Posts in Salad + Bowls
MEL × RIVERBEND: Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad



Quick pickling

Quick-pickling is one of those things I discovered out of necessity. I love red onion you see, however for Tom they are indigestible in their raw form. So, I started looking into ways I could incorporate them into our salad without giving him indigestion. After much googling and pinterest-ing, enter quick-pickling.

The first time I attempted it, I did it with white vinegar. I chopped the red onions finely, set them at the bottom of a bowl and tossed them with a splash of vinegar. I let them sit a bit while I prepared the remaining components of our meal. When I returned to them and did a taste test, I thought they turned out a little too far on the tangy side and made the whole experience a little abrasive. However, I knew it was on to something. It just needed some finessing.

My preferred quick pickling vinegar

These days, I tend to reach for wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar for quick pickling. They all have a slightly different taste and are somewhat softer and more rounded out in flavor than white vinegar. Since they all have different tastes (and this is also true when you change from brand to brand) this may require some experimentation of your own, but for the sake of this recipe, I used the slightly fruitier Bragg apple cider vinegar.

Moving on from red onions, I figured if this works for them it must work for other things as well (and it does)! I’ve now quick pickled carrots, garlic scapes, cukes, zucchini and most recently kale.

Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad

About this recipe:

It’s simple. Much like the rest of my kitchen.

However, it’s the small details and technique which elevate this dish past being another simple salad. The kale gets softened by the vinegar & salt, as do the red onions. The potatoes are quickly boiled then pan seared to create a golden exterior and a fluffy soft middle.

Topped with the nutty roasted pumpkin seeds and the crunchy salt flake finish, it makes for the perfect side dish on a barbecue night or a fantastic base for a weekday bowl.




1 bunch kale
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 golf ball sized red onion
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
Sea salt for finishing

10 min PREP + Cook 20 mins

  1. Rip the kale into bite size chunks, reserving the stems for later use.
  2. In a medium bowl, place kale, thinly sliced red onion, apple cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Mix well by hand making sure all the kale & onion is well coated.
  4. Place potatoes in a pan with enough water to cover half way up the potatoes.
  5. Boil for 10 minutes, turning halfway then drain.
  6. Add butter & remaining olive oil then pan fry over medium for 5 minutes.
  7. Chop the kale stems to the size of a large pea,
  8. Flip the potatoes over, add the pumpkin seeds & kale stems.
  9. Once the potatoes are golden on both sides, remove from the pan, chop them up (careful not to burn yourself) and toss with the kale.
  10. Serve warm or cold, enjoy!

more kale recipes

MEL × RIVERBEND: Minty Pickled Beet Salad
simple beet salad with goat cheese and mint - the nomadic wife
pickled beet salad with goat cheese and mint - the nomadic wife



Pickled beets from my mother's kitchen

I remember a day when I was fourteen & I was watching the snow fall on the lawn of our family home. It was nice and toasty inside, but outside, a big ol' Canadian storm was brewing.

I paced back from our kitchen patio doors to the stairs and down to the basement, where my mother stored row upon row of jars filled to the brim with a liquid that seemed black as night in the dimly lit storage room.

Bettraves 2004, was scribbled on the top of the two-part mason lid, perfect. I knew they had only been made for a few weeks, in the late fall. My mother insisted that they ought to remain there gathering dust for at least a few months before we ate them, but I just couldn't help myself.

I snuck back up into the kitchen, untwisted the ring of the lid and with the help of the side of a fork removed the sealed disk to the sound of a satisfying pop.

I plunged the fork tines into the dark wine-colored liquid, and it found its target quickly. In one swift move, I went from jar to mouth and crunched down on the very first tangy pickled beet of the year. As always, it was the perfect harmony between the earthy sweetness of the beet & the tangy vinegar of the brine.

simple beet salad with goat cheese and mint - the nomadic wife

Beets straight from the jar & on every plate

These days, I still make my mother's pickled beets in the fall, except that now I no longer need to sneak around to eat them by the pint. I'm the only one in our home who enjoys the perfect balance between the sweet root & the sour vinegar.

While eating them like this still has a fond place in my heart, I also serve them as a side dish or plop a jar of them on the table next to the salt & pepper, just in case.

simple beet salad with goat cheese and mint - the nomadic wife
simple beet salad with goat cheese and mint - the nomadic wife

Beet Salad for lunch

Today's recipe is a little salad I enjoy when I manage to convince myself that an entire pint of beets doesn't qualify as lunch. You can lay this salad on a bed of mixed greens with a little olive oil or serve it up with your favorite crackers. It's simple, but not overly so, and brings a vivid color to the plate when the rest of the world is otherwise turning white.




Makes 2 portions

1 pint jar of pickled beets
¼ - ½ C goat cheese
1 T dry mint
Salt to taste

* serve with sprouts & crackers or on top of greens with a drizzle of olive oil.



5 mins prep 

  1. To make the pickled beets, simply follow this recipe but use beets.
  2. Once your jars have sat for a few weeks, place beets on a plate with a good sprinkle of salt, mint & a dollop of goat cheese.
  3. From there you can add your favorite crackers and call it a snack or put this on top of salad greens with olive oil and call it a light lunch.



MEL × RIVERBEND: 6 Ingredient Sweet Potato + Butternut Potage
Simple sweet potato and butternut squash soup recipe



keep the soup base simple

I'm of the opinion that every ingredient on a plate, or in a bowl, deserves it's time to shine! Now, I love a good soup or stew packed to the brim with all the veggies as much as the next gal, but there's something about blended soups (potage for the food geeks among us) that has me drawing the line at a handful of ingredients.

I feel that this way, it allows each ingredient to lend a hand to the others instead of competing for space and flavor. This particular recipe could be done with even less ingredients by going entirely in one direction with the sweet potatoes or the butternut. In both cases, it results in a similarly luscious texture and gives the primary veg just that much more space to showcase its complex sweetness. 

easy butternut squash soup recipe

What grows together goes together

Making potage is, I think, is as old as the world. Well perhaps at least the french world, and then maybe a little bit beyond that. In Europe, people often planted potage gardens or potager which were vegetable gardens named this way because if you were to harvest everything and boil it together it would make good soup. Pretty nifty right?

In today's day and age, I'm not sure I'd want to blend together everything in my garden. For one, there are way too many herbs. However, CSA baskets (or farm stands) are a great place to start exploring the potential of doing one or two main ingredient potage because if they old addage is right, if it grows together it goes together. 

luscious and easy butternut soup recipe
toppings make the soup

toppings make the soup shine

I think you've now figured out that I really play by the keep it simple silly approach, but there's one more thing that we really need to have a quick chat about. Creating a base that doesn't compete with itself opens the door to some really fun topping options. I usually dig through with what ever I have in the pantry at that moment, looking for a little punch of salt or acidity to add on top. Sometimes, salt flakes is all it takes but in this case I was really craving a salty & herbaceous blend to cut through the sweetness of the base.

I went for cilantro + feta, with a few sliver of almonds (because they're pretty but also complement the earthy goodness of this soup). I know everyone isn't a huge fan of cilantro, so if that's not your jam, consider parsley or a tiny bit of rosemary or sage. Be warned though, they go a mighty long way!



4C sweet potato
1 small butternut
2 small yellow onions
1/2 head of garlic
4C vegetable stock
2 T coconut oil


Slivered almonds
Fresh cilantro or parsley

10 MIN PREP + 25 mins cook

Peel & chop onions & sweet potatoes roughly.
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the coconut oil & the onions.
Cook them until they begin to caramelize then add the sweet potatoes, garlic & stock.
Bring up to the boil & cook until the potatoes have softened.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup, it should be thick & creamy.
Serve topped with almonds, feta & fresh herbs.


Storing most varieties of winter squash is as easy as keeping them on the counter. They tend to hold up quite well for a few weeks if the kitchen isn't crazy hot and steamy most of the time. If you'd like to hold on to them longer, consider storing them in a cool dry place (basements are usually ideal) where they can keep for a few months.

Pro tip: Rotate them from time to time and check for moisture to keep them from rotting.