'Nacho' Typical Nacho Dip - 7 Layer

By Susan Arruda




Layer 1 - Bottom Layer:
½ cup light sour cream
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 can white kidney beans, 540 ml, 19 fl oz., pureed
Taco Seasoning consisting of:  1 tsp. chili powder, ½ tsp. cumin, ¼ tsp. paprika, 1/8 garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp. dried oregano,
1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper  (or use 2 tsp. of prepared taco seasoning that is low in sodium and trans fat free)

Layer 2 – Guacamole
2 ripe avocados (med-large size)
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of one lime, approximately)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
½ tsp. sea salt

Layer 3 – Creamy
½ cup light sour cream (3% or 5%)
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup/1 pkg. (8oz/250g) light or non-fat cream cheese with garden vegetable seasoning consisting of:
½ tsp. roasted red pepper, ¼ tsp. onion powder, ¼ tsp. chives, ¼ tsp. celery, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. basil, 1/8 tsp. parsley, 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper (or 2 tsp. prepared garden herb spice)

Layer 4 – Ground beef (vegetarians can omit this layer)
1.5 Lbs. of extra lean ground beef
2-3 minced garlic cloves
Seasoning:  2 ¼ tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 ½ tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Layer 5 – Salsa
Seven cups strained chunky salsa of choice; mild, medium or hot
1/3 to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Layer 6 – Cheese
2.5 cups shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Layer 7 – Lettuce
3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1-2 stalks green onion, chopped
Optional – add chopped tomatoes and black olives


FIRST LAYER: Puree the kidney beans in a food processor or blender. Add the sour cream, Greek yogurt and seasonings and blend or puree to combine.
Pour and spread the dressing evenly in a 9” X 13” pan. Cover and store in the refrigerator as you prepare the next layer.

SECOND LAYER: Place the avocados and all the ingredients listed for the second layer in a food processor and whip until smooth.  Spread evenly over the first layer. Return the pan to the refrigerator as you prepare the next layer.

THIRD LAYER:   Combine all the listed ingredients and blend together thoroughly.  Layer the dip evenly, return the pan to the refrigerator and proceed with the next layer.

FOURTH LAYER: Cook the ground beef in a frying pan until almost fully cooked.  Transfer to a strainer and rinse to rid of any excess fat. Return back to the pan and cook with the garlic and seasonings. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding to the dip.

FIFTH LAYER: Place the salsa in a strainer over a bowl and press the salsa against the strainer using a spoon to squeeze out excess liquid (to avoid your dip getting soggy).  Add the chopped salsa and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly over the ground beef mixture.  (Reserve the salsa liquid for other cooking adventures)

SIXTH LAYER: Shred the cheese and spread evenly over the salsa.

SEVENTH LAYER: Chop the green onions and the lettuce along with other additions, if desired and spread evenly as the final layer.

Serve with our home baked pita chips, or plain nachos. 




Use food kitchen scissors to cut your whole wheat pita into ¼ slices and then 1/8 (cut the ¼ pieces in half).  Open and pull pita apart (front from back) at the seams and spread evenly on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 200oF oven for approximately 20 minutes or until crisp.

Nacho Dip - 7 Layer



Slimmer Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

By Susan Arruda

YIELD: 11 oz.


2 egg yolks- room temp.
2 tsp. mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup silken tofu (fine texture)
1 tbsp. light cream cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) + 1 tbsp. (6 tbsp. total amount)
1 tsp. nutritional food yeast flakes
2-4 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Combine the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, tofu and cream cheese and whisk together thoroughly or mix in a blender, food processor or beat with a mixer in a bowl.  
Whisk the Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.
Gradually whisk in the EVOO until thick and creamy
Add the remaining ingredients together.
Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Caesar Salad


1 whole wheat bagel – cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic glove minced
1 tbsp. EVOO

Toss the bread cubes with the other ingredients and mix to combine.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake at 225 for 15-20 minutes until light, golden and crisp. Avoid over-baking or this will result in a rock hard, rather than chewy center.

The salad and the dressing can be prepared beforehand.  Store the dressing in a glass dispenser and store in the refrigerator.

Combine the dressing with the lettuce just before serving.

The croutons will keep for 2 days in an airtight container.


Slimmed Down Super Spinach Dip

By Susan Arruda

YIELD: Serves 4


8 cups lightly packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
½ cup Greek yogurt, strained for approx. 4 hours (will reduce to approx. 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. light cream cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste 
OPTIONAL: 2-4 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese


Coarsely chop spinach and set aside in a bowl.

Combine together well, the strained Greek yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese and minced garlic clove.

Add the spinach to the creamed mixture and stir to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pita chips (see our Tzatziki recipe for how to) or in a bread bowl:
Hollow out a pumpernickel round loaf by cutting a smaller circle into the top of the bread loaf  and remove the top and inside bread (don’t discard; use for dipping) to create a nest.  

