Side Series: Buckwheat and Hemp Tabbouleh


I often hear people saying that they get into routines with their diets and as a result, start to get bored of what they eat. Protein, sweet potatoes, brown rice, a side of steamed kale. Sound familiar? That way of eating is fine when ‘detoxing’ or ‘resetting’ but on a daily basis I think you deserve better (and tastier!).

It IS possible to eat healthy without compromising taste and VARIETY! So thats why I’ve come up with this mini Side Series to offer some delicious, nutritious and easy recipes that can help you stay on track with your eating and keep your tastebuds happy too.

Sooo without any further ado, the first instalment of the side series: Buckwheat and Hemp Tabbouleh.


Tabbouleh is a mediterranean salad that boasts lots of fresh parsley, bright tomatoes, cucumbers and bulgur. I love tabbouleh because of it’s cheerful dressing made mostly of lemon and oil. It’s soo easy to make, keeps well in the fridge (3-5 days) and reminds me of summer and being able to eat outside.

My take on Tabbouleh replaces bulgur with buckwheat groats and hemp hearts making it a no-cook dish (extra easy to prepare!). Buckwheat is often confused for a gluten containing grain. This is false as buckwheat actually isn’t a grain and does not contain gluten or even wheat! It is actually a fruit seed from the same family as rhubarb. Buckwheat promotes blood sugar balance which can lower the risk of diabetes. It’s rich in antioxidants and is suitable for those with celiac disease.

Often you’ll find buckwheat in the bulk department of your local health food store. Here’s something to remember: buckwheat groats (these are the ones you’ll need for this recipe) are light beige in colour with a slight green tinge. Not to be confused with KASHA which is buckwheat, however it’s been toasted making the taste and texture different.

This salad also contains Hemp Hearts, one of my favourite products! Not only is it a Canadian product, it’s sustainable, packed with nutrients including essential fatty acids, protein and fibre, and it’s so versatile. I almost always have hemp hearts in the fridge. They have a mild, nutty taste and can be used in smoothies, sprinkled on top of salads and soups, mixed into granola or made into a dairy-free milk (recipe to come 😉 ).

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This salad would be a great side to falafels, grilled chicken breast, kebabs, or fish!


Buckwheat and Hemp Tabbouleh

makes 5-6 servings

What you’ll need…

1 large bunch of Italian parsley (or two small) chopped

1 cucumber diced

1 tomato diced

1/2 red onion diced

1 cup buckwheat groats

1 cup hemp hearts


For the dressing

juice of 1 lemon

3 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

pinch of black pepper

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 tsp. mustard

How to do it…

  1. Before washing and preparing your vegetables, place the buckwheat in a bowl and cover with water and let sit to the side.
  2. In a small bowl make your dressing by whisking together ingredients. You may find that you have left over dressing (which is great). Make sure you save leftovers in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.
  3. Next in a large bowl,mix all vegetables and hemp hearts together with a spoon.
  4. At this time strain the buckwheat groats from the water it’s been sitting in. While the buckwheat is in the strainer, allow water to run over it for about 1 minute to make sure it’s rinsed well. You’ll notice a slime, this is great for baking with buckwheat, but not pleasant in dishes such as this one!
  5. Now add the buckwheat and desired amount of dressing into the bowl and give it one final stir, and you’re done!



Loaded Bolognese with Cabbage Noodles

To be honest I’m not much of a ‘pasta person’ but lately I’ve been craving a big bowl of warm, saucy, delicious spaghetti. Maybe it’s the cold weather, or my hormones, or the fact that I recently had a slightly disappointing pasta experience at a restaurant. Whatever the reason, it has inspired this dish!

Now I know this isn’t a traditional Bolognese by any means but I like the name so thats what I’m calling it! If you’re offended by that just call this dish a deconstructed cabbage roll like my boyfriend did! Pasta sauce is an excellent place to add in MORE veggies into a dish! You can really choose any vegetable here. Don’t like arugula? Replace it with spinach. Couldn’t find zucchini? Throw in broccoli!

Make this dish vegan by leaving out the meat and adding in beans or crumbled tempeh!

If you’re not into cabbage, don’t get upset. Serve the Bolognese on zucchini ‘nooddles’ or brown rice.


Recipe makes 4-6 servings.


What you’ll need…


1/2 medium sized red pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 small zucchini, sliced

5 tomatoes, diced

Handful of arugula roughly chopped (approx. 2 cups)

1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup liquid such as red wine or stock

1 tbsp salt free organic tomato paste

1 lb of lean ground beef

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 bay leaves

2 tsp organic butter or coconut oil

Cabbage noodles:

1 small green cabbage finely sliced (make sure to remove core from middle)

1/2 tsp good quality olive oil

pinch of sea salt

How to do it…


  1. Before getting started, get organized! Make sure all of your veggies are washed, cut and ready to throw into the pan. This will ensure cooking time to be quick and efficient. Have your spices measured out and all together in a dish. Take your ground beef out of the fridge a couple of minutes before cooking. Now you’re ready 🙂
  2. Place a large, deep pan over medium heat and throw your onions in. Once you hear the onions start to cook then put your oil or butter in the pan (I learned this from my grandmother, no need to overheat the oil/butter prior to cooking). Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Next add your carrots and celery and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Make sure to stir so nothing sticks to the pan.
  4. Now add your garlic and let cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, make a space in the middle of the pan by pushing the veggies to the side. Place your tomato paste in that space and allow to cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Tomato time! Throw your tomatoes and spices in and stir all of the pans contents together.
  7. Also at this time add in your cooking liquid and allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. We are almost done, I swear! Add your beef, zucchini and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add in arugula and cook for 2-3 more.
  10. Just before taking your pan off the heat, throw in parsley and you’re done! I bet your kitchen smells amaaaazing right now!

