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.
This frittata seems complex, yet it has a decided simplicity that makes for an exciting meal even on a busy weeknight. Whether store-bought or foraged from your lawn or local park, dandelion greens lend pesto a pleasant earthy bitterness. Spring arugula would serve well as a green substitution. Smoked salmon is a good stand-in for trout, or you can use previously cooked fresh trout or salmon. Nutrition bonus Dandelion greens are a standout source of beta carotene, a plant nutrient that may help lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes when consumed consistently in high amounts. Pesto, everywhere You’ll have more pesto than you’ll need to use in this recipe. Consider that a good problem to have! You can use it as a sandwich spread, a lively addition to salad dressing, a healthy way to dress up roasted potatoes, or stirred into a pot of cooked grains.
Chilled noodles are the base of this nourishing, detox-friendly bowl loaded with good-for-you greens and a creamy tahini-orange dressing. Build your bowl in a container for lunch to go, dressing right before you plan to enjoy. Beauty fruit focus: Orange and avocado Grain bowl remix Bowls are all about versatility—turn yours into a grain bowl by swapping out noodles for cooked farro or short-grain brown rice.
These saucy noodles will bring a fiery kick to your spring menu and show that delicious plant-based eating can spill over into different cuisines of the world. Dandelion greens or tender spring spinach are good stand-ins for watercress. Place the bottle of chili sauce on the table for anyone who wants to really bring the heat. Nutrition bonus Watercress is an often-overlooked early season leafy green that packs a powerful nutrient punch, including notable amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, and beta carotene. Rinse away As opposed to regular pasta, Asian-style noodles, such as rice and soba, should be rinsed after cooking to remove excess starch that can cause them to clump and taste pasty.
A riot of textures and flavours, this salad offers something new in every bite. Crunchy fennel, bitter radicchio, and spicy arugula partner with tart grapefruit, rich in skin-supportive vitamin C. And don’t forget creamy avocado, chock full of healthy fats for skin radiance. Beauty fruit focus: Grapefruit and avocado Cheese, please If you don’t have cooked chicken on hand, or feel like keeping things vegetarian, replace it with crumbled feta or fresh goat cheese, either dairy or plant based.
As one of spring’s first crops, peppery arugula signals that longer, sweeter, more colourful days are afoot. It serves as an anchor to this virtuous salad that makes you feel younger with each forkful. When roasted, radishes transform from pungent to surprisingly sweet. Nutrition bonus Arugula is chockablock with nitrite, a compound that can help lower blood pressure numbers into the healthy range. Fresh obsessed One of the keys to making a great salad is ensuring that your leafy greens are fresh and crisp. Nobody says yum to limp lettuce. The most effective way to keep greens at their best is to line a storage container with a few paper towels and then scatter your greens on top. Seal shut with a lid and refrigerate. Be sure there is some room in the container for the air to circulate, and the paper towels will absorb any excess moisture.
Juicy berries and rhubarb pair with toasty oats and almonds for a beauty-giving beginning to your day, with skin-loving vitamins C and E, as well as detoxifying fibre. A one-dish solution to busy mornings, it’s fruit and granola in a single delicious bake. To serve, a scoop of your favourite yogurt or splash of kefir would take this to the next level. Beauty fruit focus: Strawberry and rhubarb Seasonal swaps The strawberry-rhubarb fruit combination can be switched up, depending on the time of year. Try blueberries and peaches in summer, apples and figs in fall, and pears and cranberries in winter.
A spread of vibrant pea hummus adds an extra layer of nuance to these lunch wraps—a great way to breathe new life into your sandwich routine. If desired, sorrel or basil can replace the mint in the hummus. And if you want to go plant only, slices of smoked/baked tofu are a good stand-in for chicken. Go ahead and use leftovers of the hummus as a dip or a spread for other sandwiches. Nutrition bonus Green peas contain more plant-based protein than most people would think—about 8 g in each cup (250 mL). Bowled over You can go bread-free by turning this into a lively lunch bowl. Place some lettuce greens in a bowl and top with cooked grains such as spelt or quinoa, then chicken, carrot, and roasted red pepper. Whisk together some hummus, with additional olive oil and lemon juice to thin, and drizzle over contents of bowl. Top with microgreens or pea shoots.
In Italian parlance, the word minestrone means “big soup.” This recipe certainly fits the bill with a hearty spring vegetable-and-bean soup that delivers big-time flavour and nutrition . If available, fiddleheads can be used instead of asparagus. Nutrition bonus Nutritionally overachieving asparagus is rich in a range of nutrients, including folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Pay it forward Don’t compost leek tops and asparagus ends. Bundle them up and stash them in the freezer along with other veggie trimmings, such as mushroom stems, in an airtight container. When you’ve collected enough, use these scraps to make vegetable stock.
This moist plant-based cake, featuring flavours of orange and thyme, is punctuated by tart cranberries. Cranberries have long been known as a superfood with many health benefits, but in recent research cranberries have demonstrated an association with lower blood pressure, better cholesterol profiles, and with the management of other cardiovascular risk factors such as a high body mass index (BMI). Fresh or frozen The cranberry harvest in North America takes place between September and November, so for most of the year, the cranberries you find on the shelf will be frozen. Frozen cranberries will last for up to a year in your freezer. If you use fresh cranberries for this cake, the moisture level may decrease slightly, which may result in a slightly shorter cooking time.
This cake is sure to make an impression. The unique pairing of rich and fudgy chocolate cake flavoured with rosemary and crowned with billowy tufts of lemon frosting will make it a standout ending to any meal. Lemon love Preserve all that lemons have to offer by first finely zesting lemon rind before juicing. Even if you don’t need lemon zest for your recipe, it freezes beautifully if stored in an airtight container, ready for another day.
The cornerstone of Mexican cuisine and famously complex, mole sauce typically takes days to prepare. This recipe cuts down on the prep and cooking time significantly, yet still yields a deeply flavourful, chocolate-kissed sauce that perfectly complements roasted butternut squash, earthy black beans, and zesty pickled onion. Sauce boss Play within the framework of this recipe to vary the mole as you wish: nut or seed butters to make it creamy, different dried fruits for sweetness, your favourite roasted chilies for heat, and your favourite chocolate for body and richness.
This dish feels fancy but is a cinch to put together. A sweet sauce of frozen cherries with a splash of heart-healthy red wine brings a touch of luxury to a simply cooked lean pork tenderloin. Cherries, packed with vitamin C and polyphenols, have been shown to have effects on heart health, including reduced oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood pressure levels. Temperature check Pork can dry out quickly if overcooked, so to ensure flavour, as well as safety, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to test doneness. Pork can be consumed safely at an internal temperature of 145 F (63 C). The US Department of Agriculture recommends a rest time of at least 3 minutes after the meat has been removed from the oven. When measuring temperature with a meat thermometer, make sure that you’ve removed the meat from the heat source before placing the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
Vitamin C-rich piquillo peppers do double duty in this dish. Their triangular shape makes them perfect for stuffing with a tasty tuna filling, and they also make for a scrumptious sauce when paired with hazelnuts and garlic. A small amount of honey helps to balance out the smoky flavour. When paired with a salad, this dish easily serves two as a main meal, but it will stretch to a few more as part of a tapas-style meal. Pepper proficiency Piquillo means “little beak” and refers to the small triangular shape of the pepper, which is perfect for stuffing. These peppers, originating in northern Spain, are sold in cans or jars and have little heat but a deep sweet and smoky flavour compared to regular jarred peppers. Sodium levels can vary between brands, so look carefully at the label when choosing if sodium is a concern. If you can’t find piquillo peppers, look for sweet red peppers, which often have the same shape. Jars labelled “roasted peppers” will often contain a pepper larger than piquillos. If you decide to use these instead, simply slice the pepper to make a flat surface and roll the stuffing mixture inside.
In the world of food pairings, cheese with chocolate probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind. These fancy-looking lollipops have maximum wow factor for very little effort. One of the cornerstones of this recipe is the best-available ingredients to ensure the tastiest results. Try these lollipops as a fun hors d’oeuvre with a glass of full-bodied red wine or as a dessert. Spice is nice If you’re a fan of spice, try jazzing up Parmesan Chocolate Lollipops by omitting the black pepper and substituting a pinch of your favourite smoked paprika or spicy chili pepper powder for a sweet, spicy, and salty bite.
Coriander- and cumin-seasoned winter root vegetables get a burst of juicy fresh flavour with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, packed with vitamins C and K. A bright burst of chopped cilantro finishes off this earthy dish. Double the recipe to serve a few more. How to seed a pomegranate Get to know the natural geometry of the pomegranate and you’ll never go wrong. Start by using a knife to mark out a circle on the skin at the top, or crown, of the pomegranate. Cut the skin, but don’t pierce into the fruit itself. Gently peel back and remove this circle of skin to reveal sections of the pomegranate, delineated by the inedible white pith. Use a knife to make a cut into each section to get you started. Now, with your hands, gently break pomegranate apart along those sections to access the pomegranate seeds, also known as arils. To reduce any mess from the red juice, you can break the sections apart in a bowl of water. Any excess pith will float to the top and can be easily removed with a slotted spoon, while seeds will sink to the bottom.