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Salads, Reimagined


Salad. The very word connotes health. There are few better ways to rev up your body’s detox process than to add plenty of colour to your plate from a well-composed salad. Who doesn’t feel a little bit healthier after eating a salad?

Indeed, research shows that going bigger on veggies—both raw and cooked—can boost a healthy lifespan. Problem is, munching on the same cold salads every day can be tiresome, to say the least. The solution to salad burnout? Turn up the heat.

Like their cool counterparts, warm salads can be overrun with the nutrient-dense ingredients you’re trying to eat more of. But because they contain cooked elements—think roasted veggies, simmered grains, or heated dressing—they can be more exciting to eat as well as hearty and satisfying enough to be considered main-dish worthy. This is the motivation you need to once again make vegetables the cornerstone of your meals and reap the health benefits of doing so.

Pivot to these cozy early spring salads that are, without question, hot stuff. They’re most certainly not your standard bowl o’ greens!


Roasted Carrot Tabbouleh

Roasted Carrot Tabbouleh
No Bacon Blt Pasta Salad

This plant-based BLT pasta salad recipe is an exciting twist on the classic sandwich. There’s no actual bacon here, but that’s hardly a missed omission. Packed with smoky tempeh, warm tomato dressing, and creamy avocado, it hits all the flavour and texture pleasure points. It’s a great dish to bring to a potluck as a vegan-friendly main. For a simpler preparation, look for tempeh that is pre-flavoured.

Bistro Salad with Caramelized Vegetables

This virtuous salad is reminiscent of what you’d be served at a well-reviewed bistro. The process of oven-blasting the vegetables serves to intensify their naturally occurring flavours by drawing out excess moisture, leaving behind a new, and improved, concentrated taste. And when caramelized veggies are paired with lacy greens, silky poached egg, and a mustard-forward dressing, you have a salad that wins. For a special finishing touch, garnish egg with a pinch of smoked salt.

Chicken Farro Salad with Chunky Blueberry Dressing

The sweet-tart warm blueberry dressing is a wonderful counterpoint to the earthy elements of this simple yet satisfying salad. All the cooked elements of this salad—berry dressing, chicken, and farro—can be prepared ahead of time and then assembled for a quick weeknight meal. If farro is not available, other grains, including spelt berries, sorghum, or quinoa, can be used.

Salmon Ball Rice Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing

Who says meatballs are just for pasta and red sauce? These curry fish balls are an exciting focal point for this salad inspired by traditional Asian flavours. The raw greens and herbs deliver freshness to the salad, while the sweet and nutty-tasting black rice adds a visual pop. If you can’t use black rice, long-grain brown rice can stand in.

Broccoli Confetti Lentil Salad

Black, pearly lentils serve as a springboard for a highly nutritious salad that seems more sophisticated than its ease of prep would suggest. You want a lot of broccoli in this dish, so if only small heads are available, use two bunches. French green lentils also hold their shape with cooking, so they would be an adequate substitution for black lentils.




