There’s a lid for every pot and a salad for every occasion, so lettuce toss out our tired old greens and toss up something fresh with Canadian Living Essential Salads, the first book in a Canadian Living cookbook blog tour I’m kicking off today with Simon & Schuster Canada. If you’ve got a case of the Mondays, I’ve got your back. Plus two delicious recipes and a chance to win a library of tested-till-perfect recipes.
Most of the 110 recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less — more for heartier salads where grains must be cooked and cooled, less for leafy salads where simple chopping and assembly are required. Bean and grain; pasta, potato and slaw; and fruit and vegetable salads round out the mix with twists on favourite classics (potato salad is fully loaded with blue cheese and thick-cut bacon or served warm with hard-boiled eggs and chorizo) and fresh combinations of flavour and texture (Fiddlehead, Pea and Asparagus Salad with Mint Vinaigrette; Grapefruit and Fennel Salad.)
There are no witty anecdotes prefacing the recipes or long-winded instructions throughout, just a brief-but-useful primer on salad-building basics (how to wash and store salad greens; exotic veggies to try) and an intro to the Canadian Living Test Kitchen, which authored the book. Everyday ingredients and tools make the recipes widely accessible and the clear, step-by-step instructions are easy to follow.
I marked off about 20 recipes before finally deciding on the Macadamia Nut Slaw (above). Despite my lacklustre chopping skills, it came together in 15 minutes from start to finish just like the recipe said, with a nice crunch from the nuts, sweetness from sliced pears and a sweet and spicy kick from the Chili Ginger Dressing (served on the side).
The Orange and Beet Salad with Parmesan Curls took a little longer since I had to boil the beets and let them cool before putting it together, but the assembly was super quick and the combination of flavours and textures totally on point.
I think you’d like both of them (try small things with me!), so I’ve included the recipes below. Isn’t the photography stunning?
Macadamia Nut Slaw
Hands-on time: 15 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Makes 8 servings
What you need
quarter head each napa cabbage and red cabbage
2 small carrots
2 green onions
1 Asian or Bosc pear, peeled, halved and cored
half sweet red pepper
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Chili Ginger Dressing:
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tsp lime juice
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
½ tsp sweet Asian chili sauce
¼ tsp salt
How to make it
Chili Ginger Dressing: Whisk together oil, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, chili sauce and salt; set aside.
Thinly slice napa and red cabbages; place in large bowl. Julienne carrots, green onions, pear and red pepper; add to bowl. Pour dressing over top; toss to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.)
Just before serving, sprinkle with macadamia nuts and mint.
TIP from the test kitchen: If you don’t have any sweet Asian chili sauce, use ½ tsp hot pepper sauce mixed with ¼ tsp granulated sugar.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, PER SERVING: about 156 cal, 2 g pro, 14 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 10 g carb, 3 g fibre, 0 mg chol, 93 mg sodium. % RDI: 5% calcium, 6% iron, 23% vit A, 70% vit C, 19% folate.
Orange and Beet Salad With Parmesan Curls
Hands-on time: 20 minutes Total time: 55 minutes Makes 4 servings
What you need
4 beets (about 450 g)
3 navel oranges
1⁄3 cup walnut pieces
1 piece (60 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (see tip, below)
2 cups arugula or watercress, trimmed
Walnut Shallot Vinaigrette:
¼ cup walnut or extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced shallot or onion
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp liquid honey
pinch each salt and pepper
How to make it
Walnut Shallot Vinaigrette: Whisk together oil, shallot, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper; set aside. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of stems attached; leave roots attached. In saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook beets until fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain; let cool. Peel beets; cut crosswise into ¼-inch (5 mm) thick slices.
Cut off rind and outer membrane of oranges. Cut oranges crosswise into ¼-inch (5 mm) thick slices. (Make-ahead: Place beets and oranges in separate bowls; cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
In small dry skillet, toast walnuts over medium-low heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Using vegetable peeler, shave Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into thin curls.
Mound arugula on platter or individual plates. Overlap beets and oranges in centre. Sprinkle with walnuts; drizzle with vinaigrette. Scatter cheese over top.
TIP from the test kitchen: If real Parmigiano-Reggiano is too pricey, try this salad with more affordable Parmesan or grana Padano cheese.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, PER SERVING: about 348 cal, 10 g pro, 24 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 27 g carb, 6 g fibre, 12 mg chol, 494 mg sodium. % RDI: 24% calcium, 12% iron, 11% vit A, 113% vit C, 65% folate.
What’s more: Simon & Schuster Canada is hosting a giveaway to win a Canadian Living cookbook prize pack including all three of the books featured this week, plus four more! Make sure to hop over there to enter.
I’ll be over here trying to decide what to make next. It’s a toss-up between the Thai Beef Noodle Salad and the Rice Vermicelli Salad With Vietnamese Pork Chops, or the Bean, Mushroom and Wilted Spinach Salad and the Grilled Portobello Salad with Arugala, or the…
Photos 4 and 5 and the recipes posted with permission from the publisher. Simon & Schuster Canada sent me Canadian Living Essential Salads in exchange for an honest review.