Cooking on a budget with Quest

Yesterday, we took Farm Kitchen on the road to visit one of our favourite partners, Quest Food Exchange in East Vancouver.


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Hieke had the honour of hosting a cooking class with one of Quest’s volunteers, Rick Gibbs, with a focus on creating delicious healthy family meals on a budget.




Quest is a not-for-profit food exchange program which offers healthy, affordable food to those who face barriers to accessing these staples through traditional means.


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All ingredients for the class were purchased in Quest’s grocery market before the team proceeded to the custom designed kitchen at the back of the store to cook up a storm.


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Here’s what they created (thanks Rick for sharing your recipes):


Szechuan green beans
–          1 lb Green beans, washed and ends cut off
–          2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
–          2 green onions, finely chopped
–          1 small carrot, finely chopped
–          2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and rinsed, finely chopped
–          Pepper and Salt
–          Olive oil for frying
–          2 table spoons Szechuan sauce (can substitute honey, maple syrup or brown sugar)


Fry garlic, onions, carrot and peppers for a few minutes on high, then add green beans. Cover and let simmer on low to med for 4 or 5 minutes. Take lid off, turn burner to high and add Szechuan sauce. Toss for a couple minutes, remove from heat then serve.

Swiss Chard, in ¾”  strips, discard stems
1 cup Grapes, sliced into thin pieces
1 Apple, cut into matchsticks
1 Carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 celery stalks, thin cut diagonally
1 Orange, peeled and finely chopped
1 Orange Pepper, cut into slices
Pepper & Salt
½ cup cooked Quinoa (cooks the same as white rice)
Olive oil
All washed, chopped and mixed together. Add the quinoa at the end, drizzle with olive oil – no dressing needed on this salad!


Penne tossed with Sausage and Red Peppers, served with toasted garlic bread
–          5 bratwurst sausages, sliced into 1/8” pieces
–          1 jar red peppers, finely chopped
–          1 bag penne (enough for 6 to 8)
–          2 cloves garlic (or more if you love garlic), finely chopped
–          2 green onions, cut into ¼” pieces
–          2 stalks Celery, diagonally cut
–          2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
–          Pepper and Salt
–          Olive Oil


Fry the sausage, green onion, garlic, carrot, pepper and salt on high heat for a few minutes, until the sausage is just about cooked. Turn heat to medium, add the red peppers and put the lid on for a couple minutes. Turn off heat.


Separately, boil water for pasta and cook, drain and set aside until sauce is ready.
We used a nice big bowl, put the pasta in first and covered it with the sausage and red peppers.
Garlic Bread: we took day old buns, cut then into 3/8” slices, arranged them on a baking sheet. Then we blended about ½ cup of olive oil and 6 cloves of garlic (yikes!). We brushed the blended mix over the bread, sprinkled with some dried oregano, basil, pepper and salt and grilled it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.


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Total bill at Quest’s market for all of the above (enough to feed 8 people with leftovers): $13.36!