Better Burgers!

Eating beef burgers on white buns slathered in condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup should be reserved for the occasional summer treat. A better burger can be eaten much more frequently! Swap the refined buns for whole grain and try healthier condiments like avocado, sauerkraut or a simple slaw. Opt for portobello steaks, fish or seafood, ground turkey or homemade veggie patties (although the newer store-bought veggie patties are better for the environment than beef, they aren’t necessarily that much better for your health). If you do choose beef or another red meat, substitute chopped mushrooms, lentils, oats or bulgur for approximately 1/3 of the ground meat to boost health, not to mention lower cost!

Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ lb (225 g) mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 lb (454 g) ground turkey

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

1 tsp soy sauce

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

4 whole grain buns

1 avocado

Dijon mustard

Sliced tomato and lettuce for topping

In a skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil then mushrooms in an even layer. Do not stir them. Allow to lightly brown and release their juices then add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl with turkey, salt, pepper, soy sauce, parsley and egg. Combine well then form into 4 patties. Refrigerate until ready to barbecue.

Prepare buns with toppings or lay on a platter for everyone to assemble as they wish. Heat grill to medium-high, clean and lightly oil the grill. Cook patties for approximately 4 minutes per ½ inch thickness, flipping them only once to prevent moisture loss. Ensure an internal temperature of 71C (160F). Serve immediately with a side salad or grilled veggies.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Summer Pasta

What better way to celebrate fresh local tomatoes and basil than piling them onto pasta? Using the hot summer sun to gently warm the tomatoes, herbs and oil is such a fun thing for children to participate in! Just be sure to only leave it for an hour, keep it covered from critters and don’t make substitutions of higher-risk ingredients like mayonnaise or protein foods.

Serves 4

1 lb fresh local tomatoes, chopped roughly (look for heirloom or colours other than red)

1 bunch basil, torn into pieces

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 lb pasta (consider trying a higher-fibre pasta made from whole grains)

1.5 cups bocconcini or fresh mozzarella 

Place tomatoes, basil, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss gently. Cover and place in a sunny location for one hour only. Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain well. Add to tomato mixture along with the cheese and toss well, adding a little drizzle more oil or a sprinkle more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a side salad and be sure to eat it outside!

Salmon Patties

Canned salmon (ideally with the bones) should be a staple in everyone’s pantry. The affordable, high-quality protein and essential omega 3 fatty acids make it an incredible food to consume a few times per week, especially to support positive mental health. And the bones provide a rich source of calcium. These patties are great with a side salad or zucchini noodles and a garlic yogurt sauce for dipping.

Serves 2

1 can wild salmon (preferably with bones)

1 egg, beaten

½ small onion (or 2 green onions), diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 tsp mustard

½ cup panko or other bread crumbs, quinoa flakes or rolled oats

2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a bowl and stir well to combine. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat then add oil. Scoop ½ cup of mixture and using hands form into a patty. Place in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Repeat with remaining salmon mixture. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Campfire Pizza

A hot meal around the campfire is such a treat after a day enjoying the outdoors, but it doesn’t have to be all about hotdogs. Get an assembly line going at the picnic table and these delicious, hearty and healthy pizzas can come together so quickly and it’s a great way to engage kids in the (camp) kitchen!

Serves 4

6-8 large wholegrain pitas

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup of your favourite tomato sauce and/or pesto

8 cups pizza veggies (e.g. sliced mushrooms, peppers, spinach, onion)

4 cups pizza cheese (e.g. mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, goat cheese)

6-8 sheets aluminum foil

Lay out the sheets of aluminum foil. Using a brush or clean fingers, cover both sides of the pita with olive oil then place on a sheet of foil. Top with 2 tablespoons of sauce, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle half of the pita with your favourite veggies and top with cheese. Fold the other half over so all the filling is inside and wrap tightly in the foil. Cook over coals on the fire (or in a skillet on the stove) for approximately 15 minutes until the pita is crisped and the cheese is melted. 

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Miso Tahini Sauce

Rather than top salad or dip veggies in ranch dressing which provides few healthy nutrients, use salad dressing and dips as a way to make your meal healthier. Fermented miso paste is a great thing to keep in the fridge to add flavour (umami) to sauces, dressings and marinades, not to mention making miso soup! Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is rich in healthy fats, calcium, potassium and fibre. Just a tablespoon of each of these pastes adds an extra 6 grams of protein to your meal. 


Serves 4

¼ cup miso paste

¼ cup tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Boiled warm water to thin


Combine equal parts miso and tahini pastes then add lemon juice and garlic. Thin with boiled, warm water to a drizzling consistency.

Drizzle on a buddha bowl, salad or use as a veggie dip or a salmon marinade.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Thai Salad

The flavours of this dressing are fantastic and make any veggies, protein and noodles or rice a sensation! It’s so good, consider making a double-batch for another salad next week or use half the dressing as a marinade for baked or grilled tofu, shrimp or chicken and roasted veggies like peppers and eggplant. 

Yield: 3/4 cup

3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sambal oelek or hot sauce
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/pressed
1 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. Serve over rice or soba noodles and lots of veggies with a sprinkling of peanuts.


Serves 4

4 cups noodles (e.g. soba, rice) or brown rice, cooked per packaged directions
4 cups greens (e.g. bok choy, spinach, kale)
4 cups other raw veggies (e.g. tomatoes, scallions, carrot, bell peppers, cucumber)
2 cups cooked veggies (e.g. roasted eggplant, peppers, broccoli), marinated in dressing if desired
2 cups protein (e.g. baked or grilled tofu, chicken, shrimp, shelled edamame), marinated if desired
½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Layer the salad ingredients in or on each person’s bowl or plate and top with more dressing and chopped peanuts for garnish.

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

Moroccan Grilled Veggie Skewers

Barbecue meals are so fun and flavourful and taste even better eaten outside! Try to base them around vegetables and healthier protein foods instead of red and processed meats for optimum health. These Moroccan veggie skewers are so easy and delicious and pair well with a chickpea salad and wholegrain couscous, or perhaps some grilled Moroccan chicken and tzatziki yogurt sauce.

Serves 4

8-10 large wooden (or metal) skewers

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 large lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 bunch parsley or cilantro, finely chopped

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces

20 small cremini (brown) mushrooms

2 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch thick rings

1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

If using wooden skewers, soak them for 30-60 minutes ahead of cooking. Meanwhile, combine all marinade ingredients and mix well. Place all prepared vegetables in a large bowl or dish and cover with the marinade. Let sit for 60 minutes or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Thread the veggies evenly onto the skewers without packing them too tightly. Heat the grill to medium low and brush with oil to prevent sticking. Lay the skewers perpendicular to the grill grate and cook, turning frequently with tongs, until soft, approximately 15 minutes. Try to avoid flare ups that cause charring by keeping a bit of water nearby that can lightly douse the flame and also ensuring the skewers aren’t dripping a lot of marinade. Serve immediately or refrigerate leftovers to use in a salad or soup the next day.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Easy Break & Bake Chicken

Buying whole chicken is much more affordable, rather than boneless and skinless pieces. By cooking with the bones in, you get a much moister finished product and you can keep the bones to make delicious stock. By breaking the chicken down, also called butterflying or spatchcocking, it cooks more quickly and evenly.

Makes 2 meals for a family of 4

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or pressed

2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped or cut

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

1 whole chicken, approx 1.8 kg (4 lbs)

Combine oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a small dish and set aside. Put a large cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 400F. Get a Ziploc freezer bag out and put the chicken on a cutting board breast side down. Take sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife and cut along both sides of the back bone, which will allow you to open the chicken up into a butterfly. Remove the back bone and put it in your stock bag. Snip off any excess fat. Take the oil mixture and rub it all over the chicken on both sides and under the skin.

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