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.
In this fresh spring salad, spicy radishes and crisp snap peas work together perfectly with a miso tahini dressing that dishes plenty of umami flavour. Full of colour, not only is this salad appealing to the eye, but its fresh crunchy texture and bright flavours will keep you coming back for more. Sustainability cred Organic peas and radishes can be grown sustainably without soil-depleting fertilizers. Peas fix nitrogen in the soil, and radishes can aerate soil. That means that, when rotated correctly, radishes can enhance soil health. The way we choose to eat these vegetables can also have an impact on reducing food waste. Radish tops rule! Don’t let radish tops languish in the fridge. Radish leaves can be blitzed into a spicy pesto with nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and a bit of Parmesan. Endless versatility After you’ve tried out a pesto, try wilting peppery-flavoured radish tops in a stir-fry. Likewise, young pea shoots and young leaves are also edible. Eating these vegetables when they’re in season means they take fewer resources to produce and, if sourced locally, can contribute to local economies.
A snack worthy of being called a meal, this delicious cauliflower combo will certainly satisfy your movie-night nacho craving! Say cheez Not a fan of cilantro? Try this vegan cheez dip instead. In medium bowl, soak 1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain cashews and add them to food processor with the following: 3 Tbsp (45 mL) nutritional yeast 1/4 tsp (1 mL) turmeric 1/4 tsp (1 mL) smoked paprika 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder 1/4 tsp (1 mL) onion powder 3/4 cup (180 mL) unflavoured, unsweetened almond milk, more to thin 2 tsp (10 mL) preferred hot sauce Blend until smooth and serve! Makes approximately 1 cup (250 mL) dip. Each serving contains: 239 calories; 10 g protein; 17 g total fat (3 g sat. fat); 15 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugar, 3 g fibre); 282 mg sodium
Creamy pinto beans and earthy black beans stand in for kidney beans and help make a hearty chili along with some smoky poblano peppers. A pinch of cacao in this chili enhances the slightly sweet flavour of lean bison. If you prefer a less spicy chili, feel free to reduce the amount of powder, or add it in stages. Sustainability cred Like grass-fed beef, bison is considered a more sustainable meat. Much of it comes down to the way they’re ranched. While grazing, bison move across large tracts of land quickly, causing less trampling than if they stayed in one spot. Because they eat only grass and avoid other plants in the grasslands, they play a key role in grassland ecosystems, aiding in biodiversity by stirring up seeds with their hooves and fertilizing the earth as they pass by. The meat itself is lean and healthy and can be used interchangeably with beef. Roasting those peppers It’s an extra step, although fairly simple, but roasting the peppers first brings out their smoky flavour.
Small black beluga lentils, so called because of their resemblance to caviar, hold their shape well, making them perfect for salads. If you can’t find beluga lentils, use French Puy lentils, which have similar properties. With lentils, young spinach, spring peas, and herby dressing, this salad welcomes spring. Sustainability cred Symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobium invade the roots of lentils and legumes such as peas and beans, allowing them to “fix,” or use, nitrogen. This also improves the quality of the soil they grow in. When grown as part of a crop rotation system, they make the soil suitable to grow other plants, including grains, that require nitrogen. Be picky Packaged lentils may contain small stones or other debris which, for safety, should be removed. To pick over lentils, take small amounts of lentils and spread them on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Using a bench scraper or palette knife, or simply your hands, review the contents and move from one end of the board to the other, removing any debris you find on the way. Fun fact: The word lentil is derived from the word for lens. You might want to get a pair to complete this task! What to look for: When choosing lentils, look for organic lentils to avoid glyphosate residues that can be found in conventionally grown varieties.
To snack or not to snack? Smoothies are often considered part of a morning routine, but they also make the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. This creamy, lush green smoothie is a delicious combination of earthy matcha balanced with tropical hints of coconut and banana, finished off with the warmth of ginger! Time-saver tip Peel, quarter, and freeze several bananas on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for 24 hours. Transfer frozen bananas to sealed bag and immediately return to the freezer. Easy to grab and ready to use!
Choose your favourite hearty grain bread and pile it high with this savoury mixture of mushrooms and leeks. Bright green watercress adds a peppery snap to this quick, light lunch or snack. Sustainability cred Watercress is relatively disease and pest resistant, so it doesn’t require pesticides. It’s easy to grow, and it’s packed with nutrition: just 1 cup (250 mL) contains 106 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin K and twice as much vitamin C as an apple. To peel or not to peel? While some (myself included) prefer to peel mushrooms versus washing or brushing them, this is, at least in my case, admittedly more habit than anything else. There is more nutrition in the skin, and fresh mushrooms generally only need a good dry brush to clean them. If you choose to wash, make sure it’s not too far in advance and that they’re dry when you begin cooking. Some say that a peeled mushroom imparts more flavour. If you do peel, be sure to compost the skins.
Low in sugar and packed with fibre and good fats, these bites are great for a quick on-the-go snack that will keep you satisfied until your next meal! Drink plenty of water—oats and flaxseed can get sticky! Nut free Make these snack balls nut free by substituting sun butter (from sunflower seeds) for almond butter and unsweetened coconut milk for almond milk.
Lime, vanilla, and soothing honey turn Greek yogurt into a special occasion-worthy dessert. This treat is akin to a fruit-topped no-bake cheesecake, but comes together so much faster. Beauty fruit focus: Lime, kiwi, mango, blueberry, and cherry Power fruits Explore a wide range of beautifying fruits to top your dessert including vitamin C-packed kiwis and mangos, crunchy pomegranate seeds, ripe blueberries, and fibre-rich raspberries. Anything tender with a hint of acidity will work well with the creamy whipped yogurt.
A friendly side dish, but with its unexpected sparkle, you’ll be tempted to put it into regular dinner rotation. Resist the urge to stir the green beans often—that’s the key to getting a nice amount of char. Nutrition bonus Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient linked to lower risk for heart disease. Thrill of the grill To cook and fleck green beans with some nice char, you can also toss them on the grill. Spread them out on the grill grate and heat over medium until tender and darkened in a few places, turning once. Or place them in a vegetable grill basket, which helps prevent any from slipping through the grill grates. Try the same technique with asparagus.
Who doesn’t love a one-dish dinner? This family favourite featuring crowd-pleasing chicken and potatoes gets a lift from lemon—in the oven and in the yogurt sauce—briny olives, garlic, and onion. This weekday wonder can be enjoyed as is or with a simple side salad. Beauty fruit focus: Lemon Pucker up Lemon brightens up this dish but can be replaced with any citrus you love. Try mandarins, yuzu, or lime.