Tag Archives: lunch

Falafel sliders on blue serving platter

Summer Feast! Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce

You’ve probably heard of falafel before — but what about falafel sliders? They are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and they’re shallow fried (or even baked) to make the process easier. Serve them on flat breads with tangy tabbouleh salad and a lot of tahini sauce, and you have the perfect summer feast.

Falafel sliders on blue serving platter

Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 falafel patties

Ingredients:

Falafel
¼ yellow onion
3 large garlic cloves
1 cup dry chickpeas (approx. 2 ½ cups after soaking)
1 cup parsley, packed
¼ cup cilantro, packed
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil + ¼ cup for frying/baking
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp black pepper

Tabbouleh
½ cup fine bulgur (can substitute with couscous)
2 cups parsley, packed
1 tomato, finely chopped
¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
½ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp chilli powder

Tahini Sauce
½ cup tahini paste
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt

Falafel slider ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Make the falafel: add onion and garlic to a food processor and process for a minute. Next add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, baking soda, salt, cumin and black pepper and process for a few minutes until well combined and the mixture holds together well.

Falafel slider mixture in food processor

2. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. Once they’ve rested, form the patties ensuring they are not too thin (approx. ½ – ¾ inch thick).

3. Shallow fry the falafel for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. You can also bake them at 400°F for 25 minutes, flip, then bake for a further 15 minutes.

Falafel sliders being baked on baking tray

4. Make the tabbouleh: soak the fine bulgur in ½ cup of hot water and cover. Let stand for a few minutes, then fluff.

Related: Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

5. Finely chop the parsley, tomato, green onions and mint. In a bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and chili powder. Mix the bulgur, parsley mixture and dressing together. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Tabouleh salad in yellow mixing bowl

6. For the tahini sauce: mix together the tahini paste, lemon juice and salt. Whisk everything using a fork continuously until you achieve a smooth consistency. The sauce may seize up when whisking, but continue to whisk until it smoothens out. Thin with a bit of water if required to achieve desired consistency.

7. Serve sliders on flat breads with tabbouleh salad and tahini sauce.

Like Amina’s falafel sliders? Try her 20-minute salmon or her Middle Eastern bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich on bun

This Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich Tastes Just Like the Real Thing!

With this Can You Vegan It? recipe, I’m turning everyone’s favourite spicy chicken sandwich into a vegan-friendly dish. What makes the Nashville hot chicken sandwich unique is that it is deep-fried to maximum crispiness and then dipped in a spicy hot oil mixture. To make this easy for the home cook, I’m pan frying the sandwich twice (vs. deep-frying it). Once to cook throughout and once to coat in a mixture of spices. Instead of traditional chicken breast, this sandwich features extra-firm tofu as the protein. Be sure to press out any excess moisture from the tofu before getting started.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich on bun

Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed
2 to 3 dashes of hot sauce
½ cup vegan egg substitute (if vegetarian, use traditional eggs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
½ cup canola or vegetable oil, for frying
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 sesame buns
Vegan mayonnaise
Bread and butter pickles
Shredded lettuce

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Slice the block of tofu into 4 equally sized patties. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to the egg substitute mixture. Put the flour in it’s own bowl and the panko in it’s own bowl. Season the egg substitute mixture, as well as the flour and panko with salt and pepper to taste.

Related: You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Vegan Steak Recipe

2. Dip each tofu patty in the flour, followed by the egg substitute, followed by the panko bread crumbs. Set aside until ready to fry.
When ready to fry, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, cook patties for 2 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden.

Tofu for vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich being coated in panko

3. Turn heat off and whisk brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and paprika into the pan. Fry the patties once more over low to medium heat until coated, about 15 seconds. Once you remove them from the pan, drain any excess oil onto a paper towel or two.

Vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich being cooked in pan

4. Slather buns with mayonnaise and add patty. Top with pickles and lettuce. Enjoy!

Person holding vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich

Like Marcella’s vegan Nashville hot chicken sandwich? Try her vegan egg salad recipe or her vegan eggnog.

Karaage chicken and waffles on white plate

This Epic Karaage Chicken and Green Onion Waffles Recipe is Sweet, Spicy and Savoury

Inspired by Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken in Toronto, our Dining In spicy karaage chicken and green onion waffles features a quick and easy sesame-soy maple syrup and spicy mayo using a togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice blend you can find at most Asian supermarkets (if unavailable, you can substitute with a mixture of salt, chili powder and sesame seeds). Every bite is sweet, spicy and savoury, making for an exciting dish that can be eaten for brunch, lunch or dinner — and it’ll certainly impress anyone who tries it.

Karaage chicken and waffles on white plate

Spicy Karaage Chicken and Green Onion Waffles

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 waffles

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
2 Tbsp sake
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp togarashi + more for seasoning
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 green onions, thinly sliced + more for garnish
½ cup potato starch
½ cup cooking oil
4 tsp pickled ginger

Karaage chicken and waffles ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Pound chicken thighs to a ¼ -inch thickness using a meat mallet or bottom of a metal sauce pan. Place them in a medium bowl and add ¼ cup soy sauce, sake, garlic and ginger. Mix to combine and marinate chicken for 20 to 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sesame-soy maple syrup by combining maple syrup, remaining soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside until serving.

Related: Fantastic Fried Chicken Recipes

3. Make spicy mayo by whisking together the mayonnaise and togarashi seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside until serving.

4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and remaining sesame oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Stir in sliced green onions and set aside.

5. Once chicken is done marinating, add potato starch to a large bowl. Using tongs, transfer chicken to potato starch, shaking any excess marinade off the chicken. Toss until chicken is evenly coated in the starch.

Related: These Waffle Recipes Will Make You Jump Right out of Bed

6. Heat cooking oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay chicken thighs, one at a time, in the oil and fry for 3 minutes per side or until golden and cooked through. Cook in 2 to 3 batches, ensuring not to crowd the pan. When finished, rest the chicken on a cooling rack and season with togarashi.

