Posts in Sides
Easy Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes | Photo by Emilie Iggiotti | The Nomadic Wife



Holiday traditions are evolving in our home

I love mash as much as the next gal, but we’ve traded in regular mash for sweet potato mash in our house during the holiday season as a means to get more color on the plate. We now make these fun little hasselbacks for those who still want a good ol’ potato side dish with their main. They’re incredibly simple to make and result in crispy outside, fluffy inside goodness.

Hasselback Potatoes | Photo by Emilie Iggiotti | The Nomadic Wife



Three to four small potatoes per person

Olive oil

Optional: cheese, fresh herbs like rosemary or flavored salts for an added twist



10 mins prep + bake 40 mins at 425°F

  1. Cut slits into the potatoes every ⅛ inch leaving the bottoms intact.

  2. Brush olive oil on & sprinkle with salt.

  3. Bake for 20 mins, then brush on more olive oil & bake for the remaining 20 mins.

  4. Serve immediately with fresh herbs or plain.



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.


Potato salad with apple, dill & cranberries
the perfect easy potato salad



The Unpretentious potato salad

Sometimes, the best potato salad is the most unpretentious one. The one our aunts and mothers used to make when we were wee ones for summer picnics.

In its most traditional form, well at least in my family, it was a slightly over cooked dish of mayonnaise laden potatoes with a little salt and pepper. It was mushy, saucy & perfectly filling. It left our little tummies round and our faces soft with contentment. In a way, it was a perfect dish from my childhood.

At smorgasbord style family events I would hoard ladle upon ladle of it onto my cardboard plate for fear of missing out when I went for seconds.

easy potato salad for a summer picnic
elevated potato salad recipe with garlic scapes

the potato salad that I now love

Funny thing is, my taste for saucy-mess potato salad has diminished over the years. Perhaps in search of something a little more elevated or in stubborn rebellion against my Canadian-mud roots.

These days, however, when I'm craving of a good plate of familiar comfort food, it resurfaces.

In a desire to make it my own, and to give light to some of the beauty I discovered on my culinary journeys, I've taken it upon myself to add a few twist to this recipe from generations past.

Part of the change is subconscious. A kind of knee jerk reaction, I add things to the mix that I thoroughly enjoy. Cranberry, apple. And part of the change is a newly discovered consciousness of using things that grow & are harvested together. Garlic scapes, dill.

perfect picnic potato salad

the soul of potato salad is in the cooking & the mayonnaise

But the soul of potato salad lays in how the potatoes are cooked & the amount of mayonnaise used. I prefer new potatoes if I can get them, cooked al dente in their skins so that they retain all of their essences. As for mayo, to each her own, but I spike mine in a one third / two third ratio with the best grainy mustard I can get my hands on. Usually from a local lady who makes it in tiny jars and when that fails I reach for the stuff of my childhood, maille.

All in all, potato salad may not be the stuff of fancy hipster dinner parties - yet - but it sure is an unpretentious dish that feeds the soul.


wheat free, meat free, soy free, egg free, vegetarian

2 servings

15-20 fingerling potatoes
¼ C garlic scapes, chopped
½ C dried cranberries
1 apple, chopped
2-3 sprigs of fresh dill
2 T grainy mustard
4 T mayo
Salt & pepper to taste

*edible borage flowers from my garden in decoration only

10 mins prep + 15 mins cook

Place your fingerling potatoes in a large pot, cover with water & add a pinch of salt.
Bring to the boil & cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Don't over cook or you will get a mushy salad.
When they are cooked, remove from the heat & rinse with cold water.
Once cooled, chop into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
Chop the apple, dill & garlic scapes and add them along with the cranberries to your potatoes.
Add the mayo & mustard with a pinch of salt & pepper. 
Mix well to make sure everything is coated evenly before serving.
If you leave this salad in the fridge overnight the dill & garlic scapes will become more powerful in flavor.



Keeping fingerling & new potatoes fresh is a matter of storing them properly. I keep mine in the crisper & rotate the bag when I notice moisture accumulation. This seems to keep them fresh for an extended period of time.



The best carrot top sauce & dip you've ever had.
Carrot top pesto & summer dipping sauce



Putting carrot tops to good use can sometimes be a daunting task. They're a little grassy and quite frankly not to everyone's liking. I get it. I hear you.

However, I had this amazing experience recently that may lead you to believe that even the grassiest parts of the carrot can be transformed into something perfectly charming & utterly delicious.

Don't believe me? Read on.

