Friday was my first day back in that happy space and it felt pretty darn good. I was cooking dinner for myself and a friend and since I was racing the next morning, I wanted to make sure it was food that would give me energy but that I could easily digest. And although I'm a vegetarian, my friend is a major meat lover and I knew I'd need to prepare something heart enough to satisfy him. I love dishes that are simple but have lots of fresh flavors so I decided on a Mediterranean menu:
Quinoa Taboule Salad with Chickpeas
Beets with Dill and Toasted Walnuts
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Cubes of Feta Cheese
I began by preparing the quinoa, placing the raw grains in a bowl of cold water and leaving in the refrigerator while I prepped some of the other ingredients and placed the beets in the oven. In case you've never made quinoa before, or need a reminder, I wrote a post all about it which you can find here. I find that soaking it in cold water for a few hours before cooking results in the prettiest fluffiest quinoa you could imagine. Once the quinoa and beets were ready, I allowed them to cool and ran to the market to pick up the grilled artichokes, olives, stuffed grape leaves and feta. Yes, sometimes I mix homemade with prepared but I can admit I'm not superwoman. I have a business to run and couldn't find the time to stuff my own grape leaves on Friday!
So here they are, the meatless Mediterranean recipes that could quite possibly convert a carnivore to veggie (ok, maybe I'm dreaming but would be cool).
Quinoa Taboule with Chickpeas
1 1/2 cups of cooked Quinoa
1 1/2 cups of minced fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
3 tbsp of minced fresh Mint Leaves
Juice of 2 large Lemons
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bunch of Green Onions, bottom white portions only, minced
1 can Chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 large Tomato, seeded & diced
1 large Cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl & season with salt & pepper. Cover & let refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The longer it hangs in the fridge, the better is tastes!
Beets with Dill & Toasted Walnuts
adapted from Williams Sonoma
3-4 medium sized Beets
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh Dill
1/4 cup toasted & roughly chopped Walnuts
Preheat your oven to 375F. Remove the beet greens, if attached, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached to the beets; reserve the greens for another use. Place the beets in a baking dish and cover with water by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish tightly and bake until the beets can be easily pierced with a knife, about an hour or more, depending on the size of the beets.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into cubes. Place the beets in a medium bowl, add the vinegar and toss together gently. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add the olive oil, dill, garlic and salt. Stir in the walnuts and serve.
Do you love to spend time in the kitchen too? I'd love to hear some of your recipes so don't forget to comment and post some links to your favorites!