Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mason Jar Vegetarian Nicoise Salad

I am pleased to report that Salad Sundays are still alive and well in this house! This week I wanted to try one of our favorites -- veggie Nicoise salad -- in the large round Ziploc containers I have come to know and love at lunchtime.

This one is fairly time consuming, this recipe is a combo of what I did and what I want to try next time to speed things up.

 Nicoise Salad Recipe

adapted from Simply Recipes
  • Yield:6 large Mason Jar salads, or large round ziploc container salads

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/2 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
  • 12 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered 
  •  2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)
  • 1 cup niçoise olives, pitted
  • 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 1 ½ cups baby cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin (about 1/2 cup)
  • ½ lb baby arugula, washed


1. Boil large pot of water. Add in eggs, potatoes and green beans, bring back to boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain everything. (I am not sure if this timing will work, but I want to try it for next time -- eggs might need a little more, green beans a little less.)

2. Meanwhile, in a hand blender container, blend together the lemon juice, oil, mustard, and salt and pepper until emulsified. Add in the thyme, basil, oregano, and blend in spurts until herbs are minced. Mince shallots by hand and mix in with a spoon.

3. Layer the ingredients in the salad as follows: 

-- white beans
-- potatoes
-- dressing poured on top of these two items (approx. 4 T. dressing per container)
-- green beans
-- olives
-- capers
-- red onion
-- tomatoes
-- cucumbers
-- eggs
-- top up each jar with arugula

4. Close tightly, salad will keep in the refrigerator 5 days easily. When ready to eat, open and dump into a large bowl, mix everything up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Soba Noodle Mason Jar Salads

Many people have these asian noodle salads with peanut dressing, this is the best though.

Yield: 6 large round ziplock containers
Prep Time: 1 hour


For the Salad:

  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup shelled edamame (soy beans), cooked
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup crunchy rice noodles
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 8 ounces spring mix lettuce blend

For the Peanut Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth
  • 1 lime, juice and zest of
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sambal chili paste, or more to taste (I usually use like 1 tbsp but I like things VERY spicy)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped


    1. In large pot of boiling water, cook edamame according to package directions. When done, scoop out with a slotted spoon into a bowl, and use the same water to cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Rinse noodles under cold water and drain.
    2. Meanwhile, make Peanut Dressing: Using a small blender or hand blender, blend together all dressing ingredients except cilantro. Add in cilantro and blend until it's chopped in there but not completely disintegrated.
    3. Divide Peanut Dressing equally among 6 quart size mason jars or large round ziploc containers (this recipe made 4 T. dressing per jar, which may be too much -- will see when I eat them). 
    4. Divide soba noodles over dressing. Layer remaining ingredients, ending with spring mix. Top with lids and refrigerate up to 5 days. To serve, pour onto plate or bowl, stir and enjoy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mason Jar Vegetarian Taco Salad

Yep, I'm still on my jarred salad kick. I tried making this one for the first time last night, and it's really really good:

Mason Jar Vegetarian Taco Salad

MAKES 6 big JARS (I use the 4-cup large round ziplock containers):

1 ½ cups black beans (1 reg can)
2 cups corn (1 big can)
2 cups diced tomatoes (I like to use halved grape tomatoes)
2 cups red bell pepper, julienned (2 whole)
1/2 of 1 lb. container of spring mix
2 cups corn tortillas (optional)

Walnut meat:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 1/2 tsp (5 mL) cumin
3/4 tsp (4 mL) chili powder (optional)
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Creamy Avocado Dressing:
2 T yogurt
2 ounce goat cheese (crumbled)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 1/2 whole lime (juiced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 whole avocado
3 T water 

  1. To make dressing: Combine greek yogurt, goat cheese, cilantro, lime juice, salt, avocado, and water in a food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make walnut meat: add walnut halves to food processor and pulse to break up into large chunks. Add cumin, chili powder, olive oil, and soy sauce to food processor and pulse until walnuts pieces are small but still chunky and mixture resembles ground beef. Do not overprocess
  3. Assemble each mason jar in the following order:
  • First (bottom) layer: 2 heaping Tablespoons avocado dressing
  • Second layer: corn
  • Third layer: black beans
  • Fourth layer: Tomatoes
  • Fifth layer: red bell peppers
  • Sixth layer: 1 scoop walnut "meat" (approx. 2 Tbs)
  • Seventh (top) layer: fill to the top with spring mix.  
  • WRAP up a small handful of corn tortilla chips in plastic wrap and store that on top of the container. When you mix up the salad, crush up the chips and add them in. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter


This is a very good recipe -- and so fast!! Under 30 minutes.

