Western Living Magazine
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These are the dishes that have made it into our editors' regular rotation.
This collection of our editors’ (and art director’s) favourite recipes really speaks to the veggie-forward modern world we’re living in. None of us are vegan or vegetarian—Stacey’s pescatarian, but that’s as close as we’re getting to a plant-based diet. Yet every single one of our favourite recipes of 2023 is meatless. What can we say: Western Canadian chefs are doing wonders with carrots, squash and Brussels sprouts. For dessert, let them eat pistachio cake.
When our art director, Jenny Reed, came back from our holiday photo shoot, she told us how she couldn’t stop eating this one recipe. Carrots, she said. She couldn’t stop eating the carrots, in large part thanks to the excellent garnish that recipe developer Lawren Moneta had included on them. We collectively shrugged until Thanksgiving (yes, our food shoots are done quite a bit ahead of when they run in the magazine), when a few of us tried it at home—and boy, was she right. Roasted carrots are one of those veg side dishes that I wish I did more often—you can’t beat a caramelized carrot—but add in that combo of pistachios, dates, lemon zest, feta, and yes, the humble carrot side dish quickly becomes the one that they’ll ask for seconds, thirds…more, please. —Anicka Quin, editorial director
Since Anicka already gave a little peek behind the editorial curtain, I’ll take it one step further—occasionally, the hand you see serving that magnificent-looking cake in the pages of WL might be your friendly neighbourhood managing editor. Yes, that’s my hand, and yes, that means I got to attend the beautiful Seth Stevenson shoot and try all of Lawren Moneta’s beach-y picnic recipes. The pistachio cake was my favourite: fresh, moist, nutty, tart and sweet. It’s an excellent, light dessert for sunny days… and when the actual recipe developer makes it for you, even better.—Alyssa Hirose, managing editor
It’s always embarrassing to mess up a dish. But it’s extra embarrassing when that dish is mashed potatoes, a side whose defining quality is that it has no defining quality. That’s where I found myself this past Thanksgiving, when I scoffed at using a recipe and freestyled a red-potato mash that some relatives kindly described as “interesting,” and others not-so-kindly described as “the devil’s potatoes.” I’m determined to make up for the screw up this Christmas, and I’ve been practicing for my comeback with this roasted butternut squash dish from Shelley Adams’ newest cookbook, Whitewater Cooks: Together Again. It’s humble yet sophisticated; simple enough to pull off, while just intricate enough that I won’t get cocky and ruin everything. In other words, the perfect side for proving to my family that I can be trusted in the kitchen again—just keep the gadgets out of my hands. —Stacey McLachlan, senior editor
Yes, I loved the carrots Anicka chose for this post—but reflecting on that photoshoot has reminded me of another excellent veggie-focused holiday recipe. I am obsessed with Brussels sprouts, and could easily make a meal out of them alone. These ones are crispy with a kick of personality thanks to the parmesan and smoked paprika. My mouth is literally watering as I type this… I am making it as my potluck side dish for Christmas. And maybe tonight for dinner—practise makes perfect.—Jenny Reed, art director
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