the taste space

Raw Beet Chips

Posted in Desserts, Favourites, Sides by janet @ the taste space on May 19, 2013

Raw Beet Chips

Even though we won’t be moving until late June, now that Rob and I have found a place to live in Houston (YAYAYAYA!), the move seems a bit more real.

All of a sudden, I want to scope out my new neighbourhood. I want to know my route to work, cycle the nearby bicycle paths and explore the grocery stores. I want to know my new routine.

Thankfully, our new place will be close to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I am most excited about Trader Joe’s since I doubt Whole Foods is any cheaper in the US than it is here in Canada. Although I will still keep an eye out for ethnic grocers. They are my favourite for fresh and inexpensive produce and staples (these are my favourite stores in Toronto). If you are familiar with Houston, please let me know of your favourite shops. I am also considering trying out Rawfully Organic for fruits/veggies. Does anyone have experience with them? *As well, if anyone could share what they routinely buy online instead of at TJ’s, please let me know what and where*

Right now, the plan is to try to live a “minimalist” lifestyle while in Houston. Bring only the bare necessities.  I think it will be fun to move the majority of our stuff into storage and live on less. Of course, we don’t plan on depriving ourselves. We  are not materialistic but somehow seemed to have accumulated a lot of stuff. I suppose we don’t like to waste anything, purge little and haven’t started the “this is for real” part of laying down a home.

We plan on bringing our own current necessities, though. Like 4 bicycles. And my Vitamix, food processor, rice cooker and coffee machine (the last one is for Rob). A handful of cookbooks. I decided that the dehydrator may take a year-long sabbatical. The dehydrator is pretty bulky and I don’t use it that often. And I could live without it for a year. Which, of course, means I am using it like crazy before we leave.

Quandary: If I buy veggies boxes from Rawfully Organic, I may want to bring the juicer. And then I would want my dehydrator to make juice pulp crackers. Gah!

Raw Beet Chips

I have mentioned these beet chips discretely before. I have made them a few time, but lost my original set of photos. It was a perfect impetus to make them again… and again. They are possibly my favourite snack from the dehydrator and they are so easy to make. Peel beets, slice, marinate and dehydrate. Sweet and crispy chips emerge. Pretty, too. And yes, these were regular beets. No fancy candy-cane striped Chioggia beets, here.

Actually, I take that back. One time I made this with small beets, and it took forever to peel them. Now I only make these with large beets. The chips are bigger, too. You wouldn’t believe how much they shrink. Depending on how thick you slice your beets, two pounds of beets may only yield 2 cups of chips. Which I could likely eat in an afternoon, if I am not careful. :)

Don’t have a dehydrator? Try baking the beets into chips instead, as seen here and here.
Raw Beet Chips

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The Great Vegetable Bolognese Sauce with Zucchini Spaghetti

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on March 21, 2013

The Great Vegetable Bolognese Sauce with Zucchini Spaghetti

Vegan propaganda: I try not to spread too much of it.

If you read my blog, I think you’ve already accepted that vegetables are good for you and are ok with the lack of meat and dairy in my meals.

But I will share this fun video anyways, because I thought it was flipping awesome. I’ve watched a few documentaries about veganism and I am usually left with a bitter taste in my mouth, wondering about the accuracy of the science and experiences presented. The prolonged juice fast in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead creeped me out. The main study in Forks over Knives, The China Study, was not convincing for me. Vegucated was cute, following 3 people on a vegan challenge for 6 weeks, though.

But this video? I loved it! Made by Dr Michael Gregor, the physician behind NutritionFacts.Org, he presents how a vegan diet affects the top 15 causes of mortality in a very engaging way. I know the clip is almost an hour long, but it is an hour well spent. If you watch it, please let me know what you think. For me, it reinforced continuing with a plant-based diet for health reasons. :)

In the spirit of nutritarianism (coined by Dr Fuhrman, describing those who consume foods based on their higher micronutrients and shun refined oils, sugars and salt), I decided to make The World’s Healthiest Tomato Sauce, as proclaimed by Amber.

The Great Vegetable Bolognese Sauce with Zucchini Spaghetti

This was a chunky tomato sauce like no other. Filled to the brim with vegetables. All sorts of veggies, it was a lovely clean-out-my-fridge kind of sauce.  I am probably the only person with a random vegetables, like a solo leek, beets, carrots, broccoli stems and mushrooms, hanging around for no good reason. Granted, this is a very flexible sauce so work with what you have. Amber suggests not omitting the olives, though. They add both the salty and fatty components from a whole food (instead of a refined oil product). The tempeh is eerily similar to chunks of meat. The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy hint, as if you had already stirred in Parmesan cheese. But the funniest part of the sauce is that it was more a fluorescent-red, courtesy of the pureed beet.

You might think this sauce would take forever to prep, with so many veggies. However, the food processor does that majority of the work. The directions look lengthy, but you’ll see a theme: chop veggies in food processor, add to the pot and stir. :)

I actually really liked this sauce. It tastes healthy yet hearty while still feeling light. Would I serve it to omnis I wanted to impress? Probably not. They would probably think I was pulling a joke on them.  But if someone made this for me, I’d be thrilled. I’d also have a lot of sauce to last for many meals. Freeze some for later, or relish in eating it a few times a day. :)

I believe that moderate amounts of oil, sweeteners and salt are good for you. Fats are definitely important, especially to absorb nutrients from other foods, but they can also come from avocados, nuts and seeds (and soy). I plan to incorporate more of these “healthy fats” into my foods.

What do you think about nutritarianism? Oils vs healthy fats?

The Great Vegetable Bolognese Sauce with Zucchini Spaghetti

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What I Ate on V-Day (& Cucumber Beet Ginger Juice) (WIAW)

Posted in Drinks, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on February 16, 2013

My first WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday). Which was actually a Thursday, and posted on a Saturday.

I have never been one to want to document everything I eat in a day, but by the end of Valentine’s Day, Rob had managed to do most of it on my behalf. HA!  Not the best photos (thank you to fluorescent lights), but that’s all in the spirit of WIAW. (I have supplemented with some other photos). :)

In case my leaks had you wondering as much as me, this is how we celebrated Valentine’s Day through our eats. We are very low-key: not into flowers (not me, at least) and store-bought holiday stuff.

Since I knew Rob had plans for dinner, I started off by baking breakfast for Rob: Peanut butter cookie baked oatmeal. Rob gasped at how much it tasted like a peanut butter cookie (without any flour!). Pictured with Rob’s card. :)

Peanut butter cookie baked oatmeal

I usually wake up and immediately eat half a grapefruit. Lately I have been drinking some green juice (I make enough to last 3 days or so). This cucumber-beet-ginger juice was delicious. (See recipe below)

Cucumber Beet Ginger Juice

A few hours later, when I arrive at work, I eat my steel-cut oats with protein powder. Lately, I have been adding spirulina to it and it makes it an electric green.

spirulina protein oatmeal

For lunch, I had the last of my curry-miso squash and chickpea soup.

Late afternoon, I snacked on an apple.

For dinner, Rob made my African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew. I like how he scoured my blog for a recipe he knew I would like (I am very predictable that way!). It was one of my favourite dishes in 2010 (such high praise!) and it had obviously been a long time since I’ve had it. He substituted white beans for the kidney beans and served it with red quinoa. He planned for a red-themed meal and solidified it with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Still as delicious as I remember. Even better (I could taste the love).

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

For dessert, he surprised me with heart-shaped chocolate hazelnut truffles. Rob thought my recent post was a hint for Valentine’s Day (hahaha, I swear it wasn’t). He spiced things up by using hazelnut butter and made 3 versions: au naturel, some with a whole macadamia nut inside and some with shredded coconut. We obviously had to sample all three (each, of course). I think my favourite was the one with the whole nut. (PS. Yes, this recipe is so easy, Rob made them in under 20 minutes!)

chocolate hazelnut truffles

Capping the delicious truffles, we helped ourselves to some tea. Coco Chai Rooibos for me and Sweetie Pie Rooibos for Rob.