May want to try adding garlic with the shallots and lemon zest at the end next time. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Colcannon Potato Soup

This soup is the perfect thing on a cold winter day. I suggest you go and make it right now. You can thank me later. 

Colcannon Potato Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • slightly adapted from this recipe


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (green and white parts only)
  • 2 cups sliced and chopped green cabbage
  • 2 cups sliced and chopped kale
  • 4 cups peeled and diced Russet potatoes (about 3 pounds, 3/4-inch dice)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon better than bullion veggie bullion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced


1 Melt butter in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot on medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, cabbage, and kale, toss to coat with the butter. Lower the heat to low, cover and gently cook until the greens are wilted, about 12 to 15 minutes.

2 Add the diced potatoes to the pot, along with the water, bullion, and bay leaves. Increase heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are softened and falling apart, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3 Remove from heat. Swirl in the pepper, sour cream, and sliced green onions. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Yam and Chickpea Mason Jar* salad

In my continuing bid to eat healther I have hopped onto the new "salad in a jar" trend which is actually pretty fun. One or two nights a week I will fill up 4 ziplock containers (more practical than mason jars) with salads and then eat them whenever I need a quick healthy meal. They usually last 3-4 days. This one is a great one I made today, I cobbled the recipe together from a bunch of different online sources so here is the recipe all in one place:

 Yam and Chickpea Mason Jar Salad


Roasted yams:
-- 9 sweet potatoes, or yams (the orange kind) peeled and cubed -- maybe like 2 pounds worth? can also use squash for this recipe.
-- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
-- dash ground nutmeg
-- salt and pepper
-- oil

For the Tahini Sauce:
Yield: 2/3 cup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
a few grinds black pepper
3 T tahini (a fermented sesame seed paste, can find it in the middle eastern section of stores)

For the salad:
-- Spring mix (or other lettuce)
-- 2 cans garbanzo beans
-- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
-- 1/4 large red onion, chopped small
-- 1 large carrot peeled and julienned
-- 1 red bell pepper, julienned


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On two large baking sheets, coat yams with spices, salt, pepper, and oil and spread in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft throughout, turning every 10-15 minutes or so.

2. Make the tahini sauce by mixing the ingredients together with an immersion blender or other blender.

3. In 4 medium round (4-cup or quart size) ziploc containers or mason jars, layer the ingredients as follows: Tahini sauce, garbanzo beans, carrots, red bell peppers, onions, yams, cilantro, and fill the rest of the container with the spring mix.

4. Can keep in the fridge for 5 days (or more). When the time comes to eat, mix well in a large bowl and enjoy!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mason Jar Chinese Tofu Salad

When I lived in California I used to love eating something called Chinese Chicken Salad, my favorite was the one at California Chicken Cafe (I sometimes called it "California Chicken Kitchen"). Here in Vancouver this delicious salad (which doesn't have anything to do with real Chinese food, I believe) is nowhere to be found.

Today I wanted to try making some mason jar salads so I decided to make a vegetarian version of the one I missed so much, and adapt it to mason jar salad trend as well so I could keep some for upcoming meals.

This is what I did:

Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
-- makes enough for 2 Quart-size (4-cup) mason jars (or medium tall round ziplock containers, as I ended up using)
  • 1/3 cup chow mein noodles (the crunchy kind)
  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 package smoked tofu (I use plain Soyganic), julienned
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted lightly
  • 1/2 large carrot, peeled and julienned (about 1/2 cup?)
  • 1/2 large red pepper, seeded and julienned (about 1/2 cup?)
  • 1 cup mandarin orange segments
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (I used plain rice vinegar and found I had to add at least another Tablespoon of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (add more to taste if you prefer a strong sesame taste)
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well until sugar dissolves. 
  2. Pour half the dressing in each mason jar (or medium tall round ziplock container)
  3. Add half of each of the following ingredients into each mason jar, in this order: mandarin oranges, green onions, tofu, red peppers, carrots, then pack the rest of the container with the romaine lettuce. The idea is to keep the lettuce dry.
  4. Close each mason jar tightly.
  5. Now you want to make a "crunchy packet" because if you put crunchy things in the jar they will get soggy -- so rip 2 large pieces of plastic wrap, put half the chow mein noodles and almonds into the center, and twist each one up tightly.
  6. Keep the containers in the fridge,with the crunchy packet on top so you don't forget about it.
  7. Done! When you're ready to eat, dump the salad and crunchy toppings in a large salad bowl and mix it up and enjoy.