Mix & Match @SanJTamari Sauces for an Asian Twist This Grilling Season

Recipes are all courtesy of San J. For more information on San-J products and to find great gluten-free recipe ideas, please visit their website or Facebook page!

The bright sunny days and ever-warmer evenings mean one thing: grilling season has arrived! San-J is inviting everyone to fire up their gas, charcoal or even electric grills and get ready to create endlessly innovative recipes with their whole line of premium, gluten-free Asian cooking sauces. Dishes will get an instant kick of flavour from the sweet, tangy and slightly spicy Asian BBQ, Mongolian and Orange cooking sauces, livening up your family barbecues or dinners-for-two on the patio in a wink.

Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa

San-J definitely has your summer recipe needs covered too – with brand new ideas for main meals and side dishes created by Chef Carol Kicinski. Try the fresh and fruity Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa (hint: this also works with tofu!), an Asian Pasta Salad with sweet Mongolian Sauce and a burst of Sriracha heat or a Fire Roasted Grilled Vegetable Salad packed with the best of Summer’s produce and tossed with a lemon and Asian BBQ Sauce dressing.

Don’t feel like grilling (or the sky rained on your parade?) stay tuned this week for a vegetarian, gluten free recipe of mine using San-J’s Orange and Teriyaki cooking sauces!

Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa
Serves 6
½ cup plus 1 tbsp San-J Orange Sauce, use divided
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 ¼ – 1 ½ tsp chipotle chili powder, use divided
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat
3 oranges, peeled and chopped (or use 5 clementines)
½ red onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ½ cup San-J Orange Sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp chipotle chili powder. 
  2. Pour into a large food storage bag, add the chicken thighs and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of San-J Orange Sauce, chopped oranges, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and ¼ – ½ tsp chipotle chili powder (depending on hot spicy you want it). Reserve.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high and brush the grates with oil. 
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. 
  6. Pat the chicken dry and grill covered for 6 – 8 minutes per side. Serve with the citrus salsa.

Asian Pasta Salad
Serves 8, vegetarian
1 pound gluten free pasta (like penne or fusilli), cooked jusst to al dente and drained
¾ cup julienned carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ red cabbage, julienned
8 oz (1 small can) sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo to make this vegan)
¼ cup San-J Mongolian Sauce
2 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp lime juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with all the vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, San-J Mongolian Sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir to coat. Add the cilantro and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.



Fire Roasted Grilled Vegetable Salad
Serves 6, vegan
3 tbsp San-J Asian BBQ Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
6 ears corn, shucked but left whole
4 green onions (I added some green garlic too!)
2 poblano peppers (I used cubanelles and added a pinch of ancho chili powder because I couldn’t find poblanos)
2 red bell peppers
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups arugula (or baby spinach)

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the San-J Asian BBQ Sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk together. Set aside.
  2. Heat grill to high. Mist the corn lightly with canola oil and place directly on the grate. 
  3. Roast, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mist the green onions with oil and roast for 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop, and add to the corn kernels.
  5. Place the peppers on the grill and roast, turning occasionally, until the skin is fully blackened, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill, place in a bowl and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, then skin, halve and seed. Chop the flesh and add to the corn along with the cucumber, tomato, and arugula.
  6. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate, covered, until serving time.

Note: San-J provided me with samples of their sauces for purposes of testing and review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Find San-J online here
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Summer Salad Recipes with #Marzetti Simply Dressed

May was National Salad Month. I missed the boat on that one, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying my favourite meal regularly! I love how versatile salads can be, easily composed from anything – from the (not so) plain-jane greens to the spectrum of proteins, a rainbow of fruit and vegetables, and/or a field of grains. Unlike my mom and I (the veggie-holics in the family), many Canadians don’t eat enough vegetables. That’s a shame, since with July nearing with it’s bounty of fresh, local produce there’s no better time to be chowing down on it!

The problem with most salads is the dressing. Most commercially prepared dressings are packed with fillers, additives and preservatives, which makes it difficult for the ever-growing number of Canadian label-readers to ensure that the products they buy are wholesome and simple. Bridging the dietary need for more vegetables with the desire for simplicity are new Simply Dressed® salad dressings from Marzetti®™.

http://www.marzettikitchens.com/

Simply Dressed® refrigerated salad dressings are made with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, canola oil and other fresh, bright ingredients. They have many gluten free options too What they don’t have are preservatives, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, MSG or artificial flavours. In Canada, we can find 354 ml bottles in six flavours in our stores: Balsamic, Ranch, Ceasar, Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Greek Feta. All of them cost around $3.99, and are found in the produce section of the grocery store with the refrigerated salad dressings. Hungry Canadians can find the full variety at Loblaws, Superstore, Zehrs, Valumart, Your Independent Grocer, Coppa’s Fresh Market, Concord Foods and FreshCo.

