• Amy C. Willis

Salad Queen

I LOVE salads! I know they sometimes get a bad rap cause when people think salad, they often think of those extremely boring ones comprised of iceberg lettuce, cucumber slices, julienne carrots and tomato pieces. And if those were the salads I was talking about, I wouldn't blame you for thinking they're boring.

But those definitely aren't the salads I'm talking about. The types of salads I love involve a plethora of simple but delicious ingredients, bold flavours, interesting textures and above all else, they are nutrient-dense, balanced and incredibly filling.

Below are a few of my fave go-to salads. I often tweak recipes and have been known to combine various recipes into one incredible creation but should say that a recipe resource I go back to on the regs (i.e. weekly) is Oh She Glows. I have her cookbooks (Oh She Glows & Oh She Glows Every Day) and both are amazing sources of inspiration!

Kale & Quinoa Salad w/ Sauteed Mushrooms, Roasted Chick peas & Toasted Almonds (serves 4; 30-40 minutes prep to eat)


- kale

- white or cremini mushrooms

- chick peas

- natural almonds

- avocado


- Preheat the oven to 350F.

- Wash and massage your kale thoroughly and place in a large bowl.

- Sautee your mushrooms lightly.

- Use a can (19 oz) of chick peas. Drain and rinse them, then place in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper; toss the chick peas so that they're coated in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Placed coated chick peas on a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, place in the oven for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, take them out, flip them over and put them back in for 10 minutes.

- Take 1/2 Cup of natural almonds, slice them and place them on a separate baking sheet; toss them in the oven for the final 10 minutes of cooking with the chick peas.

I always use Oh She Glows Lemon Tahini Dressing with this salad. Here's what you need:

- 1 large clove of garlic (minced)

- 1/4 Cup (60 mL) tahini

- 1/4 Cup (60 mL) fresh lemon juice

- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) nutritional yeast

- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 mL) water

- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) fine-grain sea salt, or to taste

Throw all ingredients into your blender or food processor. This dressing tends to thicken up over time so feel free to add a bit more water or oil if needed. Store the extra dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Southwest Salad (serves 4; 40 minutes prep to eat)


- two hearts of romaine, chopped

- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 can of corn, drained

- 1 Cup of cherry tomatoes

- 1-2 avocado

- 1 Cup of quinoa

- 2 medium sweet potatoes

- 1/4 Cup pepitas

- shredded cheddar cheese (vegan or non-vegan), optional


- Preheat over to 400F

- Boil 2 Cups of water; thoroughly rinse your quinoa and adding to boiling water, bringing heat down to low after the quinoa has been added, simmer for 10-15 minutes

- Wash thoroughly and chop the romaine, place in a large bowl

- Drain and rinse the corn and black beans, throw on top of the romaine

- Halve all cherry tomatoes, add to salad

- Cube the avocado, add to salad

- Wash, peel and cut your sweet potatoes into small pieces, tossed in olive oil, cumin, paprika, sea salt and roast for 30 mins.

- Place pepitas on a separate baking sheet and roast for the final 10 minutes with the sweet potatoes

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette **I typically make 3 times this recipe so plan accordingly

- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

- 1 garlic clove, minced

- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Protein Power Quinoa Salad (direct from Oh She Glows Every Day)


- 2 Cups cooked quinoa

- 1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

- 3 Cups of packed, stemmed kale, finely chopped

- 3 medium carrots, julienned and chopped into small pieces

- 1/2 Cup chopped green onion

- 1/2 Cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

- 1/4 Cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped

- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

- 1 large clove of garlic, minced

- 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil

- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

- Freshly ground black pepper

- 1/4 Cup pepita seeds

- 1 Tablespoon hemp hearts


Place chopped kale, cooked quinoa, chick peas, sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, green onion, and parsley into a large bowl and mix together.

To make the dressing, blend or mix the dijon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, seas salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Pour all the dressing onto the mixed salad and toss ell. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss the pepita seeds and hemp hearts on top. Feel free to toast the pepita seeds, following the directions from the recipe above.

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