When I think about food I love to eat off the top of my head, things pop up like: tofu pudding loaded with soft boiled peanuts, taro and grass jelly, grandma’s fried long green beans, freshly shelled sweet peas from markets in the summer, roasted vegetables, ice cream, and bean chips from Costco.
As of July this year, it will be my 6th year anniversary living in Canada since I was here as a child. Come to think of it, my diet in Vancouver usually consists of Japanese, Vietnamese, and middle eastern food. With the occasional burger with friends, and potlucks that feature food from, well, everywhere. I struggle to think of anything in my diet that falls under the category of Canadian food.
Perhaps the biggest change in my eating choices has been reaching a lot more for organic, green and fresh food. I don’t think I’ve appreciated how accessible produce is in Vancouver and how fresh they are. A vivid memory I have from my first few months in Canada was emptying my uncle’s fridge of all their blueberries and greek yogurt. A habit I have kept till this day. For my dad, it was consuming almost unhealthy amounts of salmon, kale and quinoa. All of which was very rare to come by in Asia.
Where I grew up in Taipei, great salads almost nonexistent. Most salads you order at restaurants consist of sad pieces of wilted lettuce, canned corn, slivers of carrots, and tiny pieces of random vegetables. Most of the time drenched in sweetened yogurt and once to my horror — topped with fruit loops.
To celebrate being Canadian, I’ve put together a salad featuring all of my favourite things. With the addition of blood oranges because they are photogenic. If you had passed me a bowl of this salad to my 10-year-old self. I would probably have rolled my eyes at you and walked out to the street to buy noodle soup (米粉湯) and boiled tofu(油豆腐). The fact that I can love eating this now means that I am most definitely, finally, and proudly — Canadian.
A Vancouver Salad — with roasted chickpeas, quinoa, and blood orange
1 can cooked chickpeas
1 tsp seasoning of choice ( I love chopped garlic, smoked paprika, chili and sesame seeds)
3 blood oranges
1/2 cup of quinoa
1 bag of organic greens
A handful of walnuts, toasted
1 whole lemon
Salt + Pepper
Few cloves of garlic
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook Quinoa: Add 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Rinse chickpeas. Dry them off with a paper towel. Toss chickpeas with 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp seasoning (I used chili, turmeric, paprika and sesame seeds for this batch). Spread on a pan and bake for 20 mins or until browned and crispy. Allow chickpeas to cool before tossing into salad.
- Slice blood oranges. Cut two ends of orange and lay on the cut side (refer to image above). Hold and slice the peel around the orange. Do not be afraid to cut into the flesh. Cut peeled oranges into slices. It will take a few tries.
- Toss greens, quinoa, roasted chickpeas, dressing into a bowl. Top with blood orange slices and roasted walnuts. If you are taking the salad to a party, reserve roasted walnuts and chickpeas in a bag until ready to be served. They are better crispy.
*Quinoa cooking tips adapted from The Kitchn