Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (22) wm

Quinoa is an ancient grain from the Andean region of South American, including Peru.  While my husband and I were in Peru last month we actually didn’t eat any quinoa – our guide for the Choquequirao trek said that most of the quinoa is exported out of the country and what remains is expensive.  While at home in Colorado we eat a lot of quinoa, mainly in salads because it’s not so great on its own.  This is a quick and easy salad, perfect for those warm nights.

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (3) wm

Serves 4-6

time: roughly 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per package directions

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2  orange bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

green onion, sliced thinly

cucumber, peeled and sliced in bite-size pieces

kalamata olives, sliced in half

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

black pepper

kosher salt

feta cheese

pine nuts

 

Directions:

1) Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions – remove from heat and let cool.

2) After washing the vegetables cut them and set aside on the cutting board.   Slice the kalamata olives in half.

3) In a serving bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and salt.  Stir, and add additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper or salt if needed.

4) Toast the pine nuts to a golden brown.

5) Add the quinoa and vegetables to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture and stir well to combine.

6) Top with the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese (if you won’t be eating all of the quinoa salad just add the pine nuts and feta cheese to each plate).

 

 

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (40) wm

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (6) wm

Sauteed Zucchini

Sauteed Zucchini  (36) WM

Zucchini is pretty dang good.  I love sauteing the veggie, and this recipe added a little extra something to my normal olive oil, salt & pepper “recipe”.  My husband thought there were too many capers, I thought the amount was perfect – so I would use a little to start and then add some more if needed.

 

ServesSauteed Zucchini  (12) WM

Sauteed Zucchini  (16) WM

serves 4

time: about 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

3 zucchini, cut into thick-ish round slices

olive oil

3 garlic gloves, smashed

small handful of mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

pine nuts, lightly toasted

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

salt

pepper

feta or goat cheese

 

Directions:

1) Slice the zucchini into thick-ish rounds.

2) Heat a skillet on medium-high heat; drizzle in some olive oil. When the pan/oil is hot place the zucchini in the pan in one layer.  Continue cooking the zucchini until both sides are brown and the zucchini is soft.

3) Meanwhile, chop the rest of the ingredients and brown the pine nuts lightly.

4) Remove the cooked zucchini from the skillet, add in the chopped veggies & browned pine nuts, drizzle in a bit of balsamic vinegar, add salt & pepper to taste.  Stir to coat the  zucchini. Sprinkle the feta or goat cheese on top.  Serve immediately.

 

Sauteed Zucchini  (20) WM

 

Sauteed Zucchini  (28) WM

 

Whipped Feta & Veggie Crostinis

whipped feta bites (1) WM

Whipped feta is pretty much amazing.  It is just feta cheese and cream cheese.  After you whip it you add it to bread (or toast) and add any veggies (or fruit) that you want.  It’s that simple.

Ingredients:

10 oz. feta cheese (plain, not flavored)

8 oz. cream cheese (soft, not the log kind)

Directions:

1. Dump the feta cheese and cream cheese into a food processor and blend until creamy.  This will take, I don’t know maybe close to 10 minutes – you’ll want all of the lumps to be gone and the whipped feta to be absolutely creamy.

It’s up to you what to do with the whipped feta.  I sliced some whole wheat bread, spread the whipped feta on top, placed some sliced tomatoes & bell peppers on top, put a fresh basil leaf on top and ground some fresh black pepper over the veggies.  You could add some honey while blending the feta and cream cheese and use fruit instead of veggies – the options are endless!

Quinoa, Cucumber, Olive, and Feta salad

quinoa salad WM

I love fresh summer salads, and quinoa is a great base for various types of salads with lots of yummy ingredients – a simple olive oil dressing is all that it needs.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (2 cups water)

2 lemons, juiced

3 tablespoons olive oil

red onion

green onion

half cucumber

feta cheese

olive mix from the olive bar at the grocery store

garlic (I used marinated and roasted/marinated garlic from the olive bar at the grocery store)

tomatoes – red and yellow – sliced

salt and pepper to taste

quinoa salad 2 WM

look at this great olive and garlic mixture!

Directions:

1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions; let cool.

2. Juice the lemons.  Slice the red onion, green onion, cucumber, the olive and garlic mix, and tomatoes.

3. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the cooled quinoa. Add the sliced veggies and olive/garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve cold with BBQ or any other main dish!