This summer favourite from Kitchn has the unbeatable combination of cucumbers, sour cream, red onion and dill, with a bit of vinegar, oil and mustard added. Cook’s note: to reduce the salt in this recipe, rinse the cucumbers after they stand and pat dry.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

No-Name sour cream, Allen’s apple cider vinegar and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard are all additive-free.

Sour cream and dill cucumber salad

Ingredients:

2 pounds (907 g) cucumbers (about 4 medium), peeled and thinly sliced crosswise

¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream

1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon mustard

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh dill

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Place the cucumbers in a large colander and toss with a couple of large pinches of salt. Set the colander in a large bowl or in the sink and let the cucumbers stand 30 minutes at room temperature to release some of their water. Meanwhile, whisk the sour cream, vinegar, oil, mustard, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper together in a large bowl; set aside.

Gently pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel. Add the cucumbers, red onion, and dill to the dressing and toss gently to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serves 6.

From Kitchn

This recipe from Farm Girl Organic is quick and tasty. Combine fish sauce, water, soy sauce and sugar and set aside. Cook the shrimp, onion and garlic, add the sauce and cook until the sauce bubbles. Add chopped green onions, cilantro, jalapeno and basil, cook until just heated through and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a brand of fish sauce with no added preservatives, such as Blue Dragon. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, as it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate.

Cook shrimp, garlic and onion

Add sauce, green onions, jalapeno, cilantro and basil

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) soy sauce

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

1 pound (454 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup (250 ml) thinly sliced onion

1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic, chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) green onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) jalapeno, seeded and chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

Stir together the fish sauce, water, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the remaining ingredients, so you can add them quickly when they are needed.

Place a 10-12-inch (25-30-cm) cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it becomes very hot, about 30 seconds.

Add the oil and turn to coat the pan evenly. Add the shrimp in a single layer and leave them to cook on one side, undisturbed, until their edges turn bright pink. Toss well and turn all the shrimp cooked side up so the other side can cook, undisturbed, for 15 seconds.

Add the onion and garlic and toss well. Cook 1 minute, tossing occasionally, until the onion softens and becomes fragrant and shiny; continue tossing so it wilts and softens but doesn’t burn.

Stir the fish sauce mixture to make sure the sugar is dissolved and pour it around the edges of the pan. Toss well to season the shrimp with the sauce, then let cook, undisturbed, just until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.

Add the green onions, cilantro and jalapeno and toss well. Add the basil to the pan and toss well. Cook 10 seconds and pour onto a serving platter deep enough to hold a little sauce. Serves 4.

From Farm Girl Organic

This delicious summer salad from Half Baked Harvest combines grilled chicken with pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes, herbs and avocado—all dressed in a balsamic dressing. Make the salad dressing and use about a third to marinate the chicken. Grill the chicken and cook the pasta. Combine all the ingredients and serve warm or cold. I used chicken breasts instead of tenders.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Acetaia La Bonissma balsamic vinegar, which has no added sulfites and pure honey. Tre Stella mozzarella balls are additive-free.

Grill the marinated chicken

Caprese chicken pasta salad

Ingredients:

Balsamic dressing

2/3 cup (165 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup (82 ml) balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey

1 shallot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh basil

Kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes

Salad

1 pound (454 g) boneless skinless chicken tenders

1 pound (454 g) short cut pasta

2 cups (500 ml) mozzarella balls (use marinated, if you can find)

2 cups (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil leaves, torn

1 avocado, diced

Preparation:

To make the dressing combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

In a bowl, toss the chicken with 1/3 of the dressing. Let sit 10 minutes or marinate up to overnight. Set your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking, about 8-10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Add the pasta, chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, and avocado to a large salad bowl. Pour over the remaining dressing and toss well to combine. Serve warm or cold. The salad will develop more flavour as it sits. Serves 8.

From Half Baked Harvest

This tasty recipe from Half Baked Harvest is also an easy sheet pan dinner. Briefly marinate the chicken while roasting the potatoes and lemon halves. Add the chicken, peppers and onions to the pan after the potatoes have been in for 20 minutes. Roast for another 25 minutes while you prepare the toppings. I omitted the sun-dried tomatoes and yogurt.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices and pine nuts for additives, colour and anti-caking agents. I used Acetaia La Bonissma balsamic vinegar which has no added sulfites. Krinos feta, Savor sun-dried tomatoes and Astro Original Balkan-Style yogurt are additive-free.

