These Japanese onigiri rice triangles can be filled with anything—peanut butter and jelly, leftover chicken, sustainable canned salmon, or fresh fruit. Make in advance and refrigerate overnight. For a recess snack, shape onigiri into 1 1/2 in (4 cm) balls instead of palm-sized triangles. Pack two different kinds for lunch so the flavours are a surprise.
2 cups (500 mL) sushi rice
2 cups (500 mL) cold water, plus more for rinsing
1/4 cup (60 mL) + 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) organic cane sugar
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) water
1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked chicken or sustainable canned tuna or salmon mixed with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) peanut butter (or sunflower butter) and 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) jelly
3 packed Tbsp (45 mL) diced dried fruit (prunes, figs, apricots) or fresh fruit (grapes, plums, peaches)
Place sushi rice in medium pot. Add water to cover by about 1 in (2.5 cm). Swirl rice with your hand until water is cloudy, then drain and repeat the soaking, swirling, and draining process 2 more times. Use fine-meshed sieve to catch escaping grains when draining.
Add 2 cups (500 mL) cold water to drained rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once simmering, cover pot and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to its lowest point for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat but leave covered for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) rice vinegar with sugar and salt, mixing to dissolve, and slowly drizzle over rice while gently stirring with spatula to combine. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
Combine remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water in shallow bowl and coat your palms so they don’t stick to the rice. Scoop a scant 1/2 cup (125 mL) rice into one hand. Make a shallow well in the rice for filling. Place 2 tsp (10 mL) of your filling of choice inside, pressing so it’s flat with the rice. Shape rice around filling to seal. Cup both hands and squeeze rice into approximate shape of a triangle or ball (a ball is easier). Press just hard enough so the triangle (or ball) doesn’t fall apart. Repeat with remaining rice and fillings, re-soaking hands in vinegar water each time.
Makes 6 onigiri triangles and 4 to 6 balls.
Each peanut butter and jelly rice triangle contains: 206 calories: 4 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 43 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugars, 1 g fibre); 226 mg sodium
source: "Build a Better Lunch", alive #383, September 2014
These Asian-inspired salmon burgers won’t leave you missing the beef < or > the bun. And keep this fruity and fiery salsa in mind the next time you want to jazz up grilled chicken or taco night. Serrano pepper or chile de arbol would be good swaps for bird’s eye pepper in the salsa. You can even mix some Sriracha sauce into the burgers to further punch up the meal. Skin deep Skinless fish is the only way to go for burgers. A helpful fishmonger will kindly skin fillets for you before purchase. As an alternative to salmon, you can also blend up skinless fillets of arctic char or rainbow trout.
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.