Tuscan Chard Bean Soup


  • 2 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – or more to taste
  • 1 15-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Any Parmesan cheese rind you have hanging around
  • 1 huge bunch Swiss chard
  • 1/4 cup uncooked small pasta, such as orzo or pastina
  • 5 large fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 5 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • Optional garnishes: Parmesan cheese, yogurt, olive oil, croutons


In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon, onion, garlic, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and cannellini beans, and bring the mixture to a boil; stir in sun-dried tomatoes and the piece of Parmesan cheese rind. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook while you prepare the chard, about 10 minutes.

Cut the stems from the chard, and slice the stems into pieces about 3/4-inch long. Cut the chard leaves into 1-inch wide ribbons. Stir the chard stems and pasta into the soup, setting aside the leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer, and gently simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir the chard leaves, sage, and basil into the soup, and simmer just until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired, and/or yogurt and croutons.

Green Salads Galore

Chicken Avocado Salad

3 chicken breasts
Blackening spice

For the marinade:

Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 T. ground cumin
¼ c. olive oil
½ tsp. salt
Ground pepper

For the salad:

2 avocados, cut into ½-inch pieces
1-1/2 c. cooked corn
1 tomato, cut into ½-inch pieces or a dozen cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
4 scallions, trimmed and minced
2 T. fresh chopped cilantro
Lots of mixed greens

For the dressing:
3 T. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
chili powder

Mix the marinade ingredients and marinade chicken overnight. Sprinkle with blackening spice and grill on BBQ or cook in frying pan on the stove. Cut/tear cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss all the salad ingredients, including cooked chicken and dressing. Don’t overdress!

Grapefruit, Walnut, and Feta Salad


small red grapefruit
3 T grapefruit juice
2 T olive oil
½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 c. greens
4 T feta cheese
4 T toasted walnuts

Peel and section grapefruit over a bowl; squeeze the membranes to extract juice. Set sections aside; reserve 3 T juice. Discard membranes.

Combine juice, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Divide greens evenly among four plates; sprinkle cheese and walnuts over each salad. Divide grapefruit sections evenly among salads and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Greek Salad

8 c greens
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, chopped in 1/2-inch squares
4 tomatoes, chopped in med-sized pieces
1/2 cucumber, chopped in med-sized pieces
12 or more ripe black olives
1 c feta cheese, crumbled


2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Put all dressing ingredients into a jar and shake vigorously. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

Hollyhock Dressing

½ c. nutritional yeast
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. tamari
1 clove garlic
1-1/2 c. oil (sunflower, peanut, canola)

Use a stick blender or regular blender to blend.


Green Salad with Grapes and Sunflower Seeds


3 T red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch sugar
1/3 c olive oil


8 c torn mixed salad greens
1 c parsley, rinsed and spun dry
1-1/2 c seedless grapes, halved
1/4 c shelled roasted sunflower seeds

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, dijon and sugar. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified. Combine the lettuce, parsley and grapes and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve immediately.


Greens, Strawberries & Pecans


12 c spring greens
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese
3/4 c pecans, caramelized
1 c fresh strawberries, sliced


1 T maple syrup
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
1/2 c olive oil

1. Start by caramelizing the pecans. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at 350 until they start to turn brown. Remove and toss with melted butter to coat. Sprinkle 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp salt and stir it up. Back in the oven for just a bit – until they crisp up. Watch carefully or they’ll burn.

2. To make the vinaigrette, mix together the first 5 ingredients until they emulsify. Add the oil in a steady stream while stirring.

