Foodie Fridays: Fresh

If you’ve been lucky enough to visit one of the mini-chain of restaurants in Toronto known as Fresh,  then you’ll be super excited for this post. And if you haven’t and you’re here for the good word on vegetarian / vegan cooking as part of vegetarian awareness month, then read on!

As I spelled out above, Fresh is a small chain of Canadian-owned and operated restaurants, which originally started as a juice bar twenty years ago. Everything on their menu is in fact, vegan, although they offer some vegetarian dishes at their takeout counter. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the sustainably-minded company has released a new cookbook (their third) that highlights recipes to appease flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans alike.

Along with dozens of recipes in the usual categories of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, brunches, sweets, and sauces, the cookbook also includes recipes for a bunch of their legendary juices. Every dish is served up alongside tips, tricks, and advice from the Fresh team, and tons of the recipes use base ingredients repeatedly – so when you make four cups of guacamole or vegan tzatziki, you know it’s not going to waste.

Generally speaking, I’d say this is a book for someone that’s relatively comfortable with cooking, particularly vegan cooking. I’m familiar with tons of the ingredients by this point, but for someone that’s uninitiated to vegan substitutes, they may be a little intimidated. Ultimately it’s not a book for transitioning, but it is a book that delivers amazing-sounding food – particularly if you or a friend is already a fan of the restaurant! – and some great tips for amping up your culinary skills, trying a juice fast / cleanse, and general food preparation help. It’s also ideal for the vegetarian that’s curious to try vegan dishes, or for the omnivore that’s not quite ready to commit to either – there’s a big cross-section of delish choices here, with restaurant quality pretty much guaranteed…your personal cooking skills aside.

To tantalize your taste buds, I’ve got the recipe here for Fresh’s famous Tangled Thai Salad – one of their MOST requested recipes, among several others featured in the book (like their Quinoa Onion Rings!). Many of the ingredients are in season and ripe for the picking across Canada at the moment as well – so you can source your local farmer’s market for a good chunk of this one. UpdateThere’s one ingredient in this dish that isn’t native to Canada – but is certainly chockful of deliciousness…and nutritional benefits! I actually read this amazing article on the 25 science-backed health benefits of papaya on Well-Being Secrets and had to share it with you guys before you indulge in this dish. And with that, bon appetit!

Tangled Thai Salad

At Fresh we use a turning slicer (spiralizer) to cut the carrot and yellow beets into super-long, thin strands that form a big round tangle of a salad. You probably don’t have a turning slicer at home, so it’s worth getting a julienne peeler, which will give you nice long strands as well. They won’t be mega-long, like ours, but a turning slicer is about $100, and a julienne peeler is only about $10, so it’s a pretty good compromise. If you don’t have either, just cut the vegetables into sticks as thin and long as you can.

Serves  1 as a meal

1 cup chopped napa cabbage

1/3 cup sliced jicama (cut into small sticks)

2/3 cup shredded or spiralized carrot

2/3 cup shredded or spiralized yellow beet

4 tbsp Peanut Lime Dressing  (recipe follows)

3 slices cucumber, halved

2 tsp chopped raw peanuts

2 tbsp Fresh Salad Topper (recipe follows)

1 lime wedge

2 to 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Put napa cabbage in a large, shallow serving bowl (or plate). Top with jicama.

2. Pile the carrot and beet on top and drizzle with dressing.

3. Garnish with the cucumber, peanuts, Salad Topper, lime, and cilantro.

Peanut Lime Dressing
This dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. It is delicious on the Tangled Thai Salad, but would be equally good on any salad or even poured on top of cold noodles.

Makes 1 cup

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp tightly packed cilantro
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp + 2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp peeled and chopped ginger
2 tsp coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp organic sugar
3/4 tsp sesame oil
3/4 tsp sambal oelek
1/2 cup sunflower oil

1. In a blender, puree all ingredients except the sunflower oil.
2. With blender running, add sunflower oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified.

Fresh Salad Topper

This crunchy mix adds great flavour and texture to any salad. If you want to use it as a topper for fruit salad, yogurt, or oatmeal, leave the salt out and replace it with sugar. If you can’t find puffed quinoa at your local health food store, you can substitute puffed millet. This mixture keeps for months in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups

1 cup puffed quinoa
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup diced papaya
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

PS – Liked this post? Be sure to check out my other Foodie Friday entries for October 2011: Vegan Holiday Kitchen & Blissful Bites. Yep, with recipes!

Recipe reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

48 Responses to “Foodie Fridays: Fresh”
  1. Sydney Bond says:

    I have tried this recipe and it is very good—have the cookbook “Fresh” as well. Great post.

    • CGG says:

      Thanks Sydney! If you click on pretty much any of the tags on this post – like ‘Vegan’ or ‘Vegetarian Awareness Month’ I actually did a few other Foodie Friday posts including more recipes and cookbooks. Enjoy 🙂

  2. oooh – this reminds me of a papaya salad from my favorite vietnamese restaurant – can’t wait to try this one!

    • CGG says:

      Awesome, glad you liked the post – do come back and tell me what you think of the recipe. If you click on the home page there are actually a couple of other vegan cookbook reviews / recipes on here for you to try. Enjoy!

  3. I love this recipe and blog…I posted it on my community foodie blog. Hope you can come check it out

    Also, feel free to post you’re recipes or you’re favourite foodie tips on it whenever you like!

