Tag Archives: feta

Cucumber salad with lemon feta dressing

Yes, another salad post. It’s funny, last year I remember having to make an effort to remember to make salads for lunch, but this summer they’re my default. I credit (or blame?) the weather. Last July I was wearing wool tights to work, this morning I dared myself to go bare-legged and I did not regret it. Not exactly Mark Twain’s San Francisco.

This week’s salad is a fairly classic Greek-inspired combination, with a few twists. I’ve recently become hooked on sun-dried olives and have been picking up a small container whenever I happen to drop by the Persian grocery. These olives are pungent and salty, with a softer texture than their fresh cousins. They’re also a little messy–make this salad too far in advance and you’ll find your cucumbers stained a deep brown!

The feta based dressing is what really makes the salad. Mixing the feta with olive oil, mustard and dill makes for a creamy and tangy blend, which works well with the cool crispness of the cucumber (how’s that for alliteration?). Although I’m also a fan of simply adding chunks or crumbles of feta to salad, I do like the guarantee of feta in every mouthful that you get with this dressing.

Some notes about ingredient volumes/servings. As written, I would consider this salad more of a “side” than a main dish, but I have been enjoying it as my main meal at lunch as well by tweaking the proportions a little. If I’m doing this salad as a main dish for one, I’ll increase the chickpeas, and often add a chopped boiled egg as well. Recently I packed this salad for the office and tried mashing the egg yolk into a spoonful of dressing. Delicious!

Cucumber salad with lemon feta dressing
Serves 4

Ingredients

For the dressing
2 oz feta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill

For the salad
2 large cucumbers, peeled, cut in quarters lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into ~1/2″ slices
2 c. chickpeas
1/2 c. sundried black olives, pitted and sliced into quarters

Method

1. In a food processor fitted with the metal s-blade, combine all dressing ingredients and blend thoroughly.

2. Mix together cucumber and chickpeas. Just before serving, add the olives and dressing. Toss together to ensure and even coating of dressing throughout the salad.

Advertisements

Recipe: Quinoa Garden Salad

IMG_3142
 
I recently realized how dependent I had become on hot lunches when our office microwave decided to stop working. It was replaced the next day, but I had already started to panic and think about cold lunch possibilities. Desperate to avoid a boring sandwich (or, more likely, a container of plain carrots and a handful of nuts–aka, recipe for afternoon hunger pangs), I came up with this quinoa salad and went microwave free for most of the next week.
 
With a mix of protein, good fats, and fiber, this salad makes a full meal on its own, so it was easy and compact to bring into the office. It’s also tasty enough that when we unexpectedly had a catered lunch at work, I opted to go ahead and eat my salad instead because it really is was that good.
 
The pesto dressing for this salad is intended to be fairly light and subtle. I’ve never been a huge dressing person, but if you feel you need a little more coating, feel free to add an extra teaspoon of oil.
 
Finally, while I designed this salad to be eaten cold or at room temperature, I discovered that zapping it for thirty seconds or a minute in the microwave so that it’s just warm is really tasty. So much for curing my hot lunch dependence.
 
IMG_3130
 
Summer Quinoa Salad
makes 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
2 c. cooked quinoa (about 1 c. dry, I cooked mine using 1 c. of water and 1 c. of vegetable broth for extra flavor)
6 oz. green beans, ends removed and cut into approximately 1″ sections
6 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz. feta cheese, cut into approx 1/2″ chunks
 
For the pesto dressing:
1/2 c. fresh basil
1/4 c. walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
 
Method
1. Blanch the green beans as follows: Bring a pot filled with 2″ of water to a boil, add green beans, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While beans cook, fill a bowl or second pot with very cold water (ice water is best). When the 3 minutes are up, drain the hot water from the green beans and immediately transfer beans to the cold water bath.
 
2. Make the pesto dressing: in a food processor, combine the walnuts, basil, and olive oil, and process together until a paste-like consistency has been achieved.
 
3. Place the cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add the pesto dressing and stir to combine.
 
4. Add the tomatoes, green beans, and feta. Stir again to combine.
 
Can be eaten immediately, or stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.

IMG_3134