Ever thought about making burgers as an appetizer or as a potluck meal for friends and family? Try making your favourite burger into bite-sized portions. They might be small in size, but they won’t be small in flavour. These burgers also pair well with a Greek salad for a delicious mid-week lunch or dinner. Fresh is best Squeeze fresh lemon on patties while cooking to give them the fresh zing of citrus.
What worldwide vacation is complete without a stop in Italy? Dad won’t miss the meat in this flavourful mushroom alternative complete with Italian spices and a zesty vegetable tapenade. Portobellos have a uniquely “meaty” texture and act as a sponge to lock in loads of flavour. This meaty plant-based burger is sure to become a favourite—even with any meat-lovers in your life. Custom-made! Don’t be afraid to customize your burger buns to fit your patties. If your bun’s too big, trim off excess and save the trimmed bits of bread, but don’t discard. Instead, cut into small cubes; drizzle with some olive oil, sea salt, and seasonings of choice; bake at 350 F (180 C) for 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll have delicious homemade croutons for use in soups and salads throughout the week.
Next stop, Asia! This shrimp burger combines classic Asian flavours with unique toppings for rich umami flavour with the saltiness of the ocean. Whether served on a bun or over rice in a more traditional Asian-style meal, try some unique miso yogurt or wasabi mayo dressing for a fabulous flavour bomb. Keep those burgers juicy Place raw patties on a plate or tray, and cover and freeze or refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to keep them together and to lock in moisture.
While on your burger journey, visit Jamaica, where you’ll find the spicy jerk flavours native to this beautiful island. Maple syrup adds a unique, sticky sweetness, while fresh lime juice highlights the fresh, tangy flavours of the Caribbean. Try making your own jerk seasoning or purchase store-bought for an easy shortcut.
This versatile vegan option tastes so good, it might just become Dad’s new favourite. By roasting black beans in advance, your burgers will be infused with a ton of extra flavour and a firmness that plant-based burgers often lack. High in fibre and protein, this burger packs a nutrient-dense punch without compromising on flavour. Switch it up Use this black bean patty to make a traditional-style burger, or break it up and use it as a topping for tasty nachos. You can also serve it with a soft poached egg nestled on top for a delicious (non-vegan) savoury breakfast with a kick.
Making a big batch of hearty granola is a great way to satisfy breakfast and snacking needs and proves endlessly versatile while on the road. Throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips to turn into a trail mix, perfect for keeping hunger at bay while you’re out and about. This granola is also ideal for turning fresh fruit you discover on your travels into a delicious dessert. We’ve used cherries here, but grilled peaches, apricots, blueberries, or any fresh, seasonal bounty would work amazingly well. Trail mix To turn your Go-Everywhere Granola into your Go-Everywhere Trail Mix, simply add 1/4 cup (60 mL) mini dairy-free chocolate chips, and hit the trails. Cherry-oh To make the most of a fruitful bounty, and to add an extra dimension of flavour, use a mixture of sour and sweet cherries—and don’t forget to pack a cherry pitter!
Veggies and dip are a healthy road trip staple, perfect for snacking, pit stops, or appetizers. Take them a step further in this recipe, inspired by Vietnamese-style salad rolls. Paired with a spicy peanut sauce, they’re packed with carrots, crunchy broccoli, cashews, and a hint of mint. They’re hearty enough for a lunchtime picnic or anytime you need a little something to keep you going. Wrap and roll It’s easier to wrap the rolls if you lay butter lettuce on the wrapper so the leaf’s central vein is parallel to the countertop edge closest to your body. This way, when you roll the wrap away from you, you won’t be rolling against that crisp central vein. As you roll, gather side edges toward the centre, tucking them in as you do. If the wrap tears, rather than re-roll, just roll it in a second wrapper. Prevent a sticky situation To ensure your rolls don't stick to the container or each other, a light spray of oil over the wrapped rolls may help. As well, you can layer the bottom of the container with butter leaves as a barrier to prevent them from sticking to the bottom.
