Mushroom Dumplings (Jiaozi)

Gung Hay Fat Choy! A common tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year is to gather as a family to make dumplings. This version is a healthier and more sustainable alternative to some traditional varieties as the dumplings are steamed, not fried, and filled with veggies in place of meat. The mushrooms provide just as much great flavour and texture! Whether a long-standing tradition or a new experience, making an “assembly line” kind of dish that benefits from extra hands, is a great way to share cooking together.

Serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

1 lb (450 g) assorted fresh mushrooms, diced 

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

2 cups Chinese or Napa cabbage, finely shredded 

2 green onions, diced 

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced 

2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce 

2 tsp sesame oil 

1 egg, beaten 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

48 wonton wrappers (12-ounce package) 

Cooking spray 

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms and leave them be for 5 minutes or until they release their juices. Add ginger and garlic and sauté another 3-5 minutes until most water is evaporated, then stir in the cabbage and remove from heat. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the cooked mushroom and cabbage with the green onions, cilantro, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and pepper. Mix well.

Arrange 6 wonton wrappers at a time on a flat surface (don’t lay them all out or they will dry out). Place approximately 1 tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto each wonton wrapper. Using water-moistened fingers, moisten the edges of wrapper and fold over, forming triangles. Roll up edges slightly to seal in filling. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Coat a bamboo or metal steamer with cooking spray and arrange dumplings on top. Steam, covered, for 15 minutes, until cooked through. If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a non-stick frying pan that has a lid—put a very small amount of oil in the pan on medium low heat, add the dumplings then 1-2 Tbsp of water, then cover and steam. Serve warm with dipping sauce made with reduced-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic, honey and chili if desired.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

A Twist on Traditional Turkey Dinner

Without the ability to gather ten or more people around the table, holiday dinners will look a little different this year. Take the opportunity to try some new things—they might stick around as new traditions. Turkey ‘with all the fixings’ can be a healthy dinner, with a few tweaks to classic recipes, and still maintain all the flavour and festiveness you love. And the best part is feeling good for a splurge on dessert!

Serves 4

Turkey breast (2-4 lbs, the higher amount being if it’s bone-in)

1 cup unsweetened apple cider

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 onion, chopped

2 sprigs rosemary

2 leaves sage

1 Tbsp flour

1 loaf whole grain bread (the more stale the better—you could even use all your bread ends from the freezer), cut into 1 inch cubes and dried in a low oven for 30 minutes

1 tsp each dried thyme, sage, parsley

Optional additions: 1 beaten egg, 1 apple, cored & diced; ½ cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts; ½ cup water chestnuts

2 L chicken stock

1 lb russet potatoes

1 lb sweet potatoes (the orange ones!)

1 bulb garlic

Salt and pepper

1-2 lbs of your favourites (e.g. green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, fennel)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place turkey breast in a roasting pan and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery (all chopped) and rosemary and sage around the turkey breast. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. At the same time, wrap the bulb of garlic in aluminum foil and bake in oven for 40 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, heat the apple cider in a small pot on the stove. Simmer for 15 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Whisk in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Use this to baste the turkey regularly after the initial 30 minutes. Continue cooking the turkey for 30-60 minutes, longer depending on the size and if it’s on the bone. Verify it’s done by a thermometer reading of 74C internal temperature.

To make the stuffing, grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the bread and remaining chopped onion, carrot and celery. Add the dried thyme, sage and parsley as well as 1 cup of stock and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add optional ingredients if using (a beaten egg gives a more creamy texture) and a small amount more stock if it seems dry and not holding together. Mix well then spread in the baking dish. Cover with foil then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Prepare both types of potatoes by peeling and chopping them. Place in a large pot filled with water then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add 1 tsp salt and cook until tender. Drain water. Return to very low heat and add 1 cup of stock and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Remove roasted garlic from oven, discard foil and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel. Mash until very smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables by chopping and spreading on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the types of veggies, until tender.

Finally, when the turkey is done, place it on a cutting board and tent it with foil to rest for 10 minutes while making the gravy. Remove the vegetables and herbs and heat the roasting pan on the stovetop on medium low heat. When the oil in the pan starts to bubble lightly, sprinkle in the flour and stir well, smoothing out any lumps. After 1 or 2 minutes, add up to 2 cups of stock gradually, stirring continually. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper then transfer into a gravy boat. Slice the turkey and serve all immediately. Happy Holidays!

Serve with this tangy No Sugar Cranberry Sauce if desired for a gorgeous pop of colour on the plate!

By Nicole Fetterly, RD



Vegan Halloween Meringues

These little ghosts are adorable and they’re so simple to make, using an ingredient that you might normally pour down the sink! Aquafaba is the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas and if you whip it for awhile, it acts just like egg whites and becomes stiff, white and glossy. This can be used to make vegan mayonnaise too.

Serves 4

½ cup aquafaba (from unsalted canned chickpeas)

¼ tsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup fine white sugar

1 ounce dark chocolate

Put the aquafaba and vinegar in a large bowl and whisk for 8-10 minutes until it has doubled in size and holds a peak. This is best done with a stand mixer or an electric hand-held mixer. Add the sugar gradually, continuing to whisk until the mixture is glossy and stiff.

Preheat the oven to 210F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag with a large tip and pipe three circles, a larger bottom one (approx. 2 inch diameter) then a smaller on top of that and then an even smaller one, leaving with a pointy ‘head’. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Bake for 2 hours and then turn the oven off and leave them to dry another hour until they are firm and set. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or very slowly in the microwave, being careful not to burn it. Using a piping bag with a small tip or a toothpick, add chocolate eyes and a round mouth. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup

This chilled soup is a creamy and refreshing addition to a warm weather meal and a fun format for eating veggies. Top with grilled shrimp to make it the centerpiece and serve with corn chips for some crunch.

Serves 4

2 avocados, pitted & peeled 

1 large cucumber, peeled & seeded if not an English cucumber 

2 lemons or limes, zested & juiced 

1/2 bunch cilantro or mint, stemmed & chopped 

1-2 jalapenos, seeded & stemmed (optional)

1 cup cold water 

1/2 cup plain yogurt 

1.5 tsp salt 

1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

Cut one avocado and ½ of the cucumber into a small dice. Set aside. Place all remaining ingredients in blender and puree until very smooth. Transfer to serving bowl or pitcher then mix in the diced avocado and cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes until chilled. Serve cold, as an appetizer or side dish, or top with grilled shrimp for a main meal.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD


Originally a North African dish, this is a recipe our Generation Health program assistant, Paneet, tried making for the first time during isolation. It’s great for a leisurely weekend breakfast or even a dinner, served with crusty bread and salad or steamed green beans. It can also be adapted to your taste by adding fresh or roasted red pepper or eggplant, different herbs like parsley or cilantro and even spice like hot chili flakes.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large (798 mL) can peeled tomatoes

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

8 eggs

½ cup feta, cubed or crumbled

1 bunch basil

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat oil on the stovetop over medium low heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and saute 1 minute then add the tomatoes, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often and breaking up larger chunks of tomato to form a thick sauce, approximately 15 minutes. Create 8 wells (small indents) in the sauce and gently crack one egg into each one. Place in oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, until eggs are mostly set. Top with feta and bake another 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with torn basil leaves. Serve 2 eggs in sauce to each person, with toast or crusty bread and veggies like salad or steamed green beans.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Beans & Rice

My daughter recently told me this was on her top 5 list of favourite meals. This is fantastic because beans and rice are so easy to make and one of the most affordable meals on our roster. This is a staple meal eaten in different variations around the world, but this version has more of a Mexican influence.

Serves 4

2 cups brown rice

4 cups cooked or canned beans (e.g. pinto, black, kidney)

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp soy sauce

Toppings: shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped tomato, sliced bell pepper, minced jalapeno, hot sauce, grated or crumbled cheese, Greek yogurt, corn chips 

Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, drain the beans and heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add oil then the garlic and cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring continually until the garlic is just turning golden, not burning. Add the beans and stir while mashing with a wooden spoon or masher. Add water to prevent the beans from sticking and to help them reach a spoonable consistency (I like to keep some texture so I don’t fully mash all the beans, just enough to bind it all together and enough water so it’s not too thick). Add the soy sauce and adjust seasonings to taste. 

Serve a bowl of rice, topped with beans and let everyone add their own toppings. Corn chips are yummy alongside, as is a coleslaw!

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Stinging Nettle Soup

Stinging nettle is a plant that emerges in the spring throughout the forests of BC and has been used by our indigenous communities for centuries. The ‘sting’ comes from tiny needles on the plant that contain an acid that irritates our skin. Gardening gloves must be worn for harvesting but once nettles are cooked, the ‘sting’ goes away. For more information, check out

Always use caution when wild foraging for food and be sure you know what you’re looking for and how to harvest and prepare it safely.

Stinging nettle is often used to make tea but can also be used in most applications as a substitute for spinach.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ pound stinging nettles, washed (or substitute spinach)

1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 cups stock or water

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat a large pot on medium-low then add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and golden. Add nettles, potatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly then blend until smooth and creamy, in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired, and with bread and a spring salad.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Shamrock Smoothie

Save the trip this year and make your own Shamrock Smoothie to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. All the gorgeous green colour comes from vegetables rather than artificial food colouring, which is not recommended to be consumed regularly. Instead get colour on your plate by eating a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables every day and every meal.

Serves 2

1 avocado

2 cups spinach or kale

1 cup cucumber

¼ cup fresh mint or parsley

2 tablespoons spirulina (optional)

1 pear or 1 cup mango (or other light-coloured fruit—berries are wonderful, but they turn it brown)

1.5 cups plain kefir or yogurt (or fortified soy beverage)

¼ cup hemp hearts

1 cup water or OJ (if just using water, one tablespoon of maple syrup is sometimes needed to taste)

1 cup ice 

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Lentil Dahl

Dahl is a staple dish in Indian cuisine and is eaten at most meals, providing a great source of protein, fibre, iron and of course fantastic flavour! It can be a meal unto itself served with brown rice (or whole grain chapati) and vegetables or can be added as an accompaniment to other proteins like grilled chicken with a curried yogurt marinade.

Yield: 4-6 servings

1 cup lentils or mung beans
4 cups water
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tomato, chopped (or 1 small can diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and add ginger and turmeric (this could also be done in a slow-cooker all day). Simmer with a lid slightly ajar for 1 hour or until lentils are soft and dal has reached desired consistency (some people like it soupier than others).  Add the salt.


Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD


This is a traditional Southern France street food. It’s a delicious gluten-free bread alternative, almost more a pancake, and pairs well with soup or stew.

Yield: 4 servings

1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, ground
4-6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tbsp fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 450F. Put a well-seasoned or non-stick or cast-iron skillet in oven. Sift chickpea flour into a bowl. Add salt and pepper, then slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to
eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tbsp olive oil. Cover and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours. Batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in the onion and rosemary.
Pour 2 tbsp oil into the heated pan and swirl to coat evenly. Pour in batter and bake for 12-15 minutes or until pancake is firm and edges set. Heat broiler, and brush top of pancake with 1-2 tbsp oil if it looks dry. Set pan a few inches away from broiler for a few minutes, until slightly browned. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD