My friends and people who know me, know that I tend to eat things that are not very common and popular (I am talking about this corner of the earth) and that my hobbies have included not so popular/common choices (like dj-ing, aerial yoga, baking etc).
Baking has been the most popular, I think, and has devotees (as they get to eat loads of sweets) and also because the cooking part is usually with more “experimental” and “uncommon” ingredients (again, for the Greek standards).
In general, I have very boring and plain meals, most of them comprise of plain salad greens (no fancy croutons or dressings), boiled vegetables, legumes and grains (if Mr. Dietitian allows me). Also, most of my meals are consumed in the office, so I need to prepare meals (at least a day before, or longer) that can be easily packed, transferred and consumed among people (so, no smelly or garlicky food for me).
I’ve drifted here a lot…. Those “uncommon” or experimental ingredients mentioned above are usually found in Asian stores or stores that carry healthy/bio foods and products. One such ingredient is quinoa which is widely popular (not so much in Greece though, but it’s becoming used more and more lately). I must have discovered it in one of my trips to Germany (I usually bring back local/unknown food stuff when I travel), but they do sell it here as well now. Dear judge G_ of course won’t go near stuff like that (usually healthy stuff), even if I try to bribe him with money or anything else.
I think he fears for his life or something and doesn’t trust me (or my food choices). It just happened though, that I made this at some get together with friends (mostly cause I wanted to eat it and bring some of the leftovers to the office) and he decided that this salad is “f****** amazing”. Small victories, my friends, small victories!!!! I wanted to crack open the champagne, but I restrained myself (I didn’t even have to sneak it into a recipe, nor did I “advertise” this salad to him).
Anyways…. If you have eaten quinoa, you know what to expect. If not, I hope that I might have convinced you to try it, if not, you might acquire a taste for it at some point in this life.
I made it and served in my balcony (did I mention the nearly 40C/104F weather?) drizzled with balsamic glaze, a sprinkle of my favorite spices mix called Toque Iberico (found in supermarkets in Spain and in my house-seriously if you ever go to Spain, look for it) and some extra lime.
A few words about the recipe:
- I’ve used the white quinoa variety, but you might be lucky enough to find the black or red one (or get the package that has all of them – super yummy and crunchy, my favorite)
- if you don’t want to use quinoa, or can’t find it, you can substitute it with cous cous (I’d prefer the bulgur one, but I guess the Israeli one will work perfectly)
- you can add ingredients of your preference (like zucchini, avocado, spring onions, feta cheese, mushrooms etc)
- can be eaten as a side dish or main course
Lentil quinoa salad
recipe adapted from Food Network
1 cup (170gr) quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups water
½ cup (88gr) lentils (uncooked)
8-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4-5 tBsps finely chopped parsley (or fresh coriander if you prefer)
for the vinaigrette (I haven’t written quantities, it’s up to you how much you will use)
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, mustard, lime zest
salt, pepper, chilli flakes, garlic powder
Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a small pot with a lid, simmer it with 2 cups of water (or less if you prefer it al dente) . Quinoa should be tender enough to eat, but with a little “pop” upon biting.
Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a saucepan, simmer the lentils in water until they are tender, but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse so that they cool down (it will stop them from getting softer).
In a small jar throw the wet ingredients of the vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, lime juice, mustard, lime zest), place the lid and shake gently so that they blend.
Salad assembly: in a container with a lid, mix the quinoa, lentil, peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, the dry spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, chilli flakes -to taste, according to personal preference) and pour the vinegrette (you might need to shake it a bit before pouring). Place the lid of the container and gently again shake it (up-down & left -right) so that they ingredients blend together.
You can serve it immediately or put it in the fridge for a couple of hours so that it chills and the aromas of the herbs and spices blend together.
If you like, you can drizzle some balsamic glaze before serving.