How to: Healthy Appetizer – Shrimp and Mango Fresh Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce


When ordering Thai, I only ever order fresh rolls when it’s warm out.  Not like it’s a rule or anything, but they’re so cool and fresh I want nothing to do with them when I’m in the middle of my winter comfort food zone.

What I’m saying is, it’s finally warm enough for fresh rolls!

DSC_9210Flavour don’t come no fresher than this.

(That was intentionally gangster)

DSC_9216The prep work for fresh rolls is very simple albeit a little bit time consuming.  TOTALLY worth it though and it’s a good opportunity to brush up on those knife skills.



Simple fresh ingredients.  Gorgeous.  Gets me every time.

Check out the photo tutorial….


DSC_9233 DSC_9243 DSC_9244

Not too hard, right?


These rolls are quite large and should be cut in half before serving.  Serve them as an app or eat them for a meal in itself.  The peanut sauce is sorta epic.  Just a warning, you may want to chug it.



Shrimp and Mango Cold Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Serves 16-20
Prep time 45 minutes
Website Adapted from


Cold Rolls

  • 1lb 31-40 count shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 200g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 22cm rice papers
  • 1 mango (peeled and cut in to ¼ inch slices)
  • ½cucumber (cut in to ¼ inch slices)
  • 6 green onions (white and green parts sliced thinly length wise)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh mint leaves

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used commercially prepared but natural works too, just add 2 tsp of honey to the recipe)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (or more to taste)


31-40 count shrimp means there are 31-40 shrimp in one pound.


Peanut Sauce
1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Cold Rolls
2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook for about 90 seconds, until opaque. Drain and run under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Cut each shrimp in half with a sharp knife.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add vermicelli noodles and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
4. Arrange all of the ingredients on a large work surface. Place a clean kitchen towel on the work surface. Fill a medium frying pan or wide, shallow dish large enough to hold the rice paper wrappers with hot tap water. Working with 1 wrapper at a time, completely submerge the wrapper until it is soft and pliable, about 15 seconds. Remove the wrapper from the water and place it on the towel.
5. Working quickly, layer each of the ingredients in the centre of the rice paper wrapper leaving about 1.5 inches on either side. Fold each side over and roll the wrapper from one end to the other.
6. Place finished rolls on a parchment lined cookie sheet about ½" apart and cover with a clean damp towel or moistened paper towels while working.
7. These can be served immediately or made up to a day in advance. Be sure to cover the finished rolls with a damp towel or paper towels and plastic wrap tightly to keep moisture in.



How To: Healthy Appetizer – Chilled Pea Soup


Normally when we think of soup, we think of the word “hot.” Winter months have you craving a steaming bowl of butternut squash or mushroom soup.

But it is not winter – in fact this past weekend has felt like summer. We spent our weekend chowing down on all things cold – ice cream, iced coffees, cold salads, and this cold soup.


If your only experience with a cold bowl of soup has been gazpacho, well let me open your eyes to the wonderful world of summer soups. There is no reason to miss out on this delicious appetizer or light lunch just because you don’t want to be sweating over a steamy hot bowl.



I also thought to put together this recipe on a whim when two large bags of frozen peas were found in my freezer (note to self: never go to the grocery store without a list in hand!) I also always have a carton or two of vegetable broth, which helps to whip up a soup in no time.

Campbell’s Canada has recently launched a no salt added ready to use vegetable broth that is also gluten free. Now you know we don’t shun gluten here, but for those suffering from Celiac Disease, this is a very useful product. Needless to say, this carton of broth that Campbell’s so generously gifted us came in handy.


And that is only one of the 5 ingredients needed to create a bowl of minty green goodness. No slaving over a hot stove – simply combine the ingredients, boil and simmer for 5 minutes, puree, chill, and voila. A bowl of delicious and COLD soup in no time flat.


Campbell’s has been so generous and has not only gifted us vegetable broth, but wants to share with all of our readers. The first four people to comment on this post will receive 5 coupons for Campbell’s no salt added ready to use vegetable broth. So you too can easily make this summer soup at home!


Ice cream, popsicles, watermelon, and soup – the foods of summer!



Chilled Pea Soup

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Soup


  • 2 Cups frozen peas
  • 2 Cups baby spinach leaves (packed)
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 3 Cups vegetable broth ((1 carton))
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


This vegetarian chilled soup is a great refreshing option for a hot summer day. It also comes together in about 5 minutes so it's perfect for a quick weekday meal. Serve as an appetizer for dinner or alongside a salad or sandwich for lunch.


1. Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until peas are tender.
2. Puree and season with salt and pepper. Place in fridge to chill for a couple hours or overnight. Serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and additional mint if desired.

* Disclosure: The Campbells Company of Canada provided me with the product to develop this recipe. 

How To: Snack Healthy – Asian Edamame Dip

Edamame dip and pita chips

I have nothing against the humble hummus. In fact, we have a fantastic hummus recipe for you right here! But sometimes, you want a change from the usual garlicky chickpea dip. Enter edamame.

edamameedamame dip ingredients Edamame are soybeans that are typically found in their pod. They are rich in protein and fiber and have such a delicious and addictive texture. And you can now find them already shelled in the freezer section of your grocery store. So no need to make a trip to your local Japanese restaurant to enjoy these green beans any longer!



