Stand Alone Sides | by Sara Kuntz

April showers bring May flowers…or so the saying goes. I associate this time of year with the beginning of the growing season. The snow is finally behind us and we have nothing but sunny days ahead. Our markets are blooming and bursting with seasonal favourites and there is a fresh, vibrant scent in the air. Some of my favourite things to have with a spring barbeque are simple delicious salads made with crisp, clean vegetables. These are two of my favourite recipes … both very easy to prepare. The best part is that the ingredients speak so much for themselves, they need very little fussing over to make them taste even better. It might just be a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, or a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got the wonderful flavours of spring without too much effort.


Candy Beets with Parsley



YIELD: 4 to 6


¼  cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper

8 to 10 candy cane beets, raw, peeled and thinly sliced with a benriner/mandolin
¼  small red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
½ cup crumbled sheep feta (optional)


  1. Whisk together both juices, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Toss beets, onion, and parsley with dressing and season with salt. Let stand, tossing occasionally for about 30 minutes to soften beets and allow flavours to develop.
  3. Toss again and season to taste prior to plating and drizzle with additional oil.
Serve with goat or sheep feta, fresh ricotta, or your favourite soft cheese.
* * *

Lemon Zucchini Salad


YIELD: 4 to 6



1 small bunch of lacinato kale, torn into bite sized pieces
½ cup fresh edamame beans, blanched and shelled (I use Ontario grown GMO-free Pristine Gourmet)
½ small red onion, sliced into rings and lightly grilled
1 zucchini (I used both yellow and green), thinly sliced on a benriner/mandolin or for a fun new twist use a small melon-baller to make little hazelnut sized balls of zucchini
Fresh basil leaves
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)


2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small mason jar and shake to combine.
  2. Massage the kale with a little dressing and set aside to marinate in a large salad bowl.
  3. Blanch and shell edamame according to package instructions.
  4. Cut red onion into rings and lightly grill.
  5. Prep your zucchini according to your tastes. Zucchini is intended to be raw so smaller and thinner is best!
  6. Combine all ingredients with your marinated kale, toss together and lightly dress.
  7. Serve on a platter and top with small basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and red pepper flakes.



Sara Kuntz is a Culinary Nutritionist who is an advocate for sustainable, delicious, nutrient-dense, whole foods in everyday kitchens


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