Light, Healthy + Delicious at The Pickle Barrel – Toronto

A sponsored post.

I’ve been trying to eat healthy all month, but eating out is SUCH a challenge for me because I usually default to something fried and greasy. Does anyone else here do the same thing? My poor choices usually ends up derailing my diet and will lead to more junk food all week.

So what’s a girl to do?

Giving up on eating out is just not an option.

I met with Rose Reisman – a leading health and nutrition expert, cookbook author, caterer, and media personality who had some great advice for me. She suggested:

rose reisman

1) Plan Your Meals

Knowing that you’re going to be eating out, plan your other meals accordingly. That can mean a light breakfast and light dinner if you know that you’re going out for lunch.


2) Fill-up On Fibre

Choose things like brown rice, pulses (like beans, chickpeas and lentils), quinoa or other whole grains to keep you feeling full.


3) Watch the Dressing

If you decide to order a salad – watch the calories in those heavy creamy dressings. They can add an extra 300-400 calories to a supposedly ‘healthy’ salad. Stick to dressing on the side, so you can control your portion size.


4) Research the Restaurant Menu Ahead of Time

Know you’re going out to eat? Check out the menu ahead of time and see where they hiding the extra calories, oils, salt, sugar and fat. Avoid things that are fried or crispy if you’re trying to eat healthy.

photo courtesy of Rose Reisman

Rose is also a restaurant consultant and she personally curated a healthy (but oh, so delicious) menu for some of The Pickle Barrel locations across Toronto (Sherway, Yonge and Eglinton and Yorkdale).

Her seasonal Light, Healthy & Delicious menu currently features dishes made with USA-grown rice and Canadian pulses that are under 520 calories or less.

I had the opportunity to try a few dishes out for myself to see if sacrificing calories can actually mean NOT sacrificing on flavour. Here’s what we ate at our lunch together:


If you’re looking for an appetizer to share, The Seared Steak Bibb Lettuce Cups ($12.99) taste indulgent without all the extra calories. I like how the seared top sirloin here is part of the flavouring, but not the main dish. Yes you can have your steak, and still be satisfied when it’s presented in a beautiful lettuce wrap filled with brown rice, carrots, red onion, edamame, and a housemade hoisin sauce to finish.

Brown rice is also a great source of fibre, which keeps you feeling full and not rummaging through the kitchen later for a bag of chips.

tuna poke stack pickle barrel TUNA POKE STACK

My most favourite dish at our lunch was The Tuna Poke Stack ($16.99). Raw ahi tuna is stacked on top of white jasmine rice, avocado, diced tomato, red onion, cilantro, shredded nori and sesame dressing.

The rice made it quite filling and the whole dish is light, fresh and packed full of flavour. It’s better than a sad desk salad for lunch and I didn’t feel like I was missing out with the generous serving of poke in front of me.

I honestly felt like I was still treating myself to something really gourmet and that I would feel better about my healthy choice later.

salmon board pickle barrel SALMON BOARD

If you prefer something hot and hearty, I definitely recommend The Salmon Board ($17.99), which is a great source of fatty omega-3s. The fish was served up beautifully on a wooden board with beluga lentils, seared grape tomatoes, grilled asparagus, red onions, and a fresh citrus dressing.

I loved the texture of the chewy beluga lentils and the rainbow of colours in front of me. I need to have a vegetable side with every meal and this is my dream come true.

mushroom arugula salad pickle barrel WILD MUSHROOM KALE + ARUGULA SALAD

A great vegetarian option is this delicious Wild Mushroom Kale + Arugula Salad ($14.99) with the meaty taste and hearty flavour of sautéed oyster and shiitake mushrooms.

A kale and arugula salad makes up the base and features grated Parmesan, adzuki red beans, and a sweet and tangy maple balsamic vinaigrette. So there are lots of flavours and textures going on here and there isn’t a heavy dressing adding extra calories.

dessert shots pickle barrel MINI DESSERT SHOTS

The perfect ending to our lunch were these Mini Dessert Shots that give you just a sweet taste to finish. I wish more restaurants would do this because they are the perfect size!

We sampled shots of cherry cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and cookies and cream. These are on regular offer over at The Pickle Barrel – do make sure you ask for them!

pickel barrel light menu The items I sampled above are part of Rose’s seasonal menu available at The Pickle Barrel and features pulses and USA-grown rice and Canadian pulses. This current menu will be available until March 31st, 2018 for all those looking to incorporate their healthy eating habits while eating out.


I want to send one lucky reader to The Pickle Barrel to try Rose’s menu our for themselves. I’m giving away a $50 gift voucher to The Pickle Barrel, good for any of their locations in Toronto and the GTA. The card is valid until March 31st, 2018 and this contest is open to legal residents of Ontario, ages 18 years or older – void where prohibited. Enter using the Rafflectoper widget below and good luck!


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