The Marzetti®™ team sent me a delicious assortment of salad recipes to share, so take a look below – you’re bound to find something to make you love your veggies!

First up is the Exotic Vegetable and Chickpea Salad. The exotic flavours of this veggie-packed, greens-free salad will wow your next dinner guests, even if it’s just your family! I bring the farmer’s market home to make this, since local cauliflower, beets, cucumber, red peppers, onions and feta are a world of flavour onto their own. Paired with nutty chickpeas, briny olives and and Simply Dressed® Greek Feta Salad Dressing, I dare you to not take a second bite! The main change I made to the original was roasting the beets alongside the cauliflower for more sweetness and eliminating the roasting oil – there’s enough richness as it is.

Exotic Vegetable and Chickpea Salad
Serves 8
2 large golden beets
4 cups fresh cauliflower florets
3/4 cup Simply Dressed® Greek Feta Salad Dressing
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, slivered
1 cup fresh parsley
1 cup diced cucumber
One (15 oz.) can chick peas, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup slivered and pitted Kalamata olives (I would use sun-dried olives for richer flavour)
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese (I suggest goat or sheep’s milk feta)
fresh dill, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. 
  2. Wrap beets in foil and place on a small baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Spread cauliflower in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 
  4. Place in the oven alongside the beets and roast both for 15-18 minutes longer, until cauliflower is golden and beets are tender. 
  5. Cool slightly, then peel and dice the beets. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine Simply Dressed® Greek Feta Salad Dressing with ground cumin. 
  7. Add all remaining ingredients and toss well. Garnish with fresh dill.
  8. The salad is best served right after it is tossed.

Up next is the Layered Multi-Grain Salad. Serve up layers of goodness in this scrumptious salad, which contains brown rice, quinoa, celery, carrots, edamame, dried apricots, queso fresco and Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing. This is a perfect use for brown Basmati, since it adds a delicate but definite flavour. If, like me, you don’t groove on quinoa, millet or amaranth make a great substitute.

Layered Multi-Grain Salad
Serves 10

1 cup Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked red or white quinoa
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup grated carrots
1 1/2 cups edamame, thawed
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup crumbled chevre or feta cheese
6 cups of your favourite salad greens
  1. Transfer each grain to a separate bowl and toss each with 2 tbsp dressing. Season each with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Line up large canning jars (for individual, portable portions) or use a large clear bowl and begin to layer the salad as desired.
  3. If using individual jars, place 2 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of each jar before beginning layers of vegetables and grains. Leave 1 1/2” open space at the top of each jar. To serve, secure lid and shake the jar to distribute the dressing.
  4. With a large bowl, pour the remaining dressing over the assembled salad and gently open spaces with a chopstick to allow the dressing to seep into the salad.  

When I saw this recipe for Crunchy Apple Chicken Salad, all I could think of was my grandma’s recipe – a very similar combination of crunchy, sweet and savoury items like roasted chicken, Granny Smith apples, celery, dates, pecans, cabbage and salad greens. Combined with  Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing with chicken, it’s a standout light lunch.

Crunchy Apple Chicken Salad
Serves 4
1/2 cup Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing
2 cups cooked skinless chicken breast, shredded
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped dates or raisins
2 cups chopped cabbage (I suggest Savoy or Napa)
4 cups mixed salad greens
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup coarsely grated (or diced) old white Cheddar

  1. In a large bowl, combine Simply Dressed Balsamic Salad Dressing, chicken, apples, celery, and dates.
  2. Add cabbage and salad greens and gently toss. Season to taste.
  3. Top with pecans and cheese and serve.

This Arugula and Fennel Pomegranate Salad is my family’s personal favourite, and allows us to use fresh, snappy arugula from our garden. The sweet, slightly licorice-y fennel, pomegranates and Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Salad Dressing all speak to my stepfamily’s Italian roots, while the crusted goat cheese adds texture and a great tang.

