Green Lovin': Inspiration for a Simple Spring Salad

Jul 16, 2015

I never thought I’d utter the words “environment”, “locally-sourced cupcakes”, and “Colin Firth” in the same sentence. But if you were at the Green Living Show last weekend, you’d know what I’m talking about. The Green Living Show, a celebration of all things “green”, a showcase for celebrity environmentalists, local foodies, and everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-being-eco-friendly products. Lucky for me, perks of the job include eating my fill of locally sourced grub, digging in to the Farm Fresh Fare stalls hosted by Evergreen and Slow Food Toronto to help fund food garden programs at schools across the Greater Toronto Area. The menus, loosely scribbled on chalk boards hung on the wall, had me scrambling with inspired thoughts - “Braised Beretta Short Ribs with Local Navy Beans and Heirloom Carrots” - Now why didn’t I think of making that? So obvious. “Savoury Panna Cotta with Preserved Lemon and Wild Leeks” - Easy-peasy, I could make Panna Cotta with my eyes closed. But I better have a taste…for the sake of the GBFresh blog, of course. “Apple and Almond Tart with Whipped Creme Fraiche” - …Am I drooling?… I hope no one notices.

I got a little educated at the show, too. Silly me, thinking that a dish with the words “beefsteak” and “tomato” had anything to do with large spotted farm animals. Oh, and did you know that if 100 people shift $10 to local sustainable food purchases per week for a year, they reduce greenhouse gasses by the equivalent of almost 10 cars? Now multiply that by 1,000, and just imagine the possibilities. I learned that little tidbit from Local Food Plus, one of our friend organizations that is trying to change the way Ontarians eat. Says LFP, “By shifting $10 per week, you can have direct, measurable environmental and economic impact”. By supporting their new campaign, “Buy to Vote”, you’ll be pledging to switch your purchases to local sustainable food - you’re voting for local farmers, reduced pesticide and fertilizer use, soil and water conservation, human animal treatment, protection of natural species, safe and fair working conditions, and reduced energy use. Now, that is something I’d vote for. Click here to sign the pledge to shift $10 of your weekly food spending to Certified Local Sustainable food.

In case you were wondering, the Panna Cotta was amazing. I also indulged in some of Jamie Kennedy’s Chicken Noodle Soup, perfect for fending off the spring sniffles. This simple salad was inspired by a beeftsteak tomato salad I tried at a Farm Fresh Fare stall. I’ve tweaked it a bit by adding cucumbers for that extra bit of crunch, and improvising my own vinaigrette. And yes, my ingredients are LFP-certified!

Tomato, Pepper, Cucumber and Greens Salad with Goat Cheese and Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
2 Tomatoes
1 Cucumber
1 Red Pepper
½ Cup Greens (arugula, sprouts)
½ Cup soft Goat Cheese

3 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1. Wash and chop your veggies. Core your tomatoes, and remove the seeds.
2. Throw all the vegetables in a bowl, crumble some goat cheese over top, and grate some fresh pepper over the whole bowl.
3. In a glass, pour all vinaigrette ingredients, and stir vigorously.
4. Top with greens, drizzle with vinaigrette, and enjoy!

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