Quinoa, Bulgur and Bibb Salad with Feta

Quinoa & Bulgur Salad

So a co-worker of mine was recently asking for some recipes for grains, things like quinoa, bulgar and couscous (yes, I know it’s not an actual grain). I looked up a few for her, but then she suggested a week on alternative grains. So Judy, this one’s for you! Today’s recipe is a 2-for-1, in that it contains both quinoa and bulgur, two great grains that are easy to prepare and adapt well to a variety of flavours. As always, you can change up and adjust this recipe to fit your family’s tastes. If they’re not crazy about olives, leave them out. You can switch the feta for goat cheese, shredded cheese, or leave that out as well, and make the salad pareve. The lettuce can be changed up with salad greens, arugula or even romaine. The choices are endless! No matter what you use though, the recipe below will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

⅔ cup quinoa
8 cups water
3 teaspoons salt, divided
⅔ cup medium bulgur
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons dried mint, crumbled
½ teaspoon black pepper
8 brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and cut into slivers**
4 radishes, quartered and thinly sliced*
4 ounces feta, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 heads Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce, cut into ¼ -inch strips (about 8 cups)*
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

* Click here to learn how to clean radishes and Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce.
** Click here for my tips on pitting and slicing olives.

Directions:

Add the quinoa into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Using your hand, agitate the water so that the quinoa gets rinsed well. Drain using a sieve or colander. Repeat this process 3 times, using fresh water each time.

In a medium to large sized saucepan, add the washed quinoa, 8 cups of water, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Simmer, uncovered until the quinoa is just tender and the germ starts to separate from the grain, about 20 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

While the quinoa is simmering, in a small bowl, add the bulgur and cover it with warm water by 2 inches. Let the bulgur soak until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and then stir into the drained quinoa. Cool grains completely, about 20 minutes.

While the grains are cooling, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mint, pepper, and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a small bowl and let stand 15 minutes, then stir into the grains along with the olives, radishes, feta, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Greek Orzo Salad

Greek Orzo SaladSo to end off pasta salad week, I thought I’d do one of my favourites. I love the tang of the olives, feta and artichokes, along with the kick of briney heat from the pepperonicini! For those of you that don’t like heat, you can reduce or even eliminate the use of the pickled peppers. For those that want a little bit more heat running through the salad, and not just on the bites that have bits of pepper, try adding some of the brine from the peppers to the dressing, swapping out for some of the vinegar. This is another salad, like most pasta salads, that gets better with time. This recipe will make 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups uncooked orzo pasta
2 (6 ounce) cans artichoke bottoms, drained and roughly chopped*
2 tomatoes, diced (or about 20 cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 large English cucumber, diced
1 green pepper, diced
½-1 red onion, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata, roughly chopped
3-4 pepperoncini, sliced thin (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
salt to taste (if needed)

* Click here to learn about artichokes and parsley.

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add Orzo and cook for 8 – 10 minutes (or according to box instructions); drain.

In a large bowl combine the orzo, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion, feta, olives, pepperoncini and parsley. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the flavours as needed. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Chill for an hour in the refrigerator and then serve.

If you are preparing the salad a day ahead, do as detailed above, but leave out the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and feta, adding these ingredients right before serving, so they don’t become soggy.

Pasta Salad with Red Peppers, Chives, & Goat Cheese

Pasta Salad with with Red Peppers, Chives, & Goat CheeseThis is a nice light pasta salad that would go well with some crusty bread, or a light fish dish for a complete meal. I personally LOVE goat cheese, but you can add as little, or as much, as you like to this dish. If you wanted to make it more of a Greek style, change the goat cheese to feta, and the green olives to kalamata. This salad will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, finely chopped
sea salt, to taste
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 (12-ounce) jar fire-roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and chopped*
2 cups cooked shell pasta (about 1 ½ cups uncooked)
¼ cup chopped chives**
¾ cup chopped marinated pitted green olives (if possible, look for olives marinated in garlic and extra virgin olive oil from your deli olive bar)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ – ½ cup crumbled goat cheese (to taste)

* You can also make your own roasted red peppers, using the recipe found here.
** Click here to learn how to clean chives properly.