Truth Teller

Get J-C Poirier talking about food, and the word “honest” will be sprinkled throughout the conversation like the Diamond Crystal kosher salt the Michelin-starred chef uses in the kitchen of his Quebecois bistro, St. Lawrence, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Honest food Poirier’s favourite food is “honest food.” As a culinarian, and one paying homage to his French-Canadian heritage, he’s all about “being honest with his food.” But unlike the opaque marketing buzzword that “honest” has become in the food world, Poirier applies it with earnestness to the cooking that inspires him and that he hopes to encourage in others, including with his recently released cookbook, Where the River Narrow s (Appetite by Random House, 2022) . “What I mean is, you’ve got to be attentive to yourself as a chef or as a cook. It comes by knowing yourself and your background, and where you come from,” Poirier says. “Being honest is offering a part of who you are. That’s how I know the difference between good cooking and great cooking.” Honest roots Poirier comes by his greatness at cooking, well, honestly. All apron strings lead back to his bon vivant mother, who was as convivial as she was creative in the kitchen of the family’s Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, home. She bought local and stretched a dollar. She also pushed boundaries with the young taste buds around the table, exposing Poirier to quinoa before it became a household grain and making her own tofu. Honest training The magic of cooking and gathering over a meal compelled Poirier to eventually enrol in culinary school. He spent a year training in classical French techniques before putting them to the test in the storied Les Remparts in Old Montreal. Poirier was drawn to the physical aspect of cooking, but like many young people forging their own path, he was eventually lured away from the place that reared him. Vancouver beckoned. After stints at Rob Feenie’s Lumière, and even in his own Italian-inspired dining rooms and eateries, a meal in Paris inspired Poirier to get back to his roots in the kitchen. In 2017, he opened St. Lawrence, a cozy 40-seat space that’s like “entering my grandma’s house.” “It’s being authentic to myself,” he says. Honest legacy Poirier retraces his professional journey and personal growth in < Where the River Narrows > using recipes that channel timeless and foundational French and Quebecois cooking techniques, and a more relaxed Poirier at home. If he’s being honest, Poirier hopes the book will be a legacy to share with his two young daughters, Aïla and Florence. It also serves as a business card for a restaurant that’s earning prestigious accolades, including Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year by Vancouver Magazine . Last fall, dining authority Michelin bestowed one of its coveted stars upon St. Lawrence, too. Honest values That success can be linked to the professional values Poirier upholds in addition to raw talent. He leads by healthy example, eschewing alcohol, especially on the job, and espousing work-life balance by opening St. Lawrence only four days a week. He also offers employment benefits, including four weeks of vacation every year. His staff stay, and success follows honestly. Looking ahead, Poirier knows only that he will stay true—to himself and his craft. “I’ll just keep going forward and try to be me,” he says. “And my team? Try to be better and better every day at what we do, and the rest will come.” Key ingredients Quality over quantity is as much a mantra for J-C Poirier as honesty, especially when it comes to ingredients. That’s why he encourages home cooks to splurge on premium options. They make a significant difference to the end result, he argues, and because of their quality, you’ll need less of them, too, extending their value. Poirier’s essential top-shelf ingredients grass-fed, cultured butter organic all-purpose flour for baking; whole wheat, buckwheat, and Red Fife flours for bread making top-notch oils for a variety of purposes, including grapeseed oil for cooking, first-pressed canola oil for salad dressing, and extra-virgin olive oil for finishing dishes Diamond Crystal kosher salt for seasoning food and Maldon sea salt for a finishing touch to add texture high quality vinegars, including red wine, balsamic, and apple cider Cooking for the health of it French food doesn’t always conjure healthy eating. After all, the French eat four times as much butter and 60 percent more cheese than the average American. There are health-conscious ways to stay true to both your inner gastronome and the cuisine, however. For J-C Poirier, it’s cooking with emotion, logic, and love, and remembering the following. Less is more “I don’t need a 10 ounce piece of beef. I need maybe four or five, and a really high quality,” Poirier says. “I pay the price for it, but I just eat less.” Eat the seasons “In the summer, I will buy all the vegetables from the farm,” he explains. “When it’s asparagus season, we eat asparagus. In the winter, we eat potatoes and parsnips and sunchokes.” Cook for yourself—and from scratch “A lot of people buy processed food, and that has a higher amount of salt or sugar than if I start from scratch and control what I put in there.” Watch your fat Use high-end, pure versions of butter and cooking oils rather than refined options or those cut with other ingredients that could negatively impact health. “It’s being a little more aware, I think, of what people are buying,” Poirier says. Excerpted from < Where the River Narrows: Classic French & Nostalgic Québécois Recipes From St. Lawrence Restaurant > by Jean-Christophe Poirier. Written with Joie Alvaro Kent. Copyright © 2022 Jean- Christophe Poirier. Cover and book design by Jennifer Griffiths. Photography by Brit Gill, except page 148. Photo on page 8 by Amy Ho. Photos on pages 2, 5, and 6 courtesy of the author. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin