All posts by Allison Day

Allison Day is currently working on her 3rd cookbook, Modern Lunch (Appetite by Random House), the Taste Canada award winning blogger of YummyBeet.com, a nutritionist (R.H.N.) and food photographer. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, SHAPE, Chicago Tribune and more.

How to Choose the Healthiest Type of Salt for Cooking

With the ability to bring out the inherent, muted flavours in food, salt is added to most recipes — including sweets — to smooth everything out. Without it, home cooking can be bland and unappetizing, but getting in the habit of adding too much salt to foods is linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular irregularities. While definitely less health-threatening, large amounts of salt can cause water retention, making your pants feel a bit snugger and leaving your skin looking dehydrated. However, salt is necessary for our bodies to function correctly, maintaining normal heart rhythm and nerve function — without it, complications arise.

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How Much Salt Should I Eat Per Day?

Eating too little salt is generally not a concern for most, with the advent of packaged and convenience foods. Enjoying a diet rich in whole, unprocessed, naturally low-sodium foods is the most nutritious option, allowing you to add salt to taste when cooking, reducing the risk of overdoing your daily recommended amount. Current Health Canada guidelines advocate most healthy adults eat approximately 1500 mg of sodium per day, though most are consuming more than double that.

Sodium and chlorine are the two elements that make up salt, making all types of salt sources of these essential compounds, adding another layer of confusion to the mix, as most are indistinguishable to the palate from one to the next. Whether purchasing at a grocery store or specialty food shop, salt’s diverse price range, wide-spanning varieties and nutritional profile can leave you scratching your head.

Related: Forget Salt: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

What is Sea Salt?

Sea salt is derived from its eponymous source (the sea), originating from any number of regions around the world. Its clean, pure taste is adored by cooks and is available in coarse and fine options; the former is well suited for garnishing, while the latter is ideal for cooking food and baking thanks to its ability to dissolve. Coming in white, grey, red, pink and black, the colour you choose is a matter of personal preference and price point.

Regarding health benefits, sea salt is plentiful in trace minerals due to its marine derivation, delivering many of the same nutritional compounds that make superfood seaweed so nutritious. The healthiest forms of sea salt are the least refined with no added preservatives (which can mean clumping in the fine variety). Pink Himalayan salt is touted by healthy home cooks as the ultimate mineral-rich seasoning, said to be the purest of the sea salt family.

What is Ground Salt?

The most common ground salt (taken from the ground, not the sea) is table salt, a cheap and common seasoning that can be found in most home kitchens. A more refined version of salt, table salt has added iodine, a trace mineral necessary for correct thyroid function, thyroid cancer-prevention and proper mental development and maintenance. Iodine deficiency is rare, and the mineral can be accessed from vegetables, seaweeds, milk, wild fish, eggs, and unrefined sea salts.

Related: The Easiest Ways to Save Over-Salted Food 

What is Kosher Salt?

Kosher salt tastes slightly less salty than table salt or sea salts (though it can be derived by either the sea or ground) due to its ability to dissolve more quickly on the tongue. Anticaking agents can be added to kosher salt, but can be purchased pure, too. Kosher salt makes it easy to grab a pinch and clings to food well, making it a favourite amongst chefs and home cooks alike.

What are Gourmet Salts and How Do I Use Them?

Gourmet salts run the gamut in terms of price and taste. “Plain” finishing and naturally flavoured finishing salts can be a unique addition to any dish. They carry a heftier price tag than a basic sea salt or ground salt, but are used in moderate amounts, potentially lasting for years.

Fleur de sel (“flower of salt” in French) is a readily available sea salt ideal for garnishing (both sweet and savoury foods), and, while still expensive, carries a softer price tag than many other gourmet options. Fleur de sel’s pure nature, free of additives, preservatives or anticaking agents, will provide the same trace minerals as other salts, with a cleaner taste.

Smoked salts are just that; smoked. This gourmet treat is to be used sparingly on meats, fish, eggs and vegetables for a truly unique taste. Flavoured salts can include any number of natural additions, from lemon peel to lavender to dried truffles to chili, and can be purchased or made at home.

Are Salt Alternatives Healthier?

Like sugar, salt has low-sodium alternatives that are generally comprised of chemical sources. Some find the strange taste of chemically derived salt alternatives to be off-putting. Salt alternatives can adversely interact with some medications and health conditions, so check with a doctor before reaching for this product.

Natural, chemical-free options such as dulse (seaweed) granules are marketed as a salt substitute, containing the same range of minerals as “pure” sea salt. The taste of dulse granules is decidedly sea-like, so use judiciously when adding this salt substitute to a recipe.

And the Healthiest Salt Is…

No matter which salt you choose, the small amount used contributes little nutritional value to your overall diet, making your selection a matter of personal taste. If you’re concerned about increasing the mineral content in your diet, focus on consuming more grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, nuts and lean protein — salt shouldn’t be used as a supplement or alternative for the nutrition these foods contain. Reducing your total salt intake to the recommended daily intake (1500 mg) can be accomplished with a diet low in unprocessed foods and yes, a pinch or two of salt — any type you like.

Fore more inspiration and alternatives, these healthy salt substitutes are the real deal.

Published January 5, 2017, Updated April 18, 2021

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The 30-Minute Instant Pot Curry a Nutritionist Makes Every Week

Once a week, I make a large batch of healthy, vegetable- and protein-filled curry in my Instant Pot. It’s a top pick in my house and feeds us for lunch a few days after it’s made. Cozy, adaptable to any dietary preference and made in about 30 minutes (give or take five to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and the steam to release), it’s a staple in our weekly rotation. And clean up is a breeze!

Along with the chicken curry recipe below, you’ll find ways to switch it up, which I often do, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore. I also have a few suggestions for my personal favourite part of the curry: the toppings.   

Instant Pot Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry (Adaptable)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Curry
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, left whole (scroll to bottom for plant-based and pescatarian options)
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red new potatoes or 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
1 (5.5 fl oz) can tomato paste
⅓ cup water or broth
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving

Toppings and Serving Suggestions
Naan or roti
Cooked white or brown basmati rice
Plain yogurt, raita or cottage cheese
Lime or lemon juice
Fresh cilantro or mint
Mango chutney or sweet chili jam
Raisins
Ghee or butter
Nigella seeds
Toasted chopped cashews
Diced fresh chili or red pepper flakes

Directions: 

1. In your Instant Pot, stir to combine chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, potatoes, garam masala or curry powder, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, coconut milk, tomato paste and water.

2. Seal the lid and sealing switch on top. Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes (Manual). After the time is up, turn the sealing switch to release the pressure, and then open the lid.

3. Remove chicken, shred or chop and add back to the pot with butter, ghee or coconut oil and lemon juice. Stir everything to combine and serve with any of the suggested toppings and accompaniments.

Tips for Modifying the Recipe:

1. Add more vegetables
Replace the new or Yukon gold potatoes with ½ head cauliflower cut into florets and stir in ½ cup frozen peas or a few handfuls of spinach right before serving (press Sauté to warm through if the frozen peas cool the curry down too much).

2. Make it vegan
Replace the chicken with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 block extra-firm tofu, or ½ large head cauliflower cut into florets.    

3. Make it vegetarian
Replace the chicken with with 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas and top with a poached or soft-boiled egg. 

4. Make it pescatarian
Replace the chicken with peeled and deveined shrimp, adding only after cooking the curry base and vegetables. Once the pressure is released, press Sauté, add shrimp and cook, stirring often until cooked through, about 2 minutes.  

You’ll want to add this recipe to your roster of healthy Instant Pot meal ideas. And if you’re on a belly-warming recipe kick, try these slow-cooker curries along with The Pioneer Woman’s best soups and stews.

The Epic Winter Salad That’ll Keep You on Track This Season (Ft. the Best Dressing Ever)

Who says winter lunches and dinners need to revolve around steaming stews, soups and roasts? Instead, try an epic winter salad that’s loaded with the season’s best produce. This fresh and colourful recipe is adaptable to any of your favourite cold weather add-ins: try cauliflower instead of Brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds instead of dried cranberries, sliced chicken breast instead of chickpeas, crumble over feta to add richness and so much more. What you won’t want to change is the lip-smacking roasted garlic dressing with a hint of sweetness to tie it all together. 

The sturdiness of the vegetables used enable you to meal prep this on the weekend for a week of filling lunches or veg-forward dinners. Even if you’re cooking for one, make the entire recipe and reward yourself with something nourishing and delicious every day this week. 

Epic Kale Winter Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 

Ingredients: 

Salad
300g Brussels sprouts, tough ends removed and halved lengthwise
250g (1 large) beet, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
3 Yukon gold or 2 peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges or cubed
1 onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1 large or 2 regular cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn or shredded into manageable pieces
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds

Dressing
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
Roasted garlic, from above 

Directions:

1. For the salad, preheat oven to 400ºF. Add Brussels sprouts, beet, potatoes, onions and garlic to separate areas (to prevent the beets from staining the other vegetables) of one large or two medium rimmed baking sheets and evenly divide over olive oil, thyme and salt, and then toss vegetables to coat. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Squeeze the garlic out of its paper and smash to create a paste; reserve garlic paste for the dressing. 

2. For the dressing, in a medium glass jar to shake or bowl to whisk, combine all dressing ingredients, including the smashed garlic paste, from above. Shake or whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy (it’s okay if there are some small bits of roasted garlic – it’s sweet and won’t be pungent like a chunk of raw garlic would). 

3. Toss a portion of the dressing with the kale to coat and add to large platter, or divide among 4 to 6 individual salad bowls. Toss a portion of the dressing with the chickpeas and add to the platter or divide amongst bowls. Add a section of each of the roasted vegetables and drizzle over remaining dressing. Sprinkle everything with sunflower seeds and cranberries, and serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Alternatively, instead of composing the salad, toss everything together before serving.

Entertaining this season? May we suggest this show-stopping healthy grain bowl for a crowd (featuring mashed sweet potato and wine-baked tofu!). You’ll also love these 15 vegan roast alternatives for meat-free guests.

A Fondue Board is the Easy, Cheesy Way to Entertain for the Holidays

A new take on the holiday cheese board, but with fondue at the centre, this entertaining spread is surrounded by delicious dippers waiting to be dunked and devoured – all of which are customizable. Festive, warming and perfect for that après ski vibe we all strive for (even if you’ve been inside by the fire all day).

If you don’t have fondue forks, just cut your dippers a little larger so guests have an easier time dunking by hand or spooning the molten cheese onto their item (no one wants to be fishing out a tiny piece of bread from the fondue pot). Tip: to keep your fondue sans alcohol, replace the traditional white wine with stock or whole milk (directions for this below). 

Swiss Fondue Board

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8 

Ingredients:

Serving Suggestions
Seedless grapes
Sliced apples or ripe pears
Sliced baguette (or cubed if you have fondue forks)
Crackers
Steamed potatoes
Raw or steamed broccoli florets
Sliced raw carrots
Cherry tomatoes
Cured or roasted cooked meats
Dried or fresh apricots, plums and figs 

Swiss Fondue
1 garlic clove, halved
1¼ cup dry white wine, stock or whole milk
1 tsp white wine vinegar (only add if using stock or whole milk)
14 oz (400g) Gruyere cheese, grated
7 oz (200g) Emmentaler cheese, grated
3.5 oz (100g) Gouda cheese, grated
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour or 1½ Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch, freshly grated nutmeg
Ground black pepper, to taste 

Directions:

1. Arrange all of the items you’ll be serving with your fondue on a wooden board, platter or on individual plates, leaving space in the centre for your fondue pot or serving bowl.

2. For the fondue, rub the bottom and sides of a medium saucepan with the halved garlic clove; save the remaining garlic for another recipe. Add wine, stock or milk and vinegar (if using stock or milk) to the saucepan and heat over medium until steaming. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss all three cheeses with flour or cornstarch, nutmeg and pepper, and add cheese mixture to the warmed liquid. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the cheese is melted and smooth, allowing to gently bubble for 30 seconds, which will cook the flour or cornstarch fully and thicken everything to the proper consistency. Remove from heat.

3. Transfer cheese fondue to a warmed fondue pot and holder with a tea light underneath to keep it warm, or a heat-proof ceramic serving bowl, and serve alongside your preferred dippers. If using a ceramic bowl without a tealight, warm briefly in a low oven to loosen again if the fondue has gotten too thick (this doesn’t happen too quickly, but will occur about 30 minutes after it’s off the stovetop), or transfer back to a pot and reheat for a minute or so on the stovetop.

For more holiday inspiration, whip up a few of these crowd-pleasing holiday potluck recipes, and trust us when we say: you’ll devour these eye-catching cheese ball bites (the ultimate make-ahead app!).

Make Your Home Hygge with Scandinavian Cardamom Buns

Cardamom buns are a Scandinavian specialty widely available in cafés and bakeries in Nordic regions like Sweden and Denmark. I think of them as a more twisted, texturally interesting, tender-to-the-tooth cinnamon bun with spicy floral notes and eye-catching beauty. The cardamom-spiked dough, filling and glaze bring hygge vibes and cozy winter appeal to your kitchen, perfect for fika (the Swedish coffee break), a lazy winter weekend or your holiday brunch spread.

