Smoked Salmon Salad with Roasted Sesame Dressing


Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salad, healthy, quick and easy, <15 mins, asian
Serves: 1 person as a main, or 2-3 as a side salad
Prep time: 8 mins | Cook time: 30 seconds to toss the salad

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I love this salad. It’s so flavourful, satisfying, and best of all it’s really easy and quick. You can easily customize it too. I came up with it one morning while trying to make a quick lunch for the fam and at the same time clearing the fridge of ingredients – I never expected it to turn out so good!

This recipe sounds fancy smancy but it’s the quickest most ridiculously easy salad to put together as long as you have roasted sesame dressing on hand. You can make the dressing yourself from scratch (the recipe is on my to-do list to upload, I swear), but often times I let the good people at Kewpie do the hard work for me especially if I’m in a rush or just feeling extra lazy. Kewpie does such a fantastic job with this dressing that Toby and I like to keep a 1L bottle in the fridge and use it on SO many things as a dipping sauce – I highly recommend picking up a bottle next time you’re at an Asian grocer.

Roasted sesame dressing is commonly seen in many Japanese restaurants served on their side salads in bento boxes. It’s a creamy dressing that’s packed with roasted sesame flavour. It elevates the most basic salads to another level, including this one. While you can use this dressing with virtually any salad ingredient, I found that when you pair it with smoked salmon, something absolutely magical happens. The heavy savoury smoked salmon paired with the dressing is balanced out by the fresh crisp veggies that results in a refreshing salad with a heap of flavour.

Next time you’re in a rush to pack lunch but still want something delicious and healthy, think of this salad! Or better yet, next time you’re inviting people over for a dinner party but you’ve exhausted all your energy on the main dish, you can quickly whip up this salad as a starter or a side dish to impress.

I’ve written this recipe with veggies I commonly have in my fridge as a staple in most of my salads (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers/capsicums, and cucumbers) but of course you can change it up to whatever veggies you like such as grated carrot, radishes, spinach, red onions…etc. This recipe is so easily customizable. The only thing I don’t usually pair with this dressing is cheese. I find that the creaminess of the dressing tends to overpower most cheeses so why bother adding it in – fewer calories, amiright?

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 handfuls of lettuce, washed and shredded
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 1 handful of cucumber, chopped
  • 1 handful of red bell pepper/capsicum, chopped
  • 50g smoked salmon, sliced – you can use smoked trout as well which I find is usually cheaper and tastes very close to smoked salmon
  • Kewpie roasted sesame dressing to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Feel free to customize the ingredients to whatever you like or whatever you’ve got in your fridge. The bold flavours of the salmon and the dressing makes this salad pretty forgiving with whatever veggies you want to chuck in it.

Directions:

Mix everything together in a large bowl and toss with as much dressing as your heart desires. Done!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I do. Let me know how yours turned out in the comments! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Summarized Recipe:

Smoked salmon salad with roasted sesame dressing

Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salad, healthy, quick and easy, <15 mins, asian
Serves: 1 person as a main, or 2-3 as a side salad
Prep time: 8 mins | Cook time: 30 seconds to toss the salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of lettuce, washed and shredded
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 1 handful of cucumber, chopped
  • 1 handful of red bell pepper/capsicum, chopped
  • 50g smoked salmon, sliced
  • Kewpie roasted sesame dressing to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix everything together in a large bowl and toss with as much dressing as your heart desires. Done!

Classic Simple Guacamole


Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces/dips, easy, < 15mins, snacks, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 1 large bowl | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins (not including refrigeration)

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I love guacamole. LOVE. Seriously. The creaminess of the avocados with the freshness of the tomatoes and lime juice is pure happiness in a bowl. I could easily devour a whole bowl of it myself while binge-watching something. It’s quick and easy with no actual cooking required – just chop some ingredients and mix it all up. Try to make it a little ahead of time because it tastes so much better after a few hours in the fridge to let the flavours infuse. Trust me.

Avocados are quite fatty by nature so the bad news is that the calories tend to stack up when you have too much. However the good news is that it’s good fat and has numerous health benefits so it’s actually quite good for you (as long as you don’t pair it with too many chips 😅).

My favourite way to eat guacamole is to simply have it as a dip served with tortilla chips. It’s a simple, quick and filling snack – but of course it goes amazingly on so many other things such as nachos, fajitas, tacos, burritos…etc.

I think my guacamole obsession started back in my university years in Canada with my old roommate Taryn. We’d frequently go to Gryph’s Sports Lounge/Campus Bar above the hockey rink and always order nachos with a side of guacamole. I don’t know what they put in their nachos, but it was so simple and satisfying. No fancy meats or sauces – just good ol’ nachos, cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Even after we graduated we met up a couple times at Gryph’s just to get the nachos and catch up (although from memory the last time we went there they had changed their nachos 😞).

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Happy Cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 large hass avocados – a tip on how to choose avocados: gently squeeze them. You want them to be firm but with a slight give. If they squeeze in too much then they’re over ripe. If you don’t plan on using them for a while, then buy them more firm and leave it out on your counter to ripen. Hass avocados work best in guacamole.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced (~2 tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion (~1 medium onion), diced – you can use regular yellow onions instead but the red ones give a bit more sweetness
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (or more to taste) – different limes will have different sourness, so taste as you go and add more if you need (if you accidentally go overboard, add some sugar or more salt)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste) – salt enhances the flavour of the ingredients. If you’re not sure whether you need more salt, I’d recommend letting the guacamole sit in the fridge for an hour after the flavours marinate together and then taste it to adjust flavours
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional for a bit of heat)
  • Optional: chopped cilantro/coriander

Directions:

Peel, pit and mash the avocados in a large bowl. I find it easiest to mash avocados by using a whisk as a masher. If you prefer your guac more chunky, stop mashing when you get to your desired consistency.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients to the mashed avocados (garlic, tomatoes, onion, lime juice, salt, pepper). Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. I find that different limes have different degrees of sourness, so start with a small amount (like half a tbsp) and then add more as needed – I’ve had to add up to 2 Tbsps of juice before. It’s better to start with a small amount rather than overdo it. If you’re having some trouble adjusting the flavours, you can let it chill for a few hours first to let the flavours blend together and season it afterwards.

Ideally refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving (overnight is better) to let the flavours marinate together, then taste and adjust ingredients as needed. The difference between letting it chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight vs serving it right away is night and day. Trust me.

Enjoy! Serve on the side of burritos, fajitas, nachos, or even just with some chips and crackers as a snack.

If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Summarized Recipe:

Guacamole

Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: sauces/dips, easy, < 15mins, snacks, vegetarian, healthy
Serves: 1 large bowl | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins (not including refrigeration)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large hass avocados
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced (~2 tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Optional: chopped cilantro/coriander

Directions:

  1. Peel, pit and mash the avocados in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (garlic, tomatoes, onion, lime juice, salt, pepper). Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  3. Ideally refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to let the flavours marinate together then taste and adjust flavours again as needed.

Spinach Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese


Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, quick and easy, < 30mins
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

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Blueberries and spinach in a grilled cheese makes this sandwich healthy, right?? This sandwich works with a lot of different types of cheeses but my favourite would have to be white cheddar or havarti. The syrupy blueberries paired with the ooey-gooey cheese is just too good to not try.

Grilled cheese (or toasties in Australia), are THE ultimate comfort food. It’s quick, easy, and indulgent. Nothing beats the ooey-gooey cheesiness of a good crisp grilled cheese.

Making 4 grilled cheeses for lunch!

This post is a continuation of the grilled cheese lunch marathon we had last week. You can read more about it in yesterday’s sriracha butter apple grilled cheese post.

