MEL × RIVERBEND: Roasted beets, winter mix & raspberry salad with balsamic dressing
winter mix greens - photo by Sara Jewell Photography Edmonton



Earlier this season, I created an entire country pic nic menu based around local, seasonal ingredients. Most of the produce in those recipes was from Riverbend Gardens, and I rounded it out with a few things from my personal garden.

I invited a bunch of women to experience the meal and it turned out wonderfully! Everyone enjoyed being out at the farm and tasting the produce that had grown just feet away from where they ate. More on the whole experience in a future post, I promise.

Making friends with the underdog

When I came up with the flavors of this salad, I thought long and hard about the best way to make roasted beets shine. They're such an underdog in most kitchens, often overlooked for a more exciting or familiar vegetable. Yet, they have such a beautiful flavor, slightly sweet and earthy, especially when they are quite small and fresh.

I decided to riff off of this recipe that I did last year, which was an instant favorite in our house.

Roasted beet & raspberry summer salad by The Nomadic Wife
Roasted Beet salad by The Nomadic Wife

Pairing for flavor

I decided to pair them with spicy winter mix (which is a leaf salad mixture that includes mustard greens, leaf lettuce & Asian greens). It packs a little bit of punch and holds up well on it's own, which is why we grow so much of it every year in our garden. If you like arugula, which could be used instead, odds are you will enjoy this too!

Then, to contrast the sweetness that develops in the beets when roasting them, I topped the salad with a generous amount of freshly picked raspberries which have a delightful tartness to them. Of course, you can replace them with the store bought kind, but if you can sneak off to a UPick farm and get them fresh, you won't regret it.

Making a meal of it

To transform this wonderful side dish into a main worthy of summer vibes and without competing with the beets, I turned to my friends at Eat Grain. They have a wonderful Canadian grown farro that pairs so well with beets! Plus it's full of fiber and protein which keeps you fuller longer.


wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, vegetarian


1 C farro, cooked
10-12 small beets
4 C winter mix or arugula
1 pint raspberries
Balsamic glaze & olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste


Start by washing your beets well & removing the tops to create a flat surface.
Toss the beets in a little bit of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then check for tenderness by poking one with a fork, bake for 10 minutes more if they are still quite hard. Keep in mind that a little crunch is fine!
Let your beets cool.
In a large bowl, place your greens and farro in layers ending with a sprinkle of farro.
Then top with raspberries, beets and a drizzle of balsamic & olive oil.

Note: If you’re on a wheat free diet, you can swap the farro for quinoa or wild rice!


If you're into pickling like I am, head on over this way I have a few tips in store for your extra beets. If on the other hand, pickling isn't your cup of tea, I found a really cool article about how to store roots for winter. It's a fun, traditional approach.


Mel × Riverbend: Sunomono Salad with Kholrabi
Simple sunomono salad with kholrabi by the nomadic wife



Sunomono salad is a traditional Japanese salad

Typically consisting of tissue paper thin slices of cucumber and a rice vinegar based dressing. It also comes in many iterations, sometimes featuring shrimp (Ebi Sunomono), or cold rice noodles.

Sliced cucumber for sunomono salad recipe
Sunomono salad with kohlrabi and rice vinegar dressing

Japanese influence

I first experienced Sunomono salad in Hawaii where the japanese influence is predominant in the cuisine. It was served as a starter between our miso soup and our sushi course. It was tangy, light, sweet, crunchy and perfectly harmonious. The perfect balance of flavors in each bite.

Since then, I have made this salad at home whenever cucumbers come into season. As a side dish for a heavier barbecue meal or as a starter before our main course. I love how the acidity of this incredibly simple salad leaves you refreshed, anticipating the next bite.

Sunomono Salad with kohlrabi

Crunchy with Kohlrabi

Being the person that I am, however, has brought me to the conclusion that I could somehow make it more crunchy. I have a penchant for crunchy salads, and as perfect as it is on its own -- cucumbers only -- there’s something wonderful about elevating this salad with a little bit of satisfying crunch. To achieve this, I include some thinly sliced kohlrabi, since they marinate just as quickly but retain more of their integrity than the cucumbers.


wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, vegetarian

4 servings

1 large kohlrabi
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers
¼ t salt
3 T rice vinegar
1 T honey
¼ t tamari
½ t roasted sesame oil
1 t sesame seeds

15 mins prep

Slice cucumbers as thinly as you can and set aside for a few minutes, they will lose some water.
Slice the kohlrabi thinly then squeeze the cucumbers in a clean kitchen towel to remove the excess water.
In a bowl, mix the salt, vinegar, honey, tamari & sesame oil with a fork.
Add the kohlrabi & cucumbers, mix well until everything is coated and sprinkle sesame seeds on top right before serving.


Kholrabi often come with a few leaves attached. These leaves tastes a little like kale and can be use in a very similar way, so save them for stir fries & salads. The bulb itself keeps very well in the crisper for quite some time, but it can also be turned into pickles for winter eating!

Try having it as slaw, pickles or even roasted as fries (recipe for kohlrabi fries is coming)!


Mel × Riverbend: Cabbage & Onion Soup
easy dinner plant based cabbage and onion soup
cabbage and onion soup a simple seasonal dinner



These days my heart sometimes longs for a simple, steaming hot meal.

I vacillate between the desire to eat fresh produce, the promise of warmer days to come, and the desire to curl up with a good bowl of piping hot soup. Is it really summer? It sure hasn't felt that way these past days.

When those moments turn up, as the inevitably ought to, I turn to my repertoire of simple, yet tasty fare which celebrates the days of winter's past. This recipe is one that I concocted on a day where my laziness surpassed my yearning for a complex meal, a day where a simple head of cabbage & a large onion was all I was willing to deal with.

The results were surprisingly delightful, for the onion & the cabbage, once browned and steeped come together as the most perfect of complices. I did, at the last moment, add a third to their dance. I wanted a touch of brightness in my dish, and I knew just the right ingredient to bring it all together.

A hefty dose of sauerkraut, cabbage in a brighter form, brings just the right acidity to this soup. It makes everything pop. It takes it from hearty & wholesome, to a party I wouldn't mind inviting guests to.



4 servings

1 head of green cabbage
1 large onion
2 T butter
4 C stock
1 t tamari
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 C sauerkraut
Fresh parsley

15 mins prep + 15 mins cook

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the butter & the minced onions.
Cook them until they begin to caramelize then deglaze with the vinegar.
Thinly slice the cabbage, add it to the pot along with the tamari & stock.
Cook until the cabbage is tender then serve with sauerkraut & fresh parsley.



Taking the leaves of of the outside of a cabbage as opposed to cutting into it makes it last longer in the crisper.
If you do cut into it, a mason jar and a quick pickle is all it takes to keep cabbage almost indefinitely.
If you're a little more adept at it, you could even try your hand making your own sauerkraut.