Cucumber and Dill Salad

A delicious and refreshing salad for the hot summer months. Super quick and easy, this is a perfect side dish for anything you throw on the barbecue, like veggie kebabs!

Prep time: ~10 minutes
Serves: 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 English cucumbers, very thinly sliced.
  • 1 large handful dill.
  • 1 small handful mint.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
  • salt.
  • pepper.

Cooking Instructions:

Pick the leaves off of the dill and mint, leaving the larger stems behind. Tear the dill into smaller fronds, then finely slice the mint leaves.

In a large bowl, mix the cucumber with the oil, then add in the herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat, then stir in the vinegar. Give it one last toss, and it’s ready to go! You can also leave this salad in the fridge for a few hours to pickle in the vinegar if you’d like.

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Kale, Chickpea, Pomegranate Salad

A lovely Middle-Eastern (sorta) inspired salad chock full of flavour and nutrients! Served with a tahini-lemon dressing, this salad is a great side to any number of Middle-Eastern stews or rice dishes. If you don’t like kale, feel free to use any other green you prefer!

If you’d like to make this salad a little more substantial for a light lunch or the like, I highly recommend adding in some Bulgur wheat or couscous! If you can’t have gluten, quinoa would also be a good option.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: ~15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large bunches of kale, leaves stripped off the stems and roughly chopped.
  • 1 bunch mint, finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped.
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well.
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • 1/2 red onion, finely minced.
  • 1-2 pieces Arabic bread, cut into small squares.
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil.

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp tahini.
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • salt.
  • pepper.

Cooking Instructions:

First, time to make some easy croutons! Preheat the oven as high as it will go. Toss the bread pieces with a tiny bit of olive oil, spread them out thinly on a baking sheet, and pop in the oven. Bake them for 5-10 minutes, giving them an occasional stir, until nice and crispy. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

Place the kale in a large bowl and massage it gently to help tenderize it. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and toss until well-mixed.

Mix the lemon juice with the tahini, garlic, agave syrup, salt, and pepper. Slowly add in the olive oil while mixing (preferably in a blender or with an immersion blender), until nicely emulsified.

Top the salad with the croutons, dress liberally (or have dressing on the side), and serve!

Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Another salad that incorporates roasted vegetables. A little more effort than usual, but I find that mixing the salad while the roasted vegetables are still warm helps the kale tenderize a little bit more and taste better. This particular salad uses cauliflower, red peppers, and carrots – only the cauliflower is roasted, though!

Gluten-free
Serves 6
Prep time: ~30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large handfuls of chopped kale.
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired, finely grated.
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Tumble all of your cauliflower florets onto the baking sheet, and season well with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and cooked all the way through.

While the cauliflower cooks, it’s time to make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, agave syrup, salt and pepper. You can blend everything together using an immersion blender, food processor, or standing blender, but you can also just mix it all by hand if you don’t mind the dressing being a little less smooth and uniform.

Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. This is a good time to dice up your red pepper and grate your carrots.

When the cauliflower is mostly cooled, but still a little bit warm, place all of your kale into a large bowl and mix in the cauliflower. This will allow the kale to wilt down slightly and become tender and easier to eat. Add in the bell pepper and carrots, and mix those through as well.

Dress well and serve immediately, or serve with dressing on the side to allow everyone to add as much or as little as they like!

Mango and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Coleslaw, at least the traditional creamy kind with mayonnaise, isn’t my favourite. But throw in some fresh fruit and dress it up with a vinaigrette instead, and I’m in heaven! This particular variety uses mango, green apple, red cabbage, and carrots.

Use as much or as little of the dressing as you like.

Raw
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8
Prep time: ~20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe mango.
  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, peeled if desired.
  • 1 red onion.
  • 2 green apples.
  • 1 large handful fresh mint.
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander.
  • 1 lime, juiced.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  • 2/3 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 2 cm square, peeled.

 

Cooking Instructions:

To make the dressing, place the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard, and maple syrup into a food processor/blender/use an immersion blender, and blend until combined.

Slowly stream in the olive oil until nicely emulsified. If you don’t feel like doing that, just do it by hand in a bowl.

Set the dressing aside. Slice the mango and the apple into thin strips. Use either a grater or a mandoline to shred the cabbage, red onion, and carrots. Chop the coriander and mint very finely.

Mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl, and add in the lime juice. Pour in the dressing and toss it all together.

Let sit in the fridge for a little while to let all the flavours mingle together, then serve!

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

What I like to call “hipster salad”. Very easy to make, all things considered, and quite tasty! I’ve made something similar at work before, and it was popular. If you’re serving to a larger group of people, I recommend using brightly coloured vegetables for a bit of contrast with the greens.

Prep time: ~30 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 6-8, generously

Ingredients:

  • Several large handfuls of greens (kale, arugula, spinach, mixed greens, whatever!)
  • An assortment of vegetables – red and yellow bell pepper, eggplant, and zucchini are nice.
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1 cup quinoa (any kind of quinoa will do!)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider or balsamic vinegar.
  • 1 shallot, finely diced/pureed.
  • 2 tbsp mustard (Dijon or whole grain are best).
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup.
  • 1 cup olive oil.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 1-2 cm ginger, peeled and finely diced/pureed.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Slice your vegetables quite thinly, you want them to roast off pretty quickly. Seperate the peppers from the other vegetables – you want to cook them for a little bit longer than everything else. Drizzle everything with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss briefly before popping it in the oven.

