Category Archives: Salads I Have Known and Loved

Lentil Sprouts and Staying Healthy in the Season of Indulgence


Grow your own sprouts in 30 seconds a day! (Or less.)

Grow your own sprouts in 30 seconds a day! (Or less.)

At last, dear readers, I have gotten around to writing up this post about lentil sprouts, after blogging about it here and here. (Here too.) It costs literally pennies to grow these sprouts, and they’re uber healthy. (Healthy is important, given all the delicious, calorie-laden yumminess available around the holidays!)

Light, and crunchy, like little bites of summer freshness, these sprouts add healthiness to your salads and sandwiches. Or maybe sprinkle on top of some soup? Yes, I think that’s perfect! A bunch of fresh sprouts on top of a bowl of steaming soup, served with my favourite bread recipe. Wouldn’t that hit the spot right now?

How to make them? Rinse them in water. Bam, done!

Ok, so it’s sliiiiightly more involved than that, but only slightly. I kid you not! I present:


(or pea sprouts or alfalfa sprouts or any other sort of sprouty goodness)

  • 1/8 c. of dried lentils (now you see why I say it costs pennies!)
  • mason jar with lid
  • cheesecloth

Place dried lentils in mason jar. Stretch cheesecloth over top and fasten in place with the canning jar ring (or an elastic). Add water until covered by an inch of water. Soak for 12 hours. Empty jar of water by turning upside down and draining water through cheesecloth. Turn right side up and leave for 12 hours. Then rinse (not soak) in water,  drain water (immediately) again, and repeat rinsing and draining immediately every 12 hours or so. In a day you’ll see sprouts starting, and in 3-5 days, your sprouts will be ready to nom-nom-nom on! When you want them to stop growing, put the canning lid on them, and store in the fridge. They’ll keep for several days.

This time with dried peas!

This time with dried peas!

This is a great project to do with kids, as they can see the sprouts growing with each watering. It really is super-easy!

Be warned though, a tiny bit of dried lentils will produce a lot of sprouts! I learned this the first time I made some. I made a huge mason jar full, and after eating them with every meal for several days, I conceded sprouty fatigue, and gave the rest of the jar to a colleague.

All this said…I must add a caveat emptor: if you grow your own sprouts and it is theoretically possible that they could grow bacteria. To quote the website, “Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts carry a risk of foodborne illness. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.” So, be informed, and make your own judgement call. I’ve never gotten sick eating homegrown sprouts, and no one I know has gotten ill eating sprouts (homegrown or otherwise), but if you grow them and they look odd, toss them and try again. Better safe than sick, amirite?

With that said, I totally suggest growing your own sprouts! Hey, you get to grow your own nutrients, and look all cool doing it (at least, I think it’s cool!) If you grow them, take a photo and tag me on my facebook page! I’d love to see the fruits (vegetables, actually) of your labour!

Next Post: Peppermint Patties! Three ingredients, 3 minutes, 30 patties. Dip them in chocolate? Eat as is? Your choice!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday!

Salads I Have Known and Loved: Three-Bean Salad & What I Ate for Lunch

Nutrition, but sneaky about it. Tastes better than you'd think!

Nutrition, but sneaky about it. Tastes better than you’d think! Also, forgive the poor lighting — I took it at work with a cat on my lap.

When I was a child, fast food chains often sold a three-bean salad alongside their deep-fried meat products. One could buy little containers of three-bean salad alongside one’s chicken thighs, most likely to assuage nutrition guilt (“I’ll take a bucket of deep-fried chicken, annnnnd a two-bite container of bean salad. That’s a balanced meal, right?”).

For those used to the creamy little bites of coleslaw that are now ubiquitous, let me just say that three-bean salad is even better! It looks disgustingly healthy…but it’s surprisingly delicious!

No, really, it’s capital T Tasty! But the magic is in the dressing. You need to mix up a bit of sweet with the sour, some sugar with the vinegar. The latest recipe that I’ve tried gets it pretty much perfect! This recipe calls for cider vinegar with some sugar, and it really gets that puckering taste right in the ol’…pucker? I had just run out of white sugar, so I used some brown sugar (hey, I’m the queen of substitutions, am I not?) and it was perfect!

