A hearty salad to celebrate the mid-summer bounty

Summer’s later-than-usual return brought a bounty of colourful produce overflowing from our beloved fruit stands, farmers’ markets, and of course Karma! From brilliant red peppers to sunshiney yellow summer squash to deep violet eggplants, vegetables beg to be sliced, tossed with olive oil and a simple shake of salt and pepper, and eaten fresh from the grill or roasting pan. A final sprinkle of whatever fresh herbs you have available adds an extra burst of flavour.

Many summers ago, I had the good fortune to work as a farmhand on a small family farm called Pilgrims’ Produce in the sunny Okanagan Valley. As a city person, that experience gave me a renewed appreciation for fresh produce, prepared and served simply — and most importantly, shared with friends old and new. I find that meals always taste best when served alongside an appreciation for where the food was grown and all the care that went into harvesting, processing, and distributing it so that it could make its way onto our plates. 

In this salad, hearty grains are combined with a rainbow of roasted vegetables and topped with a simple dressing of tahini, lemon, mustard, and fresh herbs. This salad is versatile: feel free to substitute whichever veggies that call to you, and use whichever grains you have on hand, from millet to brown rice to quinoa. I’ve just started a miniature herb garden on my porch and enjoy picking a sprig here and there to add a zest to salad dressings.

Bonus: this simple salad makes for great leftovers — perfect for those busy bees who don’t always have time to cook every night, but who enjoy the physical and mental benefits of having nourishing food for those long summer evenings.

Recipe adapted from Real Food Real Health

Serves 8 medium bowls

What you’ll need:

Salad base 

  • 4 c. mixed lettuce/arugula/baby spinach
  • 2 c. dried spelt kernels or other hearty grains
  • Salt and pepper, other dried spices and herbs (e.g. thyme, oregano)
  • 3 lbs. hearty mixed vegetables: summer squash, carrots, eggplants, portobello mushrooms, etc. (bell pepper works well too, but don’t roast them for as long as they will burn)
  • 1 tbsp. organic canola oil
  • 2–3 shallots, minced

Salad dressing

  • juice of ½ lemon juice + zest
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. tahini
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Salad toppings

  • ½ c. dried currants or cranberries
  • ½ c. slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ c. pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • ¼ c. hemp seeds 
  • Fresh herbs, loosely chopped
  • Additional nuts or seeds to add crunch and flavour

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 

2. In a medium saucepan, add spelt/other grains, pinch of salt, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until grains are tender but chewy. Drain in a colander and set aside for now. 

3. Roughly chop the greens to form the base for the salad and place in a large bowl.

4. Chop the vegetables into cubes of equal size, roughly ½-inch.

5. While the grains are cooking, place the chopped vegetables on 2–3 lightly greased sheet pans. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and whatever other dried spices/herbs you like. Toss to combine. Place the pans in the oven and roast for 50–55 minutes.

6. Carefully, remove pans from the oven, sprinkle with minced shallot, and use a spatula to turn the pieces over. Cook another 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

7. In a small blender or using a bowl and whisk, combine all salad dressing ingredients until smooth.

8. Now it’s time to assemble your salad! Add the cooked grains and roasted vegetables to your bowl of greens. Drizzle with dressing, keeping any extra to serve on the side. Lightly combine everything with a spatula.

9. Top with fresh herbs, currants, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and any other toppings that strike your fancy.

10. Enjoy the most flavourful summer salad, and soak in those rays!

Contributed by Sarah Bradley

Intro to fermentation: How to make your own sauerkraut

In the six years I have been facilitating sauerkraut workshops, there has been a common thread among attendees: most arrive not knowing what to expect, and with a bit of fear about what will come of this experiment. Much of that fear, I believe, has to do with the reputation that accompanies all things fermentation. I hope to dispel any myths by describing what to expect from one of my sauerkraut workshops.

