Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the tag “Salad”

Chickpea Garden Salad

This recipe started out as Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but ended up being morphed into something a bit different (as usual!). His “Summer Chickpea Salad” involved a bit of cooking but for a hot weather fast salad I thought this one was pretty good, and I had to sub out some of the ingredients, anyway.

I love Jamie’s recipes because they are generally so flexible and his style of writing them is so inspiring. I hope you like my “mods”!

1 small onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 large tomatoes
1 yellow pepper
large can (around 500mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
handful fresh mint, cut in ribbons (chiffonade)
handful fresh basil, cut in ribbons
200g feta cheese, crumbled
juice of one large lime
olive oil (EVOO)
sprinkle chili pepper flakes (to taste)
dash Tabasco (to taste)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine first eight ingredients in salad bowl, mixing well. Dress with remaining ingredients, adding “hot” ingredients sparingly until you get the “heat” you like – you don’t want to overwhelm the other flavours in the salad.

Enjoy al fresco!


Getting Freekeh

Oh, that name…I could get really punny, but will quit before I get rolling.

I am always interested in finding new things to try.  Now that so many “new” ancient grains are available, it is fun to experiment with them. I recently discovered freekeh, which is dried, roasted green wheat. Its taste and texture are intriguing – smoky, earthy and chewy. You could use it in place of rice or any other grain. I bought a box of it, “Casbah” brand, to try, and messed around slightly with their recipe for freekeh salad – with happy results. There are lots of different recipes online for freekeh dishes, and I am looking forward to experimenting!


1 package (145g) freekeh
1-3/4 cups water
1 cup roasted red or yellow peppers, chopped,
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or equivalent in dried thyme)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
1/2 English cucumber, diced


Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large garlic clove, minced
Large pinch sea salt

Combine freekeh and water in pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes or so, or until water is absorbed and freekeh is tender. Cool.

Once freekeh is cool, combine in bowl with remaining salad ingredients. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad and stir to combine.

Yummy and different! 🙂

Delicious Yam, Red Pepper and Spinach Salad

I recently discovered “Eat Clean” food and fitness author Tosca Reno. Her “Eat Clean” style of cooking is delicious and inspired. Although I can’t quite do egg-white omelettes yet – the yolk is my favourite part! – I have been incorporating her style of cooking into a lot of our meals. I recommend her cookbook, the recipes are easy to follow and her choices of ingredients unusual and yummy. I made this salad of hers, and as usual had to mess with it slightly. I found the seasonings just a little on the shy side, so I upped them a bit. The contrast of colours and tastes (sweet and sour) are wonderful. The results were both colourful and delicious, and I thought I would share 🙂

1 large or 2 medium (orange!) yams, peeled and diced into 1/2′” cubes (about 4 cups’ worth)

1 large red pepper, cut in 1″ chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups fresh spinach


2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, minced finely

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon honey

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss yam cubes and pepper pieces in olive oil until coated. Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and toss again. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until yam cubes are fork-tender. Let cool.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in small bowl.

Place cooled yam and pepper in salad bowl. Toss with dressing. Incorporate spinach leaves, tossing gently.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad, or 2 as a generous and tasty main course 🙂

Mixed Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

This salad is one that I put together today with our new beloved, quinoa. It is a different combination of tastes, and will be served with falafel (which I did not make), with minty-chivy yogourt on the side. You could try different veggies in this – feel free to experiment and let me know how it goes! 🙂

By the way, the seasoning I used was Victorian Epicure Moroccan seasoning – if you do not have that, a combination of equal parts of ground cumin and cinnamon would be good.

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 broccoli crown, chopped into small pieces

6 green onions, sliced (use both white and green part)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped into dice

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds (“pepitas”) – sunflower seeds would also be tasty

1/2 cup Tamari almonds (or plain raw almonds)

1/2 cup dried blueberries (dried cranberries would be great, too)

about 10 mint leaves, cut into fine shreds

1-1/2 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning (or 1/2-1/2 ground cumin and cinnamon)

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 2 limes

salt and pepper

Bring quinoa and water to boil in saucepan, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, leave lid on and let sit for 5 more minutes. Fluff with fork and let cool.

In large bowl, combine vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries. Add cooled quinoa and mix gently. Toss with the mint leaves, Moroccan seasoning, oil, lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put in fridge to let flavours mellow, and enjoy 🙂



Fast Broccoli and Black Bean Salad

The other day we were out for lunch, and John had a broccoli and black bean salad. It looked pretty and interesting, and thought I would try making one with those ingredients at home. Mine ended up being quite different from the restaurant version, but the results were tasty 🙂 It was fast and easy to make.


2 broccoli crowns, chopped into small pieces

1-14 os can black beans, rinsed several times (until rinse water is clear)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup unsalted toasted cashews

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/4 cup raisins

6-8 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

Dill ranch dressing (no, I did not make this, but had some bought stuff in the fridge – any ranch or creamy commercial dressing would probably be just as good)

1 tsp. dried dill (I put this in because of the dill dressing)

salt, pepper

Mix prepared in a bowl with as much dressing as you need to coat nicely (but not so much that it is sloppy). Season to taste with salt and pepper. That’s it 🙂



Farmer’s Market Curried Quinoa Salad

I love this time of year. Markets are overflowing with beautiful ripe produce, much of it available is organic, and the bounty means that generally the prices are at their best. As much as I try to restrain myself, I often end up with tons of stuff that I need to get creative with. One of my mom’s favourite expressions when someone overloaded their plate was that “their eye was bigger than their stomach”…in my case, right now particularly, my eye was definitely bigger than my refrigerator 🙂

I saw the “bones” of this recipe in a local magazine…I did intend to stay on course, just substituting quinoa for the couscous called for in the original recipe, but then I ended up going completely off piste, and the finished product in no way resembles the original…except for the little round grainy things 🙂

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 cup raisins

2/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews

1/2 English cucumber, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2-3 green onions, chopped

1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped

1 nectarine, chopped

1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated

3/4 cup mayonnaise

juice of one lime

1 tsp. sugar

3 tbsp. Madras curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Bring stock and quinoa to boil in a pot. Add raisins when stock is boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or so until liquid is mostly absorbed. Let stand for a few minutes, fluff with a fork and leave to cool completely.

In the meantime, prepare all the vegetables and fruit above and put into a bowl with the cashews. Mix the mayonnaise with the lime juice, sugar and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When quinoa is completely cool, gently mix it into the vegetables with the dressing until all is combined.

Refrigerate and serve when cool.

This could be made more “substantial” with the addition of some cooked shrimp or chicken.

Savoury Carrot Salad

This recipe comes from Dane and Brittany, and is a souvenir of their trip with Robert and Krisalyn aboard Lagu!

4 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
1/3 cup of chopped toasted nuts
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or more to taste)
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon style mustard
1 fresh garlic clove, minced
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl, put the shredded carrots, toasted nuts, and fresh oregano. Lightly toss together.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a measuring cup and whisk well. Pour over the other ingredients and toss until carrots are coated.

Taste and adjust as needed.

Serve right away, or chill.

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