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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Zucchini Berry Breakfast Muffins

I have been baking oatmeal into lots of baked goods lately, in an attempt to create a variety of reasonably healthy and filling breakfast options. Having food ready to go in the morning has been really helpful in getting my days off to a good start the last few weeks, and this recipe is no exception.

These muffins are delightful because they combine hearty oats with fresh seasonal raspberries and blueberries. There’s nothing better than baking with fresh fruit, and I certainly miss berries in the Fall and Winter when they’re not as juicy (or affordable). Plus, the zucchini in these muffins keeps them moist and lighter than the average oatmeal muffin, so these won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Perfect for a summer morning!

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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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Simple Summer Salad

Oh boy have I been bad with my blogging lately! I was expecting to find that I would have more time to cook and blog once summer came around, but I’ve been surprised with how little of both I’ve managed to fit into my schedule.

On the bright side, the things I have been cooking have been really simple, fresh, and tasty, just like this salad I’m about to share. I visited my cousin in Toronto a few weeks ago and she turned me onto “chunky” salads, i.e. salads without greens in them. There’s something to be said about biting into nice big cubes of fresh summer veggies — especially when there’s also cheese involved!

This salad reminds me of a traditional Greek salad, but the choice of cheeses and the inclusion of avocado give it a bit of a new twist.

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Roasted Asparagus

Springtime is asparagus season, so I’ve been on a big kick lately! There’s nothing like fresh asparagus — I especially love the thin, crunchy kind you can get at farmer’s market. They definitely beat the big, meaty, mass-produced stuff any time!

This is one of my absolute favourite ways to prepare asparagus. Generally speaking, roasting any vegetable tends to make its natural flavour even richer and deeper, and requires minimal effort. I find that this technique works especially well for asparagus, as it gives it a wonderful texture as well as enhancing its flavour. I also like that it is super quick and easy, so I can enjoy these on short notice or when I’m in a hurry.

In other news, I’ve signed up for a CSA share again this summer, this time with a friend, and I am so excited to start getting fresh local produce delivered to my home! If you’re not familiar with how Community Supported Agriculture works, read up on it here.

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Green Giant Pasta

When I’m in a hurry to get something nutritious and filling in my stomach after a long day, I often turn to pasta dishes. I tend to load up my bowl of noodles with whatever “extras” I have in my fridge, and most of the time, that includes lots of vegetables! In fact, I try to keep my pasta-to-veggies ratio at about 1:1, so that I’m filling up on vitamin and mineral-rich foods and keeping my carb intake reasonable.

This pasta dish combines fresh asparagus and frozen green peas with loads of fresh basil pesto — it is bursting with flavour and nutrients, and takes a jiffy to prepare! With so much green goodness in my bowl, I couldn’t help but name it accordingly.

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