Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad

caesar salad dressing
A recipe from my Delicious Detox Cooking Class, Vegan Caesar Salad- so good you won’t believe it’s healthy! This healthful Caesar salad is brimming with protein and fibre from the kale and pinto beans, and classically Caesar salad with Dijon mustard and garlic; warning, garlic breath will ensue- any Caesar salad worth its salt will give you dragon breath; but this recipe is so good, you won’t even care.

You can watch the video demo on my YouTube channel today; regardless, you NEED to add this vegan Caesar salad recipe to your repertoire!

Hint: It’s always a good idea to check out the video…

Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
1 bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
1 bunch of romaine lettuce, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
½ cup vegan caesar dressing (below)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Dressing Ingredients
⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons dijon mustard
½ cup raw walnuts, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
¼ cup canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
2 teaspoons garlic (roughly 2-3 large cloves)

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor; blend until completely smooth.

Combine the dressing with kale and romaine season with salt and pepper.

The Paleo Diet Approved Cauliflower Rice

paleo diet cauliflower rice

Paleo, Paleolithic, Caveman or Ancestor, whatever you call it, the diet our ancestors have consumed throughout evolution is once again gaining popularity. This morning I paid a visit to CTV Morning Live Edmonton and shared a recipe for cauliflower rice; a real rice mimicking recipe that falls within the confines of the paleo diet.


Paleo Basics:

Avoid Grains, Legumes and Sugar
500 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, the consumption of grains, and legumes simply wasn’t possible, so you won’t find them on a paleo plate. And we all know the perils of sugar consumption, and paleo diet rules prohibit the consumption of sugar, because back in the day sugar was a rare luxury and not a daily indulgence; this includes, honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup, no matter how organic/local. Stevia is a leaf that is super sweet and serves as a substitute for sugar that is paleo approved!

Stick To High Quality Meats
Since your plate is largely animal protein, the source is extra important. Processed meat is NOT what you want to consume EVER, especially if you are paleo; what the animal eats, you eat. Grass fed, pasture raised or organic meat and chicken, in addition to wild fish is the type of animal protein you want to consume.

Cool It On The Fruit
Although you are allowed fruit, on the paleo diet you want to limit your fruit intake and focus primarily on berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) which generally boast a less sugar than other fruit.

You know I love good fats, and the paleo diet indulges me! Coconut oil, grass fed/ organic butte, ghee, lard, tallow,avocado, olives/ olive oil etc. are all fair game- go wild and see you hair, skin and nails improve!

As with any diet, this may not be right for you; if you are eating a paleo diet and find yourself just not feeling “right”, try something else- I say this to vegetarians and vegans as well.


Cilantro Infused Cauliflower Rice

I believe that when we give up certain foods, in order to ease the transition, it’s essential to find ways to satisfy cravings; and having grown up in North America, most of us are conditioned to have rice, pasta, potatoes and the like on our plates, so eating paleo can prove challenging. Enter Cauliflower rice!

Cauliflower, chopped finely and sauteed in coconut oil and butter, mimics the rice of our youth! And it takes so nicely to customization.

Cilantro Infused Cauliflower Rice
A “rice” dish that our ancestors would approve of, the perfectly Paleo, cilantro infused cauliflower rice.

•    a small head of organic cauliflower, chopped coarsely
•    2 tablespoons of butter
•    1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
•    1 tbsp chopped cilantro
•    1 tsp salt
•    1/4 tsp pepper

In a sauce pan on medium high heat, melt the butter and coconut oil. Pat the cauliflower pieces with a clean cloth, to ensure they are dry. Add the cauliflower and saute for 5-7 minutes; once the cauliflower begins to caramelize, cook for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro; serve hot with stews and curries, or serve cold in salads.

Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


For the full transcript of my Paleo Kitchen Cooking Class, sign up for the Color Me Healthy Newsletter!

Patty Pan Squash Parcels

patty pan squash

Can you believe it’s already August? I love summer but it calls everyone, especially people in the North like myself, to get outside and enjoy. During the summer you can find me poolside, parkside and cruising the many farmer’s markets my city boasts during the summer months; seeing Mother Nature’s bounty in full effect is nothing short of awe inspiring, albeit brief here in Edmonton.

When the berries come up, I get excited because berries are one of my favorites; but you want to know the summer gem that gets me more excited than my beloved berries? Patty Pan Squash. Without fail, the first time I spy patty pan squash at the market I, quite literally, jump for joy; their season is fleeting so I always buy in bulk!

Related to melons, cucumber and other squash, such as zucchini, patty pan squash is a light and cleansing food; they contain a high amount of water (hello hydration), are low in calories and can ease prostate conditions in men- patty pan squash also come complete with beta carotene. They can be found in yellow, light green and dark green varieties, all of which are delicious; but the yellow variety are particularly rich in antioxidant carotenes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

Getting the most nutritional bang from patty pan squash lies in eating the whole plant; from the skin to the seeds, patty pans, like other squash, are almost entirely edible. As a cooling and sedative food, they are useful in treating adrenal fatigue and frazzled nerves. Buyer beware though, they can’t be stored for too long, so eat them quickly while they are still fresh; if you’re anything like me, that shouldn’t be a problem!

Also because I’m a juice lover and a cleansing maven I feel I must mention that patty pan squash are a wonderful addition to juice; their water is highly mineralized and bioavailable (easy to digest). Add them to juice for a quick and satisfying mineral boost!

Patty pan squash, because of their cup-esque shape lend themselves so nicely to stuffing. If you’re paleo you can stuff them with grass fed ground meat with vegetables and cheese; vegans can join the fun by stuffing with an assortment of vegetables, nuts and seeds. That’s the beauty of patty pan squash, their aroma is light, meaning they play nicely with so many flavor combinations.

This recipe is simple, hollow out your patty pan squash and saute the innards with kale, onions and spices;  stuff the hollow patty pan squash with the goodness, bake and serve. And the darling little chapeau just adds to the fun!

Mother Nature, thank you for Patty Pan Squash; sincerely, Bianca.


Patty Pan Squash Parcels
Serves 3

3 patty pan squash
1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 medium red onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup shelled green peas
2 cups chopped kale
1 tbsp feta cheese (optional)
sea salt & pepper

Cut  the top of the patty pan squash in half and scoop out the inside flesh. Rub the inside and outside of each squash with a little olive oil, coconut oil or ghee (to prevent drying out in the oven). If you cannot get the squash to sit evenly, slice off a little of the bottom to create a flat surface (be careful when you cut, so as not to create a hole in the bottom.)

Heat the coconut oil or ghee in a large skillet. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another couple minutes. Next add the peas then the kale a minute later, folding occasionally until the kale is slightly wilted. Season to your liking with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill each patty pan squash with the vegetable mixture and place the individual lid on top of each squash. Arrange the squash in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the squash is soft and cooked through.

Serve hot!

Are you a juice lover in Edmonton, let me help you juice your way to vitality!

Tuscan Chicken and White Bean Soup

white bean soup

I’ve lived in Edmonton for nearly my whole life- 23 years out of the 27 that I have been alive; and you would think that I’d know better by now. That I would know that no matter what balmy weather climate change has to offer, Mother Nature is in the drivers seat; and without warning, and much to everyone’s chagrin, it could snow for two days straight and bring us all right back down to reality. When the mercury dips below zero, I crave warm and comforting foods; and nothing says “comfort” quite like warm chicken and white bean soup.

You may have noticed that I have been posting more dishes containing meat here on the Vitality Guide, and it’s simply because in listening to my body, it’s telling me that it wants animal protein; and I believe that it is essential to listen to what my body wants and provide it with the highest quality foods that I can. If you missed the post where I detail my views on meat eating, here it is. So in listening to my body, I have inadvertently been eating a fairly paleo diet; although I hate labels, it’s the closest description of what my meals currently look like.

Grass Fed Bison Meatballs

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a controversial subject- meat. Meat and its consumption is quite a hot point of contention these days; from sustainability to ethics, the subject of meat consumption gets a great deal of people hot under the collar.

Now, I’m a chef and I LOVE food; I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat exclusively raw and while I love plant based cooking and eating, I’ll be honest with you, I love meat- I like to consider myself a qualitarian, I eat only quality food; and there are moments when the only cure my for insatiable hunger are delicious meatballs. I’ll never apologize for my love of meat.

Do I eat meat every day? Certainly not. Not only does this create a demand that farmers cannot keep up with; but it’s not good for the human body to eat meat at every meal.

However, what I take the most issue with is the treatment of the animals, animals held in small cages, are unhappy; animals who are held in tight quarters with dead or dying brethren are not only unhappy but far more susceptible to disease and this is why big agriculture farmers (we’re talking the Lilydale’s of the world) use pharmaceuticals to keep their animals “healthy”- I use the term loosely. This is NOT the meat that I choose to eat. The more money we funnel into these practices, the more it will continue to happen. Why do I care? I mean, meat is meat, right? Wrong!