Category Archives: Soups and Salads

Kale Salad With a Kick


I finished day 3 of Natasha Kyssa’s “SimplyRaw Detox” with this beautiful and slightly spicy kale salad.  By far, this has to be the best kale salad I have ever tasted.

The recipe is from Brendan Brazier’s “Whole Foods to Thrive”.  Early this morning over a warm cup of Fire Water, I earmarked several pages of this book.  It never really dawned on me until today of the large number of raw recipes Brendan actually has in this book.  This kale salad recipe popped out as it contains a good pinch of cayenne pepper, just like my early morning Fire Water.

This salad was my dinner tonight, so I gave it a little extra by adding a handful of sunflower sprouts and a handful of raw pumpkin seeds.


  • 1 head of kale, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • handful of sprouts
  • handful of raw seeds or nuts
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together the oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss in chopped avocado and chopped tomato and mix.  Add kale and green onions and toss.  You may want to use your clean hands to help “wilt” the kale and soften the avocado to a creamier texture.  Once kale has been coated, toss in sprouts and seeds.  Serve immediately.

Mango and Black Bean Salad


Full of refreshing mango, this is a salad I normally make in the heart of the summer for picnics, potlucks and family gatherings at the lake.  When my husband recently came home from a work trip in Brazil with a big bag of mangoes, I immediately thought of this tangy and sweet salad.  I have been dreaming of the tropics.  Enough with this snow already!

This salad is awesome served on its own in a big bowl or on top of a bed of mixed greens or brown rice.  We have even enjoyed it as a topping for a veggie burger.  I tend to make it slightly different each time depending on the ingredients I have in the house.  Try, too, adding a cup of organic corn kernels, chopped avocados and a small handful of chopped parsley.


  • 2 cups of cooked black beans*
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 mango, diced


  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 small red chilli pepper, chopped finely (or use a good pinch of crushed red peppers)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil OR 1/4 cup of garlic and chilli flax oil

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Top with dressing and toss lightly.

*If you own a crock pot, save the time and money by making slow cooker black beans.  Thanks to a recent post by dawdling darlings, I now keep a container of cooked black beans in my freezer for future recipes. These beans add protein plus fiber to any dish.  If choosing canned beans, I recommend Eden beans, as their cans are BPA-free.


Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Soup

I admit I was relieved when my kids asked for soup last night for dinner.  After a day of work, I came home to over an hour’s worth of snow shoveling.  And, it wasn’t the light fluffy kind.  Clearly, we were all very much in the mood for something quick, warm and comforting.

Parsnips have been on my mind this past week.  (I get the oddest cravings sometimes).  Luckily, I had a few reserved from my Parsnip Salad that I made on the weekend.

So, I roasted up some parsnips and garlic for a soup and the girls set out to make some garlic toast and a mixed green salad.  This meal hit the spot on this winter wonderland kind of day.


I adapted this recipe from our LCBO’s (Liquor and Control Board of Ontario)  Food and Drink Magazine.  This is a gluten-free and vegan version of  Lucy Waverman’s  Curried Parsnip Soup .  I didn’t get to the apple compote.  I will blame it on all the snow.   I chose instead to garnish my bowl with a few thyme leaves. 😉


  • 4 or 5 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • olive oil
  • several cloves of garlic, skins on
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • pinch of curry paste (or more, if you wish!)
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups vegan soup stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (from the can – reserve the rest for a vegetable curry)
  • sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place parsnip chunks and garlic cloves with skin in a large bowl, drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss.   Place on a baking sheet and bake, stirring several times, until parsnips are browned but not fully cooked and garlic is soft.  Set aside.

Saute onion and ginger in a soup pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  (Try sauteing onion and ginger in a couple of tablespoons of water to avoid adding more oil to your soup).  Add curry paste and stir together.

Once garlic cloves have cooled, use your fingers and squeeze cloves out of skins.  Add apples,  parsnips and roasted garlic to pot and cook another 2minutes or until flavours have combined.

Add vegan soup stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Puree soup using an immersion blender.  Add coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes, thinning with a little water if needed. Season with sea salt to taste.

This morning I went for a walk along the river.  Our little town looked so beautiful with the freshly fallen snow. (Still snowing, by the way).  Thought I’d share my photos……

Parsnip Salad with Japanese Dressing


This past weekend, I found a beautiful bag of local, organic parsnips at my favourite store.  I realized then that it had been a long time since I made a dish using this ordinary looking winter vegetable.

Parsnips are often overlooked in stores as they get overshadowed by all the other colourful and vibrant  vegetables.  Don’t let their dull cream-coloured exterior fool you, though.  Parsnips do contain a generous amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  For this, Jamie Oliver refers to parsnips as the “humble little vegetable”.

Roasting parsnips with some olive oil and sea salt brings out their sweetness making them a kid-friendly dish for those very picky eaters!  I have taken this salad (recipe from my Green Door Restaurant Vegetarian Cookbook) to many functions and it has received some rave reviews.

