In News & Blog, Recipes and Nutrition

This fall we held two cooking classes on Vancouver Island focused on healthy cooking options for Peers on a budget. Try these delicious recipes for spinach gomaae, tofu poké and tamari-roasted almonds to enjoy great meals throughout the week!



Gomaae (serves four)

  • 1 bunch spinach (1 bunch = 1/2 lb = 220 g)
  • pinch kosher salt

Sesame Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds (roasted/toasted)
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sake
  • 1/2 tsp mirin

Tamari-Roasted Almonds

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup tamari (low sodium)
  • 1 splash toasted sesame oil

Tofu Poké

  • ⅔ cup Gluten Free tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 package firm tofu, drained, pressed & cubed
  • 2 large zucchini, washed & trimmed
  • 1 carrot, shredded or grated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ½ cup edamame beans
  • ½ large seedless cucumbers, sliced into half moons
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed & finely minced (optional)
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • Chili flakes, to taste (optional)

Optional Toppings:

  • Crushed taro chips
  • Nori strips
  • Chia seeds
  • Wasabi peas
  • Sriracha sauce

Directions for Spinach Gomaae

1. Gather all the ingredients.

2. [Optional] For the sesame sauce, put sesame seeds in a frying pan and toast them on low heat. When 2-3 sesame seeds start to pop from the pan, remove from the heat.

3. Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle. Leave some sesame seeds unground for some texture.

4. Add 1½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp sake, ½ tsp mirin to the ground sesame seeds and mix all together.

5. Put lightly salted water in a large pot and bring to boil. Once boiling, add the spinach from stem side (takes longer to cook) and cook for 30-45 seconds.


6. Remove the spinach from the water and soak in iced water to stop cooking with remaining heat. Alternatively, drain and run the spinach under cold running water until cool. Collect the spinach and squeeze water out.

7. Cut the spinach into 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) lengths and put in a medium bowl.

8. Add the sesame sauce and toss all together.

9. Serve at room temperature or chilled. You can keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Directions for Tofu Poké



  1. Whisk together tamari or soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour sauce over the tofu cubes and toss to coat completely.
  3. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 mins, or overnight.
  4. Heat a frying pan to medium high.
  5. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
  6. Fry until heated through.


  1. Spiralize the zucchini noodles and put in a bowl.
  2. Dice, grate or chop all ingredients except tofu and ginger and place in separate bowls.

To Serve:

  1. Scoop tofu on top of zucchini noodles and top with carrots, red pepper, red onion, edamame, cucumbers and avocado.
  2. Sprinkle with jalapeno, green onion, cilantro or parsley, sesame seeds and chili flakes, if using.
  3. At this point you can spoon over leftover marinade and a squirt of hot sauce and serve.
  4. OR you can also add any of the fun additional toppings listed and THEN serve.

Directions for Tamari-Roasted Almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Measure out 2 cups of raw almonds. (You can double the recipe or use whatever amount of almonds you have.)
  3. Lay almonds over your baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, flip almonds. Place in oven for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stop and check on the almonds every few minutes, especially if your oven runs hot. Cut one or two almonds in half to see if they’re still white inside, turning darker, golden, golden brown, or burnt. The color outside does NOT guarantee the color inside. Return to oven until golden to golden brown.
  6. Pour almonds into a bowl. Pour tamari in over them. It should sizzle/steam as you stir. Continue to stir almonds until all the tamari has coated the almonds and the liquid has evaporated.

7. At this point, drizzle in some toasted sesame oil and stir.
8. Taste the almonds but try not to eat them all. Add tamari or oil as needed.
9. Turn off the oven. Distribute the coated almonds on the pan and return to the oven to dry for 10 minutes. Make sure to cool oven so as not to burn almonds.
10. Remove when dry. Eat. Store. Share. Make again!

Tips for Cooking on a Budget

1.Make a Weekly Meal Plan

Many dishes can be made from the same ingredients to avoid food waste, and avoid eating leftovers for days. Try to make a list and stick to it. Do not go shopping when hungry. Cook more, avoid ordering fast food delivery meals.

2. Eat Whole Foods

Eat: Fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds – these are high in nutrients, make you fuller faster which ends in eating less, and saving money.

Avoid: Frozen meals, packaged foods, pre-cut foods and vegetables – these have less nutrients and fibre.

3. Build Main Meals from Grains and/or Legumes

Some examples are: quinoa salads, lentil soups and salads, chili, beans and rice, curry, barley soup

Pro Tip: Leftover quinoa can be frozen and tossed into salads, soups or other dishes as a good source of protein and fibre.

4. Buy and Cook in Bulk

This saves money and time. You can freeze items for quick meals during the week.

Buy in bulk: chickpeas/beans/lentils, quinoa/rice, nuts/seeds, bread/oats, and cheese.

5. Skip the Middle Aisles

Fresh foods are around the perimeter of the store: fresh veggies, fruits, bread, meats, and dairy.

Packaged and processed foods are in the center aisles: ice cream, frozen pizzas, tater tots. The checkout holds the candy bars, pop and snack foods to avoid.

6. Buy Local and In Season

Purchase at farmer’s markets to get a discount, fresher food and support the local economy.

Grow your own food: in flower pots, balcony planters or a community garden. This will result in nutrient-dense foods which make a great addition to meals and growing of them can be therapeutic.

Pro Tip: Save the veggie bits! Freeze for later, use them in soups, stews or smoothies.

Other Tips: Keep pre-cut vegetables and fruit on hand. Learn what foods you can freeze, dry or can. Don’t keep fried, salty or sugary snacks in the house, and build exercise into your day. Here are 7 easy tips to make cooking more accessible!


Thanks to Envision Financial for their support!

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