The cardamom buns I enjoyed in Scandinavia use whole black cardamom seeds in the dough and filling, which I’ve found in some specialty food stores and online. The whole seeds add candy-like crunch and big, bold cardamom flavour, but they are harder to track down, so I’ve developed this recipe with ground cardamom. Just make sure your ground cardamom is as fresh as possible for the biggest bang for your buck. This recipe is all about the spice, and as fragrant as it may be raw, it does dissipate during baking — don’t be afraid of the large amount used in this recipe. 

Scandinavian Cardamom Buns

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20  

Ingredients: 

Dough
1 cup, plus 1 Tbsp whole milk, heated to 110°F
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
⅓ cup dark or light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
Pinch, kosher salt
75 g salted butter, room temperature
Oil, for greasing bowl 

Filling
65 g salted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup dark or light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Glaze and Sugar Sprinkle
¼ water
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions: 

Dough
1. Place warmed milk in a heat-proof bowl and sprinkle over yeast. Allow yeast to activate for 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together flour, brown sugar, cardamom and salt. Fit mixer with the dough hook, turn on low and slowly add milk and yeast. With the mixture running, add pieces of the room-temperature butter until incorporated, and then turn to medium-low speed. Knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is springy but still soft.

3. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to proof in a warm area of your kitchen away from drafts for at least 1 hour, up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Filling
1. Cream all filling ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.

Assembly
1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sprinkle a clean surface with additional flour and turn out dough. Flour rolling pin and roll into a rough rectangle approximately 13 inches by 21 inches. Evenly spread over filling using an offset spatula all the way to the edges.

3. Using a ruler or by eye, cut into 15 to 20, ¾-inch- to 1-inch-wide strips, from long edge to long edge.

4. With the filling facing towards your fingers, wrap each dough strip around two to three fingers, three to four times, creating twists and small layers in the dough as you go for a taller bun, leaving a small strip to fold between your fingers and tuck in the bottom of the bun to secure. Repeat with remaining dough and spread formed buns evenly out on the prepared baking sheet, leaving room to expand.

5. Cover baking sheets with a clean damp kitchen towel, place away from drafts and allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Baking and Glazing
1. Position oven racks to accommodate two baking sheets with good airflow. Preheat oven to 425ºF.

2. While buns are proofing, for the glaze, combine water, brown sugar and cardamom in a small saucepan over medium heat until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, top to bottom and vice versa, until tops are golden brown and buns are bubbling in the centre. Do not over- or under-bake. Immediately after they come out of the oven, brush with all of the glaze and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, then enjoy warm or room temperature, storing loosely covered for up to 12 hours (see Notes for make-ahead option).

Notes:
1. The baked cardamom buns are best the day they are made, but can be frozen (once cool and the glaze is set) for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature or in a low oven.

2. Prepare the dough and filling the day before up until rolling (after the first proof; stopping before Assembly in directions). Cover each bowl tightly or transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before rolling, filling and forming.

Stay cozy Scandinavian-style with more hygge recipes, and whip up a batch of these colourful Swedish Christmas cookies.

How to Make Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

Khachapuri is a Georgian pizza-like, cheese-filled bread usually topped with a tender, sunny egg — and it’s easier than it looks to pull off at home, especially if you start with store-bought dough. This how-to recipe is ultra-comforting, made for the cooler months when we’re looking for a little more warm bread and melted cheese in our lives. Like pizza, khachapuri can be made with your favourite toppings, like tomato sauce and gruyere, spinach and feta, bacon and egg or apple and cheddar — the sky’s the limit. Here, it’s bursting with kale, mozzarella, feta, garlic, lemon and dill. It’s a fresh way to approach “pizza” night, with a fun twist. 

Khachapuri with Kale, Lemon and Dill  (Georgian Cheese Bread)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

2 cups shredded kale
2 cups shredded mozzarella
½ cup crumbled feta
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
Pinch, kosher salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
650g pizza dough, homemade or store-bought, room temperature
Flour, to dust, as needed
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh dill fronds
1 lemon, sliced 

Directions:

1. Arrange the oven racks to accommodate two trays with good airflow. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

2. For the filling, in a large bowl, mix well to combine kale, mozzarella, feta, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. 

3. Flour two pieces of parchment paper and divide pizza dough in half, one on each piece of parchment paper. Stretch each half lengthwise to create a rectangle measuring approximately 14 inches by 7 inches. Add filling down the centre of each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border around all sides.

4. Tuck in the border to encase the filling, and bring to a twist at the ends. You should now have two “boat” shapes. Carefully transfer the “boats” to two separate large baking sheets. 

5. Bake for 6 minutes, rotate baking sheets (up goes down, down goes up) and bake for another 6 minutes. Remove both baking sheets from the oven and create a small well in the centre of each khachapuri, and then crack one egg into each. Return to the oven and bake until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny, the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 6 to 10 minutes. 

6. Transfer to a cutting board to slice or present whole on a serving platter. Garnish with dill, lemon slices and a drizzle of additional olive oil. Serve immediately.

Check out 10 more ways to transform that ball of pizza dough, and 30 creative ways to cook with eggs.

Easy One-Pan Crispy Chicken and Rice, 3 Delicious Ways

A cold-weather favourite, crispy chicken and rice delivers as a complete meal in one. Juicy chicken thighs are seared and then finish cooking in the oven on top of flavour-infused rice. The variations below take notes from cuisines around the world, using what’s fresh, in season or in the pantry. You can choose your own adventure once you get a feel for the formula, substituting what’s available or appealing to you and your family. These cozy recipes can even transmute from busy weeknights to casual entertaining on the weekend.   

One-Pan Chicken and Squash Risotto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 (1½ lb) kabocha, buttercup or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup arborio rice
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Handful fresh basil, to serve
Handful grated Parmesan, to serve  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and add squash, thyme, remaining 1 tsp salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes, until squash is beginning to soften, then stir in garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Stir in rice followed by stock and vinegar. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the risotto. Garnish with basil and Parmesan, and serve immediately. 

One-Pan Chicken, Rice and Barley with Capers, Olives and Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4


Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 clove garlic
½ cup green olives such as Castelvetrano, pitted and halved
3 Tbsp capers, drained
½ cup pearl barley
½ cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
¼ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to serve
1 lemon, halved, divided
2 cups baby arugula 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in capers and olives followed by remaining 1 tsp salt, barley, rice, broth and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the grains. Slice the remaining lemon and use to decorate the top of the dish along with arugula and additional black pepper. Serve immediately. 

One-Pan Indian Chicken and Rice with Raisins, Yogurt and Lemon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 clove garlic
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup sultana raisins
2 cups chicken broth
1 lemon, halved, divided
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
Handful cilantro leaves
½ tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garam masala, cumin, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring for 1 minute, until spices are fragrant and toasted. Stir in garlic followed by rice, raisins and broth. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight-fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove lid or foil and sprinkle over frozen peas and then transfer back to oven with the lid or foil off. Bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the rice and peas. Slice the remaining lemon into wedges and use to decorate the top of the dish. Dollop over yogurt and sprinkle with cilantro and nigella seeds. Serve immediately. 

We have even more comforting one-pot recipes to choose from, plus 15 one-pot chicken dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Latte Pretzel Pie (No Pastry Skills Required!)

For those who avoid making pie dough at all costs, this cream pie-style “PSL” is just the ticket. A no-bake, salty-sweet pretzel crust holds a stove top pumpkin-coffee filling, all topped with maple whipped cream. It’s a taste of fall’s famous café beverage in delicious dessert form, and perfect for autumnal entertaining this Thanksgiving and beyond.

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Latte Pretzel Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Makes: 1, 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding
1¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1½ Tbsp ground coffee (regular or decaf), plus more to garnish
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup cornstarch
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pretzel Crust
20 pretzel twists (from a 200g bag, about 1/3 bag)
16 square or 8 sheets (150g, 1 sleeve) graham crackers
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Topping
1 cup fridge-cold heavy cream
1 Tbsp fridge-cold maple syrup

Directions:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pudding
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk to combine milk, pumpkin and coffee. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking often, until steaming.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk to combine brown sugar, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice and salt; whisk in the egg yolks.
3.
Temper the egg mixture by pouring in one-third of the hot milk mixture while whisking constantly. Return tempered egg and milk mixture to the pot and continue to whisk constantly for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened considerably. Make sure a few large bubbles pop in the centre – this ensures an enzyme in the egg breaks down so your pudding will stay firm, not loosen once cool.

4. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Press through a fine mesh sieve over a large clean bowl, discard any coffee solids in the sieve and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.
5. Cool to almost room temperature, and then refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Pretzel Crust
1. In a food processor or blender, pulse pretzels, graham crackers, brown sugar and salt until pulverized.
2. Tip into a large bowl and stir in melted butter until fully combined and mixture holds together when pressed between two fingers (if it won’t hold its shape, add more melted butter or plain water, 1 tablespoon at time until it does).
3. Firmly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
4. Refrigerate the crust to firm up while you wait for the pudding to cool down.

Assembly
1. Once the pudding mixture has cooled and the crust is chilled, spread the cold, thick pudding evenly over the crust using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to help.

2. Place the same piece of plastic wrap over the pudding portion of the pie again and refrigerate to firm up and come together, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (before topping with whipped cream).

Topping
1. Right before serving, whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks, adding the maple syrup when it’s almost reached its full volume.

2. Remove plastic wrap from pie and dollop or pipe over whipped cream, swooshing haphazardly or being neat and tidy. Sprinkle with a touch of additional ground coffee. Slice and serve.

Here are 50 more creative recipes to use up the rest of that can of pumpkin purée, plus 45 perfect pumpkin desserts and 30 delicious ways to get your pumpkin spice fix.

Tasty Thai “Fall” Rolls with Pumpkin-Coconut Sauce (That You Can Make Ahead!)

A Thai-style appetizer with a Thanksgiving twist, these “fall” rolls offer a light bite before the main event. Inspired by the fresh summer rolls enjoyed at Thai restaurants, this autumnal version with roasted sweet potato and cabbage, soba noodles and peanuts is paired with a savoury coconut milk and pumpkin sauce spiced up with sriracha and juicy lime. They’re healthy, easy to prepare and can be made ahead up to one day – a bonus when holiday entertaining

Create your own filling to use up leftovers like roasted Brussels sprouts and squash, or add a bit of protein with shredded roasted turkey. You can even wrap up a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. There are no rules to roll.

Fresh Thai “Fall” Rolls with Pumpkin-Coconut Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 20 rolls

Ingredients: 

Filling
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch sticks
5 cups shredded green cabbage or quartered Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more for noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
½ (363g) pkg (2 bundles) buckwheat soba noodles 

Coconut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce
1 (160mL) small can coconut milk
⅓ cup pumpkin purée
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Sriracha, to taste 

Assembly
15 to 20 rice paper wrappers
3 green onions, sliced into matchsticks
1 cup fresh basil leaves or cilantro leaves
¼ cup roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), roughly chopped
Black or white sesame seeds

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add squash, cabbage, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and then toss to combine and spread into a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, toss and roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool to room temperature, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain well again. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with a splash of additional sesame oil and soy sauce to coat and prevent the noodles from clumping. 

3. For the sauce, in a medium bowl whisk all ingredients well to combine so no lumps remain. If the coconut milk is cold, there will be lumps that refuse to whisk; if this happens, heat mixture in a pot over low heat, whisking constantly, until they melt. Pour into a serving bowl, or store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The sauce will firm as it cools, which tastes great, too – bring to room temperature for a looser dipping sauce consistency. 

4. To assemble, fill a large pie plate or rimmed baking sheet with warm tap water. Have all the filling and assembly ingredients chopped and within arm’s reach. Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper and have a few damp paper towels handy. Working one rice paper wrapper at a time, re-hydrate for 20 to 30 seconds in warm water until pliable, and place on a clean service.

5. To the wrappers, in the bottom third leaving a portion of rice paper wrapper exposed at the bottom, add a small amount (about ⅓ cup total) of roasted vegetables, noodles, green onions, basil and peanuts. Tuck in the bottom, then the sides and continue to roll away from you to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet and cover with a damp paper towel to avoid drying out. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. If making ahead, wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and transfer to an airtight container for up to one day; unwrap before serving.

6. Add rolls to plate next to dipping sauce, sprinkle the rolls and sauce with sesame seeds, and then serve. 

With an appetizer covered, it’s time to figure out the main course – here are some hacks to keep stress down in the kitchen.

Middle Eastern Halva Ice Cream Cake with a Waffle Cone Crust

Halva (halawa) is a bitter-sweet Middle Eastern tahini confection with the rich flavours of sesame seeds and vanilla, sometimes jazzed up with rose water, pistachios, almonds, melted chocolate and more. Its crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it the ultimate addition to this sophisticated ice cream pie with a buttery waffle cone and oat crust.

The gently bitter notes of the halva, along with a few generous pinches of salt in the recipe’s crust and chocolate topping, balance this dessert’s sweetness for a sliceable ice cream cone that both adults and children will love.

Find halva in Middle Eastern grocery stores, in most international sections of large supermarkets or online.

Middle Eastern Halva and Chocolate Ice Cream Cone Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Halva Ice Cream Filling
1.5L vanilla ice cream
400g (from a 454g pkg) halva, any flavour, roughly chopped, divided  

Waffle Cone Crust
1 (199g) box waffle cones (approx. 8 large cones)
½ cup rolled oats
½ unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp fine-grain salt

Chocolate Shell
125g dark chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
⅛ tsp fine-grain salt

Directions:

Waffle Cone Crust
1. Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften slightly (not melt) while you prepare the crust.
2. Line an 8- or 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper on the bottom.
3. Break up waffle cones into a food processor. Add oats and pulverize until finely ground. Add melted butter and salt and blend until combined.
4. Press waffle cone mixture into the prepared springform pan and freeze while you prepare the filling.

Halva Ice Cream Filling
1. Working quickly, in a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, mix ice cream until soft enough (but not melted) to fold in two-thirds of the chopped halva.

2. Remove crust from the freezer and spread ice cream mixture on top, smoothing out. Transfer back to the freezer and freeze until firm, about 3 hours, before working on the chocolate topping.

Chocolate Shell and Serving
1. While making the chocolate shell, remove the ice cream cake from the freezer.
2. For the chocolate shell, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate, coconut oil and salt until liquefied.
3. When the springform pan has warmed enough to release, unhinge the pan and then place cake on a plate that you can fit in your freezer.
4. Working quickly, pour or drizzle over chocolate shell in a rustic pattern, allowing some of the chocolate to drip off the sides.

5. Before the chocolate sets, dot the top with the remaining one-third of the halva pieces.
6. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until very firm, about 4 hours. If not eating immediately, wrap frozen cake in foil to avoid freezer burn and store for up to 2 weeks.
7. To serve, slice cake using a very sharp chef’s knife and place on serving plates. Serve immediately.

Don’t stop there. We’ve rounded up 15 healthy Middle Eastern recipes you’ll make on repeat along with the top 10 Middle Eastern restaurants in Toronto right now.

The Best Keto Protein Bar Recipe That Totally Beats Store-Bought

Loaded with peanuts, peanut butter, eggs and butter, this decadent tasting keto protein bar is truly superior to anything you’ll find in a package. The base takes cues from a peanut butter cookie, baked until firm and chilled, then topped with a peanut caramel. Dark chocolate and more peanuts top things off before being frozen until set – but you can enjoy them room temperature if you’re on the go. Satisfy your sweet tooth and fill up on protein and fat with these rich treats!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Caramel Keto Protein Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake and Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours (including chill time)
Makes: 15 to 20 bars

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup natural peanut butter
⅔ cup granulated keto sugar (allulose or xylitol)
2 large eggs
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ tsp salt

Peanut Caramel
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup granulated keto sweetener (allulose or xylitol)
½ cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Chocolate Peanut Topping
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (99% for lowest sugar content, if possible), melted
⅓ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
Salt, to taste  

Directions:

Peanut Butter Cookie Base
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
2. In a large bowl, mix to combine butter with peanut butter. Mix in sugar and eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. Mix in peanuts, coconut flour and salt until combined and then evenly spread into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 minutes, until dry to the touch on top and set around the edges. Cool to room temperature, then freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the caramel.

Peanut Caramel
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat and continue to cook until browned, about 5 minutes (this adds additional flavour and colour). Whisk in the sweetener, cream, molasses and salt. Without stirring, cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened.
2. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts and vanilla. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Both the cookie base and caramel need to be chilled and/or kept at room temperature, otherwise the caramel will soak too far into the cookie base.
3. Once the caramel has cooled to room temperature, remove the chilled peanut butter cookie base from the freezer or refrigerator. Spread peanut caramel evenly over peanut butter cookie base and freeze for 1 hour, until caramel is firm.

Chocolate Peanut Topping and Serving
1. Slice chilled cookie base into thirds and from there, slice each third into whichever size you prefer to make about 15 to 20 bars.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the bars evenly. Drizzle with melted chocolate before it sets, then top with peanuts and salt to taste.
3. Freeze until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes, and enjoy. Store leftover bars airtight in the freezer for up to 2 months or refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Don’t let your cooking streak stop there! We’ve compiled 14 tasty keto-friendly snack recipes, along with the easiest keto dinners to make this week. Heading out for dinner instead? Don’t sweat it. Here’s what to order at a restaurant if you’re on the keto diet.

A Hawaiian Plate Lunch That Goes Beyond Standard BBQ Fare​

A Hawaiian plate lunch is regularly based around a rich protein, mayo-based salad, rice and pickled and/or fresh vegetables. It’s the surrounding countries that have influenced the classic plate lunch for something that is both familiar and truly unique to residents and visitors, echoing Hawaii’s diverse population.

The variations of the key components are as widespread as they are delicious. In this version, the meal is made with a mayo-based macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, pickled cabbage (or coleslaw) and sticky rice. But don’t be tied to what you see here. Try the plate lunch concept with pulled pork, teriyaki beef, fried spam, beef curry, or soft-set eggs. You can even add more than one protein on a plate if that’s what appeals to you. Mayo-based potato salad can replace macaroni salad, and short-grain brown rice or black rice can replace white rice. Kimchi can stand in for coleslaw or pickled vegetables, and so on. Make the Hawaiian lunch your own, and have guests customize their plate at your next BBQ – or luau! 

Hawaiian Plate Lunch with Shoyu Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Shoyu Chicken
1 cup water
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
1 red Thai chili, sliced
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cornstarch  

Macaroni Salad
8 oz elbow macaroni
Salt
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 dill or sweet pickles, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 Tbsp finely diced sweet onion
½ tsp granulated sugar
Ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving
Vinaigrette coleslaw, pickled cabbage or pickled vegetables (kimchi, pickled daikon, etc.)
Cooked sticky rice, warm
Fresh herbs or microgreens

Directions:

Shoyu Chicken
1. In a large high-sided skillet, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and chili. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add chicken in a single layer, submerging in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. 

2. Transfer chicken only to a foil-lined baking sheet and position oven rack in the top third. Preheat broiler to medium-high. For the sauce, remove large chunks of ginger and garlic. Transfer a spoonful or two of sauce to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch. Bring sauce to a boil, then, whisking constantly, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thicken. Keep warm.

3. Broil the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it if your broiler runs hot, until burnished on the outside. Transfer chicken back into the thickened sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Macaroni Salad
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Allow to drain very well.

2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add cooked and drained macaroni, and mix to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assembly
To build your plate, add a mound of sticky rice, scoop of macaroni salad, portion of coleslaw or pickled vegetables and chicken thighs. Garnish with herbs or microgreens, and dig in!

For more Hawaiian dish inspiration, check out these 10 tasty places to eat poke in Canada, or whip up Lynn Crawford’s Hawaiian fish tacos and Ree Drummond’s grilled pineapple burger – both summer staples, as far as we’re concerned!

How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways (And Why It’s the Best Non-Dairy Option)

Oat milk has been popping up on store shelves and appearing in recipes with greater frequency over the last few years, but it’s one of the easiest and most affordable alternative non-dairy milks to make at home. In fact, it’s no more challenging to whip up than a smoothie. Not to mention, oat milk is also the best non-dairy option for coffee or latte frothing because it’s thicker and therefore doesn’t curdle. Plus, it has a silky smooth taste and is naturally sweet.

