I’m obsessed with Mediterranean food — specifically Greek. And while we all know the classic Greek Salad, I’m not sure as many might react when I say Maroulosalata. MAROULOSALTA. No? Let me educate you.
It’s salad perfection. So clean, bright, and simple. Fresh, crunchy greens in a bright lemon and dill dressing. Gorgeous on it’s own, the perfect vehicle for protein, and so good when paired with a bright white wine like a sancerre.
I was feasting on this salad at my favorite local greek restaurant, Stella’s (worth the trip alone just to see the dope greek mythological monsters wallpaper in the bathroom), and immediately knew I had to recreate this at home. With a twist.
Cue crunchy quinoa. (Yes, your new favorite thing in life.)
Al dente quinoa, toasted up nicely in extra virgin olive oil, tossed into salad, and BOOM. Extra protein and the crunch of a crouton.
So, let’s stop wasting time reading this and get to making the salad!
Maroulosalata with Crunchy Quinoa:
1.5 bunches romaine, slivered
2 bunches green onions, slivered up to the green, 1/4 of greens slivered
1/4 cup goat/sheep feta or Kite Hill (vegan option) soft fresh cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup multi color quinoa
3/4 cup veggie broth
Pinch sea salt
1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Big pinch salt flakes and dash of black pepper
Combine all the dressing ingredients first and whisk well.
Combine quinoa, broth, and pinch of salt in a small pot and cook over medium heat until al dente aka you don’t want them to get fluffy on you. That’s why we’re using less liquid than you would normally use. Once your quinoa is al dente, warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium/high heat. Add the quinoa and spread it as thin as possible. Toast your quