This pasta salad recipe from Kitchn is light, tasty and feeds a crowd. Make a vinaigrette from garlic, lemon juice, oregano, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard, oil and red onion and toss with cooked, cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber and goat cheese. I used red pepper instead of canned pimentos and feta instead of creamy goat cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice and a red wine vinegar without sulfites, such as Eden Organic. I used President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Olives and pine nuts may contain preservatives, so check the label. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients

Pasta salad without mayo


For the vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried oregano

1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

2 teaspoons (10 ml) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil

¼ medium red onion, finely diced (½ cup/125 ml)

For the pasta salad

1 pound (454 g) dried short pasta, such as farfalle, fusilli, penne, orecchiette

10 ounces (283 g) cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ cup (125 ml) pitted kalamata olives, halved

¼ cup (60 ml) canned diced pimentos

½ medium English or hothouse cucumber, diced (about 1 cup/250 ml)

¼ cup (60 ml) loosely packed fresh basil leaves

4 ounces (113 g) goat cheese, crumbled

½ cup (125 ml) toasted pine nuts (optional)


Make the vinaigrette: Place the garlic, lemon juice, oregano, vinegar, salt, sugar, Dijon, and pepper together in a glass jar. Add the oil, seal the jar, and shake until emulsified; set aside.

Pickle the onion: Pour ½ cup (125 ml) of the dressing into a large bowl (reserve the remaining ¼ cup/60 ml for later) and add the red onion. Stir to coat, then set aside.

Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.

Toss the salad: Add the drained pasta, tomatoes, olives, pimentos, cucumber, and basil to the bowl with the dressing. Toss to coat. (At this point, you can set the salad aside for a few hours.)

Finish the salad: When ready to serve, add the reserved dressing, goat cheese, and nuts if using, then toss until well-combined. Serves 8-10.

Make ahead: This salad can be made through Step 4 and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Let the salad come to room temperature, and taste and season with more salt as needed, as cold temperatures can dull the flavors. Wait until just before serving to drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and add the cheese and nuts.

From Kitchn

Suya is a spicy meat skewer from West Africa and this recipe from Food and Wine is a delicious way to marinate and grill beef. You can use short ribs or any grilling steak, thinly sliced. Marinate the beef in a savoury mixture of peanuts and spices for several hours, thread onto skewers and grill for a few minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Cut the beef thinly and marinate

Thread the marinated beef onto skewers and grill

Beef Suya


½ cup (125 ml) unsalted roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) onion powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chili powder

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground ginger

1 tablespoon (15 ml) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon (15 ml) black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil, plus more for brushing

1 ½ pounds (680 g) boneless beef short ribs, frozen 20 minutes and very thinly sliced lengthwise

12 large wooden skewers, soaked in water 1 hour

½ lemon

Sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber, for serving


Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ginger, salt, and pepper; pulse to combine. With processor running, gradually add oil until a thick paste forms.

Combine short ribs and peanut mixture in a large bowl; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 450°F/232°C), or heat a grill pan over medium-high, and brush grate with oil. Thread short ribs onto skewers, brush lightly with oil, and season lightly with salt. Grill, turning once or twice, until lightly charred and nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter; squeeze lemon half over skewers. Serve with sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

This recipe from Canadian Living combines ground meat with cucumber, yogurt, harissa paste, honey, lemon juice, garlic, mint, coriander and cumin, yielding a flavourful and moist burger. Instead of chicken, you could use ground lamb or beef. Serve the burgers in a bun or on top of pitas with the cucumber yogurt sauce and lots of fresh toppings.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for plain yogurt with no preservatives and use fresh lemon juice. Check the ground cumin to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Ozery Bakery pitas contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Additive-free harissa is hard to find, but you can make your own; the recipe is below. La Costeña canned chipotles do not contain preservatives.

The cucumber yogurt sauce goes into the burgers and is also a topping

Top your burgers with cucumber, avocado, radishes, onion, tomatoes and feta

Grill burgers until cooked through

Mediterranean Chicken Burgers



2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet paprika

1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground caraway

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil


¼ cup (60 ml) shredded English cucumber

½ cup (125 ml) plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) harissa paste

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) liquid honey

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) lemon juice

1 lb (450 g) lean ground chicken, beef or lamb

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground coriander

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

4 pita pockets

Toppings (optional)

Sliced radishes, cucumber ribbons, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, crumbled feta cheese, sliced red onion or fresh sprouts



In a mortar, combine the paprika, chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic, cumin, caraway and olive oil and pound until a paste forms.


Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber. In small bowl, mix together cucumber, yogurt, harissa, honey and lemon juice.

In large bowl, mix together ¼ cup (60 ml) of the yogurt mixture, the chicken, garlic, egg, mint, coriander, cumin and salt.

Shape mixture into four ½-inch (1.27-cm) thick patties (Make-ahead: Layer patties between parchment paper in airtight container; refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Place patties on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until instant-read thermometer inserted sideways in patties reads 160°F (71°C), 8 to 10 minutes.

Place pitas on grill, turning once, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Spread some of the yogurt mixture on pitas. Top pitas with patties and toppings (if using). Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This yummy salad from Chatelaine is a great side dish for grilled meats. Roast the sweet potatoes, toss with kale, goat cheese and toasted walnuts and drizzle with a balsamic reduction. If you don’t feel like making the reduction, try a balsamic-based vinaigrette.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the canola, goat cheese and walnuts to make sure they don’t contain additives. Look for a balsamic vinegar that has only naturally occurring sulfites.

Roast sweet potatoes until tender

Kale salad with sweet potatoes and walnuts


3 sweet potatoes, cut into ½ -inch (1.27 cm) pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil, divided

¾ tsp (3 ml) salt, divided

½ cup (125 ml) halved walnuts

1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped (about 10 cups/2.5 L)

4.4 oz (250 g) package of goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup (250 ml) balsamic vinegar


Position racks in centre and lower third of oven. Preheat to 375F (190C). Toss sweet potatoes, with canola oil and ½ tsp (2 ml) salt on a large baking sheet until coated. Season with fresh pepper. Bake in centre of oven until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Spread out walnut halves on a small baking sheet. Toast in lower third of oven during last 5 minutes of sweet potatoes roasting.

Boil balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over high. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil until thickened, but still loose, about 25 minutes. It should measure about 3 tbsp (45 ml).

Massage kale using your fingertips, in a large bowl until softened. Toss with 1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil and remaining ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt. Divide among 4 plates. Top with roasted potatoes, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with vinegar reduction. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

This is an absolutely delicious dish from The New York Times cooking site. Blanch lemon quarters and make a citrus-honey-mustard marinade. Marinate the lemon, chicken, carrots, onions, dates and thyme, preferably overnight. Then dump the whole mixture onto a baking sheet and roast. Remove the chicken pieces are they are cooked, leaving the carrots for a few minutes longer to make sure they are cooked through. Delicious served with couscous.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed orange juice and a mustard with no additives or preservatives; I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Dates often contain sulfites, but you can find ones that are all-natural.

After marinating, arrange chicken and vegetables on a baking sheet and roast

Sweet and spicy roast chicken


1 lemon, plus 3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 ½ teaspoons (12.5 ml) kosher salt, more for pot

3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) whole grain mustard

3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey

1 bay leaf

½ to 1 teaspoon (2.5 to 5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1 4-pound (1.8 kg) chicken, cut into 8 pieces

3 cups (750 ml) sliced carrots (¼-inch/0.6-cm thick)

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

⅔ cup (165 ml) sliced dates

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish

2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped toasted pistachio nuts, for garnish


Quarter the lemon lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges and add to small pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch for 2 minutes and drain. Reserve slices.

In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Put chicken in a bowl and add honey mixture. Add carrots, onion, dates, thyme and blanched lemon slices. Turn mixture several times to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F (210 C). Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a sheet pan with a rim. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes for breasts and 30 to 40 for legs and wings (remove the pieces as they are done cooking). When the chicken is done, give the carrot mixture in the pan a stir; if the pan looks dry add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.

Spoon carrots over chicken and top with cilantro, scallions and pistachio nuts. Serves 4-6.

From the New York Times

This tasty pasta with chicken from Greta Podleski’s Yum & Yummer is made with an oven-roasted tomato pesto. Cook the chicken, bacon, pasta, peppers, onion and spinach, toss everything with the pesto and top with grated Parmesan.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Grate your own Parmesan and look for nitrate-free bacon.

Quarter tomatoes and wrap garlic in foil before roasting

Combine roasted tomatoes, garlic and other pesto ingredients in food processor and puree.

Roasted tomato pesto

Cook chicken

Cook bacon until crisp

Cook vegetables

Toss chicken, bacon, vegetables, pasta and pesto together and serve


Roasted Tomato Pesto

1½ lbs (680 g) plum tomatoes, quartered

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh basil

1/3 cup (75 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup (60 ml) toasted pine nuts

Chicken Penne Florentine

12 oz (340 g) dried penne

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

4 slices bacon

1 large red pepper, thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

3 small handfuls baby spinach

2 cups (500 ml) sliced or cubed chicken breast

1/3 cup (75 ml) or more roasted tomato pesto

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper for serving


Roasted Tomato Pesto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread tomatoes in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix using your hands. Wrap the garlic in foil and place on plan with tomatoes. Roast for 45 minutes or so, until caramelized. Cool. Add tomatoes and garlic to bowl of food processor along with basil, Parmesan and pine nuts. Whirl while adding remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) of olive oil through the feed tube. Makes ¾ cup (180 ml).

Chicken Penne Florentine

In deep, 12-inch (30-cm), non-stick skillet, cook chicken until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large pot, cook penne according to package directions or until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, cook bacon in the same skillet you used for the chicken. When bacon is done, wipe out pan and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted and water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add drained pasta to skillet along with chicken and pesto. Toss until all ingredients are coated with pesto; add more pesto if you wish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper before serving. Serves 4.

From Yum & Yummer by Greta Podleski

This delicious recipe from the LCBO’s Food and Drink is sweet and spicy. Marinate raw shrimp in sriracha while you roast figs and pearl onions. Add the shrimp to the figs and onions for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Cook’s note: Instead of making the fig reduction, I drizzled balsamic vinegar mixed with brown sugar over the finished dish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that does not contain colour and a sriracha without preservatives; I use Simply Natural brand. Fresh shrimp is often treated with sulfites to keep it fresher longer; look for frozen shrimp with only salt added. If using dried figs, look for ones without sulfites added, such as Aurora brand. Balsamic vinegar usually has sulfites added but you can find brands with only naturally occurring sulfites.

Marinate the shrimp while the figs an onions are roasting

Roasted honey-chili shrimp with figs and pearl onions


1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter

3 tbsp (45 ml) runny honey

1 tbsp (15 ml) sriracha

40 (approx.) sustainable, peeled, deveined, medium-size (21/25), raw shrimp

¼ cup (60 ml) melted butter

10 fresh or dried figs or a combination of both

10 pearl onions, peeled

Balsamic fig reduction

2 cups (500 ml) balsamic vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) fig jam


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Into a large bowl add 1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter, honey, sriracha and raw shrimp; toss to cover, set aside until ready to roast.

Add the ¼ cup (60 ml) melted butter to an ovenproof casserole or roasting pan, add the figs and onions; put into the oven for about 40 minutes. Remove pan and add the shrimp mixture; toss to combine and pop back into the oven for 10 minutes. Take out, stir, return to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Keep in mind, they will continue to cook for a while once removed from the oven.

To a high-sided skillet or saucepan over high heat, add the balsamic vinegar and fig jam. Stir occasionally and boil until reduced to about 1 cup (250 ml), about 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool. It can be kept covered in the fridge for several weeks.

Bring the casserole right to the table (or transfer to serving platter) with some warmed flatbread, pita or naan. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic fig reduction, if desired. Serves 6 to 8; makes 1 cup (250 ml) balsamic fig reduction.

From Food and Drink

This recipe from Real Simple is low-calorie (205 per serving) and ready in less than 30 minutes. Whip up a buttermilk-based dressing flavoured with fresh herbs, toss Bibb lettuce with radishes and dressing and top with grilled salmon. Cook’s note: I used tarragon instead of mint and it was delicious. I also added some feta cheese to the salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural or homemade mayonnaise.

Make the herb-buttermilk dressing

Toss Bibb lettuce and radishes with dressing

Grill the salmon

Place salmon on top of salad and drizzle with more dressing


1 16-oz. (454 g) skin-on salmon fillet, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) kosher salt, divided

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk

3 tablespoons (45 ml) mayonnaise

3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped fresh basil, plus leaves for serving

2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for serving

1 small clove garlic, grated

1 4-oz. (113 g) head Bibb lettuce, leaves torn in half

3 radishes, thinly sliced (about ½ cup/125 ml)


Season salmon with ½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook salmon, skin side down, until opaque and cooked most of the way through, about 7 minutes. Flip and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium-well. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Break into large pieces and discard the skin.

Whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, chopped basil, chopped mint, garlic, and remaining ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt in a small bowl. Toss together lettuce, radishes, basil leaves, mint leaves, and remaining teaspoon pepper in a large salad bowl. Top with salmon and drizzle with dressing. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This excellent recipe from Food and Wine is based on a recipe from Mamma Agata’s, a culinary school on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Sear the shrimp with their shells on and set aside. Cook the shallots, potatoes and garlic and then add the tomatoes. Once the vegetables are cooked, stir the shrimp in and cook for another couple of minutes. Enjoy!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Fresh and frozen shrimp are often treated with preservatives. I use frozen shrimp with only salt added. Look for a white wine with only naturally occurring sulfites. I used one from Frogpond Farm organic winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

This recipe uses shell-on shrimp, potatoes, tomatoes and basil

Sear shrimp and set aside

Cook potatoes until they start to brown

Add tomatoes and shrimp

Shrimp with potatoes and tomatoes


1 pound (454 g) head-on jumbo shrimp

6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/3 cup/75 ml)

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) seeded minced serrano chile (about 1 medium)

2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried oregano

13 ounces (369 g) baby Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered (about 2 cups/500 ml)

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced (about 1 teaspoon/5 ml)

½ cup (125 ml) white wine

3 cups (750 ml) ripe cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound/454 g)

1 ¼ (6 ml) teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground white pepper

½ cup (125 ml) torn fresh basil


Using a knife, make a ¼-inch-deep (0.62 cm) cut along the back of each shrimp shell from head to tail. Leave shell and head intact. Using a small moistened paper towel and a paring knife, remove and discard the vein. Pat shrimp dry and set aside.

Heat ¼ cup (60 ml) oil in a very large skillet over medium-high until shimmering and very hot. Add shrimp, and sear until shells are scorched, about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots, chile, and oregano, and sauté until shallots are sizzling, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes and garlic, cover, and cook, shaking pan often, until edges of potatoes begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add tomatoes, cover, and cook until tomatoes start to split and release their juices and potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook, turning occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through and tomatoes are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper; stir in basil. Divide among 4 shallow bowls, drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and serve. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

This recipe from Canadian Living is great for a quick weeknight supper. Cook green beans and mini potatoes until tender and then toss with a chive caper vinaigrette. Rub the chops with oil, caraway seeds, salt and pepper and quickly pan fry.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Unico capers and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon, which are both additive-free.

Rub caraway mixture onto chops

Make vinaigrette

Toss cooked beans and potatoes with vinaigrette

Potato salad with pork rib chops


4 cups (1 L) green beans, trimmed

12 oz (365) g mini potatoes (about 24)

4 bone-in pork rib chops (¾ inch/1.9 cm thick), trimmed

1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) toasted caraway seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) each salt and pepper

Chive Caper Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

4 ½ (22.5 ml) teaspoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped rinsed drained capers

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grainy mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped chives

1 teaspoon (5 ml) liquid honey


In large pot of boiling lightly salted water, cook green beans until tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer green beans to bowl of ice water to chill. Drain well; pat dry. Set aside.

In same pot, return water to boil; cook potatoes until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Let cool enough to handle; cut potatoes in half.

Meanwhile, rub pork all over with oil, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. In nonstick skillet, cook over medium heat, flipping once, until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; tent with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Discard bones.

Chive Caper Vinaigrette: Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, capers, mustard, garlic, chives and honey.

Assembly: In large bowl, toss together green beans, potatoes and Chive Caper Vinaigrette; divide among plates. Top with pork. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

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