Arugula and Fennel Pomegranate Salad
Serves 6
1 cup panko
6 oz. goat cheese, cut into 6 discs
2 tbsp lightly flavoured olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, outer layer removed and thinly sliced
8 oz. arugula
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Salad Dressing
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios

  1. Place panko in a shallow dish. Roll each piece of goat cheese completely in panko and transfer to a plate. 
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan and add goat cheese in one layer.
  3. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer cheese to a plate and keep warm (don’t cover or you’ll lose the crunch!).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine fennel, arugula, onion and dressing, tossing gently. 
  5. Divide salad mixture onto individual plates and sprinkle each salad with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. 
  6. Place warm goat cheese on top of each salad and serve.​


I’m not a huge fan of watermelon, but I know lots of people who will love this Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad. A simple salad made of watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint and Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing makes for an unexpected start to a summer meal

Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad
Serves 4
½ cup Simply Dressed® Balsamic Salad Dressing

1½ lbs. cubed watermelon (about 5 cups)
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese (I suggest goat’s milk feta)
½ cup mint, thinly sliced (or whole if small leaves)
½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  1. Place watermelon in a medium-sized salad bowl or serving platter.
  2. Top with red onion, feta and mint.
  3. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle with Simply Dressed Balsamic Balsamic Salad Dressing.

Finally, there’s the Chopped Spinach, Mint and Cracked Wheat Salad! Hearty, fibre-full bulgur, vibrant spinach, mint and scallions, salty feta and toasted almonds get a punch of fruity flavour from dried apricots, pomegranate seeds and Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Dressing. I added a touch of saffron for colour and more exoticism, used baby spinach and my favourite local goat’s feta cheese, but of course feel free to make the recipe as written! If you like tabbouleh, try this twist, you won’t be disappointed.

Chopped Spinach, Mint and Cracked Wheat Salad 
Serves 10
1 1/2 cups water
pinch saffron (optional)
1 cup bulgur wheat
3/4 cup Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Dressing
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped mint
5 oz. chopped spinach
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese (ideally goat’s milk feta)

  1. Combine the water and saffron in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. 
  2. Add bulgur, remove from heat and cover. Let stand 1 hour.
  3. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and pour 1/2 cup Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Dressing overtop.
  4. Fold through and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine mint, spinach and scallions in a large bowl. Fold in the bulgur.
  6. Top with apricots, pomegranate seeds, almonds, feta and remaining dressing.
  7. Toss gently and serve

“Like” Marzetti on Facebook and be sure to check out their Pinterest and www.marzettikitchens.com for more recipes!


Disclaimer: This post was solicited by Marzetti®™. I did not receive monetary compensation however I was provided with free product for purposes of testing.

Cauliflower and Tomato Salad @HuntsChef #GuestPost

I’d like to introduce Julie, today’s guest blogger. Julie is a Midwestern gal from Chicago, IL who writes on behalf of Hunt’s. Like most of us, she is a lover of warm weather and outdoor Summer grilling. When not grilling, her favorite meals are homemade meatloaf and anything with a blue cheese topping! Please check out the Hunt’s website for great tomato recipes perfect for meals with family and friends.

Summer cookouts are the best.  I argue there is nothing better than lounging on the back porch with dinner on the grill, kids playing in the freshly-mowed yard, and neighbors stopping by to say hello.  My husband and I frequently invite friends over for cookouts, which means an abundance of steaks, grilled chicken, and bratwurst in our diets.  As much as all of those foods make me salivate, I always try to balance dense foods out with lighter side dishes.

A new favorite on our porch is Cauliflower and Tomato salad.  This vegetarian-friendly side dish option is light, but still retains a ton of flavor.  The lack of cream or meat makes it perfect for picnics or any occasion where your food may be sitting out for a while.  I can vouch that it pairs amazingly with grilled chicken and a glass of lemonade.
Cauliflower and Tomato Salad
Serves 6
2 cups fresh cauliflower florets
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or to taste)
½ tsp garlic salt
pinch ground black pepper
  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving ¼ cup liquid. Discard remaining liquid.
  2. Combine drained tomatoes, cauliflower, beans and onion in large bowl.
  3. In second bowl, whisk together reserved liquid, oil, parsley, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over vegetables; toss to coat.


Julie’s Notes
  • Other veggies are totally optional.  I’ve tossed in cucumbers and peppers before, which turned out great.
  • I’ve always wanted to try this out with a touch of garlic, but unfortunately my husband is not a fan.  If you’re feeling adventurous, toss your own spin on the dish and let us know how it worked out in the comments.
My Notes
  • If possible, cook your own chickpeas or buy no-salt-added canned versions
  • Use garlic powder to cut down the sodium, since the Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes are pre-salted.
  • Garlic lovers like myself can use Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes Fire Roasted With Garlic
  • I would blanch the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes before making this so they both absorb the dressing and aren’t so texturally distinct (not to mention they’ll be plastic-fork stabbable!).
  • Add a touch of fresh dill for extra pep
  • Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for more flavour – especially if you add black olives too!
Amount per Serving
Calories 128
Total fat 8 g
Saturated fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 434 mg
Carbohydrate 12 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A   3%
Vitamin C   33%
Calcium   4%
Iron   7% 
This is not a sponsored post, I do not receive any compensation in any way. 

Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad

Any Guesses?With the warmer months approaching (soon… maybe. Please??) my thoughts are already on the garden. I just finished sorting out my “direct sow” seeds (this year it’s Lutz beetsstrawberry spinach and a rainbow carrot mix), and my heirloom tomato seeds are well on their way. This year’s crop, if Mother Nature is kind, will feature tiny Red Currants, rich purple Gypsies and the lovably hideous Riesetomates, possibly with another group of Indigo Roses if I can find space (and the store that sells the seedlings)!

Of course, at the moment we’re still relying on supermarket produce, which tries to emulate their fresh-from-the-garden counterparts but often comes up short. Lettuce priced at $2.47 a head is crenated and half-slimy, tomatoes are overpriced tennis balls and spongy zucchini is the size of a finger. But still, the call of the sun and the slowly increasing temperatures is a strong one, and I can’t help but crave more fresh veggies and cool, crisp salads.

To compensate for the lack of our market’s quality (and the still-brisk evenings), I turned to the cook’s friend – heat. Just like roasting under-ripe or out-of-season tomatoes concentrates and enhances their flavour, adding a warm, hearty, spicy topping (in my case, a taco filling) to cold veggies, followed by cool, refreshing yoghurt and lime creates a whole new flavour and texture sensation that is so much more than the sum of it’s parts.

I know most taco salads have a tortilla shell (or at least chips), and you can certainly add those, or cooked brown rice, to beef up the bowl a bit more. I opted to have a small bowl of garlicky millet on the side, since for some reason grains on cold greens weirds me out. Plus, I never really liked hard tacos anyway, and the soft ones turn to mush too fast! Either way, this salad is a light yet hearty addition to the Mexican (or Tex-Mex) table, and is a nice way to herald Cinco de Mayo with the rest of the Holiday Food Blog Parties group! Take a look at the delectable treats on display:

1. Alfajores from Roxana’s Home Baking
2. Spicy Fish Tacos with Avocado Yogurt Sauce from Crumb Blog
3. Classic Flan from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
4. Dulce de Leche Milkshake with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream from Chocolate Moosey
5. Lime Margarita Bars from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
6. Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche from Magnolia Days
7. Tropical Fiesta Cocktail from Hungry Couple NYC
8. Paletas – Mexican Popsicles from Pineapple and Coconut
9. Bizcochitos Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
10. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Gotta Get Baked
11. Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad from What Smells So Good?
12. Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake from Kelly Bakes
13. Queso Blanco from The Messy Baker
14. Gorditas with Picadillo from Juanita’s Cocina
15. Strawberry Margerita Slurpee from Chocolate Chocolate and More

Vegan Taco Salad

Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad
Serves 1
2/3 cup “ground beef” style crumbles (I used Yves’ Ground Round Original, but SOL Cuisine‘s is GF if you need that)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp
garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp oregano
Pinch ancho chili powder
Pinch chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp smoked salt
1 tbsp ketchup
1/3 cup water


Topping
2 tbsp plain soy yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt)
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 clove garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
 

Salad
6 cups mixed crisp greens (I use a blend of romaine and iceberg)
1 plum tomato, diced

“Meat”:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and simmer 15 minutes. Cool while making the topping and the salad.

Topping:

  1. Whisk the ingredients together in a small dish. Set aside

Assembly:

  1. Fill a large bowl with greens.
  2. Top with tomato, “meat” mixture and lime-garlic yoghurt and serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 225.5
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 970.2 mg
Total Carbs: 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 22.2 g
Protein: 24.3 g

Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad

Any Guesses?With the warmer months approaching (soon… maybe. Please??) my thoughts are already on the garden. I just finished sorting out my “direct sow” seeds (this year it’s Lutz beetsstrawberry spinach and a rainbow carrot mix), and my heirloom tomato seeds are well on their way. This year’s crop, if Mother Nature is kind, will feature tiny Red Currants, rich purple Gypsies and the lovably hideous Riesetomates, possibly with another group of Indigo Roses if I can find space (and the store that sells the seedlings)!

Of course, at the moment we’re still relying on supermarket produce, which tries to emulate their fresh-from-the-garden counterparts but often comes up short. Lettuce priced at $2.47 a head is crenated and half-slimy, tomatoes are overpriced tennis balls and spongy zucchini is the size of a finger. But still, the call of the sun and the slowly increasing temperatures is a strong one, and I can’t help but crave more fresh veggies and cool, crisp salads.

