How To Make The Best Canadian Salad Recipe

Looking to learn how to make the best Canadian Salad?

Our popular Canada Day salad recipe features unique ingredients that represent each of Canada’s provinces.

Enjoy a patriotic taste of Canada’s diverse agricultural products from juicy British Columbia peaches to Quebec’s iconic maple syrup.

Perfect for a summer barbecue, our Great Canadian Salad, has been designed to inspire Canucks, at home and abroad, to reflect on the country’s delicious and diverse bounty!

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Great Canadian Salad
Great Canadian Salad

What Is a Canadian Salad?

So what exactly is a Canadian Salad?

Canada may not have an ancient culinary history with globally recognized recipes such as Chinese Cucumber Salad, Middle Eastern Carrot and Tahini Salad or Melitzanosalata Greek Eggplant Dip.

Canada is the world’s second largest country by landmass after Russia. The country’s vast landscapes, diverse ecosystems and multicultural immigrant communities have helped create a unique identity that offer tasty regional culinary traditions.

British Columbia on the west coast cultivates some of the world’s best oysters, wild salmon and peaches. Alberta is famous for its cattle ranching tradition and barley fields, while the Maritimes conjure up drool-worthy visions of lobster, apple cider and foraged berries.

We challenge Canadians at home and abroad to assemble a salad that features ingredients unique to each province. We researched provincial agricultural output and local artisans crafting unique culinary products to help your family find inspiration.

Ingredients you'll need to make the great Canadian Salad.
Ingredients you’ll need to make the great Canadian Salad.

Travel From Coast to Coast by Eating a Canadian Salad at Home

I’m a proud and patriotic Canadian!

As a Toronto-based food and travel journalist, I’ve spent the last decade exploring destinations, from coast to coast. I’ve interviewed top Canadian chefs, enjoyed rural farm tours, skipped through farmers markets, sipped my way through hundreds of award-winning wineries and breweries, and experienced unique natural wonders like British Columbia’s Salmon Run.

I’ve always believed that travel is the best classroom. Plan the ultimate Canadian Road Trip and you will learn so much about the country’s unique culinary history.

I’m always on the look out to enjoy a memorable local taste of place experience. I’m constantly surprised by the tasty treats I’ve discovered by exploring new corners of Canada’s vast backyard.

I learned Calgary’s cocktail bars pay homage to prohibition saloons, Saskatoon offers Canada’s only drive through pierogie restaurant and who knew Nova Scotia had such as lively wine and cider scene in the Annapolis Valley?

Preparing Canadian Salad dressing with a whisk and mixing bowl.
Preparing Canadian Salad dressing with a whisk and mixing bowl.

Canadian Salad Ingredients

Our Canadian Salad is likely to raise eyebrows, with some readers who may complain that Alberta beef, Prince Edward Island potatoes or Nova Scotia lobster have been omitted from the recipe. Let me tell you, we toiled over what delicious ingredients to toss in our salad bowl!

Our goal was to create a Canadian salad recipe that actually tastes delicious. Would you want to eat a Canadian Salad tossed with seared beef, raw oysters, crispy bacon, leafy greens, boiled potatoes and sticky maple syrup? No thank you!

Since we’re based in Ontario we wanted to focus on sourcing the proteins locally. We bought bacon from Thatcher Farms in Guelph and pecans from Jewels Under the Kilt in Fergus. Once we had confirmed our protein source we rolled out a map of Canada and assembled a salad with ingredients that compliment each other.

If you are a Canadian seafood lover we’d suggest selecting a sustainable Oceanwise product from the East or West Coast before deciding on what carbs, fresh vegetables and flavourings to add to your vinaigrette. Similarly with beef, lamb or chicken, build a Canadian Salad recipe around your preferred protein.

We’re confident you’ll love our Canadian Salad recipe but feel free to substitute any ingredients you find difficult to source. If you can’t find a berry jam from Newfoundland why not make your own? If you live in Prince Edward Island and your neighbour is a peach farmer, support them at your local farmers market.

Our overall goal when developing this recipe was to showcase Canada’s great bounty. We encourage you to have fun with your Canadian Salad ingredients! So grab your tongs and get tossing!

Canadian Salad: BC Peaches, Alberta  Barley, Saskatchewan Mustard and Manitoba Canola Oil.
Canadian Salad: BC Peaches, Alberta Barley, Saskatchewan Mustard and Manitoba Canola Oil.

