Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Soups and Salads’ Category

Mini Potato and Green Bean Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing (with or without Tuna)

In Fish / Seafood, Main Course, Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads on December 23, 2013 at am

I have made this potato and green bean salad many times, because it’s flavourful, it can be served warm or cold, it’s quick and easy to make, it’s a one pot meal, it only requires 4 total ingredients, and it’s a great way to use up leftover cooked potatoes and/or green beans.  I like to add tuna when I’m serving it for lunch or dinner.  It’s also a great option for pot lucks as it is gluten free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, and vegan (as long as you don’t add the tuna).


My family and John love the taste and I love how easy it is to make.  I should note though, that this salad does not keep well.  So if you are serving it warm, it should be eaten soon after it was made.  If you are serving it cold, be sure to cool all of the other ingredients first and then toss them with the dressing just prior to serving.

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Delicious Split Pea Soup Recipe (and DIY Meal in a Jar)

In DIY and Crafts, Soups and Salads on December 15, 2013 at am

This is a simple recipe for a delicious split pea soup that you can easily turn into a meal in a jar and a great gift.  (This soup is gluten free and can be made vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free.)  I love giving meals in jars as hostess gifts and housewarming presents.  For people that live in emergency-prone areas, canning meals in jars is essential to being prepared for anything.  Some of the better food preservation methods require equipment such as pressure canners, vacuum packing machines, oxygen absorbers, and freeze dried foods, etc.  You can find more information and meal in a jar recipes here.  You won’t believe the range of meals that you can put in a jar with a shelf life of months to years.


This split pea soup recipe was inspired by The Bean Ladies’ Lickety Split Pea Soup.  In December 2013, I had the opportunity of sampling two of The Bean Ladies’ products at The One of a Kind Show in Toronto, ON.  Their bean soups were delicious, but, in my opinion, very overpriced.  So I recreated their soup recipe for a fraction of the cost.  See my recipe for Curried White Bean and Sweet Potato Soup, which was also inspired by The Bean Ladies (coming soon).

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White Daikon Radish Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on October 29, 2013 at am

When white daikon radish went on sale for only 9 cents per pound, I made soup, among several other dishes (see a list of daikon radish recipes here).  My family, John, and John’s mom really liked this soup.  This soup is mild, light, and very versatile.  I’ve included a few variations of the recipe below.  I made this broth using pork bones.


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Chinese Hairy Gourd Soup Recipe

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on October 15, 2013 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 2)

Hairy gourd is a Chinese vegetable that resembles a cucumber with fine, white fuzz on the skin.  This hairy gourd soup is light and simple and, like most Chinese soups, it allows the subtle flavour of the vegetable to come through.  We make this soup all year round, because my mother grows the hairy gourd in her garden.  This soup is normally made with a Chinese salted egg, but we recently discovered that this soup is even better when you use drippings from steamed lobster instead.  Both variations have been provided in the recipe below.  [On a side note, according to the teachings of Chinese medicine, this is a neutral vegetable (neither a ‘hot’ food nor a ‘cold’ food), so it is suitable for everyone.]

Chinese hairy gourd vegetable

Chinese hairy gourd vegetable

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Tonkotsu Ramen Recipe (from scratch)

In Asian, Rice and Noodle Dishes, Soups and Salads on September 13, 2013 at am


As you can tell from my ramen eating tour through Toronto, ON, and New York City (see my reviews here), I was kind of obsessed with ramen for a little while.  It’s been a longer while since I’ve last eaten some, haha.   Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish in broth.  Traditionally, you are supposed to finish the entire bowl of noodles, including the soup, but I would never drink more than a few spoonfuls of the soup served in a restaurant (unless they specifically claimed that they do not use MSG).  Although I was loving the restaurant served MSG-laden bowls of ramen, I still wanted to be able to enjoy ramen with controlled sodium and fat levels, so naturally, I made my own.  I happily drink every drop of my home-made ramen broth.  It is very easy to make and you could make a large batch and freeze some for quick and easy future meals.  My favourite ramen broth is tonkotsu, which is made with pork bones.  For those that prefer a lighter broth, see my chicken ramen broth recipe here.  Once you’ve made the base stock, you can tailor individual bowls of ramen broth with seasonings such as shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso, mayu (burnt garlic oil), etc.

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Favourite Broccoli Salad Recipe

In Soups and Salads on July 2, 2012 at am

I don’t actually like broccoli, but I really like this salad.  Everyone that has ever tried it has loved it.  In fact, I made it for my dad’s packed lunch recently, and he said that it was the best salad he has ever had.  It’s perfect for bbqs, pot lucks, and picnics, because you can make it in advance.

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Chinese Chicken and Rice Wine Soup

In Asian, Drinks, Soups, Soups and Salads on June 24, 2012 at pm

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 1)

I have always wanted to learn how to make traditional Chinese soups and health drinks.  So this chicken and rice wine health drink/soup is the first of my new recipe series, Cooking with Alison’s Mom.  (Be sure to check out the Cooking with Alison’s Grandma recipe series.)

This Chinese soup is often served to women who have just given birth as it is supposed to be nourishing and warming.  I particularly like drinking this healthy soup in the winter.  It’s also a great way to enjoy/use up homemade glutinous rice wine.  This soup could be made using only 2 ingredients – chicken and glutinous rice wine, but my mom likes to add a few more ingredients to enhance the health benefits and flavour.

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Favourite Coleslaw Recipe

In Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads on March 17, 2012 at am

This coleslaw has been really really popular with everyone that’s tried it.  The cider vinegar adds a really nice sweetness.  I like to serve coleslaw with heavier meats such as pulled pork (recipe here) sandwiches, but my family likes to eat it on its own as a snack too.

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Ketchup Soup Recipe

In Soups and Salads on February 15, 2012 at pm

Note: This recipe was updated and improved in September, 2020!

Years ago, Ed’s mom introduced me to her ketchup soup.  I couldn’t get enough of it!  It’s sweet and sour and hearty.  I am very grateful to her for telling me how she makes it. I played around with her guidelines a bit, added some spice and more beef, and came up with the measurements. This is super kid friendly if you omit the spice. It’s also perfect for using up leftover ketchup after the summer and BBQ season ends. Hopefully you’ll like it too!

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Southern Picnic Menu and Recipes

In Main Course, Other Dishes, Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads on July 5, 2011 at pm

I made up a Southern style picnic basket for Ed and I last weekend.  The weather didn’t cooperate so we had to enjoy it indoors, but Ed loved it nonetheless.  I’ve shared our menu and some recipes, as well as some other Southern picnic menu ideas below.  Feel free to add more suggestions in a comment!  (See here for French picnic (pique-nique) menus!)

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Chinese Borscht Recipe (Lor Sung Tong)

In Asian, Soups, Soups and Salads on June 2, 2011 at am

Originating from Ukraine, borscht is a soup that is made with beets as the main ingredient.  Surprisingly, you may find borscht or even Russian borscht (“loh sung tong” / “lor sung tong”) on the menus of some Hong Kong style diners.  The borscht served in these Chinese restaurants is more like a hot and sour vegetable soup with tomatoes and/or tomato paste as the main ingredient(s).  It’s delicious and my siblings and I love it.  In fact, every time my brother sees me, he asks me when I’m going to make more of this soup for him.  I made it for my housemate recently and she asked for the recipe.  Every Chinese restaurant makes their borscht slightly differently, so feel free to add whatever vegetables you like.  The following recipe was created to taste just like the soup that’s served at our favourite Hong Kong style diner in Markham, ON.

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Miso Salad Dressing

In Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads on February 28, 2011 at am

I had a lot of miso paste leftover from making miso soup (recipe here), so I made a miso salad dressing for a Japanese restaurant style salad.  Note that you could omit the carrot and use the rest of the ingredients (adjusted to your taste) to make a simpler miso salad dressing.  I served this with miso soup and chicken teriyaki with a stir fried bean sprout medley (recipe here).

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