    • CGG says:

      Thanks Charlotte! This is by far the most popular post on my entire site – I’ll be on the lookout for more referrals from your site. Happy eating 🙂

  4. sara says:

    Found this on Pinterest and I’m totally loving it…what a gorgeous salad, yum!!! 🙂

  5. Gretchen says:

    It looks like there are noodles too in the salad but didn’t see them in the ingredients?

    • Wendy B. says:

      I think you are seeing the spiralized vegetables. Take a look at the description right above the ingredients list.

  6. Kelly C says:

    Oh man! That looks tasty! I think it’s time to invest in a spiralizer

  7. kevinkrejca says:

    Reblogged this on Kreyfish Movies Database and commented:
    i love me thai salads!

  8. Missus Tribble says:

    I found you via Pinterest. This salad looks delicious!

  9. Jenna Shank says:

    Also found this via Pinterest, and I wanted to mention that I found a simple spiralizer (spiral slicer) on Amazon for about 30USD. It’s well worth it and I look forward to using it for this recipe!

  10. This sounds so good and healthy! i can’t wait to give it a try!

  11. mark says:

    You can get veg strands for $13 with

  12. Maria says:


    I just found your website off Pinterest and can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve been collecting salad recipes from around the web for a couple years and just recently decided to put them up on a blog to better organize and share them. I included this recipe with an image and just want to make sure it’s ok. Here’s the link:

    Let me know!


    • CGG says:

      Hi Maria – of course you can share this. If you wouldn’t mind linking back to my blog, that would be much appreciated.

  13. Jean says:

    Hi, I made this a couple of days ago, it is absolutely delicious!! I had lots of the peanut lime dressing over, so put it in the fridge, just taken it out to use it again tonight, but it’s turned pretty solid, any ideas on how to liquefy it again? Thank you

  14. DB Mom says:

    I found your link on Pinterest when I was searching for spiralizer recipes. Tried it with a few changes:
    1) puffed millet instead of puffed quinoa,
    2) fresh topper, skipped the currants & goji berries,
    3) subbed sunflower seeds for hazelnuts;

    This was my 1st time using my Paderno spiralizer. Definitely a workout preparing dinner for 5-hungry-people. I decided on using store bought dressing (sesame dressing mixed with creamy peanut butter, thinned with grapeseed oil)….O.M.G. (kids+2 adults+grandma devoured it) we each had 2-3 helpings!

    Recipe is going to be a regular on our family meal plan…..seriously considering upgrading the Paderno spiralizer to a Kitchen Aid mixer spiralizer, maybe for quicker prep and

    Thank you for sharing/posting this recipe!

  15. DonnaT says:

    Really want to try this, but what is sambal oelek? or am I the only one who doesn’t know…

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Liked this post? Be sure to check out my other Foodie Friday entries – Blissful Bites and Fresh. […]

  2. […] via Heather on […]

  3. […] Want to see for yourself?  Check out the tangled thai salad! […]

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  5. […] via Kate – The Shopping Mama on […]

  6. […] This is probably my favorite salad out of any that I’ve ever made. It is based off of this recipe that I saw on Pinterest. It’s loaded with crisp vegetables and has sweet mango in it […]

  7. […] that needs to be eaten sooner rather than later and after that, what is on sale at the store. I had a menu, but it was abandoned with […]

  8. […] version of this tasty, tasty recipe differs from the original but is still oh so amazingly delicious. I can’t even tell you. I even prepped everything and […]

  9. […] I made this salad last week, and it was really good. I added rice noodles and chicken to make it a meal, and I […]

  10. […] Okay, this one is a weird one, but I found a recipe on Pinterest a while back for a sort of tangled thai salad that looked and sounded really good. Problem? It required a spiral vegetable cutter that I had […]

  11. […] source: […]

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  13. […] Tangled Thai Salad.  um, those crunchies!! A few easy modifications would make this paleo and totally amazing. […]

  14. […] of the first things I pinned was this Tangled Thai salad which spoke to me because they use a spiralizer to make carrot and beet “noodles” which […]

  15. […] menu included a yummy “Tangled Thai” Salad that we found on Pinterest. A delicious Gazpacho soup, which is simply a cold soup made […]

  16. […] Tangled Thai Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing (The Canadian Gift Guide)- I am loving any opportunity to try out my new spiralizer.  I came across this recipe and was lured in by the peanut lime dressing.  It was delicious.  The jicama available in our stores was sad looking and I didn’t add the salad topper, I just garnished with roasted peanuts.  I think you could put this dressing on just about anything and it would taste good.  Add a little shredded chicken for some extra protein. […]

  17. […] recipe may seem familiar, at least it did to me, reminiscent of the Tangled Thai Salad from Toronto’s chain of Fresh restaurants. The dressing is a bit different but still […]

  18. […] tangled Thai salad is on my list of things to make […]

  19. […] picked out this recipe off of my pinterest page of food I wanted to make.  I have to be honest, sometimes I just pin pictures that look good and actually look at the […]

  20. […] Foodie Fridays: Fresh | Canadian Gift Guide – Today’s foodtastic post features Fresh, a Toronto chain of eateries that specialize in vegan fare, vegetarian take-out, and lip-smacking juices. Healthy, local, and … […]

  21. […] The Recipe can be found HERE […]

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