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Chefs and food aficionados offer some delicious snacking options to keep employees energized at home

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Jeanine Brito/The Globe and Mail

Working from home can be hard when you don’t have enough energy to get through the day. That’s why we’ve asked seven chefs and food aficionados for their best snack recipes to keep employees productive and satiated.

Marinated tofu sandwich

Eaten by Paul Taylor, executive director, FoodShare Toronto

“I’ve been really fortunate to be able to purchase a weekly Good Food Box of fresh produce and bread from FoodShare Toronto, a local food-justice organization that I work at. My morning breakfast snack was inspired by the contents of my Good Food Box this week, with the addition of tofu and some condiments. I’ve made an oven-roasted tofu sandwich on sourdough bread with living pea shoots. The tofu was marinated in some Frank’s Hot Sauce, olive oil, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. I roasted it for 20 minutes and then flipped them over and roasted it for another 20 minutes, all at 400 degrees. Assemble the sandwich with a dollop of mayo, the tofu, the shoots and some slices of tomato. I like my sandwiches with pickles and carrot sticks on the side for some added crunch.”

Almond and hummus-stuffed dates

Eaten by Bashir Munye, food advocate and culinary professor, George Brown College

“One of my favourite snacks during Ramadan, and any other time of the year, are Medjool dates stuffed with toasted almonds and topped with beet hummus, fresh mint and orange zest. I love this recipe as I have all these ingredients, and individually they all make great snacks as well. It’s sweet, chewy, crunchy, creamy, bright, earthy and nutrient-dense all at once. To make this snack, blend four beets (cooked, peeled and cubed), 100 grams of cooked chickpeas, a few spoonfuls of tahini, the juice and zest of two lemons, a chopped garlic clove and ground cumin and salt to taste. Open the dates and discard the pit, add toasted almonds, spoon the hummus on top and garnish with orange zest and chopped fresh mint. Enjoy it as one bite.”

Pad thai popcorn

Eaten by Vijaya Selvaraju, food blogger and YouTuber

“The best snack for me when working from home is one that keeps me on my toes! I love vibrant flavours and interesting textures, which is why my homemade pad thai popcorn is always a go-to. This variation on caramel corn is super easy to make and will instantly transport you to the streets of Bangkok. I make a quick caramel by melting together ½ cup packed brown sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup and 1 tsp vegetable oil and cook it for five minutes until thickened and bubbly. I then flavour the caramel with some fish sauce, lime juice and sambal oelek (Indonesian chili sauce) and fold it into about 14 cups of freshly popped popcorn with dry red chillies, kaffir lime leaves and a generous scoop of roasted peanuts. The result is an addictive snack that is crunchy, crispy, sweet, spicy, savoury and tangy all at once. It’ll last in an air-tight container for up to a month.”

Toasted and spiced nut mix

Eaten by Keith Hoare, chef instructor, Toronto District School Board

“One of the quick snacks I like to prepare is a toasted spiced mix of assorted nuts. They are a good source of dietary fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients. My wife loves to bake, so we always have a supply of walnuts, pecans and almonds in the house, I like to toast them up in a pan over medium heat with some cashews, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. When it comes to seasoning, the possibilities are endles. I do a very light spray of canola oil to help the spices adhere to the nuts. One of my favourite spice combos is smoked salt, garlic powder, ground rosemary, smoked paprika and black pepper. Let your creativity shine and create your own spice combo with what you have on hand. They make a great snack and are ready in less than five minutes.”

Peanut butter granola

Eaten by Renée Bellefeuille, executive chef, Art Gallery of Ontario

“Working from home means working with what’s on hand, and my newest concoction, peanut butter granola, can be as simple or as fancy as my cupboards allow. It’s sweet and salty, can be made in bulk and is an ideal base. It’s more filling than traditional granola since the extra protein from the peanut butter and nut-butter powder keeps me going from e-mails to budgets and Instagram Live.

To make the granola, set your oven to 275 F. Mix two cup of oats with some cinnamon, cardamom, sea salt (for maximum flakiness, I recommend sea salt from the Newfoundland Salt Company) and 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter. Melt 4 tbsp peanut butter and 6 tbsp honey and pour it over the oat mixture. Combine and spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, add shelled peanuts and bake another 10 minutes until golden brown. The granola will stay fresh for one week."

Roasted sweet potato hummus

Eaten by Cory Vitiello, chef, Flock and Cactus Club Cafe

“This is a favourite healthy snack of ours at home, and our son, Barlow, loves it too. The hummus itself is part of a recipe I developed for one of Flock’s most popular salads. It’s easy to make. The quick version is just adding roasted or steamed sweet potato to your hummus and blending it with extra lemon and tahini for added zip. It lasts in the refrigerator for up to a week and pairs well as a side under a roasted piece of chicken or grilled vegetables. We like to eat our hummus with flatbread – it’s essentially flattened pizza dough brushed with za’atar and olive oil and grilled in a cast-iron pan. If you want to take it a step further, garnish with roasted chickpeas, crumbled feta cheese and smoked paprika.”

A grazing snack plate

Eaten by Joshna Maharaj, chef and activist

“When I’m snacking while I work, my head is usually deep in thought, and I don’t want to get distracted by my snack. This platter has a variety of flavours and textures and is the perfect snack as it’s easy to make, it can hang out on my desk at room temperature and I can eat from it with my hands, which is my most favourite thing to do. I like to use my snacking to clear out the little bits of things I have kicking around in the fridge, so the selection changes daily. There are lots of ways to substitute other things in, depending on what you like and what you’ve got on hand. For this plate, I’m snacking on sliced cucumbers topped with pimento cheese, kalamata olives, sliced cherry tomatoes and kimchi. Some whole walnuts or almonds would be a nice thing to add in too!”

Credits: Collected by ANDREA YU; Editing by STEPHANIE CHAN; Design and development by JEANINE BRITO

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