In a typical workshop, I begin by describing my motivations for fermenting vegetables: health, ecology, budget, and community. Then, I describe the stages of the process: chopping the vegetables, massaging them with salt, stuffing the soggy product into a mason jar, and the at-home fermentation. That’s it! Normally I sense a little relief at that point. During the workshop I add some tips and tricks that we will handle as needed.

Here is a quick overview of the process, with complete instructions included below.

Preparation:

The participants stand around Karma’s member room table with a cutting board, a chef’s knife, large bowls, and some combination of cabbage, beets, carrots, turnips, etc. Then, the chopping commences and the cut veggies are placed into bowls. This part of the workshop takes 20–30 minutes.

Massaging the vegetables:

This is the magical moment where the fermentation process begins. Sea salt is added to the bowls full of vegetables and participants then massage the salt into the vegetables until it becomes evident that a sufficient amount of liquid is produced. I once did a workshop for children between 8 and 12 years old along with their parents, and I will never forget the look in one girl’s eyes as she witnessed the water extract from the vegetables. She said, “Mummy, water is coming out and we didn’t add any water.” Intellectually, we know vegetables contain water but it’s another thing to witness it in real time.

Stuffing the soggy mess into a mason jar:

Once the salt has sufficiently extracted the water, we simply stuff the vegetables into a mason jar. When the vegetables are pushed down into the jar, the water rises up and over the vegetables. This provides the anaerobic environment needed for the fermentation to occur.

After finishing the hands-on work, I distribute the handouts. I give a number of pointers for success with the sauerkraut fermentation process, which occurs at home. At this point, some people’s fears come to the surface but with the handout, there is a sense that these fears can be overcome.


Detailed instructions

Gather your materials:

1. Ingredients

  • Cabbage (purple, green, or a mixture)
  • Sea salt
  • Extra goodies of your choice (optional; examples include caraway seeds, juniper berries, grated carrot, grated ginger, and countless other possible ingredients and recipes)

2. Tools

  • Cutting board & chef’s knife (food processor or mandolin are also options)
  • Fermenting container: mason jars with two-piece lids OR crockpot
  • Wide bowl (e.g., salad bowl or mixing bowl)
  • Mason jar funnel (optional but reduces mess — worth it for $7)
  • Tamper device of your choice (e.g., Vitamix tamper, potato masher, or big spoon)
  • Ladle or large spoon (to scoop and transfer cabbage)

A note on using clean containers (mason jars, crockpots, or other) for the fermentation process: You must clean the containers thoroughly prior to fermentation. Fermentation containers can be reused but should be cleaned before each use. They do not necessarily require the sterilization that the canning process calls for, but the containers should be clean. Also note: if using mason jars, replace the lids if they become rusty.

Prepare and massage the cabbage:

1. Chop cabbage:

a. Rinse cabbages thoroughly & remove outer leaves (save for later).
b. Chop cabbage to medium-small pieces and remove the core (save for later).

2. Massage cabbage:

a. Put chopped cabbage in the bowl and add sea salt with the following ratio: 2 to 3 tablespoons of sea salt (30 to 45 mL) for every 5 pounds of cabbage.
b. Massage until water of cabbage is sufficiently removed. Salt water should accumulate and you should now have a soggy cabbage (note how much the volume of cabbage decreases).
TIP: If massaging is tough for you, try this:
Do the massage up to a point of around 5 minutes, and let the bowl sit for 1 to 6 hours. When you return to continue massaging, time will have helped you a lot as it softens on its own, and from there it is easier to squeeze to the point of being done.

3. Transfer cabbage to fermenting container:
The goal is submersion!!

a. Transfer the cabbage into the jar (with any optional ingredients) while using a tamper device as needed to push cabbage down tightly to get the water level to rise.
b. Keep filling. When you get near the top, add the outer cabbage leaves and core that you saved earlier to ensure total submersion. Finally, put the lid on. The finished jar should have all your fermenting cabbage submerged under the salt water.
Remember to leave air space!

After the workshop — at home

VERY IMPORTANT— Submersion: As the days of your fermentation go by, note that the cabbage should be submerged under the saltwater to ensure it ferments and avoids mould. In most cases, this requires no action. In the case that your salt water level seems to be a little below the cabbage, top it up with some more salt water.

VERY IMPORTANT— The temperature should be within or very close to the range of 15°C to 21°C, which likely is the case in your home for a good part of the year. You may need to find a cool spot if your home gets very warm.

VERY IMPORTANT— Gas pressure buildup: Note that if you use a crockpot designed for fermentation, there is no need to account for gas pressure building up because a release valve is built into the container. However, when using mason jars, because we tighten the lid firmly to avoid mould, it is necessary to burp the jars to release the pressure once or twice a day during fermentation (especially from days 2 through 5). This is very important to prevent exploding jars and/or leaking. PROACTIVE BURPING IS THE BEST INSURANCE AGAINST EXPLODING GLASS!


Frequently asked questions

1) What exactly does burping mean? How do I do it?

The lid remains tight during the fermentation, but gas is produced inside the jar. Burping means opening the lid for a brief time to allow air to escape, and then tightening it again. Burping can be anywhere from 2 seconds if it is a mild burp to 2 minutes if the jar needs more time to release the built-up pressure. Keep the jar open only for the needed time to allow air to escape and tighten as soon as possible to avoid mould.

2) What location should I choose for my jar to ferment?

Remember the temperature range required for fermentation to be successful is 15°C to 21°C. This is a cool room temperature. Avoid locations near heat sources like heating vents and stoves. Avoid locations too cool in your living space like next to a cold exterior wall. Avoid direct sunlight on your jar, although room light is ok. Darkness is ok, but not required. If you choose a dark location, like in a cabinet, be sure to set up reminders to burp the jars frequently and avoid exploding jars.

3) I am concerned about how much gas will emerge from my jar when I burp it?

The recommended process is to place the jar in the sink and then burp. Also, a good optional tip is to use a dry rubber dish glove to burp. It makes it easier to grip a tight lid when attempting to open it, and it prevents spraying around of gas and liquid.

4) When I burp the jar, the fizz and gas and water spills into my sink. Is that a problem?

It’s no problem. In this case, your jar had a lot of gas to release. Scoop out the fizzy bubbles from the top and give the jar up to 2 minutes to breathe.

5) Even if I burp the jar frequently, some liquid is leaking out of the lid as it sits tightened during fermentation. What can I do about this?

Rather than placing it directly on the counter, place it either on an old rag or inside a non-metal bowl (a glass or plastic bowl will work).

6) Even if I burp the jar frequently, I’m still worried about even the slightest chance of glass exploding. For example, what about children or pets coming near the jar? Is there anything else I can do to prevent an explosion?

Ok. Safety first for sure. One tip here is that while your jar sits in the bowl or on the cloth, cover it with an old kitchen towel or cloth and weigh it down a bit to limit how far glass can disperse. Keep the jar located in a convenient place so you will remember to burp it and check on it, but make sure it is far enough away to ensure safety. Some people have had success with placing the jar in a sealed box or inside a cabinet. Again, if you proactively burp and you leave enough air space at the top of the jar, the probability of a jar exploding is very low.

7) You told me that my cabbage should remain under the salty water and now, during the fermentation, but it seems that the water is below the cabbage at the top of the jar. What should I do?

Remove any dried, discoloured leaves or any leaves showing signs of mould growth. Then, add back enough salt water to cover the cabbage, while leaving a reasonable air space. Mix your salt water using this ratio: 1.5 tablespoons of salt per litre of water.

8) I burped my jar and noticed mould on the surface of the water line and on the lid. What should I do?

Sometimes this happens and naturally occurs during some ferments. Do not throw it all away. Scrape away any mould (white fuzz or small pieces of cabbage that turned blackish colour above the water line). Continue to monitor for any mould as the days go by. The cabbage under the water is protected by extremely strong acidity.

9) I burped my jar and it smells like someone took the garbage out three days ago and then brought it back inside. Is this a problem?

It is understandable that the smell of fermentation may turn some people off. Let’s deal with this, as first impressions are very important. While we should respect our smell senses to tell us if food is ok or not, we should also keep in mind that on health journeys there is plenty of room to change and broaden our senses and tastes. For countless generations, our ancestors smelled the same scents that we smell today and went on to safely enjoy their fermented foods. Consider that it is quite possible to reject a smell at first and, given enough patience, later enjoy a safe and delicious food.

10) The cabbage core we used at the workshop is not submerging the cabbage under the water as much as I would like. It is moving around too much or it looks like a little mould is on it. What should I do?

You have options. Try another piece of vegetable from your fridge that can substitute for this purpose, OR, remove the cabbage core and carefully use a clean, glass shot glass or other clean, small object instead. Just make sure the shot glass is strong and sturdy and that you are careful as you press it down and place the lid over it. Glass can break so only do this if you are confident about doing it.

11) How do I know the ferment is happening as I move into days 2, 3, 4, and beyond?

1. Burping your mason jars is evidence as you hear the gas pressure release: bubbles from the carbon dioxide are often noticed and you will get the feeling that you are witnessing biochemistry in action, as though a living active process is under way. Some ferments have more subtle gas buildup and bubbles, while others are more dramatic.
2. Colour change often happens and you may wish to take a picture on day 1 and compare to a later day.
3. The ultimate way you know that the ferment has been successful is your taste intuition. Taste your sauerkraut after 6 or 7 days, and if you like it, simply put it in the fridge. If you taste it at that point, and your body tells you a little more time is needed, give it another 3 to 5 days, and then put it in the fridge. Whenever you do your taste tests, you will look for your personal sense of the sour, crunchy taste of sauerkraut. Less fermenting time will yield a more subtle taste. If, for example, you taste it after 14–16 days, and you prefer that, it suggests you prefer a stronger, more sour sauerkraut.

12) How do I know the fermentation is complete and what do I do with it once it is complete?

No perfect answer to how long it takes. Consider the three points mentioned above as principles. Variables such as room temperature mean that there is no specific rule. For the sake of this workshop and the first time doing this, you cannot go wrong with considering your ferment complete anywhere between 6 days and 14 days. Notice that by day 6 or 7, the gas pressure in the jar will be zero or close to zero, which indicates that the necessary chemical process has essentially happened by that point. Once the fermentation is done, the sauerkraut goes in the fridge or cold room. Now you have a preserve of a minimum of 6 months and many people feel it lasts a lot longer.

13) OK. The time has come for my first taste and even after reading all of the above and following the instructions, I am still scared. How can I trust putting this new type of food in my mouth?

No one other than you is the final arbiter as to what you eat. Remember though, we are eating a time-tested food. Remove any parts of the cabbage we used to submerge the water like the core and big outer cabbage leaves. Scoop a small amount of sauerkraut out from under the water and eat on an empty stomach, and pay attention to your body in the next little while. If you still feel scared, connect with someone experienced with ferments, and have your first tasting with them.

14) I heard someone made their own home-made sauerkraut, ate it, and felt sick to their stomach afterwards. Does that mean it’s risky?

Do not automatically assume the problem is with the sauerkraut. Sure, follow the instructions above to get the process right. That said, this brings up a good point. This is a powerful, non-pasteurized ferment loaded with beneficial bacteria. Depending on the individual, it can be challenging to handle too much of this goodness all at once. If someone’s digestive system is out of balance, a big serving can cause a die-off response (like a detox) and that can feel yucky to say the least. If this happens to you, instead of swearing off sauerkraut, consider it an important learning opportunity. If you are unsure how you may react to this food take the patient approach. Have your first serving be 1/2 a teaspoon. Then, see how it feels as you try to gradually build up to 2 tablespoons per serving and so on.

15) My sauerkraut has now been sitting in my fridge or cold room for a little while and the water level has dropped quite a bit below the top of the cabbage and it even looks like there is little water left.

Quite normal. Once it is in the fridge, the water level sometimes remains high and sometimes goes down. It is still perfectly fine either way. It still preserves for many months. Notice that once it is in the cold temperature, no signs of mold occur, even if the water level goes down. 

submitted By Leor Israelski

Carrot Ginger Tahini Soup

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula

The addition of tahini adds a delicious, nutty creaminess to this wonderful carrot soup. It’s super simple to prepare and makes the perfect light dinner for these first days of spring. Don’t forget to top it with some crunchy sesame seeds (or chopped nuts) and plenty of fresh herbs!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. coconut or olive oil

½ large sweet onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled + minced

5-6 large carrots, chopped into 1-inch chunks

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. curry powder

4 c. veggie broth

1 c. full-fat coconut milk

3 tbsp. tahini

Fresh black pepper, sesame seeds + fresh herbs, for topping

Method:

In a large pot, heat your oil over medium. Once hot, add in your onion and saute for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add in your garlic, ginger, carrots, salt and curry powder and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Pour in your broth, then bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are quite soft.

Transfer the soup to a blender with the coconut milk and tahini and blend until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt + fresh pepper as needed.


Crispy Purple Cabbage with Roasted Garlic Cream

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of Emma Kula

If you’ve never roasted purple cabbage before, prepare to have your world changed. Coating the strips with plenty of oil, salt and pepper and baking them in a super hot oven results in the most addictive, sweet caramelized flavour with a delightful crunch. You’ll have to stop yourself from eating a whole tray! The vegan roasted garlic cream is optional, but it really adds a decadent touch here. If you don’t have or want to use soaked cashews, you can also use the same amount of raw sunflower seeds (just make sure you have a high-speed blender), or simply blend the roasted garlic and lemon with some plain yogurt for a creamy drizzle. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 head of organic purple cabbage

2 tbsp olive or avocado oil

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp garlic powder

Fresh cracked black pepper

¾ c. raw cashews, soaked overnight (or quickly soaked in boiling water for 1 hour. Can also replace with sunflower seeds if nut-free!)

½ c. water

¾ tsp sea salt

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

3-4 cloves of roasted garlic (method below!)

¼ c. chopped toasted almonds, for topping

Method:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Shred your head of cabbage into strips and place on a large baking sheet. Coat with oil, sea salt, garlic powder and pepper and place in the oven.

Roast your garlic at the same time – take an entire head of garlic, place in a small square piece of foil and drizzle with about 1 tsp oil. Wrap the foil all the way around the garlic head and place it in the oven with the cabbage.

Roast the cabbage and garlic in the oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping the cabbage strips halfway through, or until the cabbage is nice and crispy and brown.

Unwrap the garlic from the foil and remove 3-4 cloves (they should be nice and brown). Place them in a high-speed blender along with the soaked cashews, water, salt and lemon juice. Blend until you have a super smooth, pourable cream sauce.

To serve, place the cabbage on a large serving bowl or plate and drizzle generously with the roasted garlic cream. Top with chopped almonds and enjoy!

Dreamy zucchini brownies

The recipe is adapted from the Joyful Healthy Eats website at https://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com

This is one of my favourite plant-based treats to whip up when I find a bunch of zucchinis on the discounted produce shelf. Even if they’re a little bruised or wilted, when you grate them to use in baking, no one would ever notice. I find that the zucchini, mashed banana, and grated apple all contribute to a rich, fudgy texture, with no need for eggs or butter. Incorporating naturally sweet veggies like zucchini, sweet potato or beets into your baked goods is a nice way to add nutritional value to your dessert.

Ingredients

Coconut oil to grease the pan

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup oat flour (grind rolled oats in a coffee grinder)

2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (you can also grind whole flaxseeds in a coffee grinder)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup grated zucchini

1/4 cup grated apple or applesauce

1 very ripe banana, mashed

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup choice of toasted nuts: slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or grease with coconut oil.

3. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, flaxseed, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, mix tahini, almond milk, zucchini, apple, banana, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well combined.

5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

6. Fold in the dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and toasted nuts.

7. Pour the batter into your pan, using a spatula to level off the top.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

9. Optional: serve with your favourite non-dairy ice cream.

Submitted by Sarah Bradley

Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula

You may find yourself surprised by how addictive simple, crispy roasted brussels sprouts are! These are cooked to golden brown perfection and make the ideal side dish during the winter months.

Ingredients:

1 lb brussels sprouts

2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp garlic powder

Fresh black pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. For each sprout, slice the tough end off (about ¼ inch) and then slice lengthwise.

Toss your brussels sprouts with the oil and spices, then place them all cut side down on a large baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the undersides of the sprouts start to brown, then flip them all and continue to cook for 15-20 mins. Brussels should be crispy and nice and brown when finished.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula

These sweet + spicy ginger molasses cookies are an absolute must for these colder months! The delicious smell that fills your home while they bake, is itself, reason enough to bake these cookies. 🙂 Perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea!

Ingredients:

½ c. butter or solid coconut oil, softened

¾ c. brown sugar

¼ c. molasses

1 egg

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour (can replace with gluten-free or almond flour)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

Extra sugar for rolling, if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add in your molasses and egg and beat until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices and add to your wet mixture. Stir until combined and smooth, then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, roll dough into 1 tbsp balls and roll in extra sugar if desired. Bake for 12 mins or until lightly browned. Let cool completely and enjoy!


Carrot Cashew Muffins

Recipe & photo courtesy of Emma Kula.

These healthy, gluten-free and vegan carrot cashew muffins are a stellar addition to any brunch spread, or can be made ahead and frozen for easy breakfasts throughout the week! The warming spices and swirl of nut butter make them extra luxurious.

Ingredients:

1 c. oat flour (you can grind rolled or quick oats in a blender until fine)

1¼ c. almond flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cloves

1 heaping c. shredded carrot

1 ripe banana, mashed

⅓ c. maple syrup

¼ c. applesauce

¼ c. coconut oil, melted + cooled

2 flax or regular eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

⅓ c. raisins

⅓ c chopped cashews

3 tbsp cashew or peanut butter for swirling tops

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together your mashed banana, maple, applesauce, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Fold in your shredded carrot.

In a separate small bowl, combine your flours, baking soda, salt and spices and whisk thoroughly. Add this dry mixture to your wet mixture and gently stir with a spatula to combine. Fold in your raisins and chopped cashews.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin tins. Add a teaspoonful of nut butter to the top of each muffin and gently swirl with a toothpick.

Bake for 22-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool completely and enjoy!

Holiday (or anytime!) Harvest Salad

Photo and recipe courtesy of Emma Kula.

This hearty + flavourful salad combines caramelized roasted squash, crisp apples and crunchy, salty pecans – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for the family! Everyone will love this nutritious + delicious side dish paired with dinner.

Ingredients:

Salad:
4 c. mixed greens of choice (arugula + spinach are lovely)
1 small delicata squash, sliced into ½ inch rings
1 small acorn squash, chopped into cubes
2 large honeycrisp apples, chopped into cubes
½ c. pecans
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder


Dressing:
⅓ c. olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ c. fresh apple cider
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp salt
Fresh pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat all of your squash pieces in the olive oil, salt and garlic and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the squash pieces are lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.

Make your dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a jar. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Toast your pecans either in a dry pan on the stovetop over medium heat until browned and fragrant, or on a tray in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Season with a bit of sea salt and set aside.

To assemble the salad, place your greens in a large serving bowl. Add in your cooked squash and chopped apples. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with toasted pecans before serving.

A soul-warming parsnip-carrot-potato soup and an intention for 2019

Raise your hand if you’re craving warm, hearty, nourishing meals during this time of year. Though it’s been a mild winter so far, it’s nice to have a few easy meal options to whip up on those days when the bitter cold, howling wind, and limited daylight hours encourage taking refuge in the kitchen. 

The calm rhythm of scrubbing, dicing, and mixing 

The spicy aroma of ingredients mulling together on the stove

Getting lost in one’s thoughts while stirring soup

Ladling it into a favourite ceramic bowl before adding a handful of herbs 

The joy of sharing a favourite meal that is equal parts delicious, nourishing, and beautiful 

One of my intentions for the new year is to spend more time preparing food with others. Last fall I started a monthly Sunday night soup club. The idea is that a group of about a dozen friends gathers at a rotating host’s home the last Sunday of each month. The host cooks a large pot of soup, featuring a seasonal ingredient or two, and guests bring something complementary to share, like a hearty loaf of bread, seedy crackers, fruit, or a bottle of wine. We enjoy a slow meal, generative conservation, and good music, and warm our hearts and bellies for the week to come. 

Soup Club has been successful so far, thanks in large part to having access to a bounty of seasonal produce at Karma from which to find inspiration.

Every time I enter Karma during the winter, I head to the produce section to see what beautiful root veg is on offer. I love to use what catches my eye to create simple soups and stews to cook, share, and enjoy during the week (if there are leftovers).

From baskets overflowing with vibrant orange, green, and yellow squash, to jewel-like beets, earthy and grounding, to bright, crunchy multi-coloured carrots, we are lucky to have choices, even in the coldest times of the year.

One root vegetable whose call is sometimes drowned out by more extroverted veggies is the humble parsnip. I like parsnips—their mild but slightly spicy flavour lends itself well to gentle roasting, or a light sauté, perhaps sweetened with a miso-maple syrup glaze. But I often forget about them, drawn to flashier colours and bigger flavours.

After many glances at those parsnips in the corner, I decided it was time to integrate them into a well-loved soup recipe in my household: a zesty root vegetable soup made richer with a bit of peanut butter and coconut milk and enlivened by a generous sprinkle of cilantro and green onions. Bonus: its flavours intensify over time, making this an excellent soup to cook on a Sunday for plenty of weekday leftovers.

Soup Club is a reminder that cooking isn’t just about the end result. It’s also about the process: the slowing down, appreciating the resources and labour that produces ingredients, the conversations that make habitual acts meaningful. 

I hope you’ll give this soup a try! 

The recipe is inspired by the Minimalist Baker’s Creamy Thai Carrot Soup with Basil. https://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-thai-carrot-soup-with-basil/

Serves 8 medium bowls

What you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch knob fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 2 pounds carrots (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 pound parsnips (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 pound yellow potatoes (scrubbed, peeled, and diced)
  • Pinches Herbamare and pepper, your favourite soup spices (e.g. chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika)
  • 6–8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (get it from Karma’s bulk section!)
  • 1 cup coconut milk 

Optional toppings:

  • Fresh cilantro 
  • Chopped green onions
  • More coconut milk, to drizzle
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce (Karma has many options, including Simply Natural sriracha)

How to make it:

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.

2. Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and let melt, then add curry paste.

3. Finely chop onion, garlic, and ginger. Add to pot, stirring and enjoying the lovely aroma.

4. Add diced carrots, parsnips, and potato, and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Season with a Herbamare and pepper, and any other spices you like. I find a bit of cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika are nice.

6. Add the stock and stir gently, making sure the vegetables and spices are integrated.

7. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. 

8. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Then turn off the heat and move your pot to a pot-holder.

9. Now the fun part! Grab your immersion blender, and blend the soup until smooth (on low speed). 

10. Whisk the peanut butter and coconut milk in a bowl, then add to the soup pot and blend to combine (on low speed).

11. Return the pot to the stove, over low heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

12. Prepare your toppings (cilantro, green onion, lime wedges, extra coconut milk, hot sauce) in small bowls.

13. Serve immediately! 

Submitted by Sarah Bradley