I’ve been thinking about the concept of a “Canadian diet” lately, and what foods and ingredients might such a diet emphasize. Fiddleheads? Bacon? Butter tarts? I doubt it.
A Canadian diet can’t possibly be a defined menu of select ingredients or chosen dishes in a multicultural society such as ours.
Rather, what I’ve come to understand a Canadian diet is a way of eating that’s simply mindful of what Canadian farmers grow and raise.
So if Italians and Greeks use olive oil, and hazelnuts and walnuts, in their Mediterranean diet, Canadians would be apt to use the edible oils we produce in abundance here, including our distinctly Canadian canola oil. We could add to our baking, pastas, salads and stir-fries the edible seeds of our oilseed crops as well.
Lately, I’ve been eating more of three in particular — sunflower, flax and hemp. I love the texture and flavour they add.
These seeds are incredibly nutritious too. Sunflower kernels, for example, are recognized by U.S. Dietary Guidelines as the best whole food source of vitamin E. Flaxseed, ground or whole has gained popularity thanks to its healthy omega-3 fatty acid profile, as well as its fibre and lignan content. Meanwhile, more of us are discovering hemp seed (and oil) as a new, or rather “new again” ingredient with its excellent balance of amino acids and essential fatty acids and great taste.
When I started searching for recipes this week, it was daunting to try to choose items that might reflect the diversity of our diet, yet stick fairly closely to this theme of Canadian-grown ingredients. Here are three chosen for their use of Canadian-grown edible seeds for making healthy homemade snacks or breakfast foods.
We always enjoy hearing from you. Send us your favourite recipes or ideas for food columns. To contact us by mail please write to:
Or email: [email protected]
- 3 c. rolled oats1 c. raw sunflower seeds 3/4 c. shredded sweet coconut 1/3 c. brown sugar 1/3 c. canola oil 1/3 c. maple syrup 1 tsp. salt 1 c. raisins
Preheat oven to 250 F. In a large bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, coconut and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, combine canola oil, maple syrup and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto two sheet pans. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir approximately halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Makes 3 cups.
- 1/4 c. flaxseed1/4 c. ground flaxseed1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt4 tsp. margarine or butter, softened1/2 c. skim milk
In a bowl of a stand-up mixer, add flaxseed, ground flax, flour, baking powder, salt and margarine or butter. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in milk and mix until mixture forms a soft dough. (You can also mix the dough by hand.) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill 10 minutes. Divide the dough into quarters. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Roll out very thin to a rectangle 1/16 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares. Transfer to a non-greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder of the dough. Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake 20 minutes until crisp and golden.
Onion: 1 tbsp. powdered onion soup mix.Cheese: 1 c. grated cheddar cheese.Italian: 1 tbsp. oregano and 1 c. grated mozzarella cheese. Yield: 24 crackers
Flax Blueberry Muffin
- For topping:1/3 c. quick oats 1/4 c. brown sugar 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 3 tbsp. non-hydrogenated margarine, melted 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- For muffins: 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted 1/2 c. milled flax 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. sugar 1 tbsp. canola oil 1 c. skim milk 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla 3/4 c. blueberries, frozen, unsweetened, wild
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
To make topping: Combine quick oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and flour; mix well. Add melted non-hydrogenated margarine; rub ingredients together.
To make muffins: Combine flour, milled flax, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together canola oil and egg. Add skim milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until well blended. Add dry ingredients to liquid. Stir until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Add frozen berries. Gently fold into batter. Do not overmix. Spray muffin tin with non-stick vegetable spray. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from tin and cool to room temperature. Makes 12 muffins.
Hemp ’n Honey Cookies
If you haven’t tried delicious hemp seeds you’re missing out. Manitoba Harvest has many more recipes online for using their growing range of hemp seeds, oils and protein powders.
- 1 c. Manitoba Harvest Protein Powder 1 c. Manitoba Harvest Shelled Hemp Seed2 c. brown rice flour2-1/2 c. rolled oats1/2 c. fresh ground flaxseed2 c. sunflower seeds, hulled2-1/2 c. honey1/4 c. vanilla extract1/2 c. water
Lay sunflower seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Set aside. Blend all dry ingredients and set aside. Melt honey on the stove-top and mix in vanilla and water. Mix dry and wet ingredients, then add extra rolled oats if needed to thicken. Bake at 200 F for 30 minutes. Cookies will remain moist in the centre. The baking time pertains to cookies four inches round and one inch thick.
Makes: 24 – 36 cookies. Prep Time: 30 minutes. Cook Time: 30 minutes.