Coco Chai Rooibos
Because I forgot to stop the kettle, I had to add an ice cube.

Coco Chai Rooibos

What a keeper, eh? :)

Do you “celebrate” Valentine’s Day? If so, what did you do?

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

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Cinnamon-Roasted Beet and Sweet Potato Spelt Berry Salad

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on February 12, 2013

First of all, thank you so much for your kind words about my refrigerator woes, and an immense amount of gratitude goes to my friends and family for offering to help store our food over the weekend. You’d think there would be an emergency fridge delivery service, eh? Or maybe our landlord just opted for the “deliver it on Monday” option. Suffice it to say we had three days without fridge stuff.

How did we manage? Oatmeal. Twice a day. I am only partly joking. If I going to make a single serving of any food, it better be quick. Hence, the oats. I jazzed them up as a dessert pudding with chocolate protein powder, which is also how I ate them for breakfast, too. Still tasty.

Rob and I also unearthened some of our favourite foods from the freezer. It is amazing what I had forgotten that been stashed away. I had the forethought to freeze meals in single servings (or 2), so it was perfect. Freezer meals don’t have to be shabby. We had memories of summer produce by munching through Greek Stewed Swiss Chard With Tomatoes, Mint and Lima Beans, Peruvian Mayocoba Bean Bowl with a Roasted Pepper Sauce, Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew and even older but (still) goodie Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti. Score!

I also experimented with frozen oats and frozen stir fries. Meals that I had made before the fridge died but then stashed outside, in the winter chill, to freeze. It works! Turns out I am not the first person to have figured out you can freeze steel-cut oatmeal (Trader Joe’s even sells it). You can rest assured I will be sharing those recipes eventually (the stir-fry, not how to freeze oats). :)

In the meantime, I am sharing a cinnamon-spiced beet and sweet potato salad with spelt berries and kale. Ashley raved about Kath’s salad, so I had been meaning to try it out for a while. Plus, Valentine’s Day is all about the red foods, eh? Bring on the beets! :)

I’ve gone the savoury cinnamon route before (Strawberry and Roasted Chickpea Salad with a Cinnamon VinaigretteMoroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad, Cherry Collard Dolmas) and this was pretty good, too. I won’t gush its praises but it was fit for a weeknight meal (maybe not for anti-kale guests). It may seem like an involved salad but you just need to prepare each component separately – the cinnamon-roasted beets and sweets, the spelt berries, the sauteed kale and finally, the dressing.

I have had problems with burned spices when added to roasted vegetables, but this worked out. The sweetener from the dressing helps to accentuate the earthiness of the cinnamon. I imagine adding maple syrup to the veggies while roasting would be delicious as well.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Red food? Chocolate? Or nothing at all, since every day is an awesome celebration of love? I vote for the latter, but I know Rob is planning a special home-cooked meal for me later this week. He has leaked that it will involve frozen bananas. (Exciting! Nothing more sexy than your man in an apron, no?) :)

This is my submission for this month’s No Croutons Required for potatoes and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Tomato-Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Posted in Salads by janet @ the taste space on October 25, 2012

If my Pinterest boards tell you anything, I am scouring the web for interesting dressings.

Each week, I try to make a new dressing to add to whatever wandering salad I may concoct for lunch. Toss it with whatever random veggies I have in the fridge or plucked from the garden.

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge, we were urged to pick a pantry item and randomly try a recipe with it. I picked pomegranate molasses and then randomly picked Turquoise, a cookbook I have been neglecting but adamant about trying more of the drool-worthy recipes.

I landed squarely on the tomato-pomegranate dressing, spiced with thyme, shallots and garlic. I was initially perplexed by the recipe since it seemed to be a dressing infused with the flavours instead of being pureed directly into the dressing. So, I experimented. I made half of the recipe through the suggested (infused) method, and half of the dressing was simply pureed. The verdict? Both were good and more surprisingly to me, the blended dressing was creamier. I thought the pureed shallot and garlic would make this a scary dressing, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t as tart and acidic as the infused dressing. However, once mixed with my veggie medley, it was perfect. Both versions were nice.