Fried chicken on cooling rack

7. Cook waffles in a waffle maker until golden brown.

8. To assemble, lay a waffle on a medium plate. Arrange two chicken thighs overtop and drizzle generously in sesame soy maple syrup. Use a squeeze bottle (if available) to drizzle chicken with the spicy mayonnaise. Finish with pickled ginger and a sprinkling of green onions.

Karaage chicken and waffles being plated on white plate

Like Philip and Mystique’s chicken and waffles recipe? Try their Mexican-inspired taco burgers or their West Indian egg curry.

Watch the how-to video here:


Cross-section of pretty sandwiches made of white bread with whipped cream and sliced fruits

This Japanese Fruit Sando is the Sandwich of the Summer

Fresh fruit and sweetened whipped cream sandwiched inside fluffy white bread is a fun and easy no-bake treat to make. Called a fruit sando in Japan, it is made with Japanese milk bread (shokupan) which is wonderfully light and springy with a little bit of chew. Most East Asian grocery stores or bakeries will have them. If you can’t get a hold of it, the closest substitution is thickly-cut Texas toast or any thickly-cut, fluffy soft bread you can find. Use your favourite seasonal fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwis, mangos, blueberries, etc. in this Kindred Kitchen recipe. Whatever you choose, arrange the fruit strategically along the cut line for an oh-so beautiful reveal.

pretty Japanese-inspired sandwiches with whipped cream and sliced fruit

Japanese Fruit Sando

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 sandwiches

Ingredients:

7 large strawberries, stems trimmed off
3 kiwis, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 mango, peeled and pitted and fleshy sides cut into long thick slices
1 passionfruit (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
6 Tbsp powdered sugar
6 slices of Japanese milk bread or other fluffy white bread

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Wash and pat the fruit with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Trim, peel, pit and cut as required (see above).

2. Pour whipping cream and sugar into a chilled bowl and whisk until stiff peaks. You’ll want the cream to be on thicker side, but also be careful not to overwhip. With a stand mixer, this takes 60 seconds.

Related: Bucket List Burgers and Sandwiches You Need to Try

3. Lay out bread slices and spoon ⅓  cup of whipped cream on each of the six slices. If you have a little bit of whipped cream remaining, hang onto that for the moment. Spread the cream evenly, leaving a small border around the edges which will be trimmed off later.

4. On three of the bread slices, arrange your fruit (in this case: strawberries, mango slices with passionfruit pulp dribbled on top and kiwi halves). Pay attention to how you place the fruit along the intended diagonal cut line since that’s what will be shown when the sandos are cut in half. Fill in larger gaps between fruits with any remaining whipped cream. Place the other bread slices on top.

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis

5. Without changing the orientation of the sando, wrap each one tightly in a piece of plastic food wrap while pressing gently, but firmly down on it. Use a marker to draw a line on the plastic wrap where the intended cut will be so you know where to cut it later.

Three Japanese fruit sandos with strawberries, mango and kiwis wrapped in plastic wrap

6. Chill in refrigerator 30-60 minutes. When the rest time is over, make note of the marker line and unwrap each sando. Make a clean, firm cut along the line using a long, sharp knife. Trim off the four crusts (my kids snack on these). Wipe knife clean between every cut. Separate the sando halves to reveal your beautiful fruit design.

Like Sonia’s fruit sando recipe? Try her three-ingredient kimchi chicken patties or sweet and sour shrimp and tofu recipe.

The Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menu With 5 Ingredients Per Meal

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous recipe photo and thought: “I’m definitely making that!” only to become way less enthused when the instructions call for 20 ingredients or more? We’ve been there. So, we’re giving you the opposite: a day’s worth of 5-ingredient meals. From breakfast to lunch to easy dinner recipes, they’re all easy to make — and the lunch dish is particularly quick (because We Know You Have 10 Minutes!). One rule: oil, salt and pepper don’t count toward the five ingredients. Okay, that’s it. It’s time to get cooking!

Breakfast: Maple Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 1

Maple quinoa bowl


Ingredients:

¼ cup quinoa
¾ cup non-dairy milk
¼ – ⅓ cup toasted walnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup blueberries (or your favourite fruit of choice)
Splash of maple syrup, to taste

Directions:

1. Place the quinoa and non-dairy milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until fluffy and all the milk is absorbed.

2. Pour the quinoa into a bowl, top with walnuts or almonds, blueberries and a hearty drizzle of maple syrup. Feel free to add more non-dairy milk.

Note: You can replace the quinoa with brown rice or oats. If you already have these grains pre-cooked, simply toss them in the saucepan with just a bit of non-dairy milk to heat up.

Lunch: Quickie Grains, Greens & Beans Bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients:

½ cup cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice
½ cup chickpeas
1 cup baby kale, mesclun greens or baby spinach
½ green apple or avocado, sliced
2 Tbsp creamy tahini
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. If you’re using brown rice and it’s not cooked yet, do so according to package instructions. For a grain-free option,  use cauliflower rice.

2. Place the rice or cauliflower on the bottom of a wide bowl or reusable to-go container if you’re taking this lunch with you.

Related: Healthy 5-Ingredient Lunch Ideas You Can Make Quickly

3. Pile the chickpeas together in one area of the bowl. Place the greens in another area of the bowl. Then add the apple or avocado on top.

4. Drizzle tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix. If you’re taking this lunch to-go, you can dress it beforehand or place the dressing components in a container on the side.

Watch the how-to video here:


Dinner: Sheet Pan Miso Salmon

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 2


Ingredients:

1 bunch broccoli, chopped in florets
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 ½ oz pieces of salmon
2 Tbsp white miso
3 tsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Push some florets to the side and place the salmon in the middle of the baking sheet, so the flesh is facing up. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.

4. While the broccoli and salmon are baking, prepare the miso marinade by whisking miso, maple syrup and sesame oil.

5. Take the salmon out of the oven when it’s done (you know it’s done when a fork gently flakes it apart) and immediately brush or spoon the miso marinade over top.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s 5-ingredient meals? Try their spicy sauteed cauliflower and chickpeas or their blackened trout with green beans.

Published January 8, 2020, Updated March 11, 2021

Vegan egg salad on baguette

This One Ingredient Will Change Your Vegan Recipes Forever (Plus a Vegan Egg Salad Recipe!)

Kala namak AKA black salt is the secret ingredient to many vegan recipes. It is a kiln-fired rock salt with a similar texture to a pink Himalayan salt, but with a strong hard-boiled egg flavour. Often used in South Asian cooking, it is the perfect way to add egg flavour to any eggless dish. It is amazing in this Can You Vegan It? egg salad sandwich recipe — serve it between two slices of your favourite bread or on a toasted sourdough baguette (my preference!).

Black salt

Vegan Egg Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches

Vegan egg salad on baguette

Ingredients:

16 ounces medium or firm tofu, pressed
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup chives or green onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp turmeric
½ teaspoon kala namak
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Sourdough baguette, for serving

Vegan egg salad ingredients

Directions:

1. Press the tofu before using to drain out any excess liquids and ensure it soaks up the ingredients.

Tofu chopped up on cutting board

2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the tofu, celery and green onion. Set aside.

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, turmeric, kala namak and pepper.

Related: Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas Featuring 10 Ingredients or Less

4. Pour mixture over tofu and toss to coat. Scoop mixture over bread, garnish with chives and enjoy!

Vegan egg salad mixed in bowl

Like Marcella’s vegan egg salad recipe? Try her vegan eggnog recipe or her six different recipes from one humble can of tomatoes.

Your New Favourite Dish Starring Avocado: Molly Yeh’s Guacamole Salad

With all the glorious warm weather in recent weeks, we’re seriously craving more light, healthy summer recipes that will curb our hunger pangs without leaving us feeling overheated. So, if you’re looking for something quick and easy – and that doesn’t require an oven – try this unique guacamole-inspired salad straight from Molly Yeh‘s kitchen.

Diced avocados, cucumber, red onion and roughly chopped garlic are drizzled with a homemade dressing that boasts the complementary flavours of paprika, oregano and lime. It’s definitely one of our new favourite ways to eat avocados.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Bagel Salad Recipe is an Instant Brunch Classic

Molly Yeh’s Guacamole Salad Recipe

Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

3 avocados, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lime, juiced
Hot sauce, as desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, garlic, cucumber, cilantro and red onion.

2. In a separate small bowl, stir together the olive oil, paprika, oregano, lime juice and some hot sauce, salt and pepper.

3. Drizzle the dressing on top of the vegetables and fold to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Get to know the cookbook author and blogger behind Girl Meets Farm with 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Molly Yeh.

Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

How to Make Vietnamese Bun Cha, The Rice Noodle Salad Your Lunch Bowl is Craving

This vibrant rice noodle salad boldly features Vietnamese-spiced pork patties, thin rice noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, spring rolls and a salty-sweet sauce. It’s the lunch bowl you’ll be returning to again and again. The best part? You can meal prep all the components on the weekend, pack them up and enjoy throughout the week. You’ll be the envy of your co-workers!

Vietnamese Noodle Bowls (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Pork Patties
1 lb ground pork (use regular or lean for the most flavour, not extra-lean)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lemongrass paste
1 Tbsp honey

Nuoc Cham Dressing
½ cup warm water
¼ cup honey
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
1 small red chili pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced

Noodle Bowl
Approx. 4 cups cooked rice noodles
4 large (or 8 small) cooked spring rolls, cut into small pieces
1 lettuce head (like Boston), with some leaves intact, some shredded
1 large red pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 large English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
approx. ½ cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
large bunch fresh cilantro, for garnish
large bunch fresh mint, for garnish
limes, quartered, for garnish

Directions:

Pork Patties
1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands to mix to make sure ingredients are well combined.

2. Use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to make 16 patties, flattening them slightly with your hands.

3. Place patties on a plate, covered in the fridge, until ready to cook.

4. Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan (preferably one with griddle marks) over medium heat.

5. Cook patties until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle reads 160˚F.

6. If not using straight away, set patties aside to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Nuoc Cham Dressing
1. Whisk all ingredients in a small jug until combined. Some honey will produce a dressing that’s a little cloudy – that’s fine! Set aside until using (can be refrigerated).

Noodle Bowl Assembly 
1. Gently reheat pork patties and spring rolls in a slow oven or microwave.

2. Line the bowls with one large lettuce leaf each.

3. Add shredded lettuce, cooked noodles, vegetables, pork patties and spring rolls.

4. Sprinkle over peanuts, cilantro and mint.

5. Serve with the lime quarters and dressing on the side and allow people to season with these to taste.

Tip: You can prepare all ingredients in advance and simply assemble when you’re ready to eat. For an amazing desk lunch, pack separate containers with noodles, vegetables, dressing and pork patties/spring rolls, and simply assemble for a meal to remember.

Here, we reveal the healthiest meal-prep lunches that won’t get soggy, plus our best no-heat lunch ideas to avoid that dreaded office microwave line.

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.

Bento Lunch Boxes: How to Make Colourful Back-to-School Meals Your Kids Will Devour

Packing healthy school lunches that your kids won’t challenge can be just a little stressful, especially if you have a picky eater on your hands. The foods you prep need to energize, nourish and keep your child focused throughout the school day. Luckily, gone are the days of the sad brown bag and that same soggy ham and cheese sandwich. That’s partly thanks to the bento lunch box, which has changed the game, giving parents a far easier method for meal prepping, and kids a way more enjoyable way to eat. Read on for eight genius tips on packing the ultimate back-to-school lunch, plus three bento box ideas you’ll be quick to replicate.

1. Pack the Rainbow

Pack as much colour as you can into your kid’s lunch box. This means lots of vibrant fruits and veggies, so they can get the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Everyone eats with their eyes first, so when something looks colourful and appetizing, the process of digestion begins. Kids also take eating cues from how food looks, rather than from how it tastes.

Main: Chicken salad sandwich with cucumber, carrots, spinach (or stuffed in a pita or tortilla)
Side: Roasted sweet potato cubes
Snack 1: Blueberries with strawberries sliced into hearts or stars
Snack 2: Edamame beans or green peas
Dessert: Mini chocolate chips with pumpkin seeds

2. Get Creative

Many kids like what’s familiar to them, and if they enjoy eating the same thing every day, one way to change it up is to get creative with how the food is displayed. If your youngster love strawberries, cucumbers or melons, try slicing them into stars one day, cubes the next and hearts the following week. Thread their favourite fruit through a stick to transform them into skewers. Take their sandwich ingredients and roll them into wraps, stuff them into mini pitas or thread them through to make sandwich kebabs.

Related: Healthy After-School Snacks Kids Will Love

3. Cover Your Macro and Micronutrients

Ensure your little ones remain fueled throughout the day by sending foods packed with fibre, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. If you’re already filling lunch boxes with fruits, veggies, seeds, beans/legumes or animal protein and a whole grain, you’re covered. Packing a sweet treat is also a must, so think of more nutritious options like homemade granola bars, better-for-you cookies or healthier muffins. Remember to limit the refined sugar, which can impact your child’s behaviour, energy, focus and mood.

Main: Pesto pasta noodles with sliced cherry tomatoes
Side: Steamed green beans with sesame seeds on top or raw snap peas
Snack 1: Skewered mango and grapes
Snack 2: Cubes of cheese or crispy chickpeas
Dessert: Mini cookies or strawberries with chocolate chips

4. Repurpose Leftovers

Packing school lunches can be a lot of work, so if you can, repurpose dinner leftovers from the night before. If you have leftover chicken, make the lunch box Mexican themed and pack the chicken with avocado, corn and salsa. If you have extra lasagna, cut a square and pack that. You don’t need to start from scratch if you have foods to work with. Also, do your best to pack the night before, and avoid adding another stressful task to an already busy morning!

5. Be School Safe

Nut allergies are quite common these days, and most schools are now nut-free. Keep this in mind when you’re packing back-to-school lunches, and replace classics with nut-free alternatives. For example, if you were going to pack a peanut butter and jam sandwich, swap the PB for sunflower butter. For something like trail mix, ensure it’s made with seeds. If you’re buying snacks, there are loads of allergen-free options out there.

6. Get Your Kids Involved

Studies show that if kids have a hand in helping grow, prep or cook food, they’re more likely to eat it. So involve your children in the packing process. Have them decide what they want to eat – you can even ask them to come up with a meal plan schedule to paste on the fridge. If possible, ask them to help with the prep: maybe they can skewer fruit, or slice strawberries with a kid-safe knife.

Main: Protein pancakes
Side: Heirloom carrots, sliced + dollop of hummus to dip
Snack 1: Crispy chickpeas or raisins
Snack 2: Raspberries and kiwi
Dessert: Orange slices dipped in chocolate or with chocolate chips

7. Keep it Clean

Don’t pack foods that have a strong, offensive smell, or something that’s going to leak all over the rest of the meal. This will pretty much guarantee that your kid will pass on eating his or her lunch!

8. Lunch as an Afternoon Snack

There may be times when you open your child’s lunch box after school, only to discover the meal you lovingly prepared is still sitting there. When your kids come home, they’re usually starving and desperate for a snack. This is the perfect time to offer up these lunch leftovers to ensure the food you spent time making isn’t wasted.

Here, a nutritionist reveals meal prep tips to avoid a sad desk lunch (plus two 10-minute recipes) – because parents deserve inspiring lunches, too!

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!

Vegan tuna melt on a plate

A Classic “Tuna” Melt Sandwich With a Clever Vegan Twist

There is something so comforting about a classic tuna melt, but if you’re vegan or paleo – or better yet,  pegan! – then you’re likely thinking your tuna melt days are over… well, not anymore! We’ve created a pegan-friendly tuna salad that is so delicious, your taste buds will think you’re eating the real thing. Luckily, there are a plethora of non-dairy alternatives at your grocery store – from cheeses, to sour creams, to milks and yogurts – so that topping the tuna with a gooey-melted vegan cheese is simple, easy and satisfying. You can use your favourite bread of choice, buy or make a paleo or keto bread, or skip that all together and opt for sweet potato “toast”.

Servings: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus additional soaking time)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

vegan tuna melt spread

Pegan “Tuna” Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts (soaked for minimum 15 minutes up to overnight)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked for minimum 15 minutes up to overnight)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked for minimum 15 minutes up to overnight)
⅓ cup vegan mayo
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup celery, diced
¼ cup green onions, chopped finely
2 tsp dulse or kelp flakes
2 tsp fresh dill, chopped finely
1/2 lemon, juiced
½ tsp sea salt
4 slices or 1 cup vegan shredded cheese (like Daiya, Chao or Earth Island)
8 slices of your favourite bread or sweet potato “toast”

vegan tuna melt ingredients

Directions:
1. Soak walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in water, then drain and rinse.
2. Pulse the walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until smooth but partially crumbled (don’t over-blend into a paste).

vegan tuna melt blend
3. Place the nut mixture into a bowl, stir in the mayo and, once combined, add in the rest of the ingredients.
4. Scoop the tuna onto the bread, layer with vegan cheese, then add the second slice of bread on top.
5. If you have a sandwich maker, oil it, then pop the sammie in there, close the lid and let it heat for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts.

vegan tuna melt on a plate
6. Alternatively, place a skillet on medium-low heat, oil it, then add your sandwich and place a small lid over the sandwich to press it down. Let the sandwich heat for about 4 minutes, then flip it over for another few minutes until the cheese melts.
7. The paleo bread and sweet potato “toast” will be more delicate than the vegan one, so you may want to use the skillet method instead.

Craving more healthy midday meal inspiration? Try these 20 Healthy High-Protein Lunch Ideas to Bring to Work, plus a must-make Vegan Edamame Mash Sandwich!

Here’s How a Nutritionist Meal Preps Every Sunday

Meal prep is essentially making a handful of recipes ahead of time to have on hand for packed or home breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks throughout the week. I think of it as creating a salad bar or hot bar in your very own kitchen, adjusting the recipes with the season and my mood. Today, I’m going to focus on the meal that most meal prep lovers like to make: lunch.

When you’ve planned and prepped ahead, it’s easier to eat healthfully, save money and have more time during the week outside of the kitchen. It’s about investing a relatively small amount of time for a big return. If you’re busy, which I’m guessing you are, meal prep is calling your name.

