Summer Salads and more

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

1.5 cup uncooked quinoa

3 cups water or vegetable broth

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup (about 10) pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and diced, seeds removed

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 jar Pickled beets

1 can Artichoke hearts

Handful chopped spinach

1/2 cup finely chopped mint

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Prepare the quinoa- combine quinoa and water/broth, bring to a vigorous boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and thread-like spirals will appear around the grains. Let the quinoa cool. This can even be done a day or two in advance.

In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients (from the onions to the mint) with the cooled quinoa. Toss with the olive oil and the lemon juice, adding more to your taste preference. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Watermelon Kale Smoothie

4 c Seedless Watermelon

2 c Kale

1 Grapefruit, peeled and seeded

2 c Blueberries, frozen

1 Avocado

1 Apple

1/4 c fresh Mint

Place all items in your blender and GO! The avocado adds creaminess and some protein.


Watermelon Salad

* 1 watermelon, cut into bite sized chunks or use a melon baller

* One half red onion minced

* One avocado sectioned into half inch cubes

* 2 cups frozen blueberries

* fresh mint, leaves from 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped

* 1 bunch of arugula, leaves only*

* 1 lemon, zested and juiced

* 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

* 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

* salt and pepper

Place watermelon, mint and watercress in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the lemon zest over the melon and pour on the juice.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over.  If you feel it needs to be a bit sweeter, you can add a bit of agave nectar (1 tsp. at a time).  *Any bitter green will work here.  If arugula is not available, look for watercress or dandelion root.

Moving into Summer

Curried Eggplant Stew
* 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch squares

* 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

* 1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes (chopped/diced)

* 2 cups vegetable broth

* 1 medium onion chopped

* 1 tablespoon roasted garlic

* 1/2 cup fresh basil rough chopped

* 3 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

* 1 tablespoon yellow curry

* Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: in a large bowl pour 2 cups vegetable broth over prepared eggplant and let soak for 15 minutes. In a large saucepan add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and place on medium/low heat. When oil is hot add chopped onion, coat with oil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Place stovetop on medium/high heat adding eggplant with broth, chickpeas and tomoatoes stirring to combine. Add all of the remaining seasonings to the pan and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. This “stew” can be consumed as is or poured over the base of your choice. I typically eat over spaghetti squash or brown rice.  

Baba Ganoush
OK, this is my take on a traditional Indian dish. We are going to take the remaining stew and add Tahini and more chickpeas to a food processor. We will need a little bit more olive oil to help the mixture blend. So here is what you need
Food processor with a large mixing bowl

3 cups of our Eggplant stew mixture

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup of Tahini (sesame paste)

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Add eggplant stew, chickpeas and tahini to your food processor and pulse several times. Once roughly combined, turn food processor to medium speed and drizzle in olive oil slowly until the mixture resembles a hummus consistency. Serve as dip with your favorite chips/veggies or use as a spread on your favorite bread.

What we do when there is NO OVEN…

Fennel Salad

* 2 Fennel Bulbs, tops removed, thinly sliced

* 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled 7 thinly sliced

* One large carrot shredded

* One quarter head of red cabbage shredded

* 1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned,  plus the juice from the other 1/2

* 1 Tbs. Honey or to taste

* 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

* kosher salt and white ground pepper to taste

Toss ingredients together and let sit for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.  Any citrus could be substituted for the grapefruit and the amount of juice used really depends on how “saucy” you like your salads.

Gazpacho 

1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes crushed

One package of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 medium onion

1 large cucumber peeled and seeded

1 4oz can chopped green chilies with liquid

1 tablespoon of roasted garlic

1 cups of fresh mint

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and use the stick blender on it. This method just allows for better control of the texture. You can also use a standard blender if you don’t have a stick version. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. It makes a great “soup” or even a salsa.