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Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN, is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, writer, and whole foods chef. She has appeared on City TV's Breakfast Television and is a contributor to Clean Eating magazine, Canadian Living magazine, The Globe and Mail, and others. Visit her on the web at

 Pink and Green Salad

A light, refreshing summer salad. The piquant grapefruit provides the perfect counterpoint to the bitterness of the dandelion. Along with the minerals in the greens, the almond butter in the dressing adds extra calcium here.

  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T. raw honey
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. smooth almond butter
  • 2 T. hemp oil or olive oil

  • For the salad:
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 large bunch dandelion, trimmed, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 pink grapefruits, peeled and sectioned

With a whisk, mix all ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.

Add dandelion, grapefruit and sunflower seeds and toss to coat. Let sit at least 10-15 minutes for salad to absorb the dressing and for the dandelion to wilt slightly. Makes 5-6 servings.

 Seed Jumble Cookies

These are a great after-school snack for kids help make, or a great take-along treat for anyone! The combination of seeds, nuts and oats offers a wonderful array of minerals, including high calcium and magnesium, as well as high fibre. But watch out–these are addictive!

  • For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1-1/4 cups oats
  • 1/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, honey, vanilla, almond butter and tahini.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir to blend well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets (you may have to press the dough to hold together). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden. Cookies will firm up as they cool. Makes 20-24 cookies. (from Sweet Freedom).

 Black Bean Spread

This is a great spread or dip for easy entertaining. This version is a little spicy, but vary the spices to your taste.

  • 1/4 cup dry black beans
  • 1/4 cup dry Great Northern (white) beans
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 T. almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3 T. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 sundried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes (reserve water)
  • 2-3 T. lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste

Cover beans with pure water and let soak overnight. Drain off liquid, fill again with water, and bring to boil. Simmer until beans are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Add some of the tomato soaking water if the spread is too thick, or if serving as a dip. May be served immediately, or stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups.

 Grains and Greens Casserole

This easy, comforting casserole is perfect as a side dish for veggie burgers or grilled fish. Barley is a great source of soluble fibre that also provides selenium, a mineral sometimes lacking in North American diets. You can substitute any green leafy vegetables (collard, spinach, dandelion greens) for the kale and chard.

  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped or 1 large leek, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup oat groats, or kamut or wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup pot barley
  • 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 large leaves chard, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large leaves kale, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large casserole dish or 9 x 11" roasting pan.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the grains and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the stock, greens, and parsley, stir well, and return to the boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and bake, covered, in preheated oven 50 minutes to 1 hour, until grains are soft. Check after 30 minutes and add more stock if mixture is too dry. Stir before serving. Sprinkle each serving with nutritional yeast or grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.

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