chickpeas (740ml/3 cups) drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped rough
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped rough
6 fresh basil leaves
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp salt

– add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend (if using a blender add a little more oil, yogurt and water to get it blending)
– scrape down the sides and blend until completely smooth
– refrigerate until serving
– serve with toast, pita or veggies

Yield: about 2 cups

Summer Coleslaw

Ditch the store-bought coleslaw and try a lighter, healthier alternative. This one is dressed with a simple, summery vinaigrette that wont make you feel heavy like the ones covered in mayonnaise, and you can brag that you made it yourself!

1/2 green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1 large carrot, grated
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt

– mix all ingredients in a bowl
– keep refrigerated until serving (best if dressed 1 hour prior to serving, so flavours mingle together)

Yield: Serves 4

Green Bean Coconut Bowl

Need an easy dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes? Try this out! I whipped this up with whatever I had in the fridge, so feel free to add some additional veggies or substitute for another leafy green veggie.

1 white onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp salt
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
4 heaping cups fresh spinach
extra virgin olive oil
pita bread for garnish (optional)
plain yogurt for garnish (optional)
lime wedge for garnish (optional)

– heat a rondeau pan on medium high heat and add olive oil
– saute onion and garlic until the garlic is light brown in colour
– add coconut milk, water and spices
– stir and bring to a boil
– add chickpeas and beans, let cook on high heat for 8 mins
– add cabbage and spinach, turn down the heat to medium, let simmer 10 mins, until sauce thickens
– serve with pita bread, plain yogurt and lime

Yield: 3 servings

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