Every week, I usually take 2 to 3 hours on Sunday morning or afternoon to prepare the recipes I’ll use to build my meals. In my house, there are just two adults, which means I rarely have to replenish the prepped food or make something new. However, if you have a larger family, you may have to do this. Make sure you get groceries on Friday or Saturday so you can get started when you need to on Sunday.

It’s all about simultaneously cooking and chopping a few things at once, using your time effectively. I use my meal prep Sundays to catch up on podcasts or listen to music or an audio book, which makes it more fun.

Make a Winning Meal Prep Team

I prefer not to grocery shop and meal prep on the same day. I will make a list the day before and give it to my partner, who is happy to get groceries for me or I’ll order groceries online. And get someone else on dish duty in exchange for your awesome packed lunches!

Why Meal Prep?

There are several benefits of doing meal prep:
– Moneysaving
– Timesaving
– Healthy
– Adaptable for every taste and family member
– You can try exciting new recipes you’ve bookmarked or pinned
– You can sleep in because lunch is already made
– You have something delicious to look forward at noon

How to Meal Prep Like a Pro

To be successful at meal prep, start with a list of recipes you’d like to make. Most weeks, I keep it classic with a grain bowl or salad bar style meal with roasted and fresh veggies, a cooked whole grain, healthy protein, dip or dressing and a few snacks. Another way to approach meal prep is batch cooking a large pot of soup, stew or chili, cooking up a grain and making sure the fridge is stocked with fruit and nuts.

Don’t feel like you have to make everything from scratch. Nut butter and hummus are fine options to buy ready-made, for example, and canned fish is a portable, healthy protein option that you can stock up on for grab and go moments.

Sheet-pan meals that are all in one, as well as Instant Pot recipes are stellar meal prep options, too.

Make a Themed Container or Jar Meal

For your meal prep lunch, build your flavour choices around a theme. I love the fresh flavours found in poke bowls and they’re easy to DIY with sushi-grade tuna or tofu, citrus, brown rice, ginger, crunchy vegetables and a bright sesame oil dressing. Homemade bento boxes and Southern BBQ lunch boxes are also fun. Embrace versatility!

The Meal Prep Formula

Choose one or two options from each category below to get started. Store each component separately in a BPA-free container in the fridge or build the single serving containers or jars for the week (more on that later).

Grains or Grain Salads (Choose 1 to 2)

– Quinoa
– Basmati rice
– Brown rice
– Spelt pasta or brown rice pasta
– Millet
– Whole wheat couscous
– Wheat berries
– Barley

Protein (Choose 1 to 2)

– Marinated tofu or smoked tofu
– Cooked chicken (grilled, poached, roasted, rotisserie)
– Hardboiled eggs
– Canned fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon)
– Pan-fried halloumi
– Pulled pork or pulled chicken (use your Instant Pot or slow cooker here)
– Greek yogurt or goat cheese
– Dhal
– Leftover cooked meat or fish (beef, pork, chicken, salmon)
– Canned beans and legumes

Cooked Vegetables (Choose 1 to 2)

– Roasted squash or sweet potatoes
– Roasted mixed seasonal vegetables
– Roasted or steamed broccoli
– Grilled mixed seasonal vegetables
– Sautéed kale or spinach

Related: Healthy High-Protein Lunch Ideas to Bring to Work

Raw Vegetables and Make-Ahead Salads (Choose 1 to 2)

– Cucumber coins (store in water to retain freshness)
– Cut up carrots (store in water to retain freshness)
– Cut up fennel or celery
– Raw or frozen corn and green peas
– Kale salad
– Cauliflower rice
– Fennel and apple salad
– Thai slaw or yogurt-based cabbage slaw

Dressing and Dip (Choose 1 to 2)

– Balsamic vinaigrette
– Green goddess dressing
– Caesar dressing
Tahini-based dressing
– Spicy peanut sauce
– Hummus
– Guacamole
– White bean dip
– Peanut butter or almond butter

Seasonings (to Taste)

– Lemon or lime wedges
– Flaky salt (pack in a little tin to bring or keep at your desk)
– Hot sauce (available in tiny lunchbox-sized bottles)
– Olive oil

Simple Snacks

– Fruit (apples, banana) with peanut butter or almond butter
– Hard-boiled eggs (plain or spice them up with cayenne)
– Yogurt with prepared or homemade granola
– Prepared or homemade energy bars or bites
Homemade fruit and nut granola bars
– Dark chocolate, clementines and walnuts
– Avocado chocolate pudding
– Crushed avocado on rye crackers
Homemade healthy muffins (keep in the freezer to grab each day)
– Seasonal fruit and nuts
– Homemade trail mix: roasted almonds, chocolate chips and dried cherries

Packing Your Meal Prep To Go

In containers or jars, which I like for building salads, arrange your prepared components grain bowl style, just like you would if you were at home, packing dressing on the side or adding it to the bottom of the container before loading in the ingredients. If you have enough containers, you can do this all at once, but I usually keep the components separated until the night before when I pack up tomorrow’s meal (I find it keeps it fresher). Keeping components separate also means more people will enjoy it, as they can build their own lunch to suit their taste. I usually make 4 to 5 days’ worth of lunch recipes for two people, as one day we may have a larger dinner with leftovers or choose to eat out at lunch.

Meal Prep Any Meal

While that’s my main focus, I do also meal prep my breakfasts. I make overnight oats (muesli) for the week or granola, which I can quickly portion into a small mason jar. I also find that breakfast recipes, like overnight oats and yogurt and granola, double as healthy, packable snacks.

