Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Toasted Quinoa Salad


2017-12-15 06.45.51

I took this salad to a graduation celebration and it  was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients, has had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this ASAP!

If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

The directions are basically two to one. Two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Cooking quinoa is very similar to cooking rice.  Follow the directions on the back of the package, then all you need to do is to add the other ingredients.

Many times I’ll toast the quinoa first. this adds another layer of flavor to the quinoa. All you do for that is to add canola oil ( a neutral oil), add your quinoa and stir over med-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Next, you’ll add the boiling liquid to the pot and follow the timing directions on the package.


Whenever I’m adding different vegetables to a salad, I like to make sure they are about the same size. You can see above how I diced up the hothouse cucumber (English cucumber), the grape tomatoes are just halved.

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Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (add 6-8 minutes cooking time if you are toasting quinoa)
Total Time: 22-24 minutes

1-12 ounce package=1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups of vegetable stock (optional choices are water or low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 diced red onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced orange bell pepper
2 cup of diced feta cheese
1-1/2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
2 cups of diced hothouse cucumber
1/4 cup of fresh basil- Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley ( dried 1 tablespoon)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Toasting and Cooking Quinoa:
First, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking.
Best with pot with a glass fitting lid.

In a pot, on med-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil ( any neutral oil). Add in the quinoa. Stir slowly coating all the quinoa with the oil. Continue stirring for about 6-8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown.

In a another pot have you liquid ( vegetable stock) at a boil. Add the boiling liquid to the quinoa. Give a stir and cover. Turn the heat down to low simmer. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, the quinoa is done. It’s really important to keep your eye on the quinoa, it cook pretty fast. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool down for about 5 minutes.  I use a fork to fluff the quinoa around in the pot it helps it to cool down quicker.

While the quinoa is cooking dice up all the vegetables, zest and juice of a lemon, dice the feta, and place into a large bowl.  Add in the cooled cooked quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss through gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving I like to add a drizzle of really good E.V.O.O.


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Two-Heirloom Tomato Salads

Photo May 26, 6 31 09 PM

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are in season right now, so I’m buying them fairly regularly. I have, two, really easy and delicious salads here that can be a main coarse or a side dish with any protein you like. The second one is completely vegetarian. Let’s talk about my first salad.

Photo May 26, 6 28 40 PM

Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

Photo May 26, 6 31 09 PM

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1-1/2 heaping cups of diced Sopressata  (or diced Genoa Salami)
8 cups of heirloom tomatoes – halved and wedges ( depending on whole or grape size tomatoes)
1- 8 ounce package- herb marinated Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls or pearls)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup e.v.o.o.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1-1/2  tablespoons Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of freshly chopped tarragon leaves

Dressing For Salad:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup e.v.o.o.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1-1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
Place all ingredients in a “2 cup” measuring cup. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined.

Marinate For Bocconcini:
1-8 ounce package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of E.V.O.O

Separate all the the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small bowl along with the other ingredients. Using a spoon, gently mix together.

Direction For Heirloom Tomato Salad:
In a large salad bowl, place all the halved and tomato wedges. Add in the marinated mozzarella balls. Next, add in the chopped fresh tarragon leaves. Pour the dressing over and toss all the ingredients together. Serve with your favorite bread.

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

My second tomato salad called, Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad. This on is a vegetarian salad, totally meat free!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1 pound of cooked drained and cooled orzo pasta
2 cup of arugula leaves
4 cups of diced and halved heirloom tomatoes ( depending whether whole or grape size)
1-14.6 ounce jar of long stemmed artichoke hearts, halved
1-8 ounce package of Bocconcini ( mini mozzarella balls
1 lemon juiced
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Place the halved and diced heirloom tomatoes, cooked and cooled orzo pasta, halved artichokes hearts, mini mozzarella balls arugula leaves, Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped parsley into a large salad bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and drizzle the two tablespoons of agave nectar over the top. Toss through gently. Next, refrigerate until your ready to serve as a colorful and tasty side dish.

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Arugula Salad With Fried Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions

Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions!

Let's Dish

Aruguala Salad Herb Goat Cheese Medallions and Seared Scallops

Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions

A simple cool crisp arugula salad with sliced red onion, fresh lemon juice and e.v.o.o. is perfect by itself. Now, when you top the salad with my warm herb crusted goat cheese medallions, that takes the salad to a whole new level.  Really delicious and simple to make. Let me show how I make these little gems.

