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Food Fight at the Farmers’ Market

By on July 11, 2016
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We asked three Canadian foodie, celebrity families to share their favourite farmers’ market food picks. Each team shared a salad recipe in this food fight. Our readers chose their favourite salad and declared Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie’s Mega Salad the victor!


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Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie authors of Made with Love and owners of Lettuce Love Café toss a mean salad. 

There is so much goodness in sprouts! Radish, sunflower, pea, broccoli and lentil sprouts are examples of this amazing living superfood. Sprouts are loaded with nutrients and enzymes and they are a good source of protein. They are a superstar ingredient that you can pair with your favourite salad or sandwich. We use them in the Mega Salad from our cookbook, Made with Love. The combination of the sprouts and herbs create a salad bursting with flavour.

Fresh Herbs 
Fresh herbs are magical ingredients. Herbs have so many healing qualities, and they power up flavours especially when they are not cooked. Our favourite is mint which we use in Kelly’s Bikini Season Tonic from our cookbook, Made with Love because it leaves you feeling vibrant and healthy.

Lettuce is one of our favourite things to purchase at our local farmers’ market. We love it so much that we even named our restaurant, Lettuce Love Cafe after it! You can pick up so many varieties of lettuce and they all add a different flavour and texture to your meal. Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses and a great building block for any salad. We recommend trying to buy organic whenever you can to avoid pesticides.

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What is so wonderful about salads is the more you make them, the more you get comfortable with experimenting and discovering new favourite flavours. Trust us, salads are addictive. Treat this recipe as a guideline, substituting whatever nuts, seeds or sprouts are your faves. Makes 4 servings.

8 cups any greens (romaine, arugula and/or spinach), torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups any sprouts (radish, sunflower, pea, broccoli, lentil etc.)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
¼ cup avocado oil
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup walnut pieces
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 avocados, pitted and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 tablespoons Brazil Nut “Parmesan” (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix the greens, sprouts and herbs. Toss with lime juice.

2. Add the avocado oil and toss to coat the leaves thoroughly.

3. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Toss until well combined.

4. Add the walnuts, blueberries, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and toss well.

5. Add the avocado chunks and toss gently to fully incorporate. Sprinkle with Brazil nut “Parmesan” (if using). Serve immediately.

Sprinkling the sea salt after the lime juice and avocado oil is an important step, as it helps the salt stick to the leaves and make the greens taste more fresh and vibrant.


Excerpted from “Made with Love” by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie. Copyright © 2016 Childs and Weatherbie Inc. Cover and book photography: Alyssa Wodabek and Chris
Sue-Chu. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd. a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.

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Toronto sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat authors of Lick Your Plate throw tomatoes, cheese and berries in the mix.

At a Farmers’ Market, you can get all different tomato varieties, shapes and colours. It’s guaranteed that they will be at their peak freshness, sweet and not sitting in storage for weeks before hitting stores. We eat tomatoes raw like apples, in salads, soups, sauces or tomato jam.

You will find many varieties of the creamiest, richest and most original cheese at the farmers’ market. Not only can you can speak directly to the cheese artisan and discover where and how the cheese is produced, but you can also taste before buying and find new flavour-packed cheese.

Local Berries
You can be sure that berries at the farmers’ market will be plentiful, sweeter and perish much slower as they’re likely fresh from the field. As well, berries will be less expensive than at your grocery store and you can ask farmers directly if they have been sprayed with any pesticides.

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Farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) may be as old as the hills (20,000 years and counting)  but definitely not past its prime. In fact, this protein and fiber-rich ancient cereal grain is hitting  its stride in mainstream cuisine, gracing everything from soups to salads with its nutty flavour and chewy texture. ​

Dijon Vinaigrette 
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground
black pepper

Roasted Beets
6  medium-sized beets, trimmed and rinsed

1½ cups uncooked farro, rinsed
6 cups water
½  tsp kosher salt

6 cups mixed greens
3 celery stalks, chopped
¾ cup crumbled goat cheese

1.  FOR THE DRESSING, in a small bowl, whisk olive oil, Champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.

2.  FOR THE ROASTED BEETS, preheat  oven to 400°F. Pat beets dry after washing and wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Place all on a baking sheet  and roast 30–40 minutes,  until fork tender. Remove from oven, discard aluminum foil and place beets in a bowl of cold water. When cool enough to handle, rub off the peel, cut into wedges and set aside.

3. WHILE THE BEETS ARE ROASTING, prepare the farro. In a large sauce- pan, combine farro, water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for  20–25 minutes  until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

4. TO ASSEMBLE SALAD, in a large serving bowl, combine mixed greens, chopped  celery, roasted  beets and farro. Add dressing  and toss well to combine. Sprinkle goat cheese over top and serve.

From “Lick Your Plate” by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat Copyright © 2016 Pinky Swear Press. Reprinted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography credit: Ryan Szulc.

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Nutritionist Lisa Petty and her daughter Cassie Irwin, a naturopath in training team up with protective foods that pack nutritional punch.

This mother-daughter duo believes that the family who eats together usually argues a lot about what to have for supper. It’s impossible for us to leave the farmers’ market without picking up cilantro, red pepper and garlic. Cilantro simply tastes like summer, and it’s protective against sun damage while also supporting the liver. Part of the reason we like to get red pepper from the market is we find it really hard to grow in our garden! It’s also high in beta carotene and vitamin C. And garlic is one of our favourite beauty herbs, since its sulphur content is great for hair and nails!

With these 3 farmers’ market finds, we threw together this Fiesta Farmers’ Market Salad. It’s perfect for summer potlucks since it’s gluten free and vegan friendly! Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that provide all the essential amino acids. The tiny ancient grain also an easy source of B vitamins, calcium, fibre, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Try it in all your salad recipes in place of rice.

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Salad Ingredients
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, in coins
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sweet corn
1 19 oz can black beans, rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup salted peanuts to top (optional)

Dressing Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp black seed oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on spice preference
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1. In a small saucepan, boil water. Add quinoa; return to boil. Reduce to medium heat; cover. Cook until done. Allow to cool, fluff, and place in large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, sauté peppers, onions, carrots and garlic in oil until crisp-tender. Add to bowl with quinoa. Stir in tomatoes, corn, beans and cilantro.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, black seed oil, cayenne and cumin. Pour over salad and stir to coat. Doctor with salt and pepper.
This salad is best enjoyed at room temperature.

Cassie Irwin is a lifelong nutrition junkie and healing foods writer. Visit her blog at thekitchndoctor.com, where food is medicine. 

All the recipes were winners, but the winner of our Food fight was Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie authors of Made with Love and owners of Lettuce Love Café with Mega Salad getting 39% of votes. A close second was Nutritionist Lisa Petty and her daughter Cassie Irwin with Fiesta Farmers’ Market Salad getting 34% of the votes.

Bio: Charleen Wyman is editor of Healthy Directions magazine.

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