Are carrot tops edible? Carrot top recipes.
How to eat carrot tops. Simple carrot top recipe.

Carrot top pesto for the win

Recently Tom took me out for date night at one of the city’s best restaurants. I won’t name names but they pride themselves in nose to tail & seasonal fare. They also host an on-farm dinner at Riverbend Gardens. The long and short of it is that, while we were there, we enjoyed a scrumptious six-course meal and one of these dishes featured a carrot top pesto.

It was divine. Truly. My mind was completely blown. It was complex, bright yet rich, vibrant and yet perfectly umami. So, of course, I had to run home and create something inspired by the experience of this dish.


Enter Riverbend Garden’s carrot tops, grana padano & toasted hemp seed dip.

Hemp heart pesto
carrot top pesto with grana padano and hemp hearts

One sauce, two ways.

There are two ways of using this recipe. One is hot and omits the mayonnaise. It's a little more earthy, but it rounds out a pasta dish beautifully. The second is cool and creamy. Using all the ingredients turns it into the perfect salad dressing or a crudité dip. 

Carrot top dip recipe for crudite

wheat free, meat free, egg free, soy free, vegetarian

makes 3 C of sauce

1 C finely chopped carrot tops
1 C hemp hearts
/4 C olive oil
3/4 C finely grated Grana Padano cheese
1/4 C mayonnaise
2 T or more apple cider vinegar

Salt to taste 

15 mins prep

Begin by chopping the carrot tops as small as you can with a knife (like the photo above). 
I break tops off the carrots and chop until I have a full cups worth of chopped greens.
Grab a small pan, place it over medium heat and add your hemp hearts.
Stir every minute or so until the hemp hearts begin to brown. 
Careful here as they go from gold to char rather quickly.
Place them in the bowl of your food processor to cool.
Grate your cheese (Pecorino or Parmegiano would do well here if you don't have Grana Padano on hand)
Add the cheese to the bowl of cooled hemp hearts a long with the chopped greens.
Blend on high until it forms a paste, then slowly add the oil & apple cider vinegar.

You can stop here if you want to use it as a pesto or add in the mayonnaise if you want a pasta salad/bowl sauce or dip.



Pesto of any kind can go bad in the fridge pretty quickly. To keep this from happening store pesto in a jar that has a narrow opening & doesn't house a lot of air. To keep the pesto from oxidizing inside the jar, pour a little olive oil to "seal it in".



One Pan Squash Gratin

Sides really don't get any easier than this! It literally takes five minutes to put together and you can serve it alongside your favourite pasta dish or in a bowl with chili. So good!


Makes 4 portions

2 large squash, sliced
½ C vegetable or chicken stock
½ C parmesan
⅓ C bread crumbs
2 T olive oil
Salt & pepper


5 minutes prep + 40 mins bake

Slice the squash into thin disks & layer them into an oven safe dish.
Add the chicken stock, it should drip to the bottom. 
Drizzle on olive oil, then sprinkle parmesan & breadcrumbs over top. 
Give it a good crack of fresh pepper & a sprinkle of salt.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until squash is tender.
Serve as a side dish to baked chicken or fish.

Note: this recipe works well with all kinds of squash, such as summer squash, pattypan & zucchini. 

The perfectly nutty potato dish

I don't know about you, but I feel like it’s been particularly cool this past week. The cooler weather brings out a side of me which wants to eat soups, stews and can’t be bothered with complicated dishes. So recently I have been flexing my one-pot dinner muscles.

Riverbend potatoes make for the perfect vehicle for these one pot meals & this is one of my favourite versions. Note that if you get some fun greens in your CSA, like kale or chards, you can just chop those up to make this dish. No need to get fancy. Greens are greens. Yes, they have different tastes & textures but in this instance, they are pretty interchangeable. 


wheat free + grain free + dairy free + egg free + vegetarian + vegan

FEEDS: 2 as a main / 4 as a side
PREP + COOK: 5 + 20 MINS


2 lbs fingerling potatoes
3 C spinach, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 t chili flakes
1 T olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
½ C toasted walnuts


Take a large pot and bring it up to the boil, add a touch of salt. 
Cook potatoes whole until tender, about 15 mins.
Drain, keeping ¼ C of cooking water and add the potatoes back into the pot.
Add oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Mix well.
When the garlic becomes fragrant add the water back in along with the spinach on top and cover.
Steam until the spinach is wilted.
Season with salt and pepper, then serve topped with toasted walnuts.