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It was the customers' smiles, at the sight of their food, that made it all worthwhile for me.

It was the customers' smiles, at the sight of their food, that made it all worthwhile for me.

Making people happy with good food has always been one of my great pleasures. To me cooking is a form of art and the only form of art that gets eaten and remade everyday. I like to think of myself as an artist and I love to create great tasting food that looks amazing.

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It wasn't until my four year old refused to eat anything but Pizza Pops that I knew I had to change.

The way the majority of us get our food has changed dramatically since I was young. I grew up on a small family farm, in the 50 & 60's, which produced the bulk of the food for our large family. My mother cooked everything from the meat, vegetables, dairy and eggs that were grown on the farm. We supplemented with wild berries and purchased fruit which she preserved. Grocery shopping was made up of the flour, sugar and other items that could not be provided by the farm.
When I left home to attend university I realized that the food I was eating just wasn't the same as what my mother cooked. Although I did some cooking for myself I ate a lot of processed food as well.
My husband and I were vegetarian, and in the 70's, there wasn't much prepared food suitable for our diet. I had to learn to cook and I discovered that I loved it and happily, according to my husband, my food tasted better than anyone else's.
I continued the tradition of home cooked meals, but during my busy years of working and raising a family I started to slip into the fast food trap. I had hungry teenagers who thought it wasn't cool to take a lunch to school so I had on hand processed food that they could heat up when they got home.

But it wasn't until my four year old refused to eat anything but pizza pops that I knew I had to make a change.

The first change was to stop buying fast food. The little ones can't eat it if you don't buy it. There were complaints and protests, but I am the adult, and it was my responsibility to make sure my family ate healthy foods.

To replace those kinds of easy foods I started to make my own. I replaced pizza pops with calzones and made my own burritos. It took some shifting of time and priorities but I was able to replace the processed foods with healthy alternatives without too much difficulty or complaints.

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  • I found their warm and inviting atmosphere speaks of their passion and dedication for healthy living.

    Quaint, cozy, natural and charming are only a few words to describe Nature's Garden. For me it was not a place to conveniently purchase food, it was a place of experiences, relationships and connections. I always felt at home being there and not only did they provide amazing wholesome food and excellent service. I found their warm and inviting atmosphere spoke of their passion and dedication for healthy living. What stood out for me particularly were the smiles and laughs we shared. Natures Garden was a place where I always felt happy and for me that is what made Nature's Garden successful and a place you just wanted to hang out at. If you wanted to connect with your community and enjoy the most amazing food at reasonable prices, then Natures Garden was the place to spend your time because it was a place where you felt good. From my eyes Natures Garden was a place of value and integrity and I am fortunate enough to have built such wonderful connections there.

    Nadia Secreto Student at Simon Fraser University
  • You can bet her cookbook will be packed with recipes for the home cooked soups, paninis and pasta salads that we used to relish on campus.

    An effervescent SFU alumna with an ever present smile, Dolores used to whip up some wonderful meals, soothing, tasty and nutritious, at Nature's Garden when she and her husband owned the SHOP atop Burnaby Mountain. You can bet her cookbook will be packed with recipes for the home cooked soups, paninis and pasta salads that we used to relish on campus.

    Carol Thorbes Information Officer for Simon Fraser University
  • "Their orzo salad is like none other."

    "When I think of healthy, wholesome good food on SFU's Burnaby campus, Nature's Garden definitely was on top of my list. Dolores, Bill and the NG crew were attentive and keen to serve customers by providing the highest quality of food and service. Their orzo salad was like none other (and my husband calls me a carnivore!)"

    Candy Ho Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Just when you feel like you tried everything and thinking of going to grab a snack somewhere else she comes up with something new and very special.

    I have been a client at Natures Garden for over 6 years. This place has always warmly greeted me with great fresh food and very relaxing atmosphere. Being a regular there I have noticed that Dolores has always been at the heart of the operations. The food, service, atmosphere everything was due to her effort and commitment. She has always surprised me with new culinary creations. Just when you feel like you tried everything and thinking of going to grab a snack somewhere else she comes up with something new and very special. The food has always been extremely fresh and Dolores did a fantastic job of preserving the natural taste of ingredients. Every time I came in it felt like I was visiting one of my close relatives as the food has a very home-made taste. I am very sad that Dolores is no longer involved with Natures Garden Cafe and I am eagerly awaiting her cookbook!

    Damir Akhmetchin Marketing Strategist
  • They got me eating my veggies and loving it.

    When Dolores and Bill left Burnaby Mountain, they left an empty spot in the community they had created around Nature's Garden. Not only did Dolores' cooking and baking give healthy fare a good name, wholesome food was served in an atmosphere that encouraged good conversation. I remember the warmth of tasty vegetarian soups served with a biscuit, their variety of quiches with flaky crust, their hearty bison panini, and their guilt free chocolate zucchini cupcakes. They got me eating my veggies and loving it.

    But most of all, I miss just sitting around chatting with Bill and Dolores, who knew their regular customers by name. That's the spice that makes the already good food even better.

    Marela Dichupa, PhD Lecturer at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

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