roasted red pepper & cilantro summer chickpea salad

i’m a big believer in bringing my own lunch to work. buying lunch every day can put a serious dent in my budget, and is rarely as special as a lunch i put together myself. our new ‘thing’ is a weekly summer salad or two that we can stretch to last us the week.

i wanted to share one of our favourite go-to recipes that’s easy to make, delicious, and easy to pack. this salad is inspired by our friend gerry, who showed us that roasted red pepper and chickpeas are made for one another.



  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 c chopped scallions
  • 1/2 c cooked quinoa (optional! i only had about 3/8 c of leftover quinoa, but the more the merrier)
  • 1-2 c chopped cilantro
  • 2 c chick peas (i like to make mine from from dried chickpeas: soak those suckers overnight, rinse, and crock-pot them with a small piece of kombu seaweed on low for 4-6 hours the next day)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds


  • 2 roasted red pepper (homemade. too easy. see below)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tsp grey salt
  • 1/2 c strained tomatoes (try for 100% pure)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • fresh herbs (we used mint today, but tarragon or rosemary are perfect)
  • pepper to taste

look at all those veggies! tis the season: there is no better time of year than now to indulge in heaps of fresh veg. so, get to it.

this salad is so tasty. it took all of my resolve to put it into tuperware. lime, cilantro, tomatoes and roasted red peppers… it’s summer in a bowl.

speaking of roasted red peppers! how about a little tutorial?

1- cut a pepper in half, place it in a baking dish, broil until it is charred. i mean it people. the blacker the skin, the better.

2- place the charred pepper into a dish and cover with kitchen towel. let it hang out until it cools down.

3- the skin should just slide off. too easy.

while i was waiting for the peppers to cool down, i threw all my veg together.

the mess of cilantro is bound to make your mouth water. but, the real star of this show is the dressing.

self-explanatory! food-process the carp out everything. i like to leave the dressing a little chunky. for a smoother dressing, add more liquid, or a touch of extra virgin olive oil.

and the finishing touches:

a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds, a ton of fresh ground pepper, the juice of one lime, and stir it up, little darling.

now pack it away very quickly before you make short work of it.

using this recipe, four portions is just about right for us at ~250 cal per serving, including 13 g of protein and a whole whack-load of nutritious vitamins and fats. i’ll probably boil an egg for each of us in the morning to beef this lunch a little more.

one more little weekend trick to get your daily veggie-fix this week:

veggies abound! these little baggies are pre-packed and ready to be scooped up and brought to work. a great way to stave off late-afternoon hunger. because no one wants you to be hangry on ttc.

xx katty lea

how to saturday (ontario craft beer week picks)

if you are like me, you will probably want to spend your saturday afternoon with a beer in hand, a good friend or two, and some tasty food. my favourite kind of meal is the kind that’s quick to pull together, and easy to share.

smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion, and rye toast.

so easy.

“stop eating. i need to take a picture”

i only make an effort to pull out my camera when the food is really worth it. this lunch was perfect, as far as perfect goes.

and as far as beer goes, we are extremely really lucky in toronto right now because it is ontario craft beer week! you may notice that many local bars are featuring a good number of really interesting beers. the only question is: where to start? in celebration of ocb, i wanted to suggest a few of my favourite summer, saturday afternoon beers (available either on tap, or at the lcbo, or both):

beau’s festivale alt beer

this delicious alt beer is biscuity and refreshing. it’s an award winner, and beyond that they use local spring water and 100% organic malting grains. how cool is that? this is a seasonal beer, so git it done before it goes into hibernation.

muskoka brewery’s spring oddity

another seasonal beer! and this one will disappear at the end of june. that’s one week people! this is a pretty impactful beer at 8.0% ABV, but it makes for a good, slow sipping beer. it’s a wheat beer with a prevalently fruity taste and smell (it’s made with orange peel and juniper berries). and for those amongst us who have muskoka nostalgia, muskoka uses “pure muskoka water” to make this beer. it’s a trip to the beach in a glass.

beau’s no. 20 fous allies mango saison

i really love a saison style beer. we’re cooking up our first homebrew batch, and so i feel particularly attached to the saison style while we wait anxiously to see how ours turns out. beau’s makes some truly outstanding saisons, and this one is so much fun with some tropical character alongside the great saison peppery aroma and taste.

spearhead’s hawaiian style pale ale
brewed with pineapples! another tropical-inspired brew, this one is really enjoyable and refreshing. you don’t have to worry about being smacked in the face with a giant burst of pineapple flavour; the beer is nicely balanced with a nice malty flavour and hops.

great lakes brewery’s orange peel ale
i keep buying this beer. it’s the perfect size to share with a friend or two, and very summer-appropriate. the name really says it all: it’s an enjoyable, malty, fruity ale and is relatively light with orange peel aroma and peel.

i really could go on, and i probably will, but this is a good primer for your next trip to the beer store on a nice sunny day. happy saturday, team. xx katty lea