Aside from eating several spoonfuls at midnight yesterday (now that’s a midnight snack I can feel virtuous about!), I packed some for my lunch to top my usual green salad with. So yum! I ate it with a purring cat on my lap, and followed it with a clementine and some aqua frizzante (fizzy water, ‘yo), then went for a walk afterwards. My lunchtime has game, I tell you what! (Technically, it should be ‘my lunchtime got game’, but my inner grammarian overrode that.)

So, to sum: make this bean salad! It tastes great, travels well, and only gets better the longer you keep it in the fridge. Vegetables for everyone! (*tosses imaginary vegetables to imaginary crowd like imaginary largesse*)

Next Post: I’m thinking oven-baked spring rolls. Or…the grind-your-own Garam Masala? Eh, eh?  

Salads I Have Known & Loved: Strawberry & Bocconcini Salad

Light and summery and good for the tummy!

Light and summery and good for the tummy!

During the week, I eat a salad for lunch every day. It’s easy to pack the night before, and the fibre helps me with my IBS issues. But I get really bored with the same salad each day, and even switching up the dressings gets boring after a while. So I’ve been experimenting with different salad toppings.

I made this Strawberry and Bocconcini salad for lunch a few days ago and it was perfect! Fresh and summery, and topped with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, it was a nice, light lunch. I also packed one for the DH and he enjoyed his too.

Want to make one yourself? Easiest thing ever.

  • Put a bunch of lettuce in a bowl.
  • Top with sliced strawberries.
  • Drop a bunch of bocconcini on top.
  • Drizzle raspberry vinaigrette over it all.


Next Post: Memories of Meals Past — in this case, brunch from a few weeks ago. French toast with homemade oatmeal bread!

Salads I Have Known & Loved: Lentil Salad Sprinkles, Blog Traffic, and a Contest Entry

Sprinkled right out the jar!

Sprinkled right out the jar!

In my on-going quest for foodie fame, fortune, and blog traffic, I’ve decided to enter a contest. I heard about it through the Canadian Food Bloggers, a group of which I’m a member, and I thought it would be a great way to try something new in terms of food as well as my blogging.

The contest is called the “Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelations Contest Challenge 2015” (a bit of a mouthful, eh? <– look, already my Canadian-isms are coming out! That’s worth a point…eh? *giggling to self because self is funny*), and is put on by the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. Which is a non-profit that I didn’t know existed but apparently does. Did you know that there are over 18,000 pulse growers in Saskatchewan? Neither did I. (I now envision Saskatchewan as one giant pulse farm, fyi. Green sprouty things as far as the eye can see!)

I also didn’t know exactly what a pulse was. In case you don’t either, it’s a “leguminous crop”. That totally clears it up, right? No? Basically, it’s a legume, like chickpeas, beans, and peas. Or, as I like to say, it’s ‘bean-ish’. “Leguminous crop” vs ‘bean-ish’. I think my explanation wins.

I checked out the website, and wow, was I ever surprised! I had no idea that you could put lentils into so many things! Baking delicious baked goods? Throw in some cooked lentils for extra fibre. Cooking savoury stews? Throw in some lentils for thickener. You’d never know the dish contained lentils, and you’d be healthier for it!

Speaking of healthy, I’ve mentioned before that I have IBS, so I eat a lot of salad for the fibre (where am I going with this? You’ll see!) As well, I’m a vegetarian, and I tend to be low in iron, which lentils actually have quite a bit of (a 1/2 c. contains about 1/2 the iron one needs each day). I also need to eat some more non-dairy protein (I rely a bit too much on probiotic Greek yoghurt for my protein), and lentils get about 30% of their calories from protein. As such, lentils are kind of the perfect food for me!

But…aren’t they kind of blah? Not so, my friend! Sure, if you only eat lentils in lentil soup, or as a mealy side dish, then yes, you’d get sick of them. But they don’t have to be boring!

