Much Ado About Mache: Avocado, Grapefruit & Mache Salad March 24, 2010

I am having a love affair lately with MACHE.  What’s that you say?  It’s a delicat and gorgeous little leaf that is soooo good for you and so yummers that you’ll be calling it old spinster spinach’s younger, prettier, healthier little sister.  It may not be readily available in your area (also goes by Lambs Lettuce), but if you find it…GET IT!  No regrets.  Trust me.  Why all the fuss? Mache is not only a natural anti-stresser, thanks to its high vitamin B9 content (160g B9 per 100g), but it is also has natural anti-fatigue and anti-depressive properties!  Brills!

Just take a look at this 100g breakdown:

* At 160mg, it contains almost half the recommended daily amount of vitamin B9

* Dairy-free?  No problem.  Mache has almost 40g of calcium.

* Low on the iron? 2.2 mg!

* With 39 mg of vitamin C, you can skip the sugary juice in the morn and not feel bad.

* 4g fibre = happy innerds!



1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

4-6 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 medium pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and de-membraned

1 medium avocado, sliced

2-3 cups mache (no stems)




For the mustard dressing =

In the salad bowl, mix mustard well with oil; add juice and continue to blend until thoroughly blended (salt to taste).

For the salad =

1) Place grapfruit sections and sliced avocado in a med-large bowl, then gradually add a few handfuls of mache leaves at a time and toss gently.

2) Pour dressing over and toss gently, then serve.


Lentils, lentils and more lentils … oh my! March 22, 2010

I’m a lover of the lentil … have you guessed yet?  How could anyone hate these glorious little gems?  So easy to cook, so versatile, so delish, so cheap!  There are so many kinds to choose from too – keeping the boredom at bay.  So, after weeks of adding lentils to just about anything and everything (okay, I was on a bit of a bender you see), here two of my faves, that are ridiculously quick and beyond simple to compile:



1 cup dried green lentils

1 bay leaf

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp each turmeric, salt and coriander

¾ cup raisins or cranberries

¾ cup walnuts

2 green onions, diced

¼ cup fresh parsley (or half the amount dried)

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp  white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Pepper to taste


1. Add add lentils and bay leaf to 3 cups of water and cook thoroughly (read package for specific timing).

2. Meanwhile quinoa, tumeric, coriander and salt to 2 cups of water,  bring to a boil, cover and simmer, 10-12 min.

3. Once both pots are cooked, cool then mix together.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper,

5. Stir in dressing to main grains, then add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chopped green onion and minced parsley and combine thoroughly.



1 medium onion

2 Tbsp veggie broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

½ cup chickpeas (canned)

½ cup mixed beans (canned) – I used black eyed peas

1 cup cooked lentils (red cook the fastest but almost dissolve completely)

1 ½ cups water

1 cup leafy greens (I used baby spinach)


1. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min, then add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, broth, beans and lentils, simmering covered, until ingredients are softened and flavours are well combined (approx 5-10  min).

2. Add 1 cup greens, simmer again for 2 more minutes.

3. Serve hot over rice, naan, pr pita!


Tomato & Green Bean Salad April 9, 2009

Think refreshing mint meets crunchy beans – with a kick of garlic and balsamic.  There … easy!  This refreshing salad is a go-to of mine when company’s coming – wickedly easy, cheap and tastes great the next day too.  Looks gorgeous served on a big white platter.


2 cups of fresh French-style green beans, end chopped off and cut in half

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half length-wise

1 TBSP garlic, minced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup good Balsamic vinegar

a pinch of sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 hand-full of fresh mint, finely chopped


1) Steam or boil green beans until just starting to tender.

2) Immediately after cooking, bathe green beans in cold water to stop the cooking process.

3) In a small jar or bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (execpt for mint).

4) Place green beans, tomatoes and mint in a large bowl and combine, then add dressing and mix thoroughly, but gently.

Ready to serve!gbs


Lentil-Quinoa Salad February 10, 2009

I eat alotta beans … alotta quinoa … alotta salad … so a tri-combo is what my tummy is used to, but it’s quite a savory treat for my tastebuds!  Plus, I’m on a bit of a lentil kick these days.  Did I mention this is so very kind on your wallet too?  Oh, and don’t bother sitting down to wait for the cooking to be complete … it’ll be done before you even set the table!