Steve brought home half a pound of sea scallops. He asked me if I would pan sear a few of them for his salad. You know how it is, he just couldn’t wait to eat them. That’s why you see them in the picture. Anyway, back to the star of this show.


First I’m starting with my garlic chives. These will go into the breading along with dried parsley flakes.

Photo May 22, 5 20 57 PM

Yields: 4 servings
12 goat cheese Medallions -3 per salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  about 10 minutes for all 9 rounds.
Total Time: 25 minutes
Note: Cook just until browned on both sides but not melted on the inside

Ingredients for salad
2 packages of pre-washed arugula
1/2 red onion sliced very thin
3 lemons juiced about 2 tablespoons per salad
E.V.O.O about 2 tablespoons per salad
Kosher salt, a sprinkle per salad
Fresh cracked black pepper, a pinch per salad

Fried Goat Cheese
1-11 once log of goat cheese sliced into 12 medallions
3 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons of minced chives
2 tablespoons of dried parsley flakes
1-1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil


First, place the arugula and sliced red onion evenly divided into 4 salad bowls. Sprinkle each salad with salt and pepper. Cover each with plastic wrap and  place them into refrigerator to keep cold.

For the breading: Place the panko, chives, and dried parsley flakes to a large bowl.  Mix the fresh and dried herbs evenly throughout the Panko bread crumbs.

For the egg mixture, add to a bowl, 3 eggs, Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Using a fork, beat the eggs and spices together. Remove the goat cheese from the frig and slice into 9 medallions.

Slice the goat  cheese into ( 1/2 inch thick) 9 medallions. Dip the goat cheese medallions, a few at a time, into the seasoned egg mixture.. Toss them through to coast. Next, transfer them into the Panko with herbs.

Place the breaded goat cheese onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once all of the medallions are breaded, place the baking sheet into the frig to chill and set for 30 minutes.

On medium heat, preheat a large saute pan. until hot. Carefully add the butter and olive oil and swish around the pan. Once melted, place the breaded goat cheese medallions into the pan. Spread them out giving each enough room to flip. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook the goat cheese medallions quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but mot melted inside.

Note: If cooking in two batches, add another tablespoon of butter and oil. Bring the melted oil and butter back up to temperature before adding in the second batch of breaded medallions.

To serve:  Squeeze lemon juice over each prepared salad.  Drizzle with the  e.v.o.o and toss.  Top each salad with 3 warm goat cheese medallions and serve immediately.

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Fennel Slaw

Photo Mar 31, 11 03 20 AM (1)

Fennel slaw has to be one of our favorite side dishes. The key to a great salad is to have a lot of different colors and textures.

Food Mandoline Slicer

The Mandolin Food Slicer is one of the best kitchen gadgets ever! The Mandolin slices veggies and potatoes paper thin. It’s just wonderful.

Fennel bulb

This is a Fennel bulb. It’s so delicious! Slightly sweet, crunchy with an Anise or Liquorice flavor. It can be eaten raw, roasted, in soup, stews, or pureed. Adding Fennel to slaw add depth of flavor. I always save the green leafy fronds for garnish and added color.

Photo Mar 31, 11 03 20 AMPhoto Mar 31, 11 03 20 AM (2)

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced (using Mandolin)
1 Fennel bulb, cored and sliced  (using Mandolin)
1/2 cup of store bought shredded carrots
1/2 a large red onion sliced (using Mandolin)
1/2 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tablespoons of chopped Fennel fronds

Dressing For Slaw:
3/4 cup of good mayonnaise
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar ( if you like a slightly more tart flavor add more vinegar)
2 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of celery seed
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Add sliced cabbage,  sliced fennel, sliced red onion, shredded carrots, fennel fronds, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, and raisins into a large bowl.

In a second bowl add the mayo, milk, apple cider vinegar, celery seed, agave nectar, granulated sugar, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk all those ingredients together.

Everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to Cole Slaw.  You may like your slaw either on the vinegary side or a sweeter side. Taste to make any adjustments to the level of sweetness (sugar) or tartness (vinegar).

Pour the dressing over the fennel slaw mixture and toss through. Place in the frig and serve chilled.



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