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté for 3–4 minutes, or until onion is softened. Season onion with salt and pepper to taste. Add frozen corn to the skillet and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Mix in the red peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Transfer the onion, corn, and red pepper mixture to a large serving bowl. Toss in the cooked pasta shells, chives, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano and thyme. Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and gently toss to mix. Stir in the crumbled goat cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Note: Pasta salad can be made up to one day in advance.

Corn, Rice, Tomato & Arugula Salad

Corn, Rice, Tomato & Arugala SaladThis is a great light salad that is even better the second day, as the flavours have had a chance to meld. If you can find fresh corn, it’s definitely worth it! This recipe will serve 6.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
4 ears of fresh corn, husked & silks removed (or one 341ml can of corn niblets)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh arugula leaves or spinach*
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup red onion, cut into thin slices (approximately ½ small red onion)

For Dressing:

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean arugula and spinach.

Directions:

Prepare the rice according to package directions and cool. Cook corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain. Let ears cool, and then trim the corn off the cob by cutting closely to the cob in long strips. Carefully lay aside. Combine cooled rice, halved tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and arugula in a serving bowl. Carefully arrange corn strips on top of rice mixture and drizzle the salad dressing over all. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Tzvoorach (Farmer’s Salad)

Farmer's SaladI personally LOVE this dish and make it quite often for myself. It keeps well in the fridge (as any dairy would), but tends to separate a bit the next day, so make sure you re-mix it before serving. The vegetables listed below are the “classics” but you can definitely switch them up, adding bell peppers or celery. I’ve even seen broccoli and cauliflower thrown in. I suggest keeping the onions though, and they really add a kick to the mix. This recipe will serve 5-6 as a main.

Ingredients:

1 bunch radishes, sliced
1 long English cucumber, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced*
½-1 tsp. salt (to taste)
LOTS of freshly ground pepper
8 oz dry pressed or creamed cottage cheese
½ cup sour cream

* Click here to learn how to properly check green onions.

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together first the cottage cheese and sour cream, with the salt and pepper, so that it has a chance to blend and have the salt and pepper flavour the cheese. Then add each of the chopped vegetables, tossing between each batch to fully incorporate. I suggest adding the tomatoes last so that they don’t bruise and break up too much with repeated mixing. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust as needed. Serve cold/room temperature.

Milanese con Insalata di Pomodoro (Milanese Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Salad)

tomato chicken cutletThis salad is to be served on top of the chicken cutlets, as part of the dish, not as a separate salad/side dish.

Ingredients:

6-8 ripe, juicy tomatoes cut into a small dice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves, ripped into small pieces*

Directions:

Make the Cotoletta (cutlets) as per the previous recipe (click here).

While the cotoletta is cooking, make your salad by putting your tomato in a mixing bowl with a bit of salt. Allow the tomato to macerate for just a minute or two, then drain out the excess liquid along with most of the seeds. Take the pulp, mix it with the basil leaves and toss with the olive oil. Adjust for seasoning.

Serve the cotoletta, still hot, with the tomato salad spooned over the top, and eat it right away!

Note: If you cannot find ripe large tomatoes, try changing to cherry tomatoes instead; you will need about 2 pints for this recipe.

* click here to learn how to properly clean basil.

Sweet Corn Quiche in Teff Crust

Teff Quiche

This yummy quiche will serve 4-6 people and would make a great brunch or dairy dinner dish!

Ingredients:

⅓ cup water
⅓ cup sesame oil
1 ¼ cup teff flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh corn kernels*
¾ cup milk
4 large eggs
hot pepper sauce, to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
4 oz. gouda cheese, shredded
¾ cup onion, chopped
⅓ cup green pepper, minced
2 cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” pie plate. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the water and oil until they become white and frothy. Add the teff flour and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Mix together and then press into the prepared pie plate.

Place corn kernels and milk into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the eggs, hot pepper sauce and remaining salt. Blend until combined.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the unbaked teff pie crust. Add the corn mixture. Sprinkle the onion and green pepper over the surface of the pie. Arrange the tomato slices around the edge of the filling, creating and nice pattern.

Bake until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean and the centre of the pie is set, about 45 minutes.

* Click here to learn some tips on how to remove fresh corn kernels from the cob.