1 cup lentils, uncooked (or 1 cup canned – skip step 1 if using canned)
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
Fresh coriander (optional)

Lime-curry vinaigrette
1/8 cup canola oil
6 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1 tsp ground coriander


1) Cook the lentils until tender, about 20 minutes – drain and allow to cool.
2) Cook the quinoa until translucent and tender (2 parts boiling water
or stock, 1 part quinoa, simmered until all water has evaporated) –
allow to cool.
3) Chop scallions; and add along with lentils and quinoa to a large
serving bowl.
4) Place all ingredients for vinaigrette in a separate bowl and stir
thoroughly (you can adjust spices to suit your taste).
5) Add vinaigrette to mixture and combine thoroughly.
6) Garnish with fresh coriander if desired, and serve at room temperature.



Minty Summery Fruits August 13, 2008

Filed under: Salad queen — s mcdowall @ 5:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Farmers markets, sunny weather and an abundance of fresh, delicious, sweet fruits! This quick dessert or snack is insanely easy to prepare and is so mouthwatering, I have to put a limit on how much I make. I grow so much fresh mint in my yard, that I always have more than enough to make fruit or veggie salads … a perfect pairing for mohitos!


1 pint fresh strawberries
1 peach (white or regular)
1 lime
6 lychees (fresh or canned)
1-2 tbsp fresh mint, minced (plus a few sprigs for decoration)
honey or agave nectar


1) Chill the fruit before using, and slice strawberries, peach and lychees.
2) In a mixing bowl, juice the lime, then add the mint and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar to taste, mix well.
3) Add the fruit to the liquid and make sure everything is well coated.
4) To plate the salad, fan out peaches, pile strawberries on one side, top with lychees, and garnish with additional sprigs of mint.


QA-Sala (Quinoa Apple Salad) August 12, 2008

I’ve used quinoa in many recipes, and am always looking for new ways to serve this tasty tongue twister (it’s keen-wa). Here’s a nice fresh salad that will serve about 6 as a main-course salad, and keeps really well in the fridge for a few days. Apples are always easy to find and usually pretty tasty even when not in season. If you buy quinoa in bulk, this whole dish will generally cost you under $1 per person. Not too shabby!

juice from 1 lemon
1⁄3 cup apple cider
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄3 cup canola or sunflower oil (olive oil is a bit too full bodied for this)
1⁄3 cup honey
5 cups cooked quinoa
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 red pepper, diced small
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or canned will do)
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup currants (or raisins if you don’t have any currants handy)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1 cup each, fresh parsley and mint, chopped
sea salt/freshly ground pepper to taste

1) Place lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, oil and honey in a small bowl and stir to combine.
2) In a large bowl, combine quinoa and all remaining ingredients well, then stir in dressing. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate until ready to serve!

To cook quinoa, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a pot with a lid. Stir in 2 cups quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until water is fully absorbed, about 25 min. You can cook any amount of quinoa you like as long as you keep the 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. It is also worth your while to test out other liquids such as your fav stock or even 1/2 coconut milk, 1/2 water.


Black Bean Millet Mix July 29, 2008

I recently discovered millet – that sneaky little grain that apparently pre-dates even rice. This delicious little ball is easy to make, and hey, goes so well with just about anything, including that your favourite beer of yours too (did you know that a lot of beers are actually made with millet?). You can toast it, serve it hot or cold, or even make a sweet pudding out of it. It’s high in protein, low fat, rammed full of nutrients and wickedly cheap. It’ll even make all your gluten free pals happy too.

1 cup Millet, uncooked
3 cups Water (or stock)
1 1/2 cups Black beans, cooked (or 1 can)
2 lg Tomatoes, chopped
1 can sweet corn
1 small green onion – chopped finely
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp dried cilantro (or a handful of fresh – coarsely chopped)
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat a fry pan and toast the millet for about 5 min – shaking the pan so it doesn’t burn (hint – it will start to pop once it’s toasted, so as soon as you hear that ‘popcorn’ like noise, take it off the burner).
2. Cook the millet in 3 cups of boiling water until all water is absorbed (simmer about 30-45 min).
3. When done, fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly.
4. In a very large bowl, combine cooked millet and all remaining ingredients (but not dressing).
5. Mix all dressing ingredients until well-blended, then pour over the salad and toss to blend.
6. Serve warm OR cover and refrigerate until the salad is very well chilled.

You can serve this on lettuce leaves or even stuff into pita breads.
You can also substitute the millet for couscous or quinoa or buckwheat.