We made:

I came across this recipe back nearly 5 years ago from Amanda k. by the Bay and it’s still as delicious as ever! I’ve since experimented with different cheeses and my favourites so far are a sharp white cheddar or havarti. I tried it with mozzarella recently and although still good, I felt that the bold flavours of the balsamic blueberry overpowered the subtlety of the mozarella.

Unlike my other recipes, I didn’t make a video for these sandwiches since the instructions are fairly straightforward (let me know in the comments if you’d like me to make a video). I was also a little too excited when making these sandwiches and forgot to take some photos of the process 😅. I’ll update this post with more photos the next time I make them again (which probably won’t be long).

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps brown sugar
  • Mayonnaise for spreading – this is the secret to a crisp golden grilled cheese! Mayo gives a nicer crisp and colour compared to butter.
  • 4 slices of white bread (I like to use sourdough, but whatever white bread you’ve got works)
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  • Enough cheese for 2 sandwiches – white cheddar, coon, havarti…etc

Directions:

In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the blueberries, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Let it come to a slow simmer and cook until the blueberries have started to soften. Gently crush some of the blueberries with your spatula (don’t crush all of them too flat or else you’ll lose some of that delicious blueberry flavour). When finished, strain your mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool. Keep the drained juices as an option to drizzle with later.

Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread (this will be the outside of the sandwich that you will toast to get that crisp golden colour).

Please use more spinach than in this photo. I forgot to buy some and scrounged up these ones from the garden last minute 😦

Assemble your grilled cheese with the mayonnaise side facing the outside. Add a layer of your cheese, then top it with the balsamic blueberries, spinach, more cheese, and then the other slice of bread (again, mayo on the outside).

(Incase that sentence was confusing, your layers should be: mayonnaise + bread + cheese + balsamic blueberries + cheese + bread + mayonnaise).

Make sure you grill this sandwich right away or else you risk the bread going a little soggy from the blueberry mixture.

Get a pan on the stove on medium heat and once your pan is heated, place your sandwich in the pan (you don’t need any oil in the pan because the mayonnaise on the outside of your sandwich will act as your oil base).

Toast your sandwich until the bread is a beautiful crisp golden brown and the cheese is melty (~3-5mins), then carefully flip your sandwich over and toast the other side. (Tip: if your sandwich is quite tall, you can gently flatten your sandwich as your cheese melts. This will help compact your sandwich and make it less messy to eat.) Once your second side is toasted and your cheese is melted, repeat with your second sandwich and serve immediately! Optional: drizzle your sandwich with a bit of that reserved juices strained from the balsamic blueberries. Enjoy!!

If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Summarized Recipe:

Spinach balsamic blueberry grilled cheese

Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, quick and easy, <30mins
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps brown sugar
  • Mayonnaise for spreading – this is the secret to a crisp golden grilled cheese! Mayo gives a nicer crisp and colour compared to butter.
  • 4 slices of white bread (I like to use sourdough, but whatever white bread you’ve got works)
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  • Enough cheese for 2 sandwiches – white cheddar, coon, havarti…etc

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the blueberries, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Let it come to a slow simmer and cook until the blueberries have started to soften. Gently crush some of the blueberries with your spatula (don’t crush all of them too flat or else you’ll lose some of that delicious blueberry flavour). When finished, strain your mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool. Keep the drained juices as an option to drizzle with later.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread (this will be the outside of the sandwich that you will toast to get that crisp golden colour).
  3. Assemble your grilled cheese with the mayonnaise side facing the outside. Add a layer of your cheese, then top it with the balsamic blueberries, spinach, more cheese, and then the other slice of bread (again, mayo on the outside).
  4. Get a pan on the stove on medium heat and once your pan is heated, place your sandwich in the pan. Toast your sandwich until the bread is a beautiful crisp golden brown and the cheese is melty (~3-5mins), then carefully flip your sandwich over and toast the other side. Once your second side is toasted and your cheese is melted, repeat with your second sandwich and serve immediately. Enjoy!!
  5. Optional: drizzle your sandwich with a bit of that reserved juices strained from the balsamic blueberries.