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Cabbage noodles:

  1. This part is easy! Fill a medium sized pot (leave 1 inch from top) with water and place over high heat.
  2. When water is boiling, place your sliced cabbage in and reduce heat slightly so water doesn’t boil over but maintains a soft boil.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s finished by 1. tasting a piece and it’s no longer hard 2. pieces will look more translucent.
  4. Strain and rinse with COLD water for 10 seconds to stop cooking.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, toss with olive oil and salt and thats it!

To serve, grab a big beautiful plate or bowl. Place a small handful of cabbage noodles on the dish and then a big scoop of Bolognese on top. Garnish with hemp hearts, nutritional yeast or chili flakes.


Rainy day Cazuela

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Here in Toronto the weather is rainy and chilly…perfect day for a warm bowl of soup. My favourite dish for a day like this comes from Chile and it’s a traditional soup called Cazuela.

Cazuela is a very simple soup, but when made right, is the most comforting thing that can come out of a bowl (or mug, however you’d like to eat it). Most often it contains meat (beef, chicken or seafood) potatoes, squash, corn, and something green such as green beans or spinach. Some like it with rice in it, some do not.

My most successful cazuelas are always made with a delicious, homemade, flavourful stock. You can make this soup without stock and use water instead, but you will get the most flavour by using a stock. Trust me!

I try to roast a whole chicken once a week. It’s easy, cost efficient and provides me with the right amount of bones to make stock! After eating all of the meat from the chicken, toss the bones in a bag and pop them in your freezer until you’re ready to make your stock.

Here is the recipe from my Basic Chicken Stock:

What you’ll need….

Bones of 1 medium chicken

Stalks of one bunch of organic cilantro (you know the ends that you cut off and would normally throw away? Ya those, wash them and save them!)

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Filtered water-enough to fill up your pot.

How to do it…

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower temperature to low and cover with lid. Let simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer you let it cook the more flavour and more beneficial collagen you’ll get from the bones.

Once finished cooking, strain, and save liquid in glass jars.

You can freeze the stock if you know you won’t use right away. Just make sure to leave enough room in the jar for the liquid to expand.

Now that you’ve prepared your stock, you can make the cazuela!

Here is my take on Cazuela de Vacuno

What you’ll need….

2-3 beef shanks

2 large yukon gold potatoes diced into large pieces (leave skin on)

1 small butternut squash peeled and diced into large pieces

2 carrots diced into large pieces

2-3 celery stalks diced into large pieces

2 corn on the cob cut into large disks (if you are using frozen corn, use about 1 cup)

1 big handful of spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic diced

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Around 3 litres of stock (or water)

A bit of butter or splash of oil

Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

How to do it…..

First season your beef with salt and pepper. Make sure to get both sides.

Place your large pot over medium heat, once heated, place your butter or oil in pan along with your onions and sauté until onions are clear.

Next place your beef in the pot and cook for around 3 minutes on each side. At this time you can throw in your garlic and oregano.

Once your meat is seared, put your stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Once water has come to a boil, place the lid on and lower the temperature to it’s lowest setting and allow to cook for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. This time may vary so just keep an eye on the beef. When they start to feel tender (use a fork to test) it’s time for the next step.

Now it’s time to add your potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Let those cook for around 5-7 minutes.

Next add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

Once all of the vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork (but not so soft that they are falling apart on their own) turn off heat.

At this point throw in the spinach, the heat of the soup will quickly cook the spinach.

Serve immediately and garnish with fresh cilantro!



Welcome and !Salud!

Well… I’m finally doing it! For years I’ve been sharing photos of my homemade and delicious food and  I’ve been repeatedly encouraged to start  my own food and nutrition blog. So here it is!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Anna and I’m a holistic nutritionist living in Toronto who loves food, music, fitness, and my chef boyfriend!

I’m most passionate about sharing and growing my knowledge about food, where it comes from, how we can use it to heal our minds, bodies and souls and how to treat yourself at every meal. I believes that we all deserve to eat, and that we all deserve to eat right.

After overcoming my own battles with health and food issues, my love and interest in food drove me to seek out further education in the area of nutrition. I decided to take the direction of holistic nutrition because I now see the importance of a natural healthy diet focused on real food as well as exercising balance in ever aspect of our daily lives. I wanted to expand my understanding on the foods we put in our bodies and what effects they may have on our well being.

I was blessed from a very young age with the exposure to healthy, homemade foods. Both of my parents (who come from two very different background)s are talented cooks with vast knowledge on food, and how to prepare it wholesomely. During my whole childhood, my mother worked at a health food store and always tried to provide the family with local, organic food as well as vitamins and herbal remedies. My interest in food really blossomed when I started working at the health food store with my mother, where I was able to educate myself through my surroundings.  After high school, I started working at my father’s restaurant which specialized in Latin American food, where I shadowed many talented and trained chefs. I also spent over 8 months travelling South America and Europe, learning many practices of food preparation in the most natural forms possible.

I like to use all that I have picked up along the way to provide myself and those around me with the best foods possible for a healthy, happy life. I strive to continue to educate myself and those seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the kitchen and to influence others to start looking at the foods we eat as the most important and beautiful part of a healthy life. I strongly agrees with the philosophy of Chef Jamie Oliver when he states ”My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense”.

Heres to a vibrant, healthy and tasty life, SALUD!