While the vegetables roast, time to cook the quinoa. Use 2 cups water for every 1 cup quinoa. Heat in a pot on high heat, with a splash of oil and a little pinch of salt, until boiling. Turn the heat down to low, and wait until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool.

When your vegetables are nicely roasted (and you want your peppers to be nearly black!), take them out of the oven, and set aside to cool as well.

Now, make the dressing: place everything but the oil into a bowl, then slowly pour in the oil, mixing well as you go. You can also use a food processor or an immersion blender if you want it to emulsify perfectly. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired.

When the vegetables and quinoa are mostly cool, place them in a large bowl with the salad greens. Toss everything together. Add the salad dressing just as you serve, or better yet, have the dressing on the side, and allow everyone to add as much dressing as they like.

Kale, Walnut, Pomegranate Salad

A light salad with loads of fresh flavours that work really well together. The dressing used on this salad requires a few more ingredients than your standard vinaigrette, but it’s totally worth it, and goes great with tons of other salads!

Prep time: ~15 minutes
Serves 4-6
Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, washed.
  • 1 large carrot, peeled if desired.
  • 1-2 large handfuls pomegranate seeds.
  • 1-2 large handfuls walnuts, crushed.

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 tsp tahini.
  • 1 clove garlic.
  • pinch of salt.
  • pinch of pepper.
  • 1 tsp maple syrup.

Cooking Instructions:

Remove the kale from the thick stems and slice or tear into approximately bite-sized pieces. Grate (or slice) the carrot into thin strips. Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

For the dressing, pulse everything in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste, and make sure it’s to your liking, adjusting the seasoning if you please.

 

Summer Tomato Salad

This is for anyone who misses summer. Since it’s the middle of January, I thought to myself, “Why not share a great summertime recipe?”

Even then, this is hardly a recipe. Super simple, just enough to compliment the natural flavours of the fresh tomatoes, and really easy to throw together. If you’re having guests over, this is a great little salad to make! Use some great Heirloom tomatoes of all different shapes, sizes, and colours, and people will be impressed, even though you didn’t do all that much!

Prep time: ~5 minutes.
Gluten-free
Raw
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • Several Heirloom tomatoes of different varieties.
  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil.
  • Few leaves basil, sliced or shredded into small pieces.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions (haha)

Slice the tomatoes into roughly the same size and shape, then toss with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. If you’re feeling really fancy, lay them out in a pretty pattern on a plate.

 

Asian-Inspired Noodle Salad

This salad combines a ton of fresh flavors with rice noodles and mushrooms to help it be a little more filling. You can really use whatever mushrooms you like, but I recommend shiitake, oyster, and enokitake. Enokitake look pretty cool, and come in a bunch of different forms, but the cultivated kind have long, thin stalks and little tiny caps.

Prep time: ~15 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ~200 g rice noodles.
  • 3 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced.
  • 2 red chilis, with the seeds and pith removed, finely sliced (use less if you don’t like spicy food!).
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, about thumb sized, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips.
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into a fine julienne (about the size and width of a matchstick).
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced.
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil.
  • 1 small bunch coriander, stalks removed from the leaves.
  • 6 cups leafy greens (spinach, arugula, or bok choy would be nice).

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce/gluten-free soy sauce.
  • 2 tsp sweetener of your choice.
  • 2 tsp sesame oil.
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a pan or wok on high heat. Add the sesame oil, and then toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften. Next, add the chili, garlic, ginger, zucchini, and green onions. Fry until they start to soften as well.

Meanwhile, cook your rice noodles according to package directions. When cooked, strain, and rinse with cold water to prevent them from overcooking and getting soggy.

Place all of your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. When combined, add it to your frying pan/wok, and stir well, coating the vegetables and mushrooms well.

Take your frying pan/wok off the heat, and toss in the rice noodles, coriander, and leafy greens. Give it a quick toss, to mix it all together, and then serve.

Gillis Cucumber Salad

Learned this recipe from my dad a long time ago  after many a hot summer day spent snacking on this. Great for potlucks, picnics, or to accompany anything cooked on the barbecue.

Prep Time: ~70 minutes, including time chilling in the fridge.
Gluten-free
Raw
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large cucumbers, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • Other raw vegetables (sliced red peppers and tomatoes are great).
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic or apple cider work well).
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Toss everything in a bowl, stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavours mingle. Serve slightly cooler than room temperature.

Gillis Pasta Salad

My mom’s recipe, tried and true. Perfect for barbecues, picnics, or just a hot day when you want cool pasta. This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: 90 minutes, including time cooling in the fridge.
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400 g short pasta/gluten-free pasta (rotini, farfalle, etc), cooked, drained, and cooled.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed.
  • 1 green pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped.
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped.
  • 1 ½ cups cherry/grape tomatoes, halved.
  • 1 handful fresh basil, and any other herbs (tarragon, dill, etc).
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tsp orange juice.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Toss everything in a bowl, stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavours mingle. Serve slightly cooler than room temperature.