When combined with savoury miso paste, spicy sriracha, and salty soy, the edamame are whirled and transformed into a rich dip that will be a hit at your next bbq or potluck. This dip would also be great as a sandwich spread for you grilled veggie sammies, or thinned with a little more water and tossed with pasta.


However you decide to use it, I have a feeling these Japanese soybeans may take the place of your usual chickpeas.



Asian Edamame Dip

Prep time 10 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer
Website Adapted from Closet Cooking


  • 2 Cups frozen and shelled edamame (defrosted in microwave)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 4 Tbsp water


This dip is delicious served with pita chips, crackers, or your favourite veggies. It would also make a great sandwich spread or pasta sauce when thinned with a little more water.


1. Place all ingredients except for water in a food processor and process until combined.
2. While food processor is running, add water until all the ingredients come together to a smooth paste. You may need a little more or a little less water to reach your desired consistency.

How To: Lunch Sandwiches – Mashed Chickpea and Avocado

The sandwich.

Probably the easiest lunch you can make. Two pieces of bread, some sort of filling…that’s it! Growing up, turkey sandwiches, pb & j, and cream cheese made regular appearances in my lunch box. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that there is much more to a sandwich than the traditional deli meat or mayo-laden salad variety.

Speaking of those salads – tuna, egg, salmon, potato, macaroni, I’m looking at you! I was never nor still am not a fan of these mayonnaise based varieties. That is why I absolutely and positively LOVE this sandwich.

Mashed chickpeas mixed with creamy avocado tastes so decadent and so flavourful, yet it’s so healthful and absolutely not one drop of mayo involved. Avocados are good for more than just guacamole! They substitute for the usual mayo and add so much more flavour and healthy fats to boot!

The best part about this Mashed chickpea and avocado sandwich is that it can be made in mere minutes. So even if you forgot to make your lunch the night before, you can whip up one of these during your morning routine and still be out the door in time, with a delicious lunch in hand.

Top your sandwich with your favourite fixings…spinach, tomato, onion, or cucumber. The sandwich filling also doubles as a very tasty dip – serve with crackers, veggies, or simply scoop and eat with a spoon. Not that I would know anything about that…

So, if you’re in need of a simple and healthy lunch or are just sick of your usual run of the mill sandwich, give this one a try.


Mashed Chickpea and Avocado Spread

Serves 3
Prep time 10 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Lunch, Snack
Website Two Peas and Their Pod


  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Large avocado
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 2 green onions (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Tsp hot sauce
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


This is such a versatile spread - use it as a sandwich filling, dip, or salad topper. Its best used soon after it's made as the avocado will start to brown.


1. Place chickpeas and avocado in a bowl and mash until a few small chunks remain.
2. Mix in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to: Snack Healthy – Guacamole

A few weeks back Dara and I attended a terrific workshop at the Kitchener Market along with 50+ other dietitians where we learned how to succesfully organize food demonstrations and hands-on cooking classes.

We learned a lot, owned the ‘guess-the-spice’ game and enjoyed a delicious lunch of curry chicken roti and langos (Hungarian fried dough with sour cream and cheese. Yes, as good and naughty as it sounds).  What I found most enlightening (and a little frightening) was that many dietitians seemed to be out of touch with real-life food and appeared to lack basic cooking knowledge.

Dietitians are smart cookies (if I do say so myself), but when I think back to my training, it was largely focused on the science of food and nutrition and it’s impact on health.  I know it’s not culinary school, but if I’m going to counsel patients to get more Omega 3 fatty acids by eating salmon, I should be able to tell them how exactly they can manage that (12-15 minutes at 400F) in addition to why it’s important (heart health and all that jazz).

OK, I digress.

I swear, I have a food-related point.

One of the hands-on workshop activities involved getting into to groups and practicing knife skills and no-recipe cooking by making…guacamole (there it is).

Each group had a table full of ingredients (avocados, tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and lime), some sharp knives and a big bowl. Each group came up with their own ‘recipe’.  All were really delicious and fresh tasting, which raises an excellent point – simple fresh food, prepared from scratch tastes really great, good knife skills or not!

Enjoy this recipe but use it loosely.  Find your creative courage and tweak it to your own tastes. If you like cilantro, throw some in (not if I’m coming for dinner though, if you please). If you’re not keen on the taste of raw garlic, try roasting it or get nuts and leave it out altogether.  One of my fave additions is a big dollop of Hellman’s – maybe not the best addition for a ‘healthy snack’ post though.



  • 2 Medium Hass avocados (chopped and mashed with a fork)
  • 1 roma tomato (seeded and chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 jalepeno (finely chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and combine thoroughly


I’m adding this final photo to showcase the homemade baked tortilla chips.  If you can get your hands on some corn tortillas (flour works too but not nearly as well) – cut them in 6, brush them with a little olive or canola oil, sprinkle them with salt and bake them at 350F for 6-8 minutes until lightly browned (watch them very closely, if they burn they taste terrible!).