Eat Your Vegetables!


This article was previously published in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Mar/Apr 2013 issue.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that children eat five to six servings of vegetables each day. Teens need seven to eight, and adults need seven to ten, depending on age and gender. That’s a lot of vegetables, even if a serving is just half a cup! Here are a couple of recipes from a new cookbook put out by FoodShare Toronto entitled share: Delicious Dishes from FoodShare and Friends that will help you fulfill your daily quota. They are quick to prepare and simple enough to make with your students.

FoodShare Toronto is Canada’s largest community food security organization, recognized as an important innovator of effective programs that have been reproduced all across Canada. FoodShare reaches over 145,000 children and adults a month through subsidized fresh produce distribution, student nutrition programs, community gardening and cooking, classroom curriculum support, homemade baby food workshops and youth internships.

Indian Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad (Kachumber)

From Preena Chauhan, a Toronto Food Policy Council member who combines a commitment to food culture with business. Through Arvinda’s Indian Cooking Classes, she and her mother provide a gateway to classical Indian cooking and also sell unique artisanal spice blends based on traditional Indian recipes but packaged in Canada. Preena says, “I love this recipe for its beauty and its simplicity. A kachumber is a salad of raw vegetables, but in Indian cuisine, we don’t have a salad course.” Instead, serve this beautiful dish on the side with a spicy meal to refresh the palate. As the salad sits, the beet colour bleeds into the entire dish, so serve immediately to enjoy the contrasting hues of apple and carrot. Use large holes on a box grater to shred the vegetables and fruit. Garam masala is a mild spice mixture sold in Indian food shops.


3 medium or 2 large beets, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
2 apples, peeled and shredded

In large bowl, toss together beets, carrots, and apples.


2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp sea or kosher salt
¼ tsp garam masala

For dressing, in small bowl combine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, and garam masala. Pour over beet mixture; toss to coat.


¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
¼ large red onion, sliced in thin rings

Serve garnished with coriander and onion rings. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Beets

Despite its lack of butter and eggs, this is a surprisingly rich cake. It costs pennies to make (good-quality cocoa powder and real vanilla are the only indulgences) and is almost as simple as purchasing a mix. Grated beets add moisture and nutrients, but we’ve also made the cake with zucchini, carrots, blueberries, mangoes, apples, bananas, and chocolate chips—whatever is on hand. It is a most forgiving recipe.

This version was passed on by two student nutrition organizers. Fiona Bowser, a FoodShare student nutrition manager, started an innovative “grab and go” fruit stand in the lobby of her son’s school in the old City of York, C.R. Marchant Middle School, and later a snack program there. Susan Butler, a former high school teacher who played a pivotal role in the Scarborough Hunger Coalition during her years at FoodShare, helped to start many student nutrition programs citywide. She explained the cake’s roots in the First World War, when a shortage of eggs and dairy necessitated baking without these standard ingredients and it was called Whacky Cake.


1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1 cup grated beets

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9- × 5-inch (2.5 L) loaf pan or 13- × 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan.

In small bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In large bowl, mix oil, vanilla, vinegar, beets, and 1 cup water. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in centre of oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Makes 8 servings.


Recipes reprinted with permission from share: Delicious Dishes from FoodShare and Friends by Adrienne De Francesco with Marion Kane (Between the Lines, 2012)

Diana Mumford
Diana Mumford is the Editor at Canadian Teacher Magazine.

This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2020 issue.

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