Posts tagged ‘spinach’

Salmon soba salad

 I love how easy it is to eat salad this time of year. All the greens and veggies are so tasty, and so easy to grow in your own garden or to find at farmer’s markets. And patios and warm weather are made for healthy food like salads and fish…no need for warm soups or pastas baked with a blanket of cheese right now.

I made this salad with some leftover cedar plank salmon that we cooked on the BBQ. Cedar plank cooking was popular a few years ago and I feel like it dropped off the radar too quickly. It’s still trendy at our house…so delicious and so easy.

In baby-land, we have just started on solid foods. We are trying the baby-led weaning approach to food, which basically means that little ones get to eat what the grown-ups are having without too much interference (no pureeing, etc). It is still mostly mucking about instead of real eating, but it is a lot of fun watching him try different tastes and textures. It’s hard to believe that there are three of us at the dinner table now – babies grow up so fast. Avocado, salmon and cucumber have been a big hit so far, so this salad is perfect for sharing.

Salmon soba super salad

Serves 2

Salad:
2 salmon fillets, grilled or poached
6 cups spinach or mixed greens
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 large cucumber, diced or cut into long chunks for baby
1 carrot, grated
1 bundle of soba noodles
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablepoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons water

Assemble salmon, greens and veggies in individual bowls or plates. Cook soba noodles in a pot of boiling water – be careful not to over cook as they only take a few more minutes. Drain the noodles and add to the salad.

To make the dressing, saute garlic and ginger in sesame oil on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes and stir in remaining ingredients. Pour warm dressing over salad and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Healthy yum! Any extra dressing can be saved in a jar for another salad.

June 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Arugula pesto pasta

springtime pasta

I made this for lunch last Friday. A day off from work thanks to the holiday weekend – there is nothing better than making a proper lunch at home. This dish was easy, as well, since I already had the pesto on hand, so it was just a matter of boiling the spaghetti and stirring things together.

It’s a perfect time of year for arugula and spinach – either for growing or for buying at the market. Both are so much better in their “real” state – a different food altogether from the plastic-packaged variety that we eat during the winter.

Thanks to Laurie for her delicious arugula pesto recipe, which you can find in the comments on this post.

Arugula pesto pasta
Serves 2-3 people
1/2 pound spaghetti (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
Save 1 cup of the pasta water when you are draining it
1/2 cup arugula pesto (see above link for recipe)
3-4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Truffle oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just about al dente. Drain, but save about 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Toss pesto, spinach and chili flakes with pasta and gradually add in reserved pasta water a small amount at a time as the spinach cooks down until the sauce is a good texture. Top with pine nuts and freshly ground pepper, and add truffle oil and/or parmesan as a garnish if you wish.

April 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Mushroom barley risotto with spinach & lentils

mushroom barley2
Edmonton, Victoria, Ottawa, Kamloops, Nanaimo. I’ve been travelling a ton over the past couple of months. Not always to the most exotic places, but each has its own merits and it is always fun to travel for work. There are always moments of discovery – a great bookshop, an unexpected side journey, conversations with seldom-seen colleagues, a perfect cafe.

The latter is what I found in Kamloops at Hello Toast. Everything about it was great – the service, the food, the cozy, funky atmosphere. I  had a thick mushroom barley soup with buttered toast and salad. It was exactly what I wanted for lunch on a chilly day. As soon as I had my first spoonful of soup, I thought, I have to make this at home! The recipe below is my version of those flavours, with lentils and spinach added in for extra protein and vitamins.

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used baby portobello mushrooms)
1/2 cup du Puy lentils (French lentils)
3/4 cup barley
1 tablespoon each thyme and oregano
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground pepper
4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in vegetable oil until the onions are soft and starting to carmelize. Add in the lentils, barley, herbs and vegetable stock or water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the lentils are soft, about 15 minutes. If you want a “soupier” dish, add more water at this stage. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach. Serve with salad and toast for a delicious, warming lunch or dinner.

December 19, 2013 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

Spanikopita pie

spanikopita pie with salad

I love spanikopita, but I rarely make it because it is too much work. Yesterday I made this spanikopita pie, and it was so much easier than fiddling with the wrapping and stuffing of individual spanikopita – it took no more than 15 minutes to put it together. I’m quite proud of the salad as well, since it all came from my garden…fast-growing cherry tomatoes are the best.

I’ve tried to write out some instructions below for working with the phyllo dough, but the nice thing is that it generally tastes and looks great no matter what you do, so I wouldn’t worry too much about perfectionism. The whole point of the recipe is to make it easy to make spanikopita, so don’t fuss!

