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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Pesto Potato Salad

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This Pesto Potato Salad requires no mayonnaise so it travels well. As a side dish with chicken, pork, or beef it’s perfect. The fresh basil pesto in this Pesto Potato Salad adds so much flavor. The sweet multi-colored bell peppers add a burst of color. A few really good ingredients make this potato salad a winner.

I’m never shy about taking help from the grocery store. You can now find fresh basil pesto in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, where they display the fresh pasta and marinara sauce. This pre-made fresh basil pesto is a huge time saver. Add basil pesto to warm potatoes and they’ll soak up all those delicious flavors.

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers

Red Potatoes

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Red Potatoes (2)

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Red Onion

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes (depending on potatoes and size, time may vary slightly)
Total Cook Time: 25 to 27 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: cutting board, chef’s knife, 6-quart stockpot, strainer, large mixing bowl. spatula or a long-handled spoon, plastic wrap.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of red bliss potatoes, quartered (waxy potatoes work best)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup of multi-colored mini sweet bell peppers, finely diced (red, yellow, and orange)
1 7-ounce container, Rana fresh basil pesto (found in the refrigerated section by the fresh pasta)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
Wash and scrub the potatoes from any grit. Cut them into large, bite-sized chunks. transfer the potatoes to a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch.

Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Add a good sprinkling of Kosher salt. Cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through when pierced with a fork, 10-12 minutes. Exact cooking time depends on the size of your potato chunks and the type of potatoes.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the same pot they were cooked in. Do not set the pot back on the heat. Let any water that may be on them evaporate from the hot pot, about 1to 2 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl add the diced red onion, diced sweet bell peppers. Next, add the cooked, still very warm, potatoes, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Start with half the prepared pesto, using a rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. If more pesto is needed, add an extra tablespoon or two, toss to combine.

You can serve my Pesto Potato Salad warm or at room temperature.

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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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)

Lemons

English Cucumbers

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Orange Bell Peppers

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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.

Directions:
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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Heirloom Tomato Salads

 

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Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are in season so I’m buying them fairly regularly. I have two, really easy and delicious salads here that can be the main course or a side dish with any protein you like. The second of the two is completely vegetarian.

Let’s talk about my first of the two Heirloom Tomato Salads. Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

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Local Grown Florida Heirloom Tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

The second salad is my Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato And Orzo Salad.

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

 

1). The first tomato salad is an Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk

Ingredients:
1 1/2 heaping cups of diced Sopressata  (or diced Genoa Salami)
8 cups of heirloom tomatoes, halves, and wedges (depending on whether whole or grape size tomatoes)
1 8-ounce package of 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 fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

Salad Dressing:
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

Directions For Salad Dressing:
Place all ingredients into a (2 cup) measuring cup. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined.

Herb Marinade 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

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small mixing bowl along with the other ingredients. Using a spoon, gently toss to combine. Set aside.

Direction For Heirloom Tomato Salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add the tomato halves and wedges. Add the marinated bocconcini and chopped tarragon. Pour the dressing over and toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a large salad serving bowl. Serve with your favorite bread.

2). The second tomato salad is an Arugula, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad. This one is a vegetarian salad, totally meat-free!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, large mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, large mesh sieve

Ingredients:
1 pound of orzo, cooked drained and cooled
2 cups of arugula leaves
4 cups of diced and halved heirloom tomatoes (depending on 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 Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add the diced and halved heirloom tomatoes, cooked and cooled orzo pasta, halved artichokes hearts, bocconcini, arugula leaves, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and drizzle the two tablespoons of agave nectar over the top, gently toss to combine. Next, transfer to a large salad serving bowl. My Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad is so delicious you’ll be asked to make it over and over again.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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