Here, in the photos, I paired the dressing with thinly sliced collards, shredded beets and carrots, thinly sliced Roman beans and toasted sunflower seeds. I massaged some of the dressing directly with the collards (like I do for my raw kale salads) and then drizzled more dressing for the rest of the veggies. As you can see, the collard greens didn’t wilt as much as kale, but it made for a tasty salad, mellowing the collards for a simple salad. Later, I also found the dressing paired well with my standard concoction of tomatoes, cucumber, green beans, chickpeas and lettuce.

Looking for another great salad with pomerganate molasses? This one with bulgur and chickpeas (aka, The Old Best Salad Ever) was how I got hooked onto pomegranate molasses!

Do you have any favourite salad dressings?

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this month’s Random Recipes for cupboard items. (more…)

Kasha Salad with Roasted Beets and Green Beans in a Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on September 14, 2012

This weekend boasts both the Polish Festival and the Ukrainian festival.

For those keeping score. Rob = Polish. Me = Ukrainian and German.

As a bonus, both sets of our parents will be coming to Toronto to check out the festivals. I mean, they are coming to see us.

How will we manage? Which one to attend? They are reasonably close to each other, so we’ll likely hit up both festivals. The question is who will win the pierogi contest? OK, forget pierogi, I am more interested in kasha these days.

Nothing says more Eastern European than beets and dill, especially with kasha!

Kasha is buckwheat that has been hulled and roasted. As such, it is a darker brown than raw buckwheat. Kasha can be tricky to cook as it can absorb lots of water and turn into mush. Here, I opted to toast it in the oven first, and then cooked it in a 1:2 ratio with water. While the kernels still seemed to explode slightly, they reminded me of coarse bulgur in this salad.

Kasha has a slightly nuttier, stronger flavour but pairs well with beets and dill. I combined some garden-fresh green beans and roasted beets with a lemony dill vinaigrette for a bright early fall salad. Or late summer salad?

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Simple and In Season and to this month’s Herbs on Saturday.

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Iraqi Pomegranate Stew (Shorbat Rumman)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on February 10, 2012

I will admit that when I mentioned my pee turns red after consuming red beets, I thought I was in the majority.

When asking someone about their bloody urine as a doctor, the first thing is to rule out causes that are not bloody (like eating beets).

It happens to me on occasion (red urine from beets) and as such, I thought it was pretty common.

Then I decided to do a very quick literature search.

Not that I delved into the primary studies, but apparently beeturia (what you call red urine from beets) is only present in 10-15% of people. It is caused by the increased absorption and then excretion of betalaine, the reddish pigment found in red beets.

Delving into its chemistry, it turns out that because betalaine will be protected by reducing agents like oxalates, consuming foods high in oxalates like spinach and rhubarb will enhance beeturia.  Furthermore, it is decolorized by ferric ions, colonic bacteria and stomach acids (hydrochloric acid). As such, if you don’t consume enough iron, you may get beeturia. Same thing if your stomach acid is out of whack, say from pernicious anemia.

Anyways, I thought 10-15% of people was pretty low. I decided to do an informal poll. Beeturia sufferers=4. No beeturia=2. Do not consume beets=4. Both of my no beeturia friends mentioned they get red poo, though (although I didn’t ask my other friends).

I kind of want to do a scientific study, actually. Give a specific amount of beets to a bunch of people and ask them for their urine to see if it is red (hmm, maybe I would need a pre-beet control urine sample, too). It sounds gross, I know, but my curiosity is piqued.

Not everyone enjoys beets, but let me share with you yet another great beet recipe. I am totally biased, since I love all colour of beets, in many different forms. But really, this is a great soup. And it isn’t borscht.

I originally spotted this Iraqi Pomegranate Stew on Julia’s blog. I am always thrilled to find new ways to add pomegranate molasses to my meals, and I was tickled pink when I saw it had many of my other favourite ingredients- beets, spinach, split peas, lime juice, cinnamon, cilantro and even mint! (Aside, can you see how different my tastes are from Rob’s coconut-tamarind-chile love trifecta? Although I love tamarind, too).

The flavours of stew combine the salty, sweet, and savoury perfectly. It helped that I followed Julia’s recommendation of adding more split peas and rice, and removing the sugar altogether. The pomegranate molasses gives this a nice sweet tang all by its lonesome.

This also produces a glorious red soup, speckled with the green spinach and herbs. What better way to say you love someone, then by making them a gloriously delicious healthy red soup. Except, it might make you pee red, too.

So tell me, if you dare, do you get beeturia?

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, to this week’s Wellness Weekend, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Vanessa and to My Kitchen, My World for Iraq.

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Roasted Beet, Orange and Brown Rice Salad with an Orange Sesame Vinaigrette

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on January 25, 2012

Here we go, another salad with roasted beets!

I just can’t get enough of them.

This time I used red beets. There are a few differences between red and golden beets:

1) Golden beets are more mild and taste sweeter.

2) Red beets bleed. They make me look like I’ve been bleeding. Golden beets don’t bleed.

3) Red beets make my pee turn red. Golden beets do not.

Please don’t be alarmed at the red pee side effect of loving beets.  In the summer, my pee turned red but I couldn’t recall eating any beets. I was worried something was wrong. Until I remembered that I had ordered an apple, ginger and beet juice at the restaurant. That was the culprit! Sure enough, by the next day, my pee was back to normal.

Beets work well with a lot of different flavours, but they definitely pair well with orange. I really enjoyed my chilled Orange and Beet Soup with miso, dill and carrots, and thought this rice-based salad sounded great. Adapted from Appetite for Reduction (original recipe posted here), beets and brown rice (wild rice would be good, too!) are coated in a zippy Asian-inspired orange sesame vinaigrette. Freshly squeezed orange juice is key to keeping this a light, flavourful dressing. The salad is spiked with currants for additional sweetness. Pile it overtop your favourite greens for a lovely meal-sized salad.

Keep all the components separate to maintain freshness… and keep the beets sequestered, else they will turn everything pink. Pink rice, ok, maybe do it just for kicks. :)

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Simple and In Season, to this week’s Wellness Weekend and to this month’s citrus love blog hop.

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Christmas Eve Borscht (or Barszcz)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on December 23, 2011

I may be half-Ukrainian but darned if I know how to speak it. My vocabulary is limited to Я тебе люблю (Ja tebe liubliu). Some kids learn swear words, but I was only told how to love (it means ‘I love you’).

Rob is slowly introducing me to Polish words. As they pop up, obviously. The key to my heart lies in the kitchen, right? ;) First, I learned how to say borscht. While borscht originates from Ukraine, many other countries have their own variations. In Poland, the soup is called barszcz. Notice the ah sound… and the lack of the t at the end. ;)

Polish barszcz has numerous variations, but the vegetarian version is commonly reserved for Christmas Eve. With the bloody blazing red beets you have a very festive soup with the dilly green accent. This version, tinkered from Rebar, makes a huge pot of soup filled with vegetables – beets, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes – and white beans for good measure. Lemon juice and balsamic vinegar add that necessary tang, a key feature in Polish barszcz. Traditionally, the soup was aged to get that acidic tang. Sounds like a project to tackle in the new year. ;)

Due to its association with Christmas, I decided to make it for the pre-Christmas dinner. Rob told me it was very similar to his family’s barszcz. I really enjoyed this soup. So did everyone else (well, except for those who shun beets and cabbage and didn’t even try it!). I found the vegetables complemented each other nicely and the Polish dried mushrooms added a deeper, complex flavour. Perfect for Christmas Eve, or any time of the year. I’ll be enjoying it a few weeks from now because I packed the leftovers in the freezer to enjoy later. This makes a ton of soup!

Happy holidays, everyone!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

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Roasted Golden Beet Salad With Warm Maple Mustard Dressing and Smoky Tempeh Croutons

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on November 9, 2011

I know I’ve briefly mentioned it before, but I tend to do the majority of my cooking on the weekends and eat leftovers all week.  Vegan cuisine, especially soups, curries and bean salads, lend well to leftovers because they only taste better after they have marinaded.