British Columbia

We’ve traveled throughout British Columbia, eating our way through Vancouver, Kamloops, Shuswap, Tofino, Victoria and the Okanagan Valley.

My first visit to British Columbia was on a road trip with my family as a little kid. We drove from Edmonton to Victoria, jaw-dropping at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

My fondest food memory in British Columbia was biting into a juicy Okanagan peach, which was the size of a baseball and exploded all over my t-shirt.

In the Okanagan, peaches have been grown since the late 1800’s. You’ll find varieties including freestone and cling peaches like Redhaven, Cresthaven, O’Henry and Glowhavens. 

Alberta

We’ve traveled throughout Alberta, eating our way through Calgary, Banff, Edmonton and a cattle ranch near the Montana border.

Alberta offers a multitude of postcard-perfect landscapes. Explore the rockies in Banff and Jasper or enjoy an urban retreat in Edmonton and Calgary. As you drive through the Rocky Mountains towards the Prairies, you’ll meet an endless, flat expanse, home to some of Canada’s largest farms.

Barley is Canada’s third largest crop, after wheat and canola. Alberta produces the most barley in Canada, with local farmers harvesting over half of the country’s total output.

Studies have shown that barley can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. We love incorporating pearl barely in salads as it adds nutritious fibre, vitamins, minerals and a satisfying crunch.

Saskatchewan

We’ve traveled to Saskatchewan, eating our way through Saskatoon and hopping on an educational local farm tour.

Saskatchewan is characterized by flat plains and visited by photographers eager to capture the province’s vintage farmhouses and scenic wheat fields.

Saskatchewan is the world’s leading exporter of dry peas, lentils, durum, mustard seed, canola seed, canola oil, canola meal, canary seed, flaxseed and oats. Did you know that Saskatchewan produces over 70% of the worlds mustard seed? In 2019, Saskatchewan produced 79% of Canada’s mustard!

For our Canadian Salad vinaigrette we sourced local Saskatchewan mustard from Gravelbourg, located south west of Regina.

Manitoba

We’ve traveled to Manitoba, eating our way through Winnipeg and then heading north on a wilderness adventure to Churchill to swim with Beluga whales and photograph polar bears!

Manitoba is one of Canada’s largest producers of canola seed. Canola was developed in the 1970s by Canadian plant scientists (a close cousin to rapeseed) and is now the oil of choice for millions around the world.

There are over 7500 canola farmers in Manitoba, with a total of 43,000 canola farms across Canada. Canola farmers grow about 3 million acres of canola oil. While mostly associated with the Canadian Prairies, Canola is now seeding from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Last year, farmers in Newfoundland harvested its first canola field and produced their own canola oil for locals to enjoy.

We don’t just love using Canola oil in vinaigrette recipes because it’s a proudly Canadian product. Canola oil is also a great source of vitamins E and K and is packed with omega 3 fats. Omega 3 fats are an anti-inflammatory that can help protect against heart attacks and strokes. Canola oil also has the lowest amount of saturated fats—half that of olive oil. Saturated fats are bad fats and are linked to heart disease.

Canola’s neutral flavour and light taste makes it great for salad dressing. When you add herbs and spices, canola oil absorbs the flavours making it very versatile.

Canadian Salad: Bacon, Pecans and Kale from Ontario with Maple Syrup from Quebec.
Canadian Salad: Bacon, Pecans and Kale from Ontario with Maple Syrup from Quebec.

Ontario

We call Ontario home and love going on road trips to discover unique destinations across the province. We’ve visited luxury boutique hotels across Ontario in Toronto, Markham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Prince Edward County, Niagara on the Lake, Beamsville, Muskoka, Tobermory, The Kawarthas, Norfolk County, Kitchener Waterloo, Cambridge, Hockley Valley, Wasaga Beach, Guelph and Stratford.

Ontario is Canada’s pork capital so we figured it was essential we garnished crispy bacon on the top of our Canadian Salad. Stratford is the province’s pork capital but farmers raise pigs across Ontario. We sourced our bacon from a family farm in Guelph, Thatcher Farms.

I really wanted to incorporate nuts in this recipe as the crunch adds a great textural component in contrast to soft cheese and juicy stone fruit. I was delighted to discover a local nut farm in Fergus, hilariously called Jewels Under the Kilt. They grow delicious pecans, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

Almost 75% of Canada’s kale cultivation takes place in Ontario so we decided to showcase the healthy green as the backbone of our Canadian Salad. We prefer serving kale in salads as its hearty and doesn’t wilt as quickly as lettuce and mixed greens.

