Tag Archives: salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Spring is in the air, and that means salad season is here! I want lots of big, beautiful, fresh salads full of awesome, yummy ingredients. With Easter around the corner, we’re all on the lookout for delicious dishes to make for a big group dinner, so I’ve decided to share this Big Italian Salad with you just for the occasion.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

My boyfriend is half Italian so over the years my consumption of olives, cured meat and artichokes has increased, and you could say, they have added more flavour to my life (though, he might have a little something to do with that too!). We try our very best to eat salads regularly, but find it challenging to keep ‘em interesting. There’s only so much tomato and cucumber you can consume before you hit a salad slump. And let’s face it, when all is said and done, I’m a meat and carbs kind of gal.

Yum. Meat.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

But the great thing about my Big Italian Salad is, it has meat! And cheese! The parmesan and salami add just the right amount of salty creaminess. Fresh romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, crunchy licorice-infused fennel and velvety artichokes. Finally, the bright pop of the olives brings the whole salad to life.

This, my friends, is not your average, boring salad.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

A light, lemony vinaigrette that incorporates some of the artichoke marinade ties the whole dish together. Before you can say “you can’t make friends with salad” you’ll be happily chowing down on a big mouthful of all things Italian.

Big Italian Salad

This Big Italian Salad is full of awesome, fresh ingredients. Romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy fennel, creamy artichokes and salty salami, olives and parmesan.
Course Healthy, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people


For the salad

  • 1 small head of Romaine lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 small radicchio finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 half fennel thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green and kalamata olives pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 ounces salami or your fave cured meat finely diced
  • 227 grams marinated artichokes finely sliced, marinade reserved
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggianocheese grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 half lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or medium bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil. Slowly add oil while whisking or mixing on low.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle cheese over top. Toss and serve immediately.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in one sitting. The salad is so fresh and lightly dressed that all the other flavours are allowed stand out, and it’s addictive. But, one must learn to share, so here you go my friends, some salad to go with your roasted ham.

What are you making for your big Easter dinner?  Let me know if you liked my Big Italian Salad and what type of cured meat is your favourite!

Ravi Sweet Potato & Edamame Brown Rice Pasta Salad

After my detox this year, I continued to cook more vegetarian/vegan/raw/gluten-free meals and really enjoyed exploring and experimenting with these restrictions – I adapted quickly and felt fantastic.  My husband on the other hand, whom will tolerate an occasional vegetarian dish, was not adapting well at all – especially with the raw food.  I felt like I was trying to feed vegetables to a kid, my healthy airplane being thoroughly rejected.

I’m sure this is a common problem amongst couples or friends – one person fighting for a healthy lifestyle while the other could happily eat endless hot dogs and PB&J sandwiches without gaining a pound.  Is there a way to stay fit and keep your husband fat?  Thus, my new project was born.  This series of posts will focus on my favourite vegetarian/vegan/raw/gluten-free recipes with tasty, easy alternatives or modifications that will keep your better-half happy as well.  The pasta recipe below results in two versions of the recipe – one with chicken, and one with tofu.

First up – a hearty pasta salad full of grain, greens, legumes, second vegetables & nuts with chicken or tofu as the protein.  Great for picnics or fuel during a long bike ride.  The salad is inspired by a delicious wrap they used to have at my favourite soup & salad resto in Toronto called Ravi Soups – the sweet potato and edamame stuck in my mind as a winning combination.

How To Stay Fit and Keep Your Husband Fat

Ravi Sweet Potato & Edamame Brown Rice Pasta Salad

Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 cups brown rice pasta
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 cup firm tofu - cubed
  • 1 x 4 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup herb tofu mayo
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chiles in adobe or chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook brown rice pasta according to package directions - approx 8 minutes in boiling water.  Drain and toss in baby spinach to soften.  Let cool.
  2. Boil 3 cups of salted water and add edamame for 3 minutes.  Let cool (in freezer if you're in a rush).
  3. Puncture holes in the sweet potato with a fork and pop the sweet potato in the microwave on the "potato" setting - repeat until sweet potato is soft enough for a knife to pass through easily.  Slice the sweet potato in half and peel back skin.  Slice a couple more times lengthways and crossways into cubes.  Let cool.
  4. Grill chicken breast until no longer pink - approx. 8 minutes on medium heat.  Let cool.
  5. Heat the sunflower oil in a skillet on medium high heat.  Fry tofu into skillet, gently turning until evenly browned.   Let cool.
  6. Make the tofu mayo and add the chipotle chiles, cilantro and lime juice.
  7. In a large bowl combine brown rice pasta w/spinach, and sunflower seeds.  De-shell the edamame and toss in along with the sweet potato cubes.  Mix well.
  8. Transfer half the salad to a secondary bowl.  Add the cubed tofu to the first bowl.  Thinly slice the chicken and toss into second bowl.  Divide tofu mayo between the two bowls and mix each one well.  Season each bowl with salt and pepper to taste.

Detox 2010 – Quinoa, Leek, Tomato & Avocado salad

For the past three weeks, I have been doing my annual detox. What better time than after Easter to cleanse the body. Spring has sprung!

The basic rules of my regular detox are: no red meat, sugar, gluten, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, corn & corn based products, and dairy. Seems crazy but by the second week I find it gets much easier, and even fun! I love trying out new vegetarian recipes and discovering alternative ways to spice and flavour, plus my body feels sooo amazing, I almost feel that it’s a shame to go back to my old ways!

This year I did something a little different and started off the cleanse with a 10 day detox, where you slowly eliminate and then bring back different elements. Day 5-7 was the most challenging because you are limited to: tofu, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, apples and pears. The hardest part – no rice, no beans.
But I did it! And man, was I bouncing around with energy that weekend, I practically flew through my running route!

Anyway, the one thing I love about detoxing is that I always find some new foods and recipes to add to my regular diet. This year I discovered: lentil chips (with guacamole, awesome), flax seed oil, quinoa salads, tofu mayo (with baked sweet potato fries – more awesomeness), steamed kale (OK vegetarians, I get it now!), apple/pear smoothie and quinoa onion rings (which I didn’t make but I had them at Fresh – best ever).

I’d like to share some of these recipes with you, so enjoy some healthy goodness!

First up:
Quinoa, Tomato & Avocado Salad

Filling with fresh and creamy accents, this is a perfect salad for lunchtime!  I discovered that flax seed oil works beautifully with quinoa – just a hint of salty nutty-ness, healthy and not too oily.

Makes 2 large salads


1 cup organic quinoa

1 leek, white section chopped and rinsed

2 large hot house tomatoes, diced

1 roasted red pepper, diced

1 tablespoon flax seed oil

lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado

Boil two cups of water in a saucepan.  Add the quinoa and allow water to return to a boil.  Stir in the leeks and place a lid over the saucepan and turn the heat to low.  Cook quinoa 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with fork.

Add the tomatoes, peppers, flax seed oil and salt and pepper to taste and a squirt of lemon juice.

Split into two servings and keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

To serve,  slice half the avocado into cubes and sprinkle over top.  Wrap up the other half of the avocado and save for the second serving of salad.