Place ingredients on sheet pan

Add the chicken after the potatoes have been in for 20 minutes, then roast for another 25 minutes

Greek sheet pan chicken souvlaki with potatoes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ (680 g) pounds boneless chicken breasts or small thighs

2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced, 1 halved

2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) smoked paprika

1 shallot, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

1 large pinch each kosher salt and black pepper

1 large pinch red pepper flakes

1 pound (454 g) russet or baby potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) chunks

2 red bell peppers, sliced

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

½ cup (125 ml) oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

1/3 cup (85 ml) kalamata olives, pitted

3 tablespoons (45 ml) toasted pine nuts (optional)

8 ounces (227 g) cubed feta cheese

½ cup (125 ml) plain Greek yogurt

Mixed fresh herbs, for serving

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, the chicken, lemon zest, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, oregano, paprika, shallot, 4 cloves garlic, and a large pinch of each salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss well to combine. Let sit 15-20 minutes.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the lemon halves. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and nestle the chicken around the potatoes. Arrange the bell peppers and onions around the chicken, arranging everything in an even layer. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, the olives, pine nuts, and feta in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, 1 clove garlic, and a pinch of salt.

To serve, divide the chicken, potatoes, peppers, and onions between plates. Spoon the feta mix and yogurt over the chicken. Top with a handful of fresh herbs. Serves 6.

From Half Baked Harvest

It’s grilling season and this recipe from Canadian Living delivers succulent beef and veggies flavoured with lemon, garlic, herbs and spices. Make the marinate and use half to marinate the beef. Assemble the skewers and grill until beef is still a little pink inside and the veggies are tender. Cook’s notes: If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes so they don’t burn up on the grill. While the recipe suggests putting the beef and veggies on the same skewer, try doing all-beef skewers and all-veggies skewers. That way, you can do each to your liking, instead of having overdone or underdone meat. I did the kabobs in an air fryer (I omitted the potatoes). To cook the skewers this way, place the vegetable skewers in the air fryer and cook at 400 F (204 C) for 8 minutes, flipping and rotating half-way through. Add the beef skewers on top of the vegetable skewers and cook for another 10 minutes, flipping and rotating halfway through.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and check dried herbs and spices for colour or anti-caking agents.

Assemble the vegetable skewers - soak the skewers if they are made of wood

If using an air fryer, partially cook the veggie skewers first, then place the beef ones on top

Garlic-lemon beef and veggie kabobs

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp (10 ml) finely grated lemon zest

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp/5 ml dried thyme)

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp/5 ml dried rosemary)

½ tsp (2.5 ml) celery seeds

¼ (1.25 ml) hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 lb (454 g) top sirloin, flank or tenderloin steak, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) cubes

Salt and pepper

12 baby potatoes, scrubbed

6 cremini mushrooms, halved

1 sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) squares

4 green onions, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

Lime wedges

Preparation:

In small bowl, combine oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, thyme, rosemary, celery seeds and hot pepper flakes, if using. In shallow dish, combine beef and half of the marinade; season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Prick potatoes with fork and place in microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

Preheat barbecue to medium high heat; grease grill. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, thread marinated beef, alternating with potatoes, mushrooms, pepper and green onions. Brush skewers with reserved marinade; season with salt and pepper.

Place skewers on grill, close lid and cook, turning skewers to mark all sides, until beef is grill-marked but still slightly pink inside, about 10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This pasta salad from NYT Cooking is another great side dish for grilled meat, fish or poultry and is also an excellent main dish for non-meat eaters. Cook the orzo and let it cool. Meanwhile, sauté onions, peppers, thyme, garlic and tomato. Place in a bowl and add the cooled orzo, lemon juice, basil and feta. Cook’s note: I cut this recipe in half and it was enough to serve 4-6 people.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free.

Cook the orzo and cool

Sauté the vegetables

Add the tomato

Orzo salad with peppers and feta

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) orzo

Kosher salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 ½  cups/375 ml))

3 large or 4 medium red, yellow or orange bell peppers (about 1 ¼ pounds/567 g), cored, seeded and chopped into ½-inch (1.25-cm) pieces (about 4 cups/1 L)

1 fresh thyme sprig

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced garlic

1 medium tomato, diced into ½ -inch (1.25-cm)pieces

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

4 ounces (113 g) feta cheese, thinly sliced or crumbled

Preparation:

Cook orzo in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml) of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta, pressing out excess liquid. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, bell peppers and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken down and juices release, about 8 minutes.

Add the reserved pasta water and stir to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the skillet. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl to cool slightly to lukewarm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to speed up the cooling process. Discard thyme sprig.

Add cooled orzo, lemon juice, basil and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well, then transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Garnish with more basil. Serves 4-6.

From NYT Cooking

This recipe from Canadian Living would be a great side dish for your next barbecue. Grill corn and remove the kernels. Cook bacon until crisp. Combine the corn, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and green onions in a bowl and drizzle with a smoky maple vinaigrette. Cook’s note: If you don’t have a barbecue, cook the corn in boiling water or in the microwave.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard, Eden Organic wine vinegar and pure maple syrup. Make sure the paprika does not contain colour, artificial flavour or anti-caking agents.

Grilled corn BLT salad

Ingredients:

Smoked maple vinaigrette

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) white wine vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) maple syrup

1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard

½ tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

Salad

2 corncobs, husked

1 tsp (5 ml) vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

6 strips of bacon, sliced

6 cups (1.5 L) coarsely chopped romaine hearts

1 cup (250 ml) halved cherry tomatoes

2 green onions, chopped

Preparation:

Vinaigrette

Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salad

Preheat barbecue to medium-high heat; grease grill. Brush corncobs with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place corncobs on grill; close lid and cook, turning occasionally during grilling time, until corn is tender-crisp, about 15 minutes. Let cool enough to handle. Cut kernels from corncobs.

Meanwhile in skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning regularly, until browned and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

In large bowl combine lettuce, corn, bacon, tomatoes and green onions. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe adapted from Food and Drink is a lovely vegetarian summer salad. Make the citrus dressing and use it to both marinate the halloumi cheese and dress the salad. Plate greens and mint and top with cooked couscous, lentils, tomatoes and cucumber. Grill halloumi and place on top of the salad mixture. Cook’s note: The original recipe called for additions of beet chips and grilled watermelon, which I omitted.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed citrus juice. I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard, which are additive-free. Check the halloumi to make sure it does not contain preservatives. Look for additive-free canned lentils or cook ½ cup (125 ml) dried lentils.

Add the vegetables to the quinoa and lentils and toss with dressing

Grill the halloumi

Quinoa-lentil salad with grilled halloumi

Ingredients:

Zesty citrus dressing

1 tbsp (15 ml) grated orange or lemon zest (from about 1 large fruit)

3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh orange or lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) white wine vinegar

1 ½ tsp (7 ml) Dijon mustard

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt

Freshly ground pepper

Salad

¾ cup (175 ml) quinoa

1 ½ cups (375 ml) water or unsalted vegetable broth

Salt

Zesty citrus dressing

14 oz (395 g) halloumi or other grilling cheese

4 cups (1 L) mixed salad greens

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh mint leaves, torn

1 cup (250 ml) drained, rinsed canned lentils

1 cup (250 ml) grape tomatoes, halved

½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

Freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Zesty citrus dressing

Whisk zest, juice, vinegar and mustard in a measuring cup or bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or refrigerate in a jar for up to 1 week. Makes just under 1 cup (250 ml).

Salad

Toast quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Stir in water and ½ tsp (2 ml) salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish, gently fluffing with a fork. Let cool completely.

Pour 2 tbsp (30 ml) zesty citrus dressing into a shallow dish to marinate halloumi. Pour 2 tbsp (30 ml) dressing over quinoa and toss gently to combine. Set remaining dressing aside.

Drain liquid from halloumi and pat dry. Cut into eight strips, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Add to marinade in dish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (If marinating longer than 1 hour, cover quinoa and reserved dressing and refrigerate until just before serving.)

To serve, preheat barbecue grill or grill pan to medium-high.

Combine greens and mint with half of the reserved dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat. Divide among serving bowls or plates. In the same bowl, combine quinoa, lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers and remaining dressing. Toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon on top of greens. Set aside.

Remove halloumi from marinade and blot with paper towel. Place halloumi on oiled grates or grill pan and grill for about 1 minute per side, flipping carefully with a thin, metal spatula, or until grill-marked and cheese is slightly melted. Return to dish with marinade.

Arrange grilled halloumi on top of salads. Serves 4.

Adapted from Food and Drink

This recipe from Chatelaine is on the table is less than half an hour. Make the salad dressing and toss with the cucumber, radishes and arugula. Whisk marmalade and sriracha in a bowl and set aside. Cook pork medallions until cooked through and then toss with marmalade-sriracha mixture. Place the salad on serving plates and top with the pork medallions. Cook’s note: I used the greens I had on hand instead of arugula.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Robertsons marmalade, Natural Value sriracha and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard, which are additive-free. I used Acetaia La Bonissma balsamic vinegar, which has no added sulfites.

Toss vegetables with dressing

Toss cooked pork medallions with sauce

Saucy sriracha pork

Ingredients:

1/3 cup (82.5 ml) marmalade

2 tbsp (30 ml) sriracha

1 tsp (5 ml) salt, divided

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil, divided

1 lb (454 g) pork tenderloin, sliced into ½ -in. (1.25-cm) rounds

2 tbsp (30 ml) white balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard

1 English cucumber, peeled into ribbons

8 oz (227 g) radishes, thinly sliced (2 cups/500 ml)

2 cups (500 ml) baby arugula

Preparation:

Whisk marmalade with sriracha and ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt in a medium bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp (30 ml) mixture in a large bowl and set aside.

Toss pork with remaining ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, then pork. Cook, adjusting heat as needed, until bottom is golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 min per side. Add to marmalade-sriracha mixture as they’re done. Toss to coat.

Whisk vinegar and Dijon into reserved 2 tbsp (30 ml) marmalade mixture in large bowl. Gradually add remaining 3 tbsp (45 ml) oil while whisking until combined. Toss cucumber, radishes and arugula with dressing, then season with pepper. Divide among plates, then top with pork. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

This recipe, adapted from Food and Drink, is a great early summer meal. Make the peanut-lime sauce, use half of it to marinate the beef and combine the other half with more lime juice, vinegar and honey to make the salad dressing. Thread the beef onto skewers and grill. Toss kale, cabbage, carrot and snow peas with the dressing and serve with the cooked beef skewers on top. Cook’s note: I cubed the beef instead of cutting it into strips and cooked it in an air fryer instead of grilling. I used all cabbage instead of kale and red pepper and cauliflower instead of carrots and snow peas. The original recipe also calls for a sesame brittle topping, which I omitted.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use all-natural peanut butter. I used Nature Value sriracha and Marukan rice vinegar, which are additive-free.

Marinate beef in peanut-lime sauce

Serve skewers on salad

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 g) beef top sirloin steak or other grilling steak

Marinade and dressing

½ cup (125 ml) smooth peanut butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) grated lime zest

6 tbsp (90 ml) fresh lime juice, divided (about 3 limes)

1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil

1 tsp (5 ml) sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (approx.)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey

Salt

Salad

12 bamboo skewers, at least 8 inches (20 cm) long

4 cups (1 L) chopped trimmed kale

4 cups (1 L) coarsely shredded Napa or Savoy cabbage

1 large carrot, julienned

1 cup (250 ml) sliced trimmed snow peas

Preparation:

Cut beef across the grain into ½-inch– (1-cm) thick strips. Place in a shallow dish; set aside.

For the marinade and dressing, whisk together peanut butter, lime zest, 4 tbsp (60 ml) lime juice, oil and sriracha in a measuring cup or bowl. Add more sriracha to taste, if desired.

Pour ½ cup (125 ml) marinade over beef strips, add garlic and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate beef for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

To make dressing, whisk remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice, rice vinegar and honey into remaining peanut butter mixture. Season with salt to taste. Cover and set aside at room temperature (if marinating beef for longer than 2 hours, cover dressing and refrigerate, then warm to room temperature before serving).

Soak skewers in shallow dish filled with water for 30 to 40 minutes before using.

Combine kale and cabbage with reserved dressing in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

Preheat barbecue grill to medium-high.

Thread marinated beef onto soaked skewers, weaving onto skewers like a flat ribbon. Discard any excess marinade. Season beef with salt.

Grill beef skewers, turning twice, for about 5 minutes or until beef is browned and medium-rare or cooked to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate.

Toss kale mixture again to coat. Divide among serving plates or bowls. Scatter carrots and snow peas over top. Arrange beef skewers on salads. Serves 4.

From Food and Drink

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