I made…lentil salad sprinkles! That’s right, they’re a crispy, savoury snack that can be sprinkled on top of salad, to pump up the fibre, protein, and iron of your salad, while still managing to taste delicious!

You think I jest? Try out this easy peasy recipe!

ready for roasting

Ready for roasting! Add in seasoning at will. Mix it up! This batch will be savoury. But…what about a sweet batch? Of course, my mind goes straight to chocolate covered lentils. I wonder if that’s a thing?

Savoury Lentil Salad Sprinkles

  • 1 c. cooked lentils
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (you can use vegetable oil, but olive oil is healthier)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Mix all ingredients together. Spread out in a thin layer on a foil-lined cookie tray, and bake for 15 min. at 375 degrees. Stir them all up and spread them out again, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. They should be dry and crispy, but not burnt. Let cool, sprinkle on salad, and enjoy!

I’ve brought these to work and had colleagues rave about them. Think wasabi peas without the wasabi, but just as savoury and crunchy and yummy and with some heat and just hitting the spot! My first batch is already gone and I plan on making another asap, because a) healthy, b) delicious, and c) easy — it’s a cooking trifecta! In other words…make them! And then eat them and be smugly healthy.

Next Post: Finally, my bok choy dish! Or…slow cooker vanilla rice pudding? Probably bok choy. Is sooo good! But then, so is the vanilla rice pudding! Decisions, decisions.

Linking up at A Proverbs 31 Wife

Salads I Have Known & Loved: Mason Jar Bulgar Salad with Olive Oil Dressing

Serve in Mason Jars, you hipster you!

Serve in Mason Jars, you hipster you!

I’m still on my salad kick, partially because I like salad, and partially because I’m doing penance for my holiday indulgences. Not regretting, mind you, just doing penance. No, I shall never regret that rummy fruitcake…*interruption to drool*…but salad is A Good Thing. Especially for my IBS.

Today’s recipe is influenced by the Middle East (*cue belly-dancing music*). The salad contains bulgar (cooked, dried cracked wheat that you merely rehydrate), chickpeas, and olive oil, all lovely Middle Eastern staples.

The olive oil in this particular dish is authentically Middle Eastern, as some relatives in the Middle East sent it to me, and let me tell you, it’s so pure, you can actually taste the olives! It’s this lovely dark green colour, with a buttery taste, and a green aroma (this is an actual olive-tasting term — I should know, I googled it). So I had to make a dish that showcased that wonderful flavour. And I had some bulgar in the cabinet, and some cooked chickpeas in the freezer, so…voila! Bulgar Salad with an Olive Oil Dressing!

And then I had to layer it in Mason Jars, because it just looks so cute that way. That, or my subconscious is a hipster. Either/or.

A-chopping we shall go!

A-chopping we shall go!

Want to be a healthy hipster too? Let’s whip up some salad!

Bulgar Salad with Olive Oil Dressing

  • 1/2 c. chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 c. halved baby tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. each walnuts and pecans
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. bulgar, rehydrated (roughly 1/4 c. dried bulgar)
  • 1/4 c. chickpeas


  • 1/4 c. super-duper virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 c. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, halved

If you haven’t rehydrated the bulgar, do that now, and let it cool. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, and cranberries. Roughly chop the nuts and mix together. Layer it all in a glass jar, starting with the bulgar. Mix the dressing ingredients up in another jar, and let sit for 5 minutes to half an hour, and then discard the garlic halves. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and screw on the lid. And…healthy hipster lunch is done! Or toss it all in a bowl. It’s tasty either way!

The dressing: practically luminous! Also delicious.

The dressing: practically luminous! Also delicious.

This does make quite a bit of dressing, but hey, olive oil is good for you! Also, if you’re keeping it overnight in the fridge, any extra dressing will be absorbed by the bulgar. If you’re serving it right away, serve on a bed of mesclun greens or lettuce, or else add another 1/2-1 c. rehydrated bulgar.

I’ve packed a jar of the salad for the DH’s lunch, as well as one for myself. I’ve also packed some baby greens to serve it on. Now I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow! What are you having for lunch? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Memories of Meals Past, or in this case, Bok Choy made tasty.