This is a heartier take on a classic dish that typically pairs green beans and almonds. Slivered almonds are accompanied by a little extra spice and a hint of sweetness. The lemon-dressed quinoa pilaf adds moisture to help steam the green beans, while imparting all of its bright flavour. Be sure to select young, tender beans for maximum flavour and a beautiful delicate texture. Parchment package perfection To assemble parchment packets in advance and pack them for travel, cut parchment paper into 4 pieces measuring approximately 20 x 14 in (50 x 35 cm). On large work surface, lay parchment pieces out flat and divide bean mixture among the parchment pieces. Seal packets by folding long edges of parchment toward the centre, rolling, and crimping up edges. If you’re cooking on an open grill, you may prefer aluminum foil, which can be placed directly on hot coals or on the grate of a hot grill. For longer trips, the pilaf and almonds can be made in advance, packed separately, and mixed with beans when ready to cook. Once cooked, this dish is also great served as a cold salad.
Yogurt completely transforms the texture of these chicken thighs, making them tender and flavourful with bright notes of lemon and cilantro. Ideal for a day trip, these can be marinated in the morning and cooked in the evening, but they also work well when cooked in advance and packed for a picnic to be eaten cold. Marinade mentions Marinate chicken thighs for anywhere between 4 and 24 hours. Discard excess marinade that has been in contact with raw chicken. It should not be consumed uncooked.
Citrusy and slightly sour sumac and a touch of maple syrup enliven pickled onions in a perfect complement to this salad. Kale and Napa cabbage stand up for hours to the sweet and puckery dressing, and hearty farro will keep you going while on the road. This salad is sure to be a favourite for picnics, backyard potlucks, or road trip lunch stops. Dressing for dinner This salad stands up well, even while dressed, for up to 4 hours. (Truth be told, I’ve often happily eaten it the next day.) In fact, time helps kale to soften up and become even more delicious. If you’re travelling for a longer period, make the pickled onion dressing as described above: let it stand for about 20 minutes, and then add all the oil and pack it into a separate container so you can finish the salad when you arrive at your destination. The pickled onions are also great with steaks or chicken.
These wraps are perfect for an overnight journey when you want to have something quick and satisfying the next day. Sweet smoked paprika adds just a hint of smoky flavour to sweet potatoes, which join with spinach and red pepper to dress up eggs in a pleasing way. Make these wraps anytime and stick them in the freezer for your next excursion. Pack them frozen and they’ll have time to thaw on the journey, or put them in the fridge the night before you travel so you have something convenient and tasty to eat before you set off. Leave the ketchup bottle behind, and serve them with your own smoky red pepper sauce. Freeze with ease While foil is convenient for freezing and reheating these wraps, to cut down on waste, freeze wraps in a single freezer-proof container. Insert a small piece of parchment between each wrap so they don’t stick together. This will allow you to remove individual wraps easily when you need them.
While sablefish’s texture and fat content stand up admirably to the heat of the grill, this firm fish is also delicious poached. For this recipe, sablefish’s luxurious taste is combined with a light fragrant broth of lemongrass and ginger punctuated with the heat of Thai chili. Sustainability status Sablefish, also known as butterfish or black cod, is a rich and satisfying fish, plentiful in omega-3s and sourced sustainably from the Pacific Northwest. Skin and bones Sablefish has large pin bones. Ideally, your fishmonger will remove them, but if not, before you begin, locate them along the fish’s centreline and, using a pair of needle nose pliers, grasp them firmly to remove. You can leave the skin on for this recipe, which may help the fish hold together a little better while cooking, but it can be tricky to peel the skin away from the cooked fish and discard before plating. I opted to remove the skin first and simply keep a close eye on the cooking time, being careful to remove the fish from the poaching liquid before it flakes apart.
These mildly spiced salmon tacos served with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds will bring a party together. Make a small quantity of salmon go further when you pair it with a fresh red cabbage slaw featuring citrus and cilantro. Drizzled with some bright lime yogurt, the flavours come together perfectly. Sustainability status Wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are considered among the most sustainable, as the fishery is subject to limited harvests. With salmon stocks in decline, supporting managed fisheries such as these can help maintain populations into the future. That may also mean eating salmon less often than we do now. Salmon is a favourite Salmon is the most popular variety of fish in Canada and the second most popular in the US.
B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.
The delicate flavour of shrimp is highlighted with just a touch of lemon and a hint of mustard, while radish and celery give some fresh crunch to this dish. Eat it in lettuce cups, on top of greens, or served on whole grain bread for a filling snack. Sustainability status Both wild and farmed shrimp can be sustainable depending on where they’re caught and how they’re raised. See our article “Sea Change” for more information about choosing ethical shrimp.
Steaming fish in parchment-paper packets, also known as cooking en papillote , is a classic technique that allows you to cook all your vegetables and fish at the same time in a quick, easy, and convenient way. Flavours of lemon, garlic, and spicy dried chili make this a simple, yet showstopping meal. Sustainability status Wild-caught Pacific halibut has Ocean Wise and Marine Stewardship Council certifications and is fished using longlines, which is a more selective method of fishing that results in less bycatch. Prep party Involve family or guests in the prep and have everyone make their own packet. Once you’ve mastered the technique, it’s easy to change up the ingredients. Make sure you select vegetables that will cook at the same rate as the fish.
Slice, drizzle, and squeeze—there’s little more to this refreshing, flavour-packed sweet-meets-heat melon salad. Mad for melon Any juicy, ripe melon can be used in this dish. Try a variety for a multicoloured dish or heirloom melons for a unique taste and look.
Easy to transport and eat, these juicy chicken parcels are reminiscent of a fresh spring roll, thanks to herbs, carrot, and fish sauce. Gleaned cuisine Glean from mom’s most-loved cuisine to make these chicken patties her favourite. Try Greek-inspired with feta, dill, lemon zest, and yogurt; Korean-inspired with gochujang paste and kimchi; or Indian-inspired with garam masala and mango chutney.
Hokkaido scallops have a meaty texture and sweet flavour that make them particularly suitable for this raw preparation in which the lime juice does the “cooking.” Classic Mexican flavours of red onion, cilantro, and just a dash of heat from serrano pepper make this a fresh and scrumptious way to get a party started. Sustainability status Hokkaido sea scallops, so called because of their origins in the Hokkaido region of Japan, are farm-raised and have earned both Ocean Wise and Marine Stewardship Council certification. Ceviche savvy Choose commercially frozen scallops that are frozen quickly at a very low temperature. Thaw them overnight before using by removing them from the original packaging and placing them in one layer in a glass container with a cover. Drain off any liquid as it thaws. When you add lime juice to your ceviche, the acid in the lime juice works to change the protein structure of the scallops, resulting in a firmer texture. You can see it working as the colour of the scallop changes from very pale pink to milky white. Note: Consuming raw shellfish may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions. It’s recommended that pregnant and immunocompromised people avoid raw seafood.
One giant berry-and-oat crumb bar, jooshed up with rich vanilla yogurt. There’s no rolling of pastry here, making this minimalist dessert a cinch to whip up. Chocolate, please! If mom just can’t get enough chocolate, add 2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) cocoa powder, sifted, to yogurt mixture plus an additional 1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey, and top each slice with grated dark chocolate.
These special-occasion devilled eggs naturally pickle and dye the exterior of the whites with beets for an eye-catching pop of hot pink on the tablescape. Colour your world Many common pantry items can lend a vibrant hue to the brine used to create these colourful devilled eggs, including turmeric root and red cabbage.
Roasted cauliflower gets snacky in this luxurious, plant-based cauliflower dip. You can make the dip and store sliced veggies submerged in water for a couple of days ahead of the potluck. Make it a meal Serve this dip with Herbed Chicken and Carrot Patty Lettuce Cups and wraps or flatbreads for a DIY sandwich option at your gathering.
Perhaps nothing signals the arrival of spring better than delicious rhubarb. The tart vegetable (yes, you read that right) that we think of as a fruit lends itself to gentle poaching to coax out its flavour. It’s just waiting to be combined with a host of herbs and aromatics to make it even more luscious. Tip: Serve your poached rhubarb with a flourish by adding a dried orange slice on top. To dry orange slices, simply place thin slices on baking sheet in a 300 F (150 C) oven for about 2 hours, until dried. Sustainability cred Rhubarb is a cool-season crop that is often available close to home. Selecting seasonal fruit reduces the need for heating, refrigeration, artificial lighting, pesticides, and increased transport. While rhubarb’s season may be short, the plant is a perennial that can produce for years.