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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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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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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Foodie Friend Friday #5: Brandon’s Green Tea Extravaganza

This is the fifth and final installment of my March experiment, Foodie Friend Friday, and I can tell you that we are going out with a bang! If you would like to see what my other friends have been cooking this March, check out the following recipes:

This week, I am featuring my friend Brandon’s cuisine. Brandon is one of the best friends I’ve made during my undergraduate degree. We met three years ago, when we both got hired as orientation coordinators for our university’s orientation week, and we’ve been friends ever since!

One of the defining aspects of our friendship is our deep and undying love for good food. Before Brandon selfishly abandoned me to move back to Toronto, we would get together, cook something delicious (like this yummy chicken), and watch mildly offensive television together. When we weren’t busy being weirdos at home, we would go out to restaurants where we would both get carried away with our meals and rant and rave about them like two food-crazed loonies. Essentially, we were made for one another.

All this is to say that Brandon was a natural choice for me to ask to write up a tasty recipe for my blog. But of course, in true Brandon fashion, I opened my inbox today to not one, but three recipes from the guy. Brandon is not the type to do something halfway, and clearly this was no exception. The great news is that he has put together an amazing themed feast that is sure to wow the lucky people you make this for!

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Oven Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a quintessentially French comfort food: roasted veggies and tomato sauce come together in this zesty, comforting dish. Somehow, the French can even make comfort food sophisticated, don’t you think?!

I have loved ratatouille for as long as I can remember. The soft vegetables have loads of flavour and the tomato sauce that brings them all together is sweet and tangy. Ratatouille can be prepared on the stove top or in the oven, but I find the latter method gives the vegetables  a nicer texture and richer flavour.

I dare you to look at this and not want to gobble it all up!

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White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Sage

I love delicious fresh recipes that literally take 5 minutes to make. This is one of them! White kidney beans (otherwise known as cannelloni beans) are naturally soft, so you don’t even need to get out the food processor to make this chunky and creamy dip; a fork and some elbow grease will do.

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