Tag Archives: pine nuts

Protein Packed Grain Salad

Grain Salad

I’m back! Back from my 2 week vacation (1 week in England and 1 week in Italy) I ate some amazing food, some of it healthy, and some not so. I will share some photos form my trip in an upcoming post.

Eating cherries from the tree growing on the property where we were staying was absolutely incredible. Hands down the best cherries I have ever had. Waking up every morning and picking a lemon right off one of the three lemon trees right outside the kitchen for my lemon water was something I am going to miss dearly. Now I need to think about paying 1$ for 3 lemons at the market here.

I am glad to be back home and excited to get back to creating new and delicious recipes in my kitchen, ( the reason I started Health is Happiness in the first place.)

Before I share any new creations, here is a protein packed grain salad that I made a few times while working on the 30 day challenge. It is quick to make and incredibly delicious. Continue reading


Filed under Blog, Gluten-Free, Main Courses, Recipes, Salads

Spelt & Garbanzo Salad with Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Fresh Herbs

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.  I am currently writing on my laptop lying next to the fireplace, and the Christmas tree, at my parents house, listening to a Christmas jazz album.  My mother is busy preparing food in the kitchen.  She just made stuffing and cranberry sauce.  We just finished speaking to my family in England via Skype, something we have been doing for a few years now.

Everybody has their own routine at Christmas.  Different family traditions that make Christmas.   This year for Christmas day, it is just my parents and me. Traditions change over the years.  New traditions are made.  You have to go with the flow.  Do I miss Christmas the way I remember it from childhood ?  Of course I do, but I am appreciating the day with my parents.

Since I never spent Christmas in Montreal growing up I never saw any friends on Christmas.  I was always at my grandmother’s house in Magog.  This year I am going to start a new Christmas tradition by going to visit a few of my close friends and their families who live nearby.

This spelt salad was part of last night’s Christmas eve dinner, celebrated with family, and is probably what I am going to have for lunch.  It is great as a side dish or as a meal on its own.  The bulk of the nutrition coming form the spelt and the garbanzo beans, or chickpeas as most of us call them. The salad also contains roasted pine nuts, fresh mint, basil and parsley, sun-dried tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.  Seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  The proportions can be adjusted to your taste.  I have given approximate proportions for the different ingredients, but feel free to do what feels and tastes good to you.

Unfortunately, spelt is not a common grain/ingredient in most of our kitchens.  It isn’t something I had ever used or even heard of before I started to shift to a more whole food diet.  I think both my mother and father were a little skeptical when I said I was going to make a spelt salad as part of the Christmas eve dinner.  My dad is British and loves his potatoes, but he agreed to let me make it.  “Don’t worry Dad, we will have roast potatoes tonight”.  The dish actually looks very Christmasy because of the red tomatoes and green herbs and zuchinni.

Turns out both my parents loved the spelt salad.  My mom is still raving about it.  When you cook spelt it plumps up and becomes a little kernel of nutty deliciousness.   Great for salads just like this one.  Other grain options are whole wheat berries and kamut.

Did any of you create anything new in the kitchen for Christmas this year?  Would love to hear about them, whether they turned out great or not.

Spelt & Garbanzo Salad with Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Fresh Herbs

Serves 3 for lunch; 6 as a side dish at dinner


1 cup of spelt, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, about 10-15 tomatoes
1/3 cup pine nuts, roasted
1 small zucchini, cut into a medium dice
handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
handful fresh basil leaves, hand torn
big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1 cup cooked chickpeas, (1/2 540 ml can)
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste



In a medium saucepan, cover the spelt with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 40 minutes or until cooked but still slightly firm.

To roast pine nuts without burning them, preheat the oven to 400F. Lay the pine nuts out on a cookie sheet and roast for 4 minutes.  Set a timer or else you will forget about them and they will burn in a hurry.

Once the spelt is cooked set it aside and let cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer the spelt to a large bowl and combine all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Comments Off on Spelt & Garbanzo Salad with Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Fresh Herbs

Filed under Blog, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes

Warm Roasted Beet, Beet Green, & Pine Nut Salad Recipe

Beets are plentiful this time of year, and beets of all colours.  Yellow,orange, red, purple.    Beets with beautiful full and fresh looking greens still attached.

I know a lot of people who claim not to like beets.  Memories of plain boiled beets from childhood are still haunting them.  It wasn’t until a few years ago when a wonderful woman I met introduced me to roasted beets.  I think my favourite beets for roasting are the yellow/orange beets you see in the picture above. Continue reading

Comments Off on Warm Roasted Beet, Beet Green, & Pine Nut Salad Recipe

Filed under Blog, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes

Sweet & Spicy Rice, Lentils, Spinach Recipe

This is a tasty one.  This dish is loaded with healthy ingredients and it is easy to make. I will definitely be making this dish again.  In fact I already have.

The sun dried tomatoes, with the sweet currants, the nutty flavour of the roasted pine nuts, smokey paprika, fresh herbs and a little kick of cayenne certainly bring these rice and lentils to life.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Sweet & Spicy Rice, Lentils, Spinach Recipe

Filed under Blog, Gluten-Free, Main Courses, Recipes

Swiss Chard & Runner Beans with Pine Nuts and Currants

Garden beans. Garden swiss chard. Garden carrots. Garden beets. Nothing like fresh produce straight from the backyard.

This is a dish I created because I wanted to use up as much of the stuff I had just picked from my parents garden as possible.

I made it for a friend who came over for dinner and she absolutely loved it as did I.  I hope you will too.  I had to make it again a few days later it was so good, not to mention that because I went back to my parents for a couple nights and so was blessed with more fresh produce. Continue reading

Comments Off on Swiss Chard & Runner Beans with Pine Nuts and Currants

Filed under Blog, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dishes

Avocado, Parsley, Roasted Pine Nut Dip

Guacamole meets pesto in this dip. If you like either guacamole or pesto you will love this dip. If you don’t like guacamole or pesto, hopefully you will still love this dip.

The creaminess of the avocados, with the roasted taste of the pine nuts, and freshness of the parsley come together nicely and are given a helping hand from a little lemon, garlic and olive oil.

Great to snack on while while barbecuing on a summer’s day.


Avocado, Parsley, Pine Nut Dip

2 avocados
2 cups flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: top with some thinly sliced portobello mushrooms sautéed with olive oil, salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and process until smooth.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Appetizers, Blog, Recipes