Citrus Scented Kale

It looks like summer is officially here, and to top off the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, I got my first vegetable share today! Lots of kale, swiss chard, garlic scapes and green onions, a zucchini, dill, and salad greens. Holy smokes, am I ever stoked!

My first recipe using my CSA veggies is a simple kale dish, inspired by one of my coworkers. While she uses a combination of sesame and olive oil to sauté her kale, I wanted something a bit lighter for this hot day. I opted to stick with olive oil but used the same base ingredients she recommended — garlic, green onions, and kale — with a squeeze of fresh orange juice and pulp to finish it off.

This is definitely a summery recipe! The garlic’s toasty flavour complements the brighter flavours of the greens and orange. Plus, it’s a great dish to serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.

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Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

We already know that I love to fancy up my grilled cheese. It’s just so much more delicious to add a few complimentary flavours to an already-amazing combo — bread + cheese = heaven!

But what happens when you combine fresh mozzarella, spinach, avocados, and sundried tomato pesto? It’s a happy tastebud explosion!

I’ve realized recently that I like using olive oil when I’m grilling my sandwiches. The oil is healthier than butter or margarine, it’s vegan, and it gives the bread a pleasant crunch without making the sandwich overly greasy. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Crunchy, cheesy, veggie-packed sandwich!

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Summer Rotini Salad

Pasta salad is a summer classic. It’s refreshing, filling, and can be healthy as long as you choose the right dressing.

One of my favourite things about making pasta salad is that you can usually enjoy it warm as well as cold. In this salad, all of the vegetables are raw, which means that when you combine them with the freshly cooked pasta, they stay juicy and cold. This creates a nice contrast of textures and temperatures if you’re digging in right away, but this salad is equally tasty once the pasta has cooled completely.

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Grilled Hummus Sandwich

I have been getting into grilled sandwiches a lot lately. Think gourmet grilled cheese, but not necessarily with cheese, and filled with lots of veggies and other delicious things. The possibilities when you’re making sandwiches are pretty much endless, but it’s easy to fall into old routines and get bored quickly, which is why I think grilling your sandwiches adds a new and exciting dimension to the whole process!

This particular grilled creation is packed with healthy spinach, avocado, and homemade hummus, with a touch of sundried tomato pesto for extra flavour. I try to stick to whole grain breads as much as I can, to ensure I’m getting healthy fibre and keeping my refined flour intake low. Plus, the texture of grainy bread goes so nicely with the smooth avocado and hummus.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute a different type of bean dip (white bean dip is an awesome sandwich filling!) and totally different veggies, depending on what’s in your fridge and what suits your fancy at the moment. It’s an awesome vegan/vegetarian lunch option for any time of year.

I would love to throw a lunch or dinner party someday with a huge array of breads and fillings, where everyone could build their own sandwich and then have it grilled. Don’t you think that would be fun?!

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Green Yoghurt Smoothie

I have fallen off my breakfast smoothie wagon lately, although I am still eating breakfast daily! (I am very proud of this.) However, I’ve come up with a new and delicious version of a green smoothie, which I’m happy to share today!

The original clean green smoothie recipe I wrote is still the one I revert to most often when I’m reaching for my blender in the morning. I like its light flavour and texture, and the ginger really gives it some zing! This smoothie is pretty different, as it contains both peanut putter (or your choice of substitute nut butter) and yoghurt. It is heavier and creamier, less fruity, but more protein-packed.

Either way, it’s nice to shake things up a bit and try new ways of getting my metabolism up and running in the morning, so this is a welcome addition to my breakfast rotation!

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Foodie Friend Friday #3: Becca’s St. Patrick’s Day Salad

Happy Friday, everyone!

This week, I am so excited to feature a recipe from my friend Becca. Becca is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met when we were 15 and we are kind of like soul sisters… the type of friends who lose sight of one another every once in a while, but pick up wherever we left off when we reconnect. We had a wonderful reunion back in February and I’m glad we’re keeping in touch more these days. I absolutely love this girl, and I wish I could be in her kitchen at all times because the type of food she makes is just my style! Perhaps someday the stars will align and we will live in the same city…

Becca also started her very own food blog recently, so you should check her out at The Cozy Kitchen and spread the food blogging love — especially if you’re on a gluten free diet. She’s got you covered, and then some!

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, she has created a detoxifying salad for you… so if you’re planning on having a few drinks tomorrow, keep this recipe in mind as a pre- or post-celebration meal. You may want to use it to nurse your body back to health later.

If you’d like to see the last two installments of Foodie Friend Friday, click here (#1) and here (#2).

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Chicken Breast Stuffed with Black Kale and Feta

I went grocery shopping today and stumbled upon a new and exciting find: black kale. Kale is one of my absolute favourite greens, so I couldn’t believe my discovery! I also couldn’t believe I’d never seen any other variety of kale before… Needless to say, I snatched a bunch up and headed home, my head full of possibilities.

The black kale is more of a deep purple colour, and — as I soon discovered — turns a very dark purply green after it has been cooked. In terms of flavour, it is a bit earthier and sharper than green varieties of kale, but you can still definitely recognize the distinct, bitter fresh flavour that is characteristic of kale.

After carefully considering my options, I combined chopped kale, fresh goat feta, and sundried tomato pesto and stuffed a huge chicken breast full of the mixture before popping it into the oven. I could hardly wait the 45 minutes it took to bake the chicken, I was so excited, but it was well worth the wait!

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Spinach and Feta Scramble

When it comes to omelettes, spinach and feta are a classic combination. But when I’m not in the mood to wait for an omelette to cook (read: when I’m too hungry to wait 5 minutes), I toss the ingredients into my frying pan and whip up a plate of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta instead.

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