Sometimes I crave a nice, fresh hot meal, too. It can be difficult to make a complete meal if you are famished after a long day at work…. unless, you have the forethought of making all the components ahead of time!

I found this delicious salad at Post Punk Kitchen. I know it looks like another crazy multi-component salad: roasted beets, smoky tempeh croutons, a warm maple mustard dressing. Trust me, the best dishes get you to bring out the best of each component. Work on the weekend for each component, then bring it all together mid-week.

First, you need to roast your beets. Glorious roasted golden beets. Next, steam your tempeh, then get it marinading. Tempeh has a bad leftover track-record, which is why I planned on making this salad fresh during the week. I left the tempeh in the marinade until I took out a portion to freshly panfry for the salad. For my last salad, the tempeh had been marinading for 5 days. The maple mustard dressing is a snap to put together as well.

So, when you come home from work, and it is late, and you don’t want to think, now you have all the components for a wonderful salad. Take out your nonstick frypan and fry your tempeh. Meanwhile, get out your beets. Toss them into the frypan with the tempeh if you’d like (or not). Pull out your greens and get chopping. Using Swiss chard or kale instead of Romaine? Finely chop the stems and throw it in with the tempeh, too (or not). Warm the dressing in the microwave (or not). Add to your leafy greens. Add your beets if they aren’t in your frypan. By this time, the tempeh should be almost done…. when it is, plop it on top of your greens.

Ten minutes, tops. I promise.

Sit back and enjoy your fresh salad.. every day of the week. :)


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends.

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Roasted Golden Beet and Lentil Salad with Mint and Cilantro

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on October 21, 2011


If you need a spooktacularly healthy salad, filled with Hallowe’en colours to boot, look no further. ;)

For family gatherings, I find it less stressful for everyone if I bring my own food.

On one hand, I get to eat what I want, and on the other hand, I don’t have to worry about rattling off my long list of things I won’t eat and having someone else stress about what to feed me. For me, it comes naturally. For others, it isn’t as easy and can be quite a challenge to think beyond the meat and potatoes.

Rob and I ended up in Woodstock twice this month, and this is what I brought to the BBQ. I tried to keep my salad on the tamer side, with familiar ingredients and flavours, all the while introducing something new for the crowd, like black beluga lentils. Turns out golden beets were new, too.

Beets can be controversial. Love them or hate them. Personally, I like beets and really enjoy them after they’ve been roasted. Golden beets have a more mild, sweeter flavour, so I jumped with glee when I found them on sale (2 large bunches for $1.50! Surprisingly, no, this wasn’t at Sunny’s, just at a local grocer up the street.).  I figured the only place I could safely bring a beet salad would be to a Polish crowd.

Adapted from Whole Living, this salad is quite simple. Lentils and beets. Ginger, mint, coriander and cilantro. OK, the ingredient list sounds long but it all worked seamlessly together. Nothing was overpowering. Everything worked well.

While nearly all the salads were polished off at my Mom’s party (trust me, I was not-so-secretly cheering that more meat was leftover than salads!), I can’t say the same for the Polish crowd. They love their meats and sweets. :P That meant I had 2 more meals from my salad when I returned to Toronto… not too bad, if you ask me!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend and to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for this week’s Magazine Mondays.

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Six Shades of Red Soup (Beet, Potato and Red Lentil Soup with Dill)

Posted in Soups by janet @ the taste space on June 1, 2011


Despite being of Central and Eastern European descent, I actually don’t cook many German or Ukrainian dishes (mainly special treats, though). However, Rob’s parents are very keen on traditional Polish food, and when they came to visit last weekend to help with the burgeoning garden, I wanted to create a meal that everyone would enjoy.