To compensate for the lack of our market’s quality (and the still-brisk evenings), I turned to the cook’s friend – heat. Just like roasting under-ripe or out-of-season tomatoes concentrates and enhances their flavour, adding a warm, hearty, spicy topping (in my case, a taco filling) to cold veggies, followed by cool, refreshing yoghurt and lime creates a whole new flavour and texture sensation that is so much more than the sum of it’s parts.

I know most taco salads have a tortilla shell (or at least chips), and you can certainly add those, or cooked brown rice, to beef up the bowl a bit more. I opted to have a small bowl of garlicky millet on the side, since for some reason grains on cold greens weirds me out. Plus, I never really liked hard tacos anyway, and the soft ones turn to mush too fast! Either way, this salad is a light yet hearty addition to the Mexican (or Tex-Mex) table, and is a nice way to herald Cinco de Mayo with the rest of the Holiday Food Blog Parties group! Take a look at the delectable treats on display:

1. Alfajores from Roxana’s Home Baking
2. Spicy Fish Tacos with Avocado Yogurt Sauce from Crumb Blog
3. Classic Flan from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
4. Dulce de Leche Milkshake with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream from Chocolate Moosey
5. Lime Margarita Bars from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
6. Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche from Magnolia Days
7. Tropical Fiesta Cocktail from Hungry Couple NYC
8. Paletas – Mexican Popsicles from Pineapple and Coconut
9. Bizcochitos Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
10. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Gotta Get Baked
11. Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad from What Smells So Good?
12. Gluten Free Tres Leches Cake from Kelly Bakes
13. Queso Blanco from The Messy Baker
14. Gorditas with Picadillo from Juanita’s Cocina
15. Strawberry Margerita Slurpee from Chocolate Chocolate and More

Vegan Taco Salad

Super Simple Vegan Taco Salad
Serves 1
2/3 cup “ground beef” style crumbles (I used Yves’ Ground Round Original, but SOL Cuisine‘s is GF if you need that)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp
garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp oregano
Pinch ancho chili powder
Pinch chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp smoked salt
1 tbsp ketchup
1/3 cup water


Topping
2 tbsp plain soy yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt)
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 clove garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
 

Salad
6 cups mixed crisp greens (I use a blend of romaine and iceberg)
1 plum tomato, diced

“Meat”:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and simmer 15 minutes. Cool while making the topping and the salad.

Topping:

  1. Whisk the ingredients together in a small dish. Set aside

Assembly:

  1. Fill a large bowl with greens.
  2. Top with tomato, “meat” mixture and lime-garlic yoghurt and serve.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 225.5
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 970.2 mg
Total Carbs: 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 22.2 g
Protein: 24.3 g

Italian Salami Pasta Salad with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

It’s a Civic Holiday here in most of Canada, which essentially means an excuse to give us all a long weekend in August because hey – we don’t have a real holiday to give us the day off! We’re spending our “extra day” finally finishing up the menial chores in the garden, basement, garage and kitchen, but I know a good amount of my fellow Canadians that are still living it up at the cottage, boat or at family gatherings and picnics. 
Yesterday, I shared one of the goodies we brought to my stepbrother’s recent engagement party – Julia Child’s Oeufs à la Diable. Since my mom is fairly well known in our family as being a wonderful cook (I know, I lucked out with a foodie for a mom), she was also asked to bring a pasta or potato salad to round out the already gratuitous spread – which included the aforementioned eggs, veal scaloppine, chicken in some sort of gooey cream sauce, bread, coleslaw, garden salad, antipasti, cocktail shrimp, steamed vegetables with olive oil and herbs, corn on the cob and a full dessert table featuring (amongst other things) gelato, cannoli and a three tiered cake. Plus a very well stocked bar (we’re talking 2 cases of wine and 6 of beer in addition to the hard stuff). You’d think that they were serving a hundred (or two) people – in reality, only 75 were invited, and out of those a grand total of 41 came. Needless to say, we are now the grand recipients of a lot of leftovers! 
Thankfully, while the chicken and veal are a bit on the “rich and gloopy” side for everyday dinners (though my stepbrother took them for lunches all last week), we also got a full tray of veggies that my mom’s been using for dinner and that I pureed into a soup for her lunches, as well as the leftovers of this pasta salad. I’m kind of proud of this one – its full of sauteed veggies, with relatively little pasta, and a touch of flavour packed black pepper hard salami that I had done a product demo for a few months back. It’s also not a creamy salad – around here we’re not huge fans of the mayo in general, so I whipped up a bright, lemony Parmesan vinaigrette that I adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks for the mixture instead. Not having any eggs, it was safe to keep out on the buffet with the rest of the bread and green salads, and it also lasts longer in the fridge as leftovers! With the meat, pasta and veggies, it’s also a light meal in itself which is nice in the throes of Summer when you really want something cool for lunch.
While I never told my mom that the recipe wasn’t from a cookbook but that I had written it (she has a “thing” about trusting my food around other people 0_o), she never asked – she just assumed one of the books I had for review was the source. Granted, mom has been incredibly generous with her palate, opinion, pantry and occasionally waistline when it comes to appeasing my foodie tendencies… but you’d think she’d be trusting my own recipes by now!
It’s been a looooong time since I last participated in Ruth’s blog event Presto Pasta Nights, but this salad was just so summery that I had to share. Be sure to check out her blog (she’s host this week) on Friday for all the other noodley nosh!

