Black Bean Salsa


Are you a salsa person?  My husband definitely is, a bit of a salsa snob, if I can be so bold. Not saying that’s a bad thing, we definitely don’t buy the commercial shelf stable stuff, opting for fresh salsa like from the farmer’s markets or the deli.  If I am feeling really energetic I’ll try to make my own, especially with garden tomatoes!

Black Bean Salsa

Ever tried black bean salsa before?  Don’t be scared away, it’s just like normal salsa…but it has black beans in it!  It’s a deliciously sneaky way to add more fiber, protein and pulses to your diet!  Did you know that the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses?  The goal is to increase awareness of the nutritional benefits and how pulses are an important part of a sustainable food system.  Learn more here.

What is a “pulse” anyway?  Are they good for you?  

Pulses are a family of plants including:

– Dried peas (think split pea soup)

– Dry beans (think pork and beans you take camping)

– Lentils (small disc shapes you might see in soups or stews)

– Chickpeas (think hummus)

Things you may know:

  • Pulses are high in fibre!  This helps with regularity, keeping you feeling full longer and many Canadians are not getting the recommended amounts of fibre in each day.
    • The recommend daily intake of fibre is 38 g/day of total fibre for men and 25 g/day of total fibre for women.
  •   Pulses are a good source of protein!  Making them a great plant based alternative to meat or animal products.

Things you may NOT know:

  • Pulses have a low glycemic index, meaning that they are digested and absorbed slowly in the body and help to keep blood sugar levels more stable.
  • Pulses can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the body, because they contain soluble fibre.
  • Pulses use half the non-renewable energy inputs of other crops and have a low carbon footprint!   For more information click here.

Information based off of Pulse Canada.  For more information check out their website! 

Tomatoes and Lycopene:

Let’s also talk tomatoes.  Garden tomatoes in season, taste fantastic (like they should taste), but store bought ones out of season….generally taste and look bland.  The key to any recipe is fresh ingredients!  In the winter and spring I prefer to use canned tomato products because they are harvested and preserved at the peak of ripeness.  Did you know that the heating process involved in canning tomatoes increases the amount of “lycopene” in tomatoes by about 7 times?

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is strongly linked to preventing cancer!  Lycopene is particularly well known for the protective effects it has against prostate cancer.  Tomatoes are by far the winner when it comes to lycopene content of food or consider canned tomato products a nutritious option.

Information based off of the Canadian Nutrient Files 

 Salsa recipe ideas:

Serve this salsa with lettuce and veggies, avocado, chopped cooked chicken, corn for a simple Mexican salad.

Top your favourite burrito or taco filling with this salsa for a high fiber punch.

Add salsa to scrambled or poached eggs and serve on toast for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Spoon salsa over white fish or chicken before baking in the oven.

 black bean salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Recipe sourced from: Dietitians of Canada Cookbook, Simply Great Food, by Patricia Chuey, Eileen Campbell and Mary Sue Waisman

Makes enough to feed a crowd


3 cups tomatoes, diced (if in season) or 750 mL can of diced tomatoes (you can drain the juice if you like your salsa more chunky than wet)

1 small red onion, finely minced

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced (optional)

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional if you aren’t a cilantro fan)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Juice of 2 limes


  1. Chop tomatoes, if using, or empty canned tomatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Mince onion, jalapeno and cilantro and add to the tomatoes.
  3. Rinse black beans and add to the salsa.
  4. Add olive oil, salt and freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir well to combine.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!





Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Sandwich

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Sandwich

Eating a plant based diet, avoiding eggs, fish or don’t like mayo?  This recipe is for you!

Two ingredients….chickpeas and hummus.

I wanted to make a quick sandwich spread the other day, grabbed some leftover canned chickpeas from the fridge and thought…what goes with chickpeas better than…chickpeas!  Mashed them up with hummus and voila!  A tasty and flavourful sandwich spread.


– 1/2 cup chickpeas, canned, rinsed

– 2-3 tbsp hummus

– Salt and pepper


1. Mash chickpeas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.  If they are pretty firm you can soften them in the microwave a little first.

2. Add in hummus until it looks creamy and delicious!

3. Spread on toasted bread, serve with crackers or roll inside lettuce leaves!

Katy Perry Pizza



I’m a big Katy Perry fan.  One of the highlights of my summer was being able to see her in concert!  During her show she did a skit about her garden that she has in California and how it can grow all year round.  In her garden she likes to grow kale, sugar snap peas, chives and some other things.  Katy also told us that she is gluten intolerant and proceeded to give away a pizza that magically appeared on stage to a lucky member of the audience (a 12 year old boy)!  So my husband came up with the idea that I should make a Katy Perry pizza with her garden ingredients and a gluten free crust.  I’m not sure if she is lactose intolerant so I left off the cheese 🙂 but that’s optional.


– One ingredient pizza crust (recipe here)

– Pre-steamed kale

– 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, chopped in large pieces

– A few sprigs of fresh chives or green onions, minced

– Cherry tomatoes, halved

– Basil leaves, chopped

– Minced garlic or a sprinkle of garlic powder

– Pizza sauce

– Cheese if desired or a dairy free alternative.  I used my vegan parmesan cheese!


1. Prepare crust as per instructions.

2. While it’s baking prep ingredients.  Cut up the pre-steamed kale, peas, chives and tomatoes, shred cheese if using.

3. Pull out pizza crust when done.  Spread on sauce.  Distribute the vegetables overtop and bake in the oven until crisp, hot and browned!

One ingredient pizza crust! (Gluten, egg and grain-free)



I hate baking now that we’re eating gluten free.  There. I admit it. I used to like it when it was easy to do with wheat flour….versatile, forgiving and you always had the ingredients in the pantry and could easily get them on sale at any grocery store.

Now?  I struggle to find a reputable and safe supplier of non-contaminated flours, pay a premium for them, am annoyed by the amount of measuring of random flours I have to use to replace wheat flour, am un-satisfied the majority of the time with the end product (tastes off, burns in the pan, has a weird texture) and I know that it’s nutritionally inferior thanks to the need to add isolated “starches” like corn, tapioca or potato starch to make it lighter.  That’s my gluten free baking vent…..

Instead I try to find alternatives that use foods naturally gluten free.  You’ve probably noticed my trend towards raw baking using things like nuts, seeds, dried fruits, coconut oil to make delightful and natural desserts that aren’t “imitations” or “substitutes” of the real thing.  I know the ingredients are mostly unprocessed and feel better putting those whole foods into our bodies.

I’ve been on the look-out for a looooong time for a normal tasting pizza crust recipe that doesn’t involve 57 different types of gluten free flours.  This one has literally ONE INGREDIENT!  Unless you count water….then it’s two.  Even for the people eating gluten, it’s a super simple, fuss free recipe that tastes surprisingly good.  The trick?  Quinoa!  Quinoa (actually classified as a seed) is definitely a superfood that invaded the food markets over the past 5-10 years.  What’s cool about it is that it’s a complete and good protein source!  Normal grains have an incomplete profile of amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and are low in protein.


1 1/2 cups of quinoa, soaked overnight in water

3/4 cup water (or a little more if needed)

Oil for the pan


1. Soak the quinoa overnight in a covered container.  Rinse when you are ready to make the pizza.

2. Add drained quinoa and 3/4 cups of fresh water to the blender.

3. Blend for about 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is well blended.  It should look like thick pancake batter.

4. Heat oven to 425F.  Cut out parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pan or pans you will be using for the pizza crust.  The original recipe called for 2 X 9 inch round cake pans.  I used a large ~40cm diameter pizza pan. Brush the paper with oil to coat it well.

5. Pour quinoa batter onto the parchment paper lined pan and smooth out evenly.

6. Bake in the oven for ~20-25 minutes or until browned on the bottom for optimal flavour and crispness.  Remove from the oven and flip over.  Add desired toppings now and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or as needed until browned and baked.

Slice and enjoy! 🙂

Autumn Zucchini Parmesan


Pardon the picture I was too busy eating it to take a good one…..

My friend Julie introduced me to this delightfully simple recipe that is full of natural vegetable flavours.  Apparently this was a staple in her household growing up and I can see why – it’s nice use of garden veggies!  Julie and I made this while traveling to the beautiful Queen Charlotte Islands (off the West Coast of BC) and got all of the ingredients from the farmers market!  Lovely!

This is a nice recipe for autumn because you can often find people begging you to take their leftover garden tomatoes and zucchini! This recipe can be made on the BBQ on a hot day or in the oven on a cold day.

Ingredients: (This makes 4 hearty servings, it can easily be doubled to serve a crowd)

– 3 large very ripe tomatoes or 1 large can of crushed tomatoes

– 1 large onion or 2 medium sized ones, chopped

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced length-wise to about 1 cm

– 1 head of garlic (yup the whole head or at least 5-6 cloves), minced

– About 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

– Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large skillet, heat oil and then add the onions, garlic and tomatoes.  Simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until hot.

2. While those are cooking, slice zucchini into “lasagna” style noodles (length-wise).  Shred cheese.

3. In a large lasagna pan (i.e. – 9X13 pan or larger) or a tinfoil roasting pan for the BBQ, place 1/3 of the tomato/onion mixture and spread around.  Add half of the sliced zucchini to cover the tomatoes.

4. Add another 1/3 of the tomatoes, spread around.  Add the remaining zucchini.  Add the remaining tomatoes.  Sprinkle the cheese over top.

5. Preheat oven or BBQ to 375F.  Bake covered with tinfoil for about 60-75 minutes or until the zucchini is tender (the thicker the slices, the longer it will take).

Serve with thick slices of gf grainy bread, pasta or rice.  I’ve tried it all three ways and it’s delicious 🙂  Sprinkle a little S&P over top if desired.

Rice Paper “Perogies”


One of the gaps in gluten-free eating is perogies….especially when both of us come from Ukrainian/Eastern European backgrounds!  Fortunately there are a lot of creative people on the internet and I came across this recipe idea.  It’s simple and easy….and doesn’t involve rolling out dough?!  I’m game!  They turned out pretty good, a substitute for perogies (although not the dough-y goodness) is better than none at all.  Make sure the filling is very flavourful as the rice papers have no taste.  Serve with sour cream or try my vegan sour cream 🙂

I found this idea on one of the blogs that I follow


Rice Paper, hydrated and blotted dry

Filling options:

Mashed potatoes mixed with butter and seasonings/cheese or other flavourings you like!

Sauteed sauerkraut and onion (even adding some italian sausage would be delicious I’m sure)

1 – 2 Tbsp Olive Oil


1. Prepare your desired fillings.  In a large pan, fry the sauerkraut and onion until dry and browned.  Boil and mash potatoes, add flavourings. Allow to cool a little.

2. Pre Heat oven to 425 F.

3. Fill a bowl or baking sheet with water. Let the rice paper soak, a few at a time. Once the rice paper is soft enough, place onto the counter. Put 3 Tbsp (for large rice paper rolls) or 1 Tbsp (for small), of filling onto the center of the rolls. Fold in the sides first, then tightly roll up from the bottom, making a cylinder shape.

4. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush each one generously with oil. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, turning a few times throughout.

Autumn Glow Soup (Curried yam and lentil)


Simple but delicious!  I found this inspiration on the website….still on my lentil food jag by the way.  I like this one recipe because is has lentils as a hidden ingredient (you don’t really notice them) so it’s a great introductory recipe for those wanting to explore lentils.

It’s also an inexpensive soup and a great source of plant based protein!  The coconut milk gives it a rich, satisfying flavour like a cream soup without the cream.  If you have an allergy or dislike coconut milk, then used a can of evaporated milk instead.


1/2 cup dried red lentils, rinsed well

1 liter low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (gluten free if needed)

2 small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced

1 – 19 oz can of diced tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or cilantro or other herbs (I also threw in some sage and chives)

1/2 can of coconut milk


1. Add all ingredients into a slow cooker except for the coconut milk.  Heat on low for 6-8 hours.

2. Once cooked, stir in the coconut milk.  Blend with handheld mixer if desired or serve chunky.  Sprinkle with additional cilatro or parsley if desired.

Crave-worthy Kale with Cashew Cream!


I actually posted this recipe about a year and a half ago….but it’s honestly it’s so good that I have to repost it.  I probably eat this every other week, my husband loves it and I have converted none-kale eaters into kale-lovers with this recipe! My father-in-law for example, had seconds!

Cashew cream is a super easy and delicious vegan form of “cream”. It’s simple, quick and easy, has healthy satiating fats for your heart and is great for those avoiding milk or with a dairy allergy.

Kale is a super foods that’s full of all the good stuff for your body – nutrients and disease fighting anti-oxidants. A few cool things about kale….

1. The calcium it contains is better absorbed than in milk!  4.5 cups of raw kale actually provides more calcium as a glass of milk! Kale packs in 435 mg vs 322 in 1 cup of milk.

2. 4 1/2 cup of raw kale has 10 grams of protein which is the amount in a standard serving of meat! Considering it wilts down quite a bit when it’s steamed, that’s actually not that much volume.

3. Kale has twice the amount of vitamin C (gram for gram) than oranges!


1 bunch of kale (~2 pounds)

1/2 cup cashews (raw or roasted – the roasted has a lovely flavour)

1/2 cup water or milk/substitute (I usually use water)

1 tsp onion powder (or other spice to taste)


1. Remove kales leaves from the tough stem and rip into bite sized pieces. Place in steamer and cook over boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile put cashews, milk/water and onion powder into blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy (about 30 seconds).  If you are organized, soaking the cashews in some water for a few hours helps them blend more smoothly!

3. Once kale is done, place in bowl and coat with cashew cream!

Serves 4-6 people

Delicious side dish or main dish with a carbohydrate source of your choice.

Egyptian Lentils (Mujadarrah)


Apparently this is Middle Eastern comfort food….and I can see why.  Try it out for yourself and you will be surprised.  Although the recipe may seem simple, it’s high on flavour and nutrients and the texture is awesome.

Pulses – by that I mean beans, lentils and peas – are very healthy foods.  They are high in both kinds of fibre that lower your cholesterol and make your gut happy and regular, have a low glycemic index (doesn’t spike your blood sugar), they are nutrient dense and a good source of plant based protein.  Lentils are also grown in Canada so from a ecological stand point, they are great too 🙂

This recipe is based off of

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

– 2 medium sized onions, sliced

– 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional)

– 1 – 2 tbsp oil

– Dash of salt and pepper

– Cooked rice (about 3 cups depending on how much you want)

– 1 can of lentils, rinsed or cooked dried lentils


1. Cook rice.  Open lentil can and rinse well….or simmer lentils in water until tender, drain.

2. Slice onions and add to pan with oil.  Cook on low-medium heat until the onions are softened and browned (about 10 minutes).

3. Add lentils to the onion pan and heat until warmed.

4. Add rice to the bowl, top with lentil and onion mixture.  Add a dollop of sour cream or try my dairy free sour cream (equally delicious!).