3. In a large salad bowl, mix the greens, cheese, pecans and strawberries. Toss with vinaigrette just before serving.


Lemongrass Dressing

1 ½ T lemongrass (from tube ­– buy in fresh herb section of grocery store)
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice
1 T cilantro
1 T fresh basil
1 T parsley
1 tsp honey
2 T canola oil


Spinach Berry Salad


blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, or all three
feta cheese
spinach or mixed greens
toasted slivered almonds for garnish

Balsamic cinnamon dressing (can be frozen)

Small batch                             Big batch

2T olive oil                                           2/3 c olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar                         2/3 c balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic                                        5 cloves garlic
1 tsp honey                                           1.5 T honey
1 tsp soy sauce                                    1.5 T soy sauce
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cinnamon                 1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chopped red onion                3.5 T chopped red onion


Orange Fennel Salad


4 c mixed greens and/or arugula
1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 navel orange, peeled, halved or quartered, and thinly sliced
1/4 or so small red onion, thinly sliced


3 or 4 T sliced almonds, toasted
goat cheese
pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries


2 to 3 T orange juice
2 T olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Divide greens between two salad plates. Toss together fennel, orange slices, red onions, and most of the dressing. 

Arrange fennel mixture over the greens. Drizzle remaining dressing on top. Garnish with almonds, pomegranate seeds/cranberries and goat cheese.


Raspberry Greens


1 T. red wine vinegar
1 or 2 T. juice from thawed (previously frozen) raspberries
A few thawed raspberries
2 T. olive oil
1 T. maple syrup
¼ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 sprig chopped fresh tarragon
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix thoroughly, until thickened.


Fresh greens
Thawed berries
Toasted nuts


Thai Mango Salad with Roasted Peanuts


2 limes
1 T soy sauce or fish sauce
1 T granulated sugar
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced OR ½ tsp hot red chili flakes
2 T peanut oil or sesame oil (or mixed)
Salt to taste


2 ripe but firm mangoes
2 sweet peppers, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow
2 green onions
1/4 c chopped fresh mint or cilantro
8 c mixed lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces if necessary
1/3 c toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 small carrots, grated

Grate peel from 1 lime and place in a measuring cup along with the juice of both limes. Whisk in soy or fish sauce, sugar, and jalapeno pepper until sugar is dissolved. Gradually whisk in peanut or sesame oil until blended. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

Peel mango, then cut away chunks of fruit from pit. Cut into thin strips and place in a bowl. Seed peppers and cut into thin strips and add to mango. Coarsely grate carrot and thinly slice onions and add to bowl along with cilantro or mint. Toss gently until combined.

Place lettuce and mango mixture in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until mixed. Serve on a platter or in a large salad bowl.

Sprinkle with nuts.


Watercress and Sesame Salad

Makes 4 servings

About 4 cups coarsely chopped watercress (trimmed, washed, and dried)

2 T rice or wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1 tsp dark sesame oil
Salt to taste
2 T toasted sesame seeds

Place chopped watercress in a bowl. Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and cayenne, and dress the cress with this mixture.

Toss, add sesame oil, and toss again. Taste for salt and add it if necessary. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.


Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint Salad

4 c. watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 c. cucumbers, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ c. chopped mint
1 small bunch watercress, stemmed
¼ c. pine nuts


2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. olive oil

Combine watermelon and cucumbers in large bowl. Whisk together vinaigrette, pour over watermelon and cucumbers and toss to coat. Add mint, watercress, and pine nuts and toss again. Chill for 1 hour before serving.


Spinach Strawberry Salad Recipe

Spinach Strawberry Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 4 T. sugar
3 tablespoons white or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a big bag of fresh spinach
4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds, toasted

Place the first eight ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid;
shake well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, combine the remaining ingredients in a large
bowl. Shake dressing and drizzle over salad; toss to coat.

Yield: 10 servings.

Kale Salad Recipes

Wheat Berry, Kale & Cranberry Salad

1 cup dried wheat berries (rinsed)
½ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. salt
8 cups lightly packed chopped kale
½ cup diced red onion
1 yellow pepper diced

Rinse wheat berries and cook in 8 cups of water. Boil over high and then turn down to medium for 30 – 35 minutes. Stir in cranberries during last two minutes. Drain & rinse with cold water.

Whisk oil with vinegar & salt in large bowl. Season with pepper. Add to cooked wheatberries, cranberries, kale, red onion, and yellow pepper.