Quebec

We’ve traveled throughout Quebec, eating our way through Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Montebello and Charlevoix.

Quebec is one of my favourite food destinations to visit in Canada. The province’s unique French heritage allows tourists to explore a delicious menu featuring maple syrup crepes, poutine, tourtières, pâté chinois, fèves au lard, creton, award-winning artisanal cheeses, and Montreal’s famous craft beer.

One cannot prepare an authentic Canadian Salad without incorporating traditional Quebecois maple syrup. In 2011, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers produced 94% of Canada’s maple syrup and 77% of the world’s supply!

We’ve added maple syrup as a natural sweetener to our vinaigrette, but feel free to get creative with your Canadian Salad. If you’re tossing a West Coast inspired recipe why not smoke wild British Columbia salmon on a cedar plank with maple syrup? Or fry crispy bacon drizzled in maple syrup? As any patriotic Canadian knows, maple syrup has endless delicious uses in the kitchen!

Canadian Salad: New Brunswick cider, Nova Scotia wine, Newfoundland berry jam, Prince Edward Island cheese and black garlic.
Canadian Salad: New Brunswick cider, Nova Scotia wine, Newfoundland berry jam, Prince Edward Island cheese and black garlic.

New Brunswick

During my visit to New Brunswick I sailed across the province’s famous Bay of Fundy, where the tides enjoy a daily dramatic rise and fall. We took a fishing boat from Nova Scotia up to the coast of New Brunswick and experienced one of the most thrilling wild whale encounters.

I’ve had the opportunity to go whale watching in Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Portugal, South Africa, Namibia, Ecuador, The Maldives, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand and Bali. Without a doubt, my most memorable experience was in the Bay of Fundy, the body of water between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In our Canadian Salad dressing we’ve included hard apple cider (Red Rover and SCOW Cider) and apple cider vinegar from New Brunswick. The province’s apple industry has a history of over 100 years of commercial production. 

If you’re more keen to sip an ice cold cider from New Brunswick at dinner you could easily substitute it for a Nova Scotia wine (see below). A dry white wine acts as a lovely acidic base for a Canadian Salad. We tested both options in the kitchen and believe the classic pairing of apple and cheddar is the best way to go!

Nova Scotia

We’ve traveled throughout Nova Scotia, eating our way through Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Yarmouth, Annapolis Royal, Halls Harbour, Shelburne, Lunenburg, Lower Argyle, White Point and The Annapolis Valley, home to the Devour! Food Film Festival in Wolfville.

Canada’s wine industry continues to boom, with most visitors familiar with grapes grown in Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, Niagara on the Lake, Beamsville and Prince Edward County.

To many visiting oenophiles’ surprise, the province’s best kept secret are its award-winning Nova Scotia wineries. There are over 90 grape growers in the province. Grape growers cultivate over 70 varieties in Nova Scotia, with the top three being L’Acadie Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling.

We’ve opted to serve our fresh summer salad with a bottle of cool Tidal Bay, a white wine by Jost Vineyards. The award-winning Nova Scotia winery is located in Malagash, overlooking the Northumberland Strait. Jost Vineyards’ Tidal Bay expresses aromatics of apple and pear on the nose with hints of lemon, peach, and floral notes.

Prince Edward Island

We enjoyed a road trip of Prince Edward Island, eating our way through Charlottetown, West Point, The Inn at Bay Fortune, Miscouche, O’Leary, New Glasgow, Georgetown, and even visited Anne of Green Gables in Avonlea Village.

When the average Canadian thinks of feasting in Prince Edward Island they immediately drool over visions of butter doused lobster and crispy fried potatoes.

Our Canadian Salad highlights two unique PEI products dreamed up by local culinary geniuses!

Cow’s Creamery is a mecca for dairy lovers, producing delicious ice cream, butter, cheddar pop and cheese. It produces a diverse line of artisanal cheddar cheeses. The brands signature Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar has won big at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. We’ve garnished our Canadian Salad with bite-sized cubes of delicious Cow’s Creamery cheddar cheese.

We’ve also included Eureka Black Gold in our salad dressing. Black garlic is a type of aged garlic whose browning is attributed to Maillard reaction rather than caramelization. It’s most commonly associated with Asian cuisine, particularly Korean.