I knew the raw kale salad with beets was a hit over Easter, so I figured I would pick a dish that had similar familiar ingredients: beets, potatoes and dill. That may sound so boring and bland, but I knew I hit jackpot when I spotted the Six Shades of Red Soup in Color Me Vegan (original recipe posted here). It was a virtually fat-free soup filled with red lentils, red potatoes, beets, (red) onion, dill and the perfect twist: red miso. The sixth shade of red was from vegetable juice, which I omitted. I also increased the dill and pureed half the soup for a creamier consistency.


As you can see, this was a beautiful soup.  It deepened in colour overnight and the flavours melded wonderfully. It was creamy, yet chunky, with sweetness from the beets but structure from the potatoes with a hint of dill and a depthness brought from the red miso.

I am happy to report that it met the approval of the traditional Polish folk. Not your traditional borscht, different, but in a  good way, is how they put it and invited me to make it again anytime. Me, redo a recipe? By request from special people only!

This made a ton of soup, with generous servings, so I was able to enjoy the leftovers. The soup doubled as a perfect meal while cycling last weekend. With the long distances, I prefer to eat more liquid-based foods (ie, soup! homemade sports drink! smoothies!) and this hit the spot. It was light on my stomach and jammed full of vegetables and miso providing sodium and potassium, which is important to replenish when exercising.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Served with Love and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, founded by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments and hosted by Jacqueline.

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Orange Beet Soup

Posted in Appetizers, Drinks, Soups by janet @ the taste space on May 11, 2011

I should judge the difficulty of recipes on my ability to make them after a bike ride (yam and black bean stew, I’ve got my eyes on you!). To be honest, I don’t think any of my recipes are hard to make (heck, even I can make it!) but I know some can be lengthy, especially if dried beans are involved.

Last weekend, I cycled to Kitchener with a friend. We opted to take a shorter route home, cycling to the Aldershot GO Station in Burlington and training the rest of the way home. I cycled 209km that weekend, and with the shorter distance on Sunday, it meant I was home by 3:30pm and able to do some weekend chores.

Um, no. Utter fail.

I got as far as: a) blending myself a recovery smoothie with banana and maca; b) during the post-ride euphoria, calling Rob to tell him I arrived alive; c) taking a nice warm bath; d) throwing all my cycling clothes in the washing machine to get washed;  e) making this soup; f) unexpectedly catching up with an old friend over the phone for an hour…. Giving my mom a well-deserved (brain-supported) phone call, unfortunately was not in the cards (=biggest failure). :(

Thank goodness I still had some delicious leftover raw pad thai for dinner that I picked up from Thrive Juice Bar in Waterloo (which travelled incredibly well over 80km on my bike!). (Their big green juice with maca was also exactly what I needed when I finally arrived in Waterloo).

Anyways, I had a few recipes on my week’s menu, but was only able to muster enough energy to make this Orange Beet Soup, adapted from The 30-Minute Vegan. I figured it would be a simple thing to throw together and should take under 30 minutes, right?

Obviously, in my post-cycle haze, my coordination (hand and mental) decrease. It took me more like 45 minutes and I didn’t even grate my vegetables by hand (thank you food processor!) plus another 15 minutes to clean (curse you food processor!) . I peeled my beets which took up a lot of time, and probably unnecessary in retrospect.

Also problematic: juicing my oranges. 1.5 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice. By me armed with my lemon squisher. 4 oranges later and many more minutes later, I had it all. Reinfeld may suggest 1-2 oranges, but that is impossible! Unless you get so much more juice with a juicer? Or pick an incredibly juicy one from a tree in Florida? Because I use all the pre-juicing tricks: microwave for 20 seconds, smash it and roll it around on the counter. And it took me just over 3 oranges. ;)

Anyways, I will see if my kitchen speed increases if I were to make this at any other time.

Because this is a great soup and should get repeated. Like when I have a garden filled with beets (oh yes!).

Simple ingredients layer to create a nice, light, flavourful soup. Beet is at its core, but it is sweet from the layers of  orange and carrots. The dill add another dimension with a nod to the Eastern European pairing of beet and dill, and the red miso creates that subtle complexity.

This soup is great warm and chilled. Chilled, it is a refreshing and bright starter and if I had a high-powered blender, this would make this the ultimate savoury summer drink (my immersion blender left a bit of pulp, which is fine for something labelled as soup).

After hanging up with my friend, it was 7pm, and I was positively pooped. I didn’t even photograph the soup. Yet. (It was photographed as leftovers the next day, which is also when my mom got the brain-active phone call she deserved!). ;)

I cleaned up my kitchen and called it a night and fell asleep around 8pm, before the sun had even gone to bed.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Raw Kale and Beet Salad with Raisins and Almonds

Posted in Appetizers, Favourites, Salads by janet @ the taste space on April 25, 2011

How was your holiday weekend?

Mine was great! It was a great time to connect with Rob’s family, relax and we were also able to squeeze in a short (if you consider 6 hours short for 88km, but still brutal) bike ride on Good Friday.

As I mentioned earlier, I was was a bit hesitant about what I would eat over the holiday weekend while being away from home, considering I have cut out dairy, fish, meat, refined flours and sugars.  In the end, there was no need to be stressed at all. Rob suggested making a few things while we were down, and I picked out some dishes that I knew tasted great, used relatively common ingredients and would appeal to a wide range of people.

In the end, I made the red lentil and lemon soup for Good Friday, the black bean, cilantro and apricot salad (substituting fresh orange juice for the mango nectar which was just as good) and my staple hummus recipe from my university days: peanut butter hummus (no tahini or sesame oil needed!). They were all well received, thank goodness!

The main meal over the weekend was Sunday Easter brunch, which was filled with an overabundance of Polish goodies. Nearly everything had meat or eggs, but I was able to contribute some greenery.  I chose to share this salad that my family and I enjoyed over Christmas. While a raw kale salad would be different in itself, I figured the beets would bring some Polish-style comfort to the new dish.

Adapted from Ainslie at Everyone is a Vegan, I really liked the mixture of the massaged/wilted kale with a sharp lemon dressing, raw grated beets with sweet dried fruit (a mixture of raisins, currants and dried cranberries works well) as well as crunchy toasted almonds. Before I made this salad, I didn’t know you could eat raw beets, but you can, and they taste great.  A tip for working with beets, though: if you buy them with the greens, leave yourself a long piece of stem to hold. This way, when you grate it, your hands don’t get nearly as purple (not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m just suggesting how to stay clean!).

This is also a perfect salad for parties, since you can make it advance, and if you make too much, the leftovers keep well for a few days. What a super salad! Judging by how many people have invited themselves over to (not yet) our new abode, I better start compiling a list of easy, crowd-pleasing dishes like this for company.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Potluck Party for healthy salads, as well as to April in the Raw.

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Creamy Raw Kale Salad with Avocado, Apple and Beet

Posted in Salads by janet @ the taste space on February 17, 2011

A big round of applause for Rob for posting some awesome recipes over the past week!

Gosh, sometimes life just becomes incredibly hectic.  At times, it can be hard to juggle work, research, social commitments, and all of a sudden there is crunch time! Rob saw I was stressed and offered to help with the blog (what a sweetie, eh?). :)

No worries about food, because I was still cooking up a storm. In fact, I feel almost guilty about taking so long to tell you about this lovely kale salad. I have shared the recipe countless times since I made it, but have yet to blog about it. Trust me, it is fabulous.

This is a kale salad. A salad made with raw kale. I know you are raising your eyebrow, thinking that kale is so bitter and tough, why would you eat it raw? Well, it is more of a wilted kale salad because you massage it into silky oblivion, kneading in the flavours.

I was (loosely) inspired by the raw kale salad in Lucid Food, and kept it as a creamy salad with the addition of avocado. It is combined with a splash of olive oil and garlic for a luscious dressing. I chose to top the salad with a tart Granny Smith apple as well with grated raw beet (yes, you can eat it raw) instead of carrot which made the apple turn a brilliant shade of magenta. Toasted almonds add another layer of nutty crunch.

A perfect salad for potlucks, and even for leftovers (gasp!) because you actually want this to be a wilted salad.

This is my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring creamy soups and salads.

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