Parsnip Salad with Japanese Dressing

  • parsnips, approx. 2 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into chunks of approximately the same size

Parsnips turn dark when peeled and exposed to air for any length of time.  Once peeled and cut, immediately toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 350 degrees, for roughly 30 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool.

Japanese Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • the juice of one lemon

Mix well and pour over cooled roasted parsnips.


  • arame seaweed* (soaked for 20 minutes and drained), sliced green onion, sliced or diced red pepper, and finely chopped parsley

*Arame seaweed is a good choice for introducing the palate to sea vegetables, as its taste is sweet and mild.   I would definitely recommend giving it a try – arame is high in iron, calcium and iodine.  Add it to your soups, salads or stews!

Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup

We woke this morning to a beautiful, crisp winter’s day.  Although the temperature remained at a steady minus 12 degrees Celsius and the wind felt bitter on the ears,  we finally had glorious sunshine.

When I was a young teenager growing up in northern Ontario, my friends and I would rush on days like today to the roof of our house.  Once up top, we would open up our scarves and remove our hats to catch every bit of the sun’s rays.  We would lie there for some time dreaming of our plans for the upcoming Spring.  Today, I settled for a nice walk around town and some time in the kitchen making a hearty, wholesome soup – as to not startle my fine neighbours.


This recipe had me at roasted garlic! How can you go wrong with roasted garlic?

It also contains that knobby, hairy root vegetable called celeriac.  If you are not sure what a celeriac looks like, check out my post for a Creamy (No Dairy) Celery Root Salad.

A medium potato and cooked cauliflower are used to thicken this soup making it super creamy and rich without the addition of dairy.  Hemp seeds were scattered on top in an attempt to garnish.  I served a bowl of this soup this afternoon with some large pieces of flatbread I made overnight in my dehydrator.  The soup warmed our bellies and kept us going throughout the afternoon.

This soup recipe comes from a magazine that has been such a great resource since our family decided our home would be gluten-free.  Living Without is a magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities.  Not only are all the recipes gluten-free, but many are vegan or can easily be adapted to suit a vegan diet.  Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup was published in their October/November 2011 issue.  The only change I made was substituting the stock for my favourite gluten-free, vegan stock.

My next post will feature the flatbread served with this delicious soup. 

Creamy (No Dairy) Celery Root Salad with Candied Walnuts and Hemp Seeds


I always chuckle when I toss this knobby, slightly hairy, root vegetable into my grocery cart.  I just love the reaction I get when I place it on the cashier’s belt while waiting in line at the check-out.


Celery root, also known as celeriac, is one ugly looking vegetable.  But don’t judge it by its cover!  It’s flavour is unique – a taste of celery and parsley combined.  With the texture of a turnip, celery root can be enjoyed in soups or stews.  But, our favourite way of eating this highly nutritious vegetable is raw.

Traditionally, our family has eaten celery root grated and tossed with yogurt and sour cream.  In a mean craving for the same delicious salad,  I decided to replicate an old family recipe by replacing the dairy with my own cashew cream.  The result was heavenly! Just like Oma’s!



  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soak in water in fridge overnight, then drain and rinse well)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I used Santa Cruz organic lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground pepper

Puree cashews, water and sea salt in a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and process until dressing is smooth.  Transfer dressing to a large glass bowl.


Celery root must be peeled and rinsed well prior to eating.  It also tends to darken quickly once peeled, so its best to toss it with some lemon juice (if you are still preparing your dressing). 

Once grated, transfer the celery root immediately to your glass bowl and toss it with the dressing to prevent discolouration.  Toss salad with walnuts and hemp seeds prior to serving.

Bon appetit!

Garlic Beets


My family moved to the Ottawa Valley just over 6 years ago.  On my first Christmas here, my husband gave me a wonderful little cookbook recommended to him by the owner of our local bookstore.  Titled “The Green Door Restaurant: Vegetarian Cookbook”, this soft cover book is now a bit tattered and stained as it’s my “go to book” for quick, delicious vegan recipes.   This recipe comes from this book.  I brought Garlic Beets to our family Christmas dinner last night.


  • 5-6 medium-sized beets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar (also known as ume plum vinegar)*

Cook beets until tender.  (I used a pressure cooker) and let cool on a large dinner plate or pan.  Peel the beets.  Slice or chop the beets in small chunks and place in a serving bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the minced garlic, olive oil and umeboshi vinegar.  Pour over beets, mix and serve.

Umeboshi vinegar, made from pickled Japanese ume fruit, livens up salad recipes due to its fruity and very salty taste.  Ume plums (more like red apricots) have a number of medicinal qualities.  One being a hangover remedy!  Umeboshi vinegar can be found in natural health food stores or in the health food section of some grocery stores.  If you do not have this vinegar in your pantry, but are dying to make this salad, you can substitute the umeboshi vinegar for red wine vinegar.  However, I do recommend that you give umeboshi vinegar a try.   To learn more about umeboshi or ume plum vinegar, check out this site – .