Spanikopita pie
Makes 6 servings

1/2 package of phyllo pastry, thawed
Olive oil for brushing on phyllo
1-300 gram package of chopped spinach, thawed (or about 3 cups chopped fresh spinach)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
200 grams of feta cheese (about 2/3 of a cup)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme, rosemary and chives from the garden)
Fresh ground pepper
Hot pepper flakes for sprinkling on top

Arrange the phyllo sheets in layers in a greased glass pie plate. I put down 2-3 sheets in the bottom of the pan, brushed them with olive oil, layered on another few sheets, brushed with olive oil and so on until they were all used up. When I was layered the sheets I let them drape down over the sides for folding up over top once the filling is in, like you would with a crostata.

Once you have all the sheets layered in the bottom of the pie plate, mix up the filling ingredients – spinach, garlic, shallots, feta, eggs, herbs and pepper – in a bowl and pour on top of the phyllo dough (I didn’t bother draining the spinach and it worked just fine). Fold any phyllo dough that is hanging over the sides on top of the filling and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes and bake in a 400F oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is puffy and golden. Phyllo dough is pretty good about not burning, but what I did was keep the pie on the bottom rack of the oven for about half the time. You could also cover the pastry parts on top with a bit of tin foil if you are worried about burning.

Cut the pie into six pieces and serve with salad – it is good warm right out of the oven or cold the next day.

2013 garden salad

July 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Saturday at the market

This is the kind of Saturday I live for all year long. The sun is shining and it was 20C by 9am this morning when we pulled up to the West End Farmer’s Market. Cherries, raspberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, carrots and soft ripe apricots all followed us home, along with a wedge of cheese flecked with carraway seeds and the salmon and halibut we picked up from our share in Skipper Otto’s community supported fishery.

It’s all a bit predictable, finding bliss in the Saturday market and all of its bounty, but it never seems to get old.

July 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

First food: Arugula

Way back in January I showed you the first flower blooming in my little garden: a humble snowdrop. Now, several months later, we are finally enjoying the first food from the patio garden. Arugula is thriving in this wooden wine crate. I am a more complete person when I can walk outside to my own garden and gather a small plate of greens to eat. Really. It makes that much difference.

But why? Taste, yes, of course. And I am infinitely satisfied when seeds I plant start growing from the ground, especially if they become food. Healthy, leafy greens, organically grown zero-miles away, and available when I want them in whatever quantity I need, whether a few leaves for a sandwich or a bowlful for a salad. The ease and simplicity is such a relief compared to the steep challenge of so many other aspects of my life.

Other edibles are coming along nicely as well. Baby salad greens and spinach are ready to pick along with chives, mint, oregano and thyme. Peas and swiss chard are showing progress and I’ve finally moved my tomato plants outside, which put an end to the jungle-like grow operation inside our house. It’s so nice to be foraging and cultivating food outdoors again.

May 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm 2 comments

Gnocchi with spinach & sun-dried tomato cream sauce


I love gnocchi as an alternative to pasta. Like pasta it will happily swim in an endless variety of sauces and flavours and I also like that it feels a bit fancy even though it is actually easier to make than pasta. The dish pictured here is a spinach and sun-dried tomato cream sauce with fresh tomatoes on top; a spicy tomato sauce swirled with fresh herbs and a bit of goat cheese is also delicious.

Tackling homemade gnocchi is on my list of cooking adventures to try someday, but for now I just use the packaged variety from the pasta aisle at the grocery store.

Gnocchi with spinach and sun-dried tomato cream sauce
Serves 2 for dinner

1 package of gnocchi
1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
1/2 of a medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (or vegetable stock if you’d rather drink the wine)
1 cup of cream (if you’re calorie-minded you can also use non-fat evaporated milk)***
1 tablespoon of basil pesto
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes
parmesan cheese & fresh ground pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the gnocchi. Add onions and oil to another pan and cook on medium until the onions soften and start to brown. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and add the wine (or stock) to deglaze the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the wine has reduced a bit and stir in the cream, pesto and spinach. Turn down the heat to low and allow the sauce to warm for a few minutes while you’re cooking the gnocchi.

Drop the gnocchi in the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes – just until the gnocchi are bobbing at the surface of the water. Drain well and return to the pot.

Pour the sauce over the drained gnocchi and then dish it into plates. Top with fresh tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese and fresh pepper. Serve with a salad and whatever is left of the wine you used for cooking.

*** I am cooking with cream these days. Life is short.

February 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm 2 comments

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