Italian Salami Pasta Salad
Makes 16 generous servings
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¾” pieces
1 zucchini, cut into ¾” cubes
¼ cup dry white wine
¾ lb spicy Italian hard salami, cut into ¾” cubes (we used this one by Le Sauciflard)
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1 pound tri-color rotini (we used Giardino)
1 tbsp salt
½ cup drained chopped black olives, optional
½ cup Parmesan vinaigrette (see below)
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add broccoli, red pepper, zucchini and wine; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add salami and tomatoes; toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
  5. Cook pasta in a large pot of water with the 1 tbsp salt. Drain and immediately add to the vegetables.
  6. Add olives and dressing. Stir to coat well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Amount Per Serving (including olives)

Calories: 223.6
Total Fat: 8.4 g
Cholesterol: 21.9 mg
Sodium: 418.5 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 10.6 g

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette
1 cup, 16 (1-tablespoon) servings
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Whisk all ingredients except for oil until well combined.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture is combined.
  3. Store dressing in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Amount Per Tablespoon
Calories: 41.4
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 1.2 mg
Sodium: 29.2 mg
Total Carbs: 1.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Italian Salami Pasta Salad with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette

It’s a Civic Holiday here in most of Canada, which essentially means an excuse to give us all a long weekend in August because hey – we don’t have a real holiday to give us the day off! We’re spending our “extra day” finally finishing up the menial chores in the garden, basement, garage and kitchen, but I know a good amount of my fellow Canadians that are still living it up at the cottage, boat or at family gatherings and picnics. 
Yesterday, I shared one of the goodies we brought to my stepbrother’s recent engagement party – Julia Child’s Oeufs à la Diable. Since my mom is fairly well known in our family as being a wonderful cook (I know, I lucked out with a foodie for a mom), she was also asked to bring a pasta or potato salad to round out the already gratuitous spread – which included the aforementioned eggs, veal scaloppine, chicken in some sort of gooey cream sauce, bread, coleslaw, garden salad, antipasti, cocktail shrimp, steamed vegetables with olive oil and herbs, corn on the cob and a full dessert table featuring (amongst other things) gelato, cannoli and a three tiered cake. Plus a very well stocked bar (we’re talking 2 cases of wine and 6 of beer in addition to the hard stuff). You’d think that they were serving a hundred (or two) people – in reality, only 75 were invited, and out of those a grand total of 41 came. Needless to say, we are now the grand recipients of a lot of leftovers! 
Thankfully, while the chicken and veal are a bit on the “rich and gloopy” side for everyday dinners (though my stepbrother took them for lunches all last week), we also got a full tray of veggies that my mom’s been using for dinner and that I pureed into a soup for her lunches, as well as the leftovers of this pasta salad. I’m kind of proud of this one – its full of sauteed veggies, with relatively little pasta, and a touch of flavour packed black pepper hard salami that I had done a product demo for a few months back. It’s also not a creamy salad – around here we’re not huge fans of the mayo in general, so I whipped up a bright, lemony Parmesan vinaigrette that I adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks for the mixture instead. Not having any eggs, it was safe to keep out on the buffet with the rest of the bread and green salads, and it also lasts longer in the fridge as leftovers! With the meat, pasta and veggies, it’s also a light meal in itself which is nice in the throes of Summer when you really want something cool for lunch.
While I never told my mom that the recipe wasn’t from a cookbook but that I had written it (she has a “thing” about trusting my food around other people 0_o), she never asked – she just assumed one of the books I had for review was the source. Granted, mom has been incredibly generous with her palate, opinion, pantry and occasionally waistline when it comes to appeasing my foodie tendencies… but you’d think she’d be trusting my own recipes by now!
It’s been a looooong time since I last participated in Ruth’s blog event Presto Pasta Nights, but this salad was just so summery that I had to share. Be sure to check out her blog (she’s host this week) on Friday for all the other noodley nosh!

