Summer Quinoa and Zucchini Salad with Herbs and Lemon

zuke saladIt’s the greatest time of the year – local produce is here! Well, it’s always around to some extent but farmer’s markets are reopening and the bounty is flowing through the doors. This year I’m writing recipes for Potter Hill Farm’s CSA, so in addition to the great produce members receive each week they will get some ideas of what to cook with them. I’ve been buying excellent produce from Paul for years, and I’m so excited to be both a member of his CSA and an added value for his other customers. If you were not able to sign up for the CSA, you can still get Paul’s produce through the Grafton Farmers Market and order directly from him for Monday pickups at the farm in Grafton, MA.

This is the first of many weeks of recipes, and I think an introduction is in order for all those who are new here. Hi! My name is Tori. I’ve been writing this blog for about five years, focusing mainly on my love of vegetables and accessible home cooking, but also dabbling in books, beer, and travel. I contribute to Yankee Brew News as a columnist for our region and feature writer. By day, I’m an education coordinator at a non-profit farm where I run nutrition and agriculture programming, including cooking classes for kids (more on that here).

I live in and love Worcester. Since returning to my home state of Massachusetts five years ago after a stint in Seattle, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the nooks and crannies of New England. My husband, Will, is my primary adventure partner and recipe taster (He’s the main instigator behind the Will It Buffalo? series). Eggplant is my favorite vegetable, and I’m determined to convince the masses to love it too.

If you want to search my blog, or see all the posts in a single category, open up any post and scroll to the bottom. Click the tags at the bottom of the post to see other posts with a similar ingredient, click on a category to see all my posts on a single subject like books or travel, or use the search bar to find a specific post. I’ll be tagging all CSA recipes under Potter Hill.  You can find me on Instagram here. I’d love to hear more about you, what you’d like to see more of with your CSA recipes, and any questions you may have in the comments. Let’s get cooking!

zuke salad 2Summer Quinoa and Zucchini Salad with Herbs and Lemon

There is a lot of flexibility in this kind of recipe. Not into quinoa? Try couscous, farro, or barley. Can’t bear to turn on the oven? Slice the zucchini into planks, toss with the oil/zest/salt/pepper, throw it on the grill, and chop it after cooking. Out of chickpeas? Try cannellini beans or green lentils. Still trying to use up a head of lettuce? Put the whole mess (mixed or not) on top of greens dressed with lemon and olive oil. Vegan? Leave out the feta.

Serve 6 as a main, or 12 as a side.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as olive oil (not extra virgin) or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs zucchini (I used 3)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (2 tablespoons total)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups total)
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley leaves (half a small bunch)
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (2 giant scallions)

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Removed from the heat, fluff with a fork, and let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces, then toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground pepper. Spread zucchini pieces on 2 baking sheets (if they are too close together they will steam and not roast), and roast for 15 minutes. Toss the zucchini on both pans, and return them to the oven on the opposite racks. Roast for another 15 minutes, until they are slightly charred.

In a jar or the bottom of the bowl the salad will be in, mix/whisk the lemon juice and olive oil. Combine the quinoa, zucchini, chickpeas, feta, parsley, scallions, and dressing in a large bowl., toss with the dressing and serve.

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Quinoa Lentil Salad with Summer Veg and Tahini Dressing

20170809_154641I didn’t have a plan for dinner tonight. We already had pasta and sandwiches with chickpeas and tzatziki this week, and plans for pork with rice on Thursday. I wanted a different protein, so I pulled lentils from the pantry. The lentils reminded me of this salad, but I wanted it to be a meal in itself so I grabbed some quinoa. The fridge was stocked with cucumbers, kohlrabi, cilantro, scallions, and fresh onions from Potter Hill. I love the tahini dressing with the Smitten Kitchen lentil salad, so I just barely adapted it to fit what I had on hand (I only had one small lemon, so I used vinegar as well to have enough acid).

What resulted is a salad that could be easily adapted with the grain, protein, and vegetables you have on hand. What is most important to me is the pickled onions to brighten, and the creamy dressing to bring everything together.

Quinoa Lentil Salad with Summer Veg and Tahini Dressing

  • 1 cup green (Le Puy) lentils, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups of water, divided
  • 1 small fresh onion, chopped (mine was the size of a large shallot and about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 4 small or 2 medium cucumbers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rinsed lentils, both halves of the garlic clove, bay leaf, and olive oil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes. Check halfway through and add a bit more water if necessary. The lentils should be soft, but not falling apart. Taste a few to ensure the batch is done. Drain, and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Put 1 cup of water in a small saucepan to boil. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt, cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the top, fluff with a fork, and allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a small dry pan toast the cumin and coriander over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and lightly toasted. Cool slightly, and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Add the minced onion to a small bowl and toss with the one tablespoon of vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes (or more if you have time).

Mince the garlic, and then use the 1/2 tablespoon of salt and the side of your knife to mash it into a paste (use your knife to scrape the garlic and salt against the cutting board repeatedly until a paste forms). In a jar add the ground spices, the garlic salt paste, and the rest of the dressing ingredients. Cap the jar and shake to combine.

In a large bowl toss the cooked lentils, cooked quinoa, chopped cucumber and kohlrabi, scallions, cilantro, and dressing.  Toss until everything is thoroughly mixed and coated in the dressing. Garnish with the sumac and sesame seeds (if using).

 

Last week I cooked…

Turkey Burgers - Vegetal MattersMeals in my kitchen are not always some original, blog-able dish. Sometimes I make the same thing on repeat (often for breakfast), or follow someone else’s recipe to make a satisfying meal. But a lot of the time I’m trying something new, or adapting recipes a bit to fit my ingredients and desires. This will be a regular posting about what I’ve made recently to track my food obsessions and inspire more variety on your table (and mine too! please share!).

Lemon Pepper Yogurt Chicken – Amazing, easily adaptable marinade.

Quinoa salad with grilled lemons and asparagus, pistachios, mint, and parsley (inspired by the Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Preserved Lemons and Zucchinis from Persiana).

Turkish White Bean Salad – Easy summer meal assembly.

Lettuce and snap peas tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac.

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash topped with goat cheese and a fried egg! For dinner!

Tofu lettuce wraps with ginger carrot pickles, cucumber, cilantro, scallions and peanut sauce. Loosely adapted from this recipe, but I had some of this Thug Kitchen peanut sauce leftover in the fridge so I just added some hoisin to it instead of making up a new batch. I thought it was a little thin as a dipping sauce when I originally made it, but it was great on tofu bowls with rice and snap peas.

Apple Chipotle Turkey Burgers from The Sprouted Kitchen (an old favorite), with grilled sweet potato fries and salad with strawberries and balsamic dressing.

Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, black beans, cilantro, scallions, and wicked hot green salsa every morning.

PS – Exciting development this week…my first tomato is almost ripe!!!! It’s a sungold cherry, that I picked and then immediately consumed.

Sungold Cherry Tomato - Vegetal Matters