Black Garlic is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in pungent black cloves. The aging process of black garlic removes the raw acrid flavour, creating cloves that are often described as tasting like sweet balsamic vinegar. It’s somewhat similar in flavour to roasted garlic or fermented garlic honey.

Newfoundland & Labrador

We enjoyed a Newfoundland Cruise, which began by eating through the best restaurants in St. John’s. Other destination highlights included Trinity, Bonavista, Conche, L’Anse Aux Meadows, St. Anthony, Red Bay, Gros Morne National Park, Woody Point, Francois and France’s Sain-Pierre Miquelon.

During our Adventure Canada Cruise of Newfoundland & Labrador guests had an opportunity several times to go foraging for wild berries with local food expert Alexandra Blagdon.

When visiting the province, just about every store sells jams, preserves and jellies made with locally foraged berries. Wild bush berries are so popular in Newfoundland they even have their own food festivals, such as Brigus Blueberry Festival in August and Humber Valley Strawberry Festival in July.

We’ve added a few scoops of berry jam from Newfoundland’s Dark Tickle to flavour and sweet our Canadian Salad dressing. The local producer sells jams featuring unique Newfoundland varietals such as bakeapple, partridgeberry, wild blueberry, squashberry and crowberry.

Canadian Salad: Chopped kale, cheese cubes, cooked barley and sliced pecans, bacon and peaches.
Canadian Salad: Chopped kale, cheese cubes, cooked barley and sliced pecans, bacon and peaches.

What To Serve With Canadian Salad

We love serving our Canadian Salad as an entree, enjoying large bowls with a slice of sourdough bread or gourmet crackers. We intentionally created a salad that is well balanced nutritionally so your body has everything it needs in one dish.

I usually double the recipe so we can spend the next 2-3 days enjoying the salad for lunch at work. The flavours intensify over time and thanks to the hearty nature of kale it doesn’t wilt and get limp or watery like mixed greens, spinach or lettuce.

There’s a reason so many restaurants have “soup & salad specials!” We definitely recommend pairing our Canadian Salad with a homemade soup like Spicy Tikka Masala Turkey Barley Soup, Piri Piri Carrot and Sweet Pepper Soup with Bulgar or Kale, Leek, Bean, Orzo and Pumpkin Soup with Pecan Pesto.

If you’re serving this summer salad at a Canada Day barbecue, it pairs nicely with plump sausages, hamburgers, steaks or grilled prawns.

Serve the best Canadian Salad with a chilled bottle of Nova Scotia wine.
Serve the best Canadian Salad with a chilled bottle of Nova Scotia wine.

You May Also Enjoy Reading…

Enjoy Canadian Salad as a healthy meal or side dish.
Enjoy Canadian Salad as a healthy meal or side dish.
Enjoy a taste of each province on Canada Day by serving the salad family-style at a barbecue.
Enjoy a taste of each province on Canada Day by serving the salad family-style at a barbecue.

Best Canadian Salad Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Canadian Salad Recipe

Looking to learn how to make the great Canadian Salad? This healthy Canada Day dish features local ingredients from each province. Perfect for a summer BBQ!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: canadian
Keyword: Canada Day Recipe, Canadian Salad, Canadian Salad Recipe
Servings: 6
Calories: 723kcal

Equipment

  • pot
  • Strainer
  • whisk
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • mixing bowl
  • French knife
  • Skillet

Ingredients

Canadian Salad Dressing

  • 2 tbsp French Mustard
  • 3/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 Black Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp Berry Jam
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper

Canadian Salad

  • 8 cups Kale chopped
  • 2 Peaches sliced
  • 1/2 cup Dried Pearl Barley
  • 250 g Bacon
  • 1/2 cup Pecans
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  • Rinse dried barley and add to a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water. Simmer covered pot on low heat for approximately 30-40 minutes, until barely is al dente. Strain over the sink with cold water. Store barely in the fridge until ready to serve your Canadian Salad.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together mustard, oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, garlic cloves, berry jam and salt & pepper until well combined.
  • Slice and measure kale, peaches, crispy bacon and pecans. Cut cheddar cheese into small cubes.
  • In a large salad bowl add kale, barley and vinaigrette. With your hands, massage the kale mixture and toss until fully combined.
  • Top Canadian Salad with sliced peaches, bacon, pecans and cheddar cheese cubes.

Nutrition

Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.6g | Protein: 23.9g | Fat: 55.3g | Saturated Fat: 10.4g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 1219mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 5.8g | Sugar: 9.4g | Calcium: 214mg | Iron: 3mg

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