Italian Salami Pasta Salad
Makes 16 generous servings
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¾” pieces
1 zucchini, cut into ¾” cubes
¼ cup dry white wine
¾ lb spicy Italian hard salami, cut into ¾” cubes (we used this one by Le Sauciflard)
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1 pound tri-color rotini (we used Giardino)
1 tbsp salt
½ cup drained chopped black olives, optional
½ cup Parmesan vinaigrette (see below)
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add broccoli, red pepper, zucchini and wine; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add salami and tomatoes; toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
  5. Cook pasta in a large pot of water with the 1 tbsp salt. Drain and immediately add to the vegetables.
  6. Add olives and dressing. Stir to coat well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Amount Per Serving (including olives)

Calories: 223.6
Total Fat: 8.4 g
Cholesterol: 21.9 mg
Sodium: 418.5 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 10.6 g

Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette
1 cup, 16 (1-tablespoon) servings
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Whisk all ingredients except for oil until well combined.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture is combined.
  3. Store dressing in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Amount Per Tablespoon
Calories: 41.4
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 1.2 mg
Sodium: 29.2 mg
Total Carbs: 1.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Maple – Dijon Salmon Salad – #RecipeRedux

In the northern hemisphere, at least, there has been no denying that the past month or so has definitely fulfilled the requirements of being Summer. We’ve had a fair run of 30-degree-plus days around here, which while thoroughly enjoyed by people like me (who pretty much freeze year round) can be a bit oppressive when they’re on the more muggy side of things. Some days even the thought of eating is too much, let alone firing up the stove, oven or grill to cook something. Smoothies, ice cream and freezies cool you off for a little while, but don’t really give you sustenance to keep enjoying the weather. Sometimes, you need a no-cook meal.
This month for Recipe Redux, we’re beating that heat with “no cook meals” with all the fresh goodness of in-season herbs and vegetables. Without cooking them, their pure characteristics shine through and their flavours are bright and strong! I chose to toss together a simple, crisp salad full of sweet and spicy elements and topped with one of my family’s favourite fish – salmon.
I used a pouched variety of wild pink salmon so I didn’t have to fire up the grill, although ideally a freshly cooked fillet would have graced the plate. While the texture changes with pre-packaged fish (some would say suffers), it still has the goodness of the fresh fish it’s made from, and its hard to argue with convenience. Canned salmon’s a great option too, especially sockeye with the bones for extra calcium! If you’re worried about the mercury in canned fish, tests by the FDA tests found the mercury content in albacore (tuna) to be 35x greater than canned salmon’s!

What is the Recipe ReDux?

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Maple – Dijon Salmon Salad
Serves 1
3 tbsp maple syrup
dash hot sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 minced egyptian onion bulb (or 1/2 tbsp minced shallot)
50g radicchio, sliced
3 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1 (5-oz) Bumble Bee® Premium Pink Salmon Skinless & Boneless Pouch

  1. For dressing, whisk together the maple syrup, hot sauce, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, salt, pepper and minced Egyptian onion (or shallot).
  2. Toss the radicchio and lettuce together in a bowl.
  3. Top with sliced onion and salmon.
  4. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 397.7 
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 71.3 mg
Sodium: 927.1 mg
Total Carbs: 58.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 36.7 g

Maple – Dijon Salmon Salad – #RecipeRedux

In the northern hemisphere, at least, there has been no denying that the past month or so has definitely fulfilled the requirements of being Summer. We’ve had a fair run of 30-degree-plus days around here, which while thoroughly enjoyed by people like me (who pretty much freeze year round) can be a bit oppressive when they’re on the more muggy side of things. Some days even the thought of eating is too much, let alone firing up the stove, oven or grill to cook something. Smoothies, ice cream and freezies cool you off for a little while, but don’t really give you sustenance to keep enjoying the weather. Sometimes, you need a no-cook meal.
This month for Recipe Redux, we’re beating that heat with “no cook meals” with all the fresh goodness of in-season herbs and vegetables. Without cooking them, their pure characteristics shine through and their flavours are bright and strong! I chose to toss together a simple, crisp salad full of sweet and spicy elements and topped with one of my family’s favourite fish – salmon.
I used a pouched variety of wild pink salmon so I didn’t have to fire up the grill, although ideally a freshly cooked fillet would have graced the plate. While the texture changes with pre-packaged fish (some would say suffers), it still has the goodness of the fresh fish it’s made from, and its hard to argue with convenience. Canned salmon’s a great option too, especially sockeye with the bones for extra calcium! If you’re worried about the mercury in canned fish, tests by the FDA tests found the mercury content in albacore (tuna) to be 35x greater than canned salmon’s!

What is the Recipe ReDux?

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Maple – Dijon Salmon Salad
Serves 1
3 tbsp maple syrup
dash hot sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 minced egyptian onion bulb (or 1/2 tbsp minced shallot)
50g radicchio, sliced
3 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1 (5-oz) Bumble Bee® Premium Pink Salmon Skinless & Boneless Pouch

  1. For dressing, whisk together the maple syrup, hot sauce, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, salt, pepper and minced Egyptian onion (or shallot).
  2. Toss the radicchio and lettuce together in a bowl.
  3. Top with sliced onion and salmon.
  4. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 397.7 
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 71.3 mg
Sodium: 927.1 mg
Total Carbs: 58.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 36.7 g

A Salad for All Seasons

One of the things I struggle with the most in the Fall and Winter months is the dearth of lush, vibrant and (above all) flavourful produce. True, these days it’s possible to buy bright red tomatoes in February, strawberries in December and apples in any month with a vowel, but unless you’re a globetrotter and happen to be in the correct hemisphere at the time, out-of-season fruit and veggies are just… bleh. While you can partially escape the lack of flavour with judicious use of frozen goods, the fact remains that you need to then cook them to maintain any sort of passable texture – and (excepting peas and corn which never seem to “die”) that’s a crapshoot at best.

It was a craving for something fresh, flavourful and not out of the frozen food or canned good section that led to the creation of one of the most vibrant and rich dishes I’ve made to date. Having seen the description of a vegetable salad on a chi-chi restaurant menu a week or so ago, I made up my mind that I could take the same concept – a lettuce-less, all-veggie bowl of goodness – and tweak it not only to add a medley of texture and flavour, but also to make it a viable option year-round. What I wound up with was a veritable artist’s palette of colours layered not only with an eye towards artistry but with attention to the details of balancing raw versus cooked elements, mouthfeels of shredded, chopped and sliced vegetables and maintaining the well-rounded body of a dish containing sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavours.

While this salad is simple enough for lunch when paired with a piece of grilled chicken, salmon or even simply a hunk of crusty whole-grain bread and cheese, it is also gourmet enough to readily serve as a plated appetizer at a dinner party (especially when garnished with toasted walnuts, as I did here). The nice thing about the ingredients usd in this particular bowl is that regardless of whether you make it for Christmas Eve, Easter, a July picnic or Thanksgiving, at least one of the ingredients will be at the peak of freshness – and if you’re blessed enough to have a garden as diverse as ours, you can grow almost everything in your own yard!



Year-Long Salad

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a light entree
1 medium-large red beet
1 tsp water
1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium-large candy-cane (Chioggia) beet*, peeled if needed
2 medium carrots (heirloom* if you have them), peeled if needed
1/2 tbsp walnut oil*
1 tbsp orange juice
1 small shallot, minced
3 large heirloom tomatoes*, sliced 1/4″ thick
Sea salt (or artisan salt like pink Himalaya) and ground pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Chopped walnuts, to garnish (optional)

*Note: feel free to use standard red beets, extra-virgin olive oil, standard carrots and red vine-ripened tomatoes. The key here is freshness and utilizing the best of what is available!

Beet:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Wrap the red beet and water in foil and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast 50 minutes, then remove from foil. Cool, peel and cut into 1/4″ slices. Set aside.
Meanwhile:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly and set aside.
  2. Using a mandoline slicer (or a very sharp knife and being very careful!), slice the candy-cane beet paper thin.
  3. Julienne the carrots (I use a julienne peeler).
Dressing:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, and shallot.
Assembly:
  1. Arrange a bed of tomato and roasted beet slices on the bottom of each salad plate, season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Add a pile of the carrot julienne in the centre, then arrange the asparagus around the edge, season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Finally, top with the shaved candy-cane beet.
  4. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with fresh thyme and walnuts (if using).
Amount Per (Appetizer) Serving
Calories: 100.0

Total Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 74.5 mg
Total Carbs: 17.2 g

Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g

Protein: 3.6 g

Thanks to the California Walnut Commission for the lovely gift basket of walnut goodies! Stay tuned for more walnut-laden recipes including my entries in the California Walnuts Holiday Blogger Challenge!