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

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Hot House Cucumber

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grape tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, large mixing bowl, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package (equivalent to 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa)
3 cups of unsalted vegetable stock, HOT (substitute water or unsalted chicken broth)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
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 ground black pepper
*E.V.O.O.

Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa to remove the *saponin. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

In a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-low heat add (or leave) some of the water remaining on the quinoa so that it’s moist. Add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. Using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around allowing any excess water to be absorbed by the grains of quinoa.

Once the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue stirring until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.

In another pot bring the 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil and salt. Pour the hot vegetable stock into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool completely.

While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and the feta.  Zest and juice a lemon. Transfer all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving my Toasted Quinoa Salad, I like to add a drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.
*Saponin is the outer coating of the quinoa and it can be very bitter. It’s a good idea to rinse the quinoa before cooking.

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Antipasto Platters Made Easy

 

Whenever I’m doing an Antipasto Platter, start with great quality ingredients. I like to assemble a few and dress of few.

For example, the artichokes can be tossed with strips of roasted red peppers, and the cantaloupe and breadsticks, wrap delicious cured meats.

Keeping the same items together gives a more uniform look to the platter. I also always try to utilize herbs in my garden. Here I’m using fresh basil as a garnish for the platters.

Simple dress the grape tomatoes with *E.V.O.O. and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

What’s great about this is all the ingredients are store-bought. This makes these platters quick and easy to put together. For the seasoned Bocconcini, my recipe is really simple. I doubled the recipe below for my platters in the pictures you see above.

Antipasto Platters

Antipasto Platters (2)

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Antipasto Platters (3)

 

 

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 12 to 16 servings
Equipment: 2 large serving platters, chef’s knife, medium-size mixing bowl

Ingredients For Marinated Bocconcini:
1 8-ounce package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O.

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

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette

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Ina Garten was the inspiration for this salad. She did an episode on making pasta three different ways. This Greek pasta salad caught my eye. I wanted to make it with a couple of changes. What’s really cool about this recipe is, in the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can have all the veggies chopped and the salad dressing made. This is my Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

Hot House Cucumber

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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2015-03-30-13-48-15

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Red Onion

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Kalamata Olives (2)

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E.V.O.O.

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Greek Pasta Salad With A Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, colander, large mixing bowl, large serving bowl, mini food processor

Ingredients:
2 hothouse or English cucumbers, diced into 1-inch chunks
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons then quartered
2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
10 ounces of good Greek Feta, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 pound of fusilli pasta, cooked, rinsed until cold and drained
2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients For Sun-dried Tomato Dressing:
2 tablespoon of drained capers
2 garlic cloves
8 sun-dried tomatoes, drained (packed in oil)
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh sprig of mint for garnish

Directions For Dressing:
Add the sun drained sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until they are finely minced. Next, add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Kosher salt, black pepper, and Agave nectar. Pulse the ingredients to combine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the *E.V.O.O whisking until the dressing comes together.

Directions:
In a large bowl, place all the diced vegetables. To the vegetables, add in the well-drained, cooked pasta. Pour in half of the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette and stir through. This gives the hot pasta a chance to absorb those flavors. Finely, add in the cubed Feta, freshly chopped herbs, and remaining dressing. Gently toss the diced Feta (so to keeps its integrity) and herbs through until all the ingredients are well combined.

Serve the salad at room temperature or chill in the frig and serve cold. Garnish with a sprig of mint. This is my Greek Pasta Salad With A Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

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