British Columbia

Recipes: How to add seeds, nuts and beans to vegetarian or meat dishes

Cookbook author Nettie Cronish shares recipes for maple-chipotle popcorn and sesame crusted salmon with Asian greens and tamari dressing.

Author shares recipes for maple-chipotle popcorn, sesame crusted salmon with Asian greens and tamari dressing

Sesame crusted salmon with asian greens and tamari dressing, from cookbook author and culinary instructor Nettie Cronish and dietitian Cara Rosenbloom (Mike McColl)

Seeds, nuts and beans are three healthy protein sources that pack a nutritious punch and can easily be added to vegetarian or meat dishes in many delicious ways.

That's according to cookbook author and culinary instructor Nettie Cronish, who teamed up with dietitian Cara Rosenbloom to write Nourish, a book that demonstrates 100 different ways to use the protein sources.

"I don't think people understand what nutritional powerhouses they are," Cronish told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

Nettie Cronish is a cookbook author and culinary instructor. (Nettie Cronish)

"What we do in the book is we've added beans, nuts and seeds to familiar foods that people enjoy every day. We add them to chicken, fish, grains, vegetables and fruit.

"It's my way of highlighting that you don't need to drastically alter your diet to add more plant foods, and we have a hundred recipes to prove it."

Cronish said some people may be concerned about the high number of calories these foods have, but said that if one sticks to a "reasonable portion" — often two tablespoons — then it isn't unhealthy.

She also said that legumes or pulses like lentils and soybeans are another great option in food.

Nourish describes 100 different ways of using beans, seeds and nuts in familiar meals. (Nettie Cronish)

"Cuisines from all over the world use legumes in so many ways, from Indian lentil dhal, to Mexican black bean burritos, to Mediterranean chickpea hummus," she said.

"And in addition to their cross-cultural uses and wide versatility … they're high in fibre, and they are an easy asset for managing your blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels."

While some legumes can be expensive, she said buying in bulk is more affordable that buying them pre-packaged.

Cronish shared two of the recipes from her book with North by Northwest:

Sesame crusted salmon with Asian greens and tamari dressing

Serves 4


  • 1 cup (250 mL) long-grain brown rice
  • 1 ½ cups (500 mL) water
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) white sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) black sesame seeds
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) sea salt
  • 4 fillets (6 oz/170 g each) salmon, skinless
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 cups (2.5 L) washed and chopped bok choy
  • One 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
Tamari dressing
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) sodium-reduced hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) sodium-reduced tamari
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL) rice vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Add brown rice and water to a medium-sized pot set over high heat. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45–50 minutes or until tender. Add more water if necessary so rice does not burn. Or, alternately, cook in a rice steamer.
3. Combine the white and black sesame seeds and salt on a plate. Press each salmon fillet in the seeds to evenly coat one side. Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook the salmon, seed side down, for 5 minutes. Transfer to preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
4. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the bok choy and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until almost wilted.
5. To make the tamari dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together hoisin, tamari and vinegar. Stir well. Add half the dressing to the bok choy. Toss to combine.
6. To serve, divide the rice among serving plates, top with bok choy and one piece of salmon, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top.

Nutrients per serving size: ¼ recipe

611 calories, 30 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 740 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 7 g sugars, 37 g protein.
Very high in fibre. Excellent source thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and magnesium.
Good source of vitamin A, folate, calcium and iron.

Maple-chipotle popcorn

Serves 10


  • 4 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) popcorn kernels
  • ½ cup (125 mL) raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 6 Tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.
3. Lightly coat one baking sheet and a wooden spoon with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil.
4. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the remaining 3 Tbsp (45mL) canola oil over medium-high heat. 
Add the popcorn kernels, cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning. When the popping slows to 3–5 seconds between pops, remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and remove unpopped kernels.
5. On the foil-lined baking sheet without canola oil, spread the pecans and sunflower seeds in a single layer. Bake for 7–8 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add to popcorn and toss to combine.
6. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the maple syrup, ground chili and salt, then bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 300°F (150°C) on a candy thermometer, about 15–20 minutes.
7. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and quickly stir with the oiled spoon to evenly coat. Immediately spread the mixture on the foil-lined and oiled pan. Let cool completely, and then break into bite-sized pieces and serve.
8. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrients per serving:

Serving size: 1 cup (250 mL) popcorn 263 calories, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 93 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre, 24 g sugars, 2 g protein.

With files from CBC's North by Northwest


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