We’ve provided a go-to oat milk recipe (read: 3 ingredients) along with 5 flavour variations to make this non-dairy drink a healthy and economical habit. The starch in oats contributes to the magically thick texture that we all love in commercial oat milks, all without hard to pronounce additives. Nut-free, dairy-free, vegan and simple – what’s not to love?   

How to Make Oat Milk

Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups filtered water
1 cup rolled oats
¼ tsp salt

Directions:

1. In a high-speed blender, add water, oats and salt. Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until oats are pulverized and mixture is creamy in appearance and texture. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain oat milk into a large bowl, preferably with a pouring spout. Discard oat pulp in the sieve or use to make oatmeal or add to baked goods.

2. Pour strained oat milk into a large glass carafe with a lid or large Mason jars with a lid. Serve chilled. Oat milk will keep for 5 to 7 days. A shake or stir will be required before enjoying each time.

5 Unique Oat Milk Flavours

1. Turmeric-Ginger “Golden” Oat Milk: To the strained oat milk base, blend in 2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp ground turmeric, ¼ tsp ground dried ginger and a pinch of ground black pepper. Strain again and enjoy chilled. Makes 4 cups.

2. Berry and Vanilla Oat Milk: To the strained oat milk base, blend in ½ cup raspberries or strawberries, 2 Tbsp maple syrup and ½ tsp vanilla bean powder or extract. Strain if desired and enjoy chilled. Makes 4 cups.

3. Date Shake Oat Milk: To the strained oat milk base, blend in 4 very soft pitted medjool dates, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon and ⅛ tsp vanilla extract. No need to strain. Enjoy chilled. Makes 4 cups.

4. Chai Oat Milk: Instead of water in the oat milk base, use the same amount of strongly brewed loose-leaf chai; follow the instructions to complete the base. To the strained oat milk base made with the chai water, blend in 3 Tbsp honey. Enjoy chilled or warm. Makes 4 cups.

5. Salted Chocolate Oat Milk: To the strained oat milk base, blend in 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup, 1/8 tsp instant coffee (optional) and a generous pinch of salt. Strain again and enjoy chilled. Makes 4 cups.

Think beyond your morning coffee and read up on the best non-dairy milks for every use (from baking to straight-up cereal). We’ve also rounded up 25 dairy-free breakfast recipes that will convince you it’s really the best meal of the day.

This Berry, Lemon & Tahini Pound Cake is Summer in Dessert Form

Tahini adds a pleasingly nutty, bitter note to this sophisticated summer berry pound cake, while lemon zest and juice, in both the cake and glaze, cut through this dessert’s richness. The addition of the oil-rich tahini keeps the cake moist for days on the counter, though it will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. It’s just sweet enough without tasting cloying, allowing every ingredient to shine through. The cake gets a final flourish from edible flowers, making summer tea time that much more magical. And, it’s dairy-free!

Dairy-Free Summer Berry, Lemon and Tahini Pound Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 40 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
Serves: 10

Ingredients:

Cake
½ cup well-stirred tahini, room temperature
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¾ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine-grain salt
½ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups fresh or frozen (do not defrost) berries (raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries)

Glaze
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp almond milk
Zest of ½ lemon
Edible flowers

Directions:

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a standard loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat tahini, oil, eggs, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until lighter in colour and texture.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Turn on mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture, alternating with milk and finishing with flour mixture. Stop mixer before all of the flour is incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in fresh berries and lemon zest. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few damp crumbs but is mostly clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife. Using the parchment overhang, transfer pound cake to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Glaze
1. In a medium bowl, whisk icing sugar, lemon juice and milk until smooth. Keep the fully cooled pound cake on the wire rack and place the rack on top of a clean baking sheet.
2. Pour glaze evenly over cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. While glaze is still wet, top with lemon zest and edible flowers. Let glaze set, if desired, about 2 hours, and then slice and serve.
3. Store pound cake (with set glaze) airtight at room temperature for 3 days, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Baking with tahini lends a certain creaminess and earthy flavour you never knew you were missing. Want more? We recommend these Healthy 7-Ingredient Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies!

The Only 3 No-Bake Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

Snack happy with three unique, delicious and good-for-you energy bites – no oven required. For the keto crowd: a fat bomb layered with the flavours of lemon-raspberry cheesecake. These frozen snacks are the ultimate in-between meal booster that will satisfy your sweet tooth, without getting you away from your dietary goals.

And, for the cookie lovers (all of us), a no-bake cookie base with a choose-your-own-adventure option: classic chocolate chip or cozy oatmeal raisin. Both no-bake cookie creations are gluten-free, and the chocolate chip variation is also grain-free. All three of these no-bake treats are ideal for packed lunches, a pre- or post- workout snack and a healthier after-dinner dessert.

Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Keto Fat Bombs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Makes: 12

Ingredients:
1½ cups recently boiled water
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 to 2 Tbsp keto sweetener or liquid sweetener, to taste
½ tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Directions:
1. Line a 12-count muffin tin with papers.
2. In a high-speed blender, add all ingredients except raspberries and blend until smooth and creamy. Add half the batter to the bottom of the papers. Add raspberries to the remaining half of the batter and puree again until smooth.
3. Top plain cheesecake batter with raspberry batter, and tap the pan a few times to release any air bubbles.
4. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until set. Unwrap papers and serve frozen.
5. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies & No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

No-Bake Cookie Base
4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup unsalted nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
¾ tsp fine-grain salt

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 recipe No-Bake Cookie Base (from above)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, to taste

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 recipe No-Bake Cookie Base (from above)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
¾ cup raisins
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

No-Bake Cookie Base
1. In a food processor, blend coconut until it resembles the smooth and creamy consistency of almond butter (you are making coconut butter), stopping the machine to scrape down the sides several times. This will take about 10 minutes.
2. To the coconut butter, add nut butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, almond milk and salt. Blend until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a large bowl.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
1. To the cookie base, add chocolate chips and mix well.
2. Scoop 2- to 3-Tbsp portions of dough onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough into balls and sprinkle with flaky salt.
3. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
4. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months. These taste best cold.

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
1. To the cookie base, add oats, raisins and cinnamon and mix well. If the mixture seems too dry to compress (flours vary in absorbency), add an additional 1 Tbsp or more of almond milk.
2. Scoop 2- to 3-Tbsp portions of dough onto a cookie sheet. Roll dough into balls and then slightly press down with the palm of your hand.
3. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
4. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months. These taste best cold.

Looking for more easy, no-bake treats to add to your repertoire?  We’ve rounded up our best no-bake dessert ideas (from a peanut butter cheesecake to chocolate brownies!).

The Ultimate Vegan Carrot Cake with ‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting

Carrot cake is a decadent, classic dessert that can easily be made vegan and still retain its trademark moisture and texture.

Rich and delicious, this carrot cake is filled and topped with a thick layer of faux cream cheese frosting for extra creaminess in every bite. A slice paired with a cup of coffee feels right any time of day — even at breakfast.

Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 12 hours, 20 minutes (includes chilling time)
Serves: 8 to 10

carrot-cake-vegan-5

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup raw pecan halves
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup bran (miller’s bran, not prepared cereal)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil, more for pan
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

carrot-cake-vegan-3

Orange “Cream Cheese” Frosting
2 cups full-fat canned coconut milk or unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks, room temperature
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz/227 g tofu ‘cream cheese’ such as Tofutti, room temperature

carrot-cake-vegan-1

Directions:

Carrot Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line the bottom two 8-inch cake pans with a round of parchment paper; grease sides and parchment with a bit of oil.
2. In a food processor, pulse carrots and pecans until finely chopped. Add remaining carrot cake ingredients except raisins, if using, and pulse until a smooth. Quickly pulse in raisins, if using, and smooth into prepared baking pans.
3. Bake cake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out nearly fully clean and top is dry to the touch.
4. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, run a knife around perimetre, unhinge springform pan or flip out from cake pan and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely to room temperature.

Orange “Cream Cheese” Frosting
1. In a medium saucepan, add milk, butter, icing sugar, cornstarch and orange zest. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off heat and whisk in small pieces of cream cheese until completely smooth; whisk in vanilla.
2. Pour into a medium bowl, cool to room temperature, cover and chill for at least 8 hours in refrigerator, preferably overnight.

carrot-cake-vegan-7

Assembly
1. Whisk frosting straight out of refrigerator (let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before whisking if too firm). Frost cooled cake in between layers, on top and on the sides, if desired. Slice and enjoy.
2. Store frosted cake airtight in refrigerator up to 5 days. Freeze unfrosted cake, wrapped tightly, for up to 2 months.

Looking for more tasty vegan treats? Check out: 25 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Nutritionist Reveals 6 Meal Prep Tips to Avoid a Sad Desk Lunch (Plus Two 10-Minute Recipes!)

Meal prep is the key to mastering lunch, and in my new cookbook, Modern Lunch, I share exciting and inventive ways to take your packed or at-home lunches from uninspired to extraordinary. Here, I’m revealing a handful of my top meal prep tips, along with two recipes for a re-imagined version of the midday meal.

What is a modern lunch, anyways?

It’s a refreshed version of the midday meal full of colourful, delicious, healthy ingredients that are readily accessible and straightforward to put together.

A modern lunch saves you time in the long run by getting ahead in the kitchen (welcome to the world of meal prep!), money (have you seen how much your lunch delivery is costing you each week?) and supports a healthy lifestyle (fresh, homemade meals are always going to be better for you than that pricey takeout).

Think about your schedule for the week and what your workplace has to offer before diving into meal prep. If you don’t want to stand in a microwave line, choose no-heat lunches (the book is loaded with those exact recipes), or, if you can only make lunch for one day of the week, just make one recipe. There are no “rules” you need to follow because we all have different schedules and constraints. The idea is to start thinking about lunch in a new way: as part of your self-care routine.

Here are some of my favourite meal prep tips, tricks and recipes to make sure a #saddesklunch is a distant memory.

1. Mark Your Calendar

A homemade (but not sad) lunch won’t happen unless you carve out the time during the week. Many home cooks find an hour or two on Sunday to be the most doable. I love Sunday afternoons to do my meal prep. Bonus: it’s a great time to catch up on podcasts or audiobooks.

Here’s what your Sunday meal prep could look like:
Step 1: Pick your recipes and make a grocery list (15 to 20 minutes)
Step 2: Shop (1 hour)
Step 3: Cook and prep (2 hours)
Step 4: Store the food and/or pack lunches (15 to 20 minutes)

2. No Time To Plan Lunch and Grocery Shop? Do This Instead

Keep canned chickpeas and beans, quick-cooking grains, ready-cooked proteins (canned salmon, tuna and sardines), olive oil, your favourite vinegar, mustard and tamari in the pantry at all times to form the base of your meal prep lunches. You can make a grain “bowl” in a container with a delicious dressing in a flash. And sweet potatoes, smoked tofu and cabbage or kale keep fresh for a lot longer than many perishable items, so keep these on hand for a packed lunch in a moment’s notice (pick up a few extra every time you grocery shop to make this a reality).

3. Find Your Favourites

A barrier to making lunch that I hear over and over again is that lunch is boring. If you’re not inspired to make lunch, you won’t. Ask yourself what you love – is it broccoli? Spinach? Sweet potatoes? Brown rice? Chicken? – and pick one or two recipes with that ingredient as the star attraction.

4. This Simple Trick Instantly Avoids a Sad Desk Lunch

Keep a cheap ceramic plate and bowl at work to transfer your packed lunch to, and use real utensils when eating. This simple switch elevates a desk lunch and somehow makes it taste way better.

5. Take Your Pantry to Work

Keep hot sauce; flaky salt; and a little bottle of vinegar, olive oil and tamari at your desk or in your workplace kitchen to perk up a lunch that needs a boost. Keep a few whole lemons at your desk to add zip to your grain salad and never look back. If you have to have sriracha on everything, keep some handy. These small boosters take lunch from blah to beautiful.

6. Make it Beautiful

Garnishes can do wonders to add a pop of appetizing colour to not just your lunch, but every meal. In my opinion, they should taste really great and add another dimension of flavour and/or texture, too. Try topping a meal with refreshing pea shoots or watercress, crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds, dukkah (an Egyptian spice and nut/seed mix), torn tender herbs, pomegranate seeds, strips of lemon zest and more. Another way to give your lunch an artful twist is to layer it in large glass jars, like the recipes I’m sharing below.

I have so many more tips in Modern Lunch, along with more than 100 recipes for both those who are new to a homemade lunch and lunch pros who are in search of fresh ideas. Here are two recipes to get you started because life is too short to have a bad lunch!

Two Grab-and-Go Meal Prep Salads from Modern Lunch:

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1. Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peanut Butter Vinaigrette

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Peanut Butter Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter or favourite nut butter
2 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp avocado oil or grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
¼ tsp red chili flakes

Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad
2 (8 oz) poached chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
3 green onions, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or cut into thin coins, divided
2 heads butter lettuce or gem lettuce, leaves separated, torn, divided

Directions:
1. For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk lime juice, peanut butter, tamari, oil, maple syrup, water, fish sauce and chili flakes until fully emulsified. If not using immediately, store in an airtight glass jar for up to 1 week; just shake well before using.
2. For the salad, in a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, mint, and green onions. Keep cucumber and lettuce separate for assembly.
3. To assemble, add dressing to the bottom of four large jars. Add chicken mixture on top of dressing, followed by cucumber and lettuce. Seal and refrigerate, or take to go immediately.
4. Keep chilled in the office refrigerator or tucked away with a cooler pack at your desk. To serve, shake and enjoy directly out of the jar or shake, transfer to a serving bowl, and eat.

Lunch Notes: Stretch Your Meals with Quinoa
To lend a subtle nutty flavour, pleasing chewiness a little extra sauce-soaking vehicle to this recipe, toss in 1 cup cooked quinoa into the prepared chicken mixture. It also adds another serving to the dish, so you can enjoy it the whole workweek.

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2. 9-Layer Salad with Lemon Curry Dressing

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Lemon Curry Dressing
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup unsweetened plain yogurt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp mild curry powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp minced garlic
ground black pepper, to taste

Salad
1 cup fresh shelled or frozen green peas, divided
1 bulb fennel, cored, shaved or very thinly sliced, divided
1 head radicchio, cored, shredded, divided
2 carrots, shaved or grated, divided
½ cup fresh herbs of choice (basil, parsley, mint), divided
4 cups baby arugula, divided
1 cup shaved parmesan, divided
4 servings protein of choice, divided (see Lunch Notes)
lemon wedges, divided

Directions:
1. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients until fully combined. Store airtight in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad jars.
2. To assemble the salad, add dressing to the bottom of four large jars. Top with salad ingredients in order listed. Seal and refrigerate or take to go immediately.
3. Keep your jar chilled in the office refrigerator, or with a cooler pack in your lunch bag. To serve, remove the lemon, shake up the jar, then squeeze the lemon over top, and enjoy. Or, toss the salad in a serving bowl, season with the lemon, then eat.

Lunch Notes: Pick Your Protein
Protein keeps you fuller for longer, making it a must-have addition. Chicken, salmon, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or canned white beans are what I reach for to bulk up this salad.

Keep your lunch game strong all week long with this how-to guide for Sunday meal prep.

Recipe and photography credits:
Excerpted from Modern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal by Allison Day. Copyright © 2019 Allison Day. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A comforting bowl of spaghetti bolognese is always necessary on a chilly winter day. No meat is used in this protein- and fibre-packed veganized version of the comfort-food classic. Chewy mushrooms, filling lentils and meaty walnuts add a pleasing texture and flavour contrast to this delectable dish.

Perked up with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the tomato sauce benefits from a slow simmer, resulting in a dish that’s every bit as rich, hearty and flavourful as traditional bolognese.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (if using canned, drained and rinsed)
1 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
Fresh basil, for serving

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Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt well.
2. In a large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and nutmeg; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add wine, increase heat and cook until most of wine has evaporated. Stir in lentils, walnuts, tomatoes, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring a few times throughout.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to warm bowls. Top with bolognese and a few basil leaves. Serve.

Looking for more delicious dishes? Try these 20 Vegan Recipes That Will Leave You Satisfied.

Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie is Your New Favourite Winter Comfort Food

Thai green curry is wildly popular for a reason. It’s rich and delicious with just the right amount of spiciness. But here, instead of its classic rice pairing, we’ve created a comfort food mashup that marries palate-awakening Thai green curry with classic chicken pot pie. The result is anything but ordinary. Whether you whip this up as a vacation from all your holiday feasts or you bookmark this new dish for the new year, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Recipe Notes:
– Spicy food fans can add fresh Thai chili to taste when blending the peas and herbs
– Make this recipe vegan by replacing the chicken with the same amount of extra-firm tofu, chicken broth with vegetable broth and all-butter puff pastry with a dairy-free version

Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6

Ingredients:
Thai Green Curry:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas, room temperature
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint
½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 lime, zested and juiced (about 3 Tbsp of juice), plus more lime slices for serving
1½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
To taste, fine grain salt

Crust:
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, rolled to 1/4-inch thickness
1 Tbsp milk of choice or beaten egg
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
Pinch, flaky sea salt

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add chicken, sweet potatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over very low heat until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not boil or the chicken will be tough. The sweet potatoes may fall apart and become very tender; this is normal. Stir in coconut milk. Remove 1 cup of the liquid only and place in a medium bowl or blender.
2. To the medium bowl or blender, add peas, mint, cilantro, coconut flour, curry paste, ginger, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and sesame oil. Puree mixture with an immersion blender or blend on high in your blender until smooth and creamy. Stir pea mixture into chicken mixture, taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Add to a medium cast-iron skillet or other deep oven-safe dish.

3. Cool mixture completely (this is important so that the mixture can thicken with the coconut flour and so the puff pastry won’t turn greasy and melt before it goes in the oven). Cooling will take about 2 hours. You can also cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Make sure the mixture is almost room temperature before baking. Alternatively, you can increase the bake time 5 to 10 minutes if the mixture is cold.

4. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
5. Once the curry base is cooled, fit the puff pastry on top, tucking under the sides to fit your pan or baking dish. Using a sharp paring knife, gently slice a few steam slits in the top. Brush pastry with milk or egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and flaky salt.
6. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and crust is browned and puffed. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.

Craving more curry? Here are 22 warm and comforting winter curries.

Vegan Shortbread Cookies That Party Goers Will Happily Devour

Rich and melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies are a holiday classic loved by all ages. Vegans and those who avoid dairy can still enjoy the butteriest time of year with this cookie recipe using store-bought vegan butter. Look for a variety with a touch of coconut oil in the mix for the richest flavour and most tender texture.

Vegan Shortbread Cookies

A dusting of icing sugar or drizzle of melted chocolate to finish will make these cookies pop on a platter, though for shortbread purists, they’re just as nice without the flourish. Whether you decorate or not, a pot of tea to pair alongside your vegan shortbreads is non-negotiable.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (125 g) vegan stick butter (not spread or margarine), room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch, salt
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or light spelt flour

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (skip for non-stick baking sheets).
2. In a large bowl, cream vegan butter until smooth. Add sugars, vanilla and salt, and then continue to cream the mixture until fully combined, whipping a bit of air into the mix as you go. Slowly stir in flour until fully combined.

Vegan Shortbread Cookie Dough

3. Using your hands, gather dough into a ball and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Or, wrap dough tightly and freeze for up to 2 months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Vegan Shortbread Cookie Pressed Dough

4. Roll into 12 balls and place on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1- to 2-inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, gently flatten the top of each cookie. Alternatively, use a cookie press to make decorative spritz cookies.
5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until just beginning to brown on the bottom and puffed. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Once cookies are cool, dust with icing sugar. Serve.

Baked Vegan Shortbread Cookies

Impress guests further with these 25 Decadent Vegan Holiday Desserts.