Meal Prep Recap

Here are my final key points to make Sunday meal prep lunches happen:
– Plan the meals you want to meal prep each week
– Make a list from your recipes and grocery shop
– Devote Sunday (or the day of the week that works for your schedule) morning or afternoon to preparing the bulk of your recipes
– Keep a stash of large, small and personal-sized containers, as well as large and small glass jars to store your prepped components and meals in
– Make 4 to 5 days of lunches, upping the quantities based on your family size
– Choose 1 or 2 themed cuisines (Southern, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Greek, etc.) to avoid dietary boredom and jazz up your every day
– Keep snacks on hand and in the freezer for fast bites
– Double up a make-ahead breakfast, like granola and yogurt, for weekday snacks
– Batch-cook soups, stews and roasts to store in the freezer for weekends when you don’t have time to do meal prep
– Divide and conquer; get your partner or family members in on the meal prep game. Even someone getting the groceries will make this way easier to stick to
– Head outside with a pal to enjoy your meal or go into your workplace’s common room and grab a place at the table. A packed lunch doesn’t mean you have to eat alone al desko, unless you prefer it

1 Can of Chickpeas, 5 Simple Chickpea Salads

Turn a humble, economical and healthy can of chickpeas into five delicious salads that keep well in the fridge all week to enjoy for lunch, dinner, or as an anything-but-boring side dish. From smashed curry chickpea salad lettuce cups to chipotle sweet potato chickpea salad, these versatile recipes will surelysustain and satisfy.

Chickpea-Salad-Green-Goddess-4

Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 5
Serves: 4

1. Green Goddess Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:
1/4 cup homemade or prepared pesto
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice, more for serving
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 lb asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups packed roughly chopped regular spinach or whole baby spinach
1 cup fresh shelled green peas or frozen, defrosted green peas
6 radishes, thinly sliced

Chickpea-Salad-Green-Goddess-1

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2. Steam asparagus until tender, about 5 minutes, refresh with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Add asparagus to a large bowl along with pesto mixture and remaining salad ingredients. Mix well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 5 days. Serve with additional lemon.

Chickpea-Salad-Green-Goddess-2

2. Smashed Curry Chickpea Salad in Lettuce Cups: In a large bowl, mash 1 (19 oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, with a potato masher or back of a fork until roughly smashed. Mix in 2 stalks diced celery, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in butter lettuce cups and garnish with pea sprouts on top.

3. Chickpea Salad Niçoise: In a large bowl, mix 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1/2 lb blanched green beans, 1/2 lb boiled baby new potatoes, 1/4 cup Niçoise or Kalamata olives, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, 1 Tbsp chopped capers and your favourite French vinaigrette recipe.

4. Chickpea Fattoush: In a large bowl, mix 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 2 pieces torn well-toasted flatbread or pita, 1 diced tomato, 1/4 thinly sliced red onion, 6 chopped pitted dates, 1/2 cup crumbled feta, 4 thinly sliced Persian (baby) cucumbers, 1 Tbsp minced chives, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp ground sumac and salt to taste.

5. Ancho Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad: In a large bowl, mix 1 (19 oz) can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 2 peeled and cubed roasted sweet potatoes, 2 thinly sliced roasted red bell peppers, 1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 2 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil, 1 tsp lime zest, 1 Tbsp lime juice and 1/4 tsp salt. Serve garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and diced green onion.

Take a look at our collection of 60 Chickpea Recipes to Make Your Heart Happy.

Best-Ever Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

Packed with all the components of a classic chicken Caesar salad pressed between bread — can you really ask for more? Maybe just a side of fries or salt and vinegar chips, otherwise, nope!

Chicken_Caesar_Salad_Sandwich-10

This is my version of a Caesar salad turned delicious sandwich. To really take it to the next level, the ciabatta bread is treated and toasted as garlic bread before all the fixings get layered inside. Garlic and parsley compound butter is generously spread over the bread and toasted under the broiler until crispy and fragrant. Don’t be afraid of colour on the bread…believe in the char! It adds a deeper flavour that goes really well with the smooth avocado and creamy Caesar dressing spread.

This is a great recipe for the grill too. Prepare the components ahead of time, then grill the chicken and the bread and let everyone assemble their own sandwich. If you’ve had it once, I feel like you will be making this again.

Chicken_Caesar_Salad_Sandwich-3

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
For the Caesar dressing spread:
1 clove garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

For the garlic compound butter:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tsp salt

1lb (454g) boneless skinless chicken breast
Olive oil
Salt and fresh pepper

1 loaf Ciabatta

4 to 6 romaine heart leaves
1 avocado, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Shaved or grated parmesan

Chicken_Caesar_Salad_Sandwich-5

Directions:
For the Caesar dressing spread:
1. Place the garlic, anchovy fillets, egg yolk, parmesan, lemon juice, Dijon and Worcestershire into a blender or food processor.
2. Blend until smooth and combined.
3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the blender/processor is going to emulsify the oil into the spread.
4. Season with salt and fresh pepper to taste.

For the garlic butter:
1. Combine the softened butter with the garlic, chopped parsley and salt. Set aside.

For the grilled chicken:
1. Slice the chicken into 2 or 3 thin fillets per breast by slicing into it as if you were to butterfly the breast and then just continue to cut through so you have 2 thinner fillets. If the chicken breast is thick enough you can get 3 out of it!
2. Pound each fillet with a mallet until about 1/4 inch thick.
3. Season the fillets on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
4. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
5. Oil the grill and sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

For the garlic Ciabatta bread:
1. Heat the broiler on to high and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
2. Cut the ciabatta open and spread the garlic butter on both halves. Use it all!!
3. Place the buttered ciabatta onto a sheet pan and broil on high for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly charred.

Assembly:
1. Spread the Caesar dressing over the garlic bread.
2. Layer the romaine on the bottom half of the sandwich.
3. Place the grilled chicken on top of the romaine and then top with the sliced avocado, hard boiled eggs, and tons of shaved or grated parmesan. TONS!
4. Top the sandwich with the other half of the garlic bread and cut into 4 servings.

How to Make a Montreal-Style Muffulette Sandwich

This epic Montreal-style sandwich is a riff on the Italian classic known as the Muffuletta. Layers of savoury Montreal smoked meat, turkey, cheese, spicy mustard, briny pickles and crunchy veggies come together to create a flavour combination that will quickly become your go-to for weekday lunches and game day gatherings. Look for a flavourful white cheese made in Québec (like Chèvre Noir) for the most authentic Montreal experience!

montreal-muffulette-sandwich

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup chopped pickled pepperoncini peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sourdough boule (600 g)
1 Tbsp spicy deli-style mustard
4 slices semi soft cheese
400g thinly sliced Montreal-style smoked meat
200g thinly sliced deli smoked turkey breast
2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 whole pickles, sliced in half
250 mg cream cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

montreal-muffulette-sandwich2

Directions:

For the Spicy Pickle Sauce:
1. Whirl together pickles, peppers and oil in food processor until almost smooth.

For the Sandwich:
1. Cut top 1/3 off boule horizontally. Hollow out the bottom of the bread, leaving generous 1/2-inch (1 cm) border to form large bread bowl and lid.
2. Spread bottom of bread bowl with spicy mustard; top with pickle mixture.
3. Layer in cheese, Montreal smoked meat and smoked turkey. Top meat with, onions and halved pickles.
4. Spread inside of top of bread with cream cheese; sprinkle with dill.
5. Top with the hollowed out bread top, cream cheese side down. (Tip: Wrap sandwich tightly with plastic wrap. Press sandwich between two large plates; weight top plate down with can. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.)
6. Cut into wedges to serve.

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12 Great Greasy Spoons to Try Across Canada

Some places may not love the term “greasy spoon,” but to me, using that expression isn’t always a bad thing. As much as we all love our plates of confit this, and sous-vide that, at the end of the day, sometimes you just want a greasy burger or a simple sandwich loaded with deli cuts and a proportionate amount of mustard.

blackfoot-diner
Blackfoot Truckstop Diner/Facebook

That, my friends, is where these satisfying and delicious greasy spoons come in.

Blackfoot Truckstop Diner (Calgary, AB)

Normally I wouldn’t put a restaurant on a list after it was mentioned only a couple of weeks ago, but for Calgary, Blackfoot fits the bill too perfectly for being both a great late-night food spot (open 24 hours), as well as a top notch greasy spoon.

Try the grilled hamburger steak drowned in gravy, with a healthy portion of poutine on the side — you will love (and hate) yourself for it.

broadway-cafe
Broadway Cafe/Facebook

Broadway Cafe (Saskatoon, SK)

Anywhere that proudly proclaims they serve Campbells’ soup has clearly read the definition of greasy spoon in the dictionary. Keep things classic at this Saskatoon institution with a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for dipping. Don’t forget the milkshakes either — I mean, how else could you wash all of that cheesy goodness down? And, with most menu prices not exceeding the $10 mark, your wallet will feel just as content as you do after sitting down for a diner-style meal here.

spoons-diner2
Spoons Diner/Facebook

The Commodore (Edmonton, AB)

In business for 73 years and counting, this casual downtown eatery on Jasper Avenue just might be the longest-running restaurant in the city’s history. Commodore is still owned by the original family that opened its doors back in 1942, passed down through the generations. Talk about a family business!

The food may be simple and the interior no-frills, but you’ll definitely soak up a little bit of Edmonton history anytime you visit this joint.

Cosmos Snack Bar (Montreal, QC)

French toast, crispy bacon, tall breakfast sandwiches with a sunny side egg, sliced in half and dripping down your hands as you pick it up… There’s not much to complain about at one of Montreal’s go-to greasy spoons. For a city that embraces foie gras so much, I’m almost a little surprised you can’t find it served diner-style here.

dangerous-dans-diner
Dangerous Dan’s Diner/Facebook

Dangerous Dan’s Diner (Toronto, ON)

If a gigantic burger topped with cheddar, bacon and a fried egg sounds good to you, then Dangerous Dan’s demands your presence. The Queen Street East diner is definitely a hot spot for many Torontonians, and Dan’s delicious deep-fried perogies alone are a good enough reason to check it out.

galaxy-diner
Galaxie Diner/Facebook

Galaxie Diner (Calgary, AB)

Calgarians looking for a hangover cure are always willing to brave long line-ups (and cold weather, come November) to get a seat inside this little restaurant that dishes out eggs by the hundreds and hashbrowns by the ton (my estimation), every day of the week. The “Calgary Sandwich” is Galaxie’s popular spin on a Denver and is loaded with everything from eggs, sausage and bacon, to peppers, onions, mushrooms and possibly a kitchen sink too!

Park Cafe (Saskatoon, SK)

What’s a guy gotta do to find some decent shock food in Saskatoon? Well, he has to go to Park Cafe. If you’re unsure what shock food is, just picture some of the more crazy items that Guy Fieri consumes on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and that pretty much sums it up. The “Death by Cheese Sandwich” is not for the faint of heart and is as greasy as it gets. Basically, it’s a nice, thick grilled cheese sandwich that’s battered, breaded and deep-fried. Everything in moderation, my friends.

save-on-meats
Save On Meats/Facebook

Save On Meats (Vancouver, BC)

Lumping Save On Meats into a line-up of greasy spoons may not be the most accurate thing to do. Sure, they cook up simple, comforting dishes like patty melts and Salisbury steaks, but beneath their simple offerings, this restaurant is so much more. The diner is community focused through-and-through, offering a token program where people (you and me) can purchase meals for $2.25 and hand them out to less fortunate individuals that you might encounter in an area of town that is slowly being restored.

spoons-diner
Spoons Diner/Facebook

Spoons Diner (Victoria, BC)

Whether you’re craving an early morning bite, quick lunch or simple dinner, Spoons is here for you. Pancakes, eggs Benny, clubhouse sandwiches… Whatever diner dish you’re craving, you’ll probably find it on the menu.

the-templeton
The Templeton/Facebook

The Templeton (Vancouver, BC)

Located on Granville Street in the heart of Vancouver, this old diner is charmingly worn and slightly rough-around-the-edges, not unlike the street you find it on. If reasonably priced BLT sandwiches or mini Kellogg’s cereal box breakfasts are your jam, this is the place for you.

The Westcliffe (Halifax, NS)

When Halifax-based food writer Kathy Jollimore told me you can get a cheeseburger and fries for under $5 at this east coast eatery, I almost didn’t believe her. Turns out, almost everything on the menu is $5 or less. Since we’re all the way out on the east coast, you can also find fried clams and fish and chips for one heck of a deal too.

zaks-diner
Zak’s Diner/Facebook

Zak’s Diner (Ottawa, ON)

Ottawa’s ByWard Market has no shortage of shops, restaurants and bars, but when the sun goes down and the street crowds dwindle, whose neon sign shines brightest? Zak’s. Established the same year as Lindsay Lohan (1986, obviously), this 24-hour diner keeps things nice and greasy around the clock with menu items like chili cheese dogs, deep-fried macaroni and so much more.

8-Minute Garlic and Parmesan Pan-Fried Shrimp

This dish embodies the spirit and heart of Italian cuisine; fresh, simple ingredients with a few key flavours like garlic and oregano. Pan-frying the shrimp with lots of Parmesan gives this dish wonderful contrasting texture.

Perfect for a light summer lunch, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve with chunk of toasted ciabatta bread slightly dipped in a good quality olive oil.

panfried-garlic-shrimp2

Garlic and Parmesan Pan-Fried Shrimp

Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 dozen shrimp, deveined, head removed and tail on
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Handful finely chopped basil leaves
Zest of one lemon + juice
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided

Directions:
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, lemon zest and chopped basil to combine.
2. Add shrimp and 1/2 Parmesan, and toss well with hands to coat.
3. Heat pan on maximum heat, add shrimp and cook each side until pink, about 3 to 4 minutes total.
4. Remove from heat and squeeze lemon juice on top; cover with the rest of the Parmesan and serve immediately with slices of toasted ciabatta or baguette.

Shareable Sushi Pizza with Wasabi Aioli

There’s only one thing better than pizza or sushi: sushi pizza. Using a crispy yet chewy rice patty  base and topped with traditional sushi roll fillings, this Japanese-Canadian creation is a delicious way to enjoy two classic foods.

Sushi rice is quite starchy and becomes sticky while it cooks, making it the ideal rice for a pizza base. As for the toppings, feel free to mix it up and top with your favourite proteins, veggies, and sauces.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Makes: 16 pieces

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Ingredients:

Wasabi Aioli:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp wasabi powder
2 tbsp rice vinegar

Rice Patty:
2 cups sushi rice
2 cups cold water
½ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp salt
4 tsp canola oil

Toppings:
½ avocado, sliced
½ lb sushi grade salmon, thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced English cucumber
2 Tbsp sliced green onion
½ Tbsp kelp caviar
½ tsp black sesame seeds

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Directions:

Wasabi Aioli:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolk with mustard.
2. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified.
3. Whisk in wasabi powder and rice vinegar.

Rice Patty:
1. In fine sieve, rinse rice in 3 changes of cold water, stirring vigorously until water runs clear. Drain well.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, combine rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
6. Add to warm rice and mix gently to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Assembly:
1. Divide rice mixture into 4 balls.
2 On a piece of parchment paper, flatten each ball into a 5-inch round.
3, Heat 4 tsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Cook one sushi crust, turning once, until crisp and lightly golden, about 2 minutes per side.
5. Repeat with remaining sushi crusts.
6. Transfer to cutting board and cut each crust into quarters.
7. Top with avocado, cucumber, salmon and green onions. Top with kelp caviar, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle with wasabi aioli.

Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad

What’s better than a light, fresh spring salad? A light, fresh spring salad with a ton of toasted bread soaked in dressing, obviously. The panzanella salad originates in Italy and is said to date back to the 16th century. I know nothing of history. But what I do know is that I love a good crouton salad.

This salad is composed of fresh spring veggies that you can find in farmers’ markets this time of year, and really showcases the vegetables. Be sure to buy local and organic when possible, but if you can’t, just be sure to find the best quality veggies near you. It really makes a world of a difference.

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This salad is dressed really lightly with dill-mustard vinaigrette, which brightens and accents the asparagus, favas, grilled scallions and radishes perfectly. I’ve used pumpernickel bread in the recipe to add a deeper flavour to the salad, and pea shoots for a subtle earthy sweetness. You can always substitute those out for whatever bread and tender greens you can find — this dish is super refreshing and versatile.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 side servings or 2 large servings

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Ingredients:

For the croutons:
5 thick slices pumpernickel bread, about 1” thick
Olive oil
Salt

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

For the grilled scallions:
5-6 scallions
Olive oil
Salt

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1 cup shelled fava beans, fresh is preferred
4 radishes, sliced thinly
1 cup pea shoots

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Directions:

For the croutons:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up.
2. Cut the pumpernickel slices into 1” thick cubes.
3. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle with a very, very generous amount of olive oil. You want it to completely cover the bread.
4. Transfer the bread onto a baking sheet and spread out in one layer.
5. Season with a bit of salt and bake for 12 minutes, tossing the croutons halfway through.

For the dressing:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dill, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and fresh cracked pepper until combined.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Set aside.

For the grilled scallions:
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.
2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the scallions and season with a bit of salt.
3. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely charred and softened.
4. Cut the scallions into 1” long pieces.

For the asparagus:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a bowl.
2. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the asparagus.
3. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. They should still have some crunch to them.
4. Allow them to cool in the ice bath for 1 minute and then place onto a paper towel. Dab away any extra water. This will prevent the asparagus from getting waterlogged.
5. Cut the asparagus into 1” long pieces.

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Dressing the salad:
1. In a large bowl, toss the croutons with 2 Tbsp of dressing and allow them to soak it up while dressing the remaining components.
2. In a separate bowl, toss the scallions, asparagus, fava beans, radish slices and pea shoots with 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp of dressing. Don’t drown the delicate veggies.
3. Transfer the veggies into the bowl with the croutons and toss gently to combine.
4. Plate and enjoy with extra dressing on the side.

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Notes and Shortcuts:
– Use whatever vegetables are fresh and in season — get creative!
– The veggies and croutons can be made and prepped ahead of time, then dressed before serving. This is super helpful when you have guests coming or if you would like to take this salad as a work lunch.
– Change it up: grill the asparagus and change out the scallions for thinly sliced red onions. And if you can find ramps, it’s your lucky day. Definitely use them.
– Substitute the pea shoots for pea tendrils, micro greens or even sorrel — whatever you can find!