Kale Salad With Pecorino And Walnuts

1/4 cup toasted walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
1 tablespoon white wine or sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup panko slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
about 3 c. baby kale or mature kale cut in thin strips
¼ c. grated pecorino cheese
Juice of a quarter of a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.

Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 1 T. of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Mix kale, pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale is coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.


7 Delicious Ideas for Rhubarb

For accompanying photos, go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2013/05/07/calgary-rhubarb-yard-recipes.html

Rhubarb is starting to break ground across the city.

If you anticipate a bountiful harvest of the tart red stalks this year, here are a few things to do with all of it, beyond pie — not that there’s anything wrong with pie.

1. Strawberry-rhubarb milkshakes

For the ultimate summer treat, chop three to four large stalks and two cups strawberries and bring to a simmer with a half of a cup of sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the fruit is soft and the mixture jamlike. Set aside to cool completely.

To make milkshakes, blend one part rhubarb mixture to two parts ice cream in a blender with enough milk to make it so it can fit through a straw. Serve immediately.

2. Chutney

Mangoes don’t have the monopoly on chutney. Tangy rhubarb is perfect for simmering with sugar, vinegar and spices to make a perfect condiment for curries or roasted meats. It’s worth trying some on your next grilled cheese.

3. Barbecue sauce

Rhubarb, simmered until soft with water, thickens barbecue sauce while adding a distinctive tang. A jar will keep for weeks in your fridge.

Use it to brush over grilled meats, add to baked beans or top a burger.

 Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Two large stalks of rhubarb, chopped (about two cups).

Three quarters of a cup of water.

One onion, finely chopped.

Two to three garlic cloves, crushed.

One cup of ketchup.

One half of a cup of pure maple or golden syrup.

One half of a cup of packed brown sugar.

One quarter of a cup of apple cider or rice vinegar.

One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.

One tablespoon grainy mustard.

In a small saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a simmer and cook for five to six minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion for three to four minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer; cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.

Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or cool and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use as you would any barbecue sauce on grilled meats, in baked beans or drizzled on burgers. Makes about two cups.

4. Creamsicles

Who doesn’t love a summer creamsicle? Simmer chopped rhubarb with water or juice until soft, then puree with cream or thick plain yogurt, sweetened to taste. Freeze in ice pop moulds until firm, then serve.

5. Vinaigrette

Simmered rhubarb blends perfectly into a tart vinaigrette, making it brilliant pink and thickening it slightly in the process. It may become your go to summer salad dressing.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Adapted from vinegartart.com.

One rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced.

Two tablespoons of honey.

Two tablespoons of rice vinegar (red wine or raspberry vinegar would work well, too).

Two teaspoons of grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste).

One quarter of a cup of canola or mild olive oil.

In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with one quarter to half a cup of water for five minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. It also works well warm.

Put the rhubarb into a blender with the honey, vinegar and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil. Makes about a cup.

6. Mini strawberry-rhubarb tarts

There’s no need to commit to an entire pie, just pick up a pack of frozen puff pastry and you’re halfway there.

Little Strawberry Rhubarb Pies

One package of frozen puff pastry, thawed .

Three cups chopped rhubarb.

Two cups hulled, sliced or chopped strawberries.

One cup sugar (or to taste).

One tablespoon of cornstarch.

One egg, beaten (optional).

Sugar or coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional).

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry dough out one quarter of an inch thick. Cut into rounds whatever size you like using a cookie cutter or glass rim. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb and strawberries. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Add to the strawberry-rhubarb mixture and toss to coat well.

Spread some of the mixture over each pastry circle, leaving about an inch around the edges. Fold them over the filling, wherever they naturally fold. If you like, brush the edges with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and the fruit is tender. Makes four to eight pies.

7. Lemon bars

Chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb is great in baking, mimicking fresh cranberries. If you like things tart, chances are you like lemon bars.

Try scattering a handful of chopped rhubarb over the crust before pouring the filling overtop next time you make a batch.