Pour the dip into the bread bowl and serve. 

Slimmed Down Super Spinach Dip
Slimmed Down Super Spinach Dip


Tzatziki with Home Baked Pita Chips

By Susan Arruda

YIELD: 4 servings


1 cup plain Greek yogurt (must be strained overnight or a minimum of 4 hours)
½ cucumber, peeled and finely grated; squeezed of excess water or pressed against strainer
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
¼ tsp. each sea salt and black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
100% whole wheat pita bread (1 pita yields 16 wedges/pita chips) and is approximately 200 calories.


Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Add the yogurt into the strainer and set aside (covered) in the refrigerator for at least 4 hrs., or overnight.
Transfer the strained yogurt into a serving bowl.
Grate the cucumber and squeeze the excess water with clean hands or press against the fine strainer.
Add the remaining ingredients to the yogurt and mix/stir to combine.
Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Serve with the pita wedges or use as a vegetable dip or spread.

Tzatziki is great served with chicken, pork or lamb and is a Greek mainstay.

Use food kitchen scissors to cut your whole wheat pita into ¼ slices and then 1/8 (cut the ¼ pieces in half). Open and pull pita apart (front from back) at the seams and spread evenly on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 200 Degrees Fahrenheit oven for approximately 20 minutes or until crisp.


Roasted Eggplant Veggie and Avocado Dip

By Marco Girgenti




1 avocado
1/2 zucchini, chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
1/4 eggplant, chopped (approx. 1.5 cups)
1/2 red pepper, chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp water
Juice of 1/2 lemon (approx. 1 tbsp.)
Approx. 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro



Pre-heat oven to 375oF.

Place the first five chopped ingredients onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Spray or sprinkle with water and bake at 375oF for 25-30 minutes until well cooked and vegetables are soft.
Cool slightly and place the cooked vegetables in a food processor or blender and pureé until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients - listed again below - and purée 
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp water
Juice of 1/2 lemon (approx. 1 tbsp.)
Approx. 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Serve as a dip or spread.



Great Green Salad - by Rachel Hofing

By Rachel Hofing

I don't specify how much lettuce, herbs or broccoli, as you can
prepare it as you like it. This whole salad is green and full of
flavour, deliciousness and is a nutritional power punch! - Rachel Hofing

YIELD: 6 Servings


Leafy Greens of your choice (try a mixture of Romaine, Spinach, Mache, Red Leaf, Arugula, etc.) (we/ made a big
batch and used 10 cups of lettuce spring mix)
2 - 3 little grouping of Cilantro leaves (may substitute parsley or other favourite herb) (We at, used ¼ cup basil)
Broccoli, chopped fine (We used 2 cups)
1/2 Avocado, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Tahini Lime Dressing (see below)


2 Limes, juiced
1/2 cup Olive oil
1 - 2 tbsp. Tahini paste (sesame seed butter)
1 tbsp. avocado oil (you may omit this if you don't have it - it is an expensive oil)
1 tsp. Maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. dry mustard powder
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced


Assemble all your salad ingredients in serving bowls. 
Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to mix.
Pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy.  
Store your dressing in the refrigerator.  Remove the dressing about 10 minutes prior to using as your oils will solidify in the fridge. This dressing is easy, tasty and keeps well - no need to buy store-bought dressings full of oils that  are poor quality and may be going rancid (oils exposed to light and heat are prone to going rancid).

Did you know that many of the vitamins in salads (i.e. Vitamin K found in leafy greens) are fat soluble?  Therefore, eating them with a good fat, such as the healthy oils and tahini in the dressing recipe, actually makes the vitamins more readily absorbed and used by your body!

Great Green Salad

Tabbouleh - Middle Eastern Lebanese Salad

By Susan Arruda



1/2 cup bulgur. Pre-soak to soften in water for minimum of 30-60 minutes. - A longer soaking time will allow for a softer grain; use boiling water for 8-10 mins. in a pinch.
Juice of one lemon
1 bunch of curly parsley, finely chopped (flat-leaf typically used in Lebanon); approx. 3 cups
1/4 cup of fresh mint, chopped. Or, approximately 1 tbsp. of dried mint.
3 medium tomatoes diced - approx. 2 cups grape tomatoes; these keep better in the case of leftovers
2-3 stalks of green onions, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
Salt & pepper to taste


Pre-soak bulgur for a minimum of 30-60 minutes, preferably longer, to soften.
Drain and squeeze out the excess water.
Combine all ingredients together & toss.
Chill to allow flavours to marinate.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil and whole natural foods. Olive oil is a healthy dietary fat, high in monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) and rich in polyphenols (polyphenols are a rich plant source). The beneficial health effects of olive oil offer protection against heart disease (help to control and lower LDL/bad cholesterol levels while raising HDL/good cholesterol) Store olive oil in a dark, room temperature cupboard as the oil becomes degraded and rancid if exposed to prolonged light and heat (storage on or over the stove is not the way to go).  Replace all bad fat with good fats and moderation is key. The smoke point marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation and dictates the maximum usable temperature. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of approx. 350 Deg. Fahrenheit.

Tabbouleh - Middle Eastern Lebanese Salad

Courgette (Zucchini) Soup

By Jackie Johnston



3 large courgettes  (zucchini)
Large white mushrooms - 9 more or less, according to taste preference
Vegetable stock 2 1/2 cups
1 tbsp. light cream cheese



Chop courgette and mushrooms into large chunks.
Place in large saucepan with vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Add cream cheese. Cool slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor to puree.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Soup can be served either hot or cold.

Optional: Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and/or 1 tbsp. of Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream.

COURGETTE finds its origin in France as a diminutive of gourd, from the Latin, Cucurbita. The British (particularly New Zealand) appropriated the name, courgette for zucchini.  People in the UK refer to courgettes as vegetable marrows. The zucchini or courgette, is a summer squash which often grows to nearly a meter in length, but is usually harvested at half that size or less (younger, smaller zucchinis tend to be sweeter). It is a hybrid of the cucumber. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color. Zucchini should be stored for no longer than three days. They are prone to chilling damage which shows up as sunken pits in the surface of the fruit, especially when brought up to room temperature after cool storage.

Zucchini is low calorie and rich in riboflavin, a B vitamin needed for red blood cell production and for converting carbohydrates into energy. 

A large zucchini provides about 27% of your daily riboflavin requirement and is only 52 calories. It is also a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C.


Impromptu Veggie Soup

By Marco Girgenti

YIELD: Serves 4


2 yellow bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers

1 med green zucchini
1 med yellow zucchini
6 brussel sprouts, halved, stem removed
Optional: 1 tbsp olive oil


Rough chop all the vegetables into quarters.

Place everything in a large saucepan and add liquid to equal half of the total amount of vegetables; use water or stock.

1-2 tsp. of salt, or to taste.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer (still covered) for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and well cooked.

Strain into a bowl and reserve the liquid stock.

Allow to cool slightly.

Place the vegetables into a food processor or high powered blender.

Blend and puree to desired consistency.  If the mixture is too thick, gradually add some of the reserved stock.

Garnish with cracked black pepper and a sprig of parsley.

Helpful hints: Refrigerate or freeze the stock for use in another recipe.
This soup also works well using a pressure cooker method. Use just use a third of the liquid equal to the total amount of vegetables and set the pressure cooker on high
 for 6 minutes.  Allow the pressure to release naturally; let it to sit and allow the pressure to subside on its own.

Impromptu Veggie Soup

Better For You -
Butternut Squash Soup

by Marco Girgenti

YIELD: 6 Servings

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small-med. onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2-3 medium potatoes, cubed (sweet potatoes can be substituted)
1 small apple, chopped
1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock - 900 mL carton of organic low sodium chicken stock (Home Goodness brand); see prep instructions below.
1 sprig fresh rosemary, approx 3-4 inches (small sprig of rosemary converts to approx. 1/2 tsp. of dried); fresh is recommended.
½ tsp. coriander

Remove rosemary sprig after cooking.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: After cook time, add a pinch or 1/8 of chili flakes for those who love the heat!
Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, apple and squash for approx. 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Add seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
Allow to cool slightly before next step.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. If you prefer some texture in your soup, you can choose to mash the ingredients using a mashing tool instead of pureeing.


Quinoa Turmeric Soup

By Marco Girgenti

YIELD: 6 servings


12-16 Brussel sprouts, halved and washed
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, whole
2 mushrooms chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 bell peppers chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1 carrot sliced
2 cups of spinach
add 1 cup uncooked quinoa


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic clove and onion, stirring constantly for several minutes until appearing translucent. Add the Brussel sprouts and mushrooms and cook until soft, but not mushy.
Add the remaining ingredients along with 5-6 cups water; enough to cover the vegetables.
Cover and bring to boil.
Reduce heat and cook gently/simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

Quinoa Turmeric Soup

Un-Beetable-Vita Salad

By Zuzana Samkova

"Vita" means life, in Italian. But in this case, it refers to the 75% RDA of Vitamin A found in this colourful salad.

YIELD: 4 servings 


1 large beet, shredded
2 medium sized carrots
1 apple shredded
2-4 tbsp. finely sliced red onion  OR to taste
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp. malt or apple cider vinegar
Spritz of freshly squeezed lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 2 radishes, sliced julienne style


For ease, use a food processor to shred the beets, carrots and apples.  Finely slice the red onion and add to the shredded ingredients.  Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly all the vegetables and fruit. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator for 20 mins. to allow for flavour enhancement.   

Un-Beetable-Vita Salad