Lemon Basil Quinoa Salad

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My local grocery store sells the most delicious quinoa salad in the deli case. It has quinoa, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, and red onions, all mixed together with a mildly sweet lemon basil dressing. The salad is light and refreshing and has a great combination of sweet and savory flavors. I took one bite and I immediately started thinking about how I could recreate this salad at home.

Lemon Basil Quinoa Salad

I served this salad at my mother-in-law’s birthday dinner last night, and it was a big success! The bowl was practically scraped clean, but I managed to save some leftovers, which I had for lunch today, topped with some left-over salmon (yum!).

I omitted the artichoke hearts and red onions from my recipe, since they are not part of my low FODMAP diet, but feel free to add them to your salad, if you like. You can adjust the ingredients and quantities shown in my recipe below, but be sure to only use fresh basil. I had some trouble finding fresh basil in the grocery store, so I went to my local nursery and bought a basil plant for about the same price I would pay for a handful of basil as the grocery store. Now I can plant my basil plant and have fresh basil all summer long!

The quinoa will need time to cool in the fridge, so be sure to cook the quinoa the day before, or at least a few hours before you plan on serving the salad. This recipe will serve about 6-8 as a side dish.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 container of grape tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon sliced green onions
2 lemons, juiced (approximately 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

To prepare the quinoa, first add the quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove the bitter coating. Add the quinoa to a large saucepan or deep skillet (make sure it has a lid). Add 3 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. I usually stir it once or twice while it’s cooking and check the water level. Burnt quinoa doesn’t taste good (don’t ask me how I know).

Once the quinoa is cooked, let cool for 30 minutes, then transfer to a mixing bowl and place it in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.

To prepare the salad, remove the quinoa from the fridge (the quinoa should be cold), and add the tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and green onions. Gently stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, fresh basil, and salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the quinoa and gently stir until thoroughly coated with the dressing. Have a taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Mexican Chopped Salad

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I made my Mexican Bean Salad last weekend. It’s a family favorite, but we always have some left over the next day. It keeps great, so we usually just enjoy a “rerun” of the yummy bean salad on day 2. This week I wanted to do something a bit different though, so I decided to make a chopped salad with my leftovers. I just mixed a few salad ingredients into the bean salad and presto-chango. It was so good! The dressing on the bean salad combined with the avocado to add the perfect amount of flavor for a nice, light salad.

I served this salad with my yummy Chile Lime Chicken, which would also be great chopped up and mixed into this salad.

Ingredients
2-3 cups leftover Mexican Bean Salad
4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

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Summer Menu: Week 4

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Happy Back to School for those of you who had kids start school last week! Remember when we used to start school the day after Labor Day – what happened to that? Well school may have begun, but according to the weather (and my stomach) it’s still summer and this week’s menu is filled with great summertime recipes.

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the menu, grocery list, and recipes.
Summer Menu: Week 4

Here’s the menu for this week:

Sunday: Greek Pasta Salad with Sausage

 

 

 

 

Monday: Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops with LO* Pasta Salad

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Tandoori

 

 

 

 

Wednesday: Tomatoes with Fresh Basil over Pasta

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Green Salad with LO* Tandoori Chicken
(no photo)

Friday: Vegetarian Pesto Pita Pizza

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Fish Tacos

 

 

 

 

*left-over

 

Happy cooking!

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Summer Menu: Week 3

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Hello friends! This week’s menu is full of flavor and has lots of yummy vegetarian options. Click on the link below to download a PDF of the menu, grocery list, and recipes.
Menu Summer 2012 3

Here’s the delicious menu:

Sunday: Spiced Lentils with Garlic Naan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday: Zesty Quinoa and Beans

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Simple Summer Squash and Sausage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday: Cranberry Spinach Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Mediterranean Garlic Herb Cod

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday: Heavenly Ricotta Pancakes (Breakfast for Dinner!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Parmesan Basil Orzo with Shrimp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

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Mexican Bean Salad

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This colorful bean salad is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! The flavor is amazing and the crunchy bell pepper and creamy avocado add great texture to the salad. I adapted this from a recipe on Allrecipes. Click here to view the original recipe. This makes 8-10 servings, so plan on having some leftovers. This will keep for several days in the fridge (if it lasts that long!).

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 avocado, diced

In a large bowl, combine beans, bell pepper, red onion, and corn.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, and chili powder. Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables; mix well.

Chill thoroughly, and serve cold. Add a tablespoon or two of diced avocado to each individual plate when serving.

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Tabouli Salad

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This refreshing salad is full of flavor and a perfect side dish (or light meal) to enjoy on a warm day. Look for bulgur wheat in the bulk bin department of your grocery store. Be sure to make this in advance, so the flavors in the salad can blend into yummy goodness.

Ingredients
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lemons
1 lime
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Mix the bulgur wheat and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt together in a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water into the bowl (no stirring necessary). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a medium bowl. Cut the lemons and lime in half and squeeze their juice into the bowl with the olive oil. The easiest way to do this is to stick a fork into the cut side of the lemon or lime, and then squeeze the lemon (or lime) around the fork, while simultaneously moving the fork in a circular motion around the inside of the lemon (or lime). (Note: use a fine mesh strainer over the bowl to catch the seeds.) Stir in the garlic and the mint.

When the bulgur wheat is ready, stir the dressing into the bulgur, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Before serving, stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, and green onions. Take a bite . . . or two . . . or three. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and enjoy!

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Fall Salad with Cranberries and Candied Walnuts

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! We had a lovely time with family and friends; I feel truly blessed! Okay, back to the recipe . . .

This simple salad, topped with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and creamy goat cheese is so delicious that it feels like I’m eating dessert, rather than vegetables. This is a great salad to have during the fall and winter months when tomatoes and other common salad vegetables are out of season.

Ingredients
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
6-8 cups of your favorite salad greens (I combine mixed greens with baby spinach)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup creamy goat cheese
Vinaigrette salad dressing

In a medium pan, over medium heat, add the walnuts and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and the walnuts are thoroughly coated. It will take several minutes before the sugar begins to melt, so be patient. Melted sugar gets extremely hot, so if a walnut happens to pop out of the pan during the cooking process, don’t try to pick it up with your bare hands, or you will get a bad burn (unfortunately I know this from experience). When coated with sugar, pour the walnuts out in a single layer on a sheet of waxed paper or foil to cool.

Wash and dry the salad greens and place them into a salad bowl. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and candied walnuts (after they have cooled) over the salad greens. Toss gently to mix.

Plate individual portions of salad, and then place a few pieces of goat cheese on each portion. Drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette dressing and serve.

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Jamie’s Cranberry Spinach Salad

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Okay, get your grocery list and write down these ingredients — no really, this salad is that good. Below is my version of the recipe (which can change depending on the ingredients that I have on hand), but click here to see the original recipe on allrecipes.com. I serve mine with sautéed chicken to make a delicious main dish salad. Mmmm, it makes me happy just thinking about it!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, onion, paprika, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil, until the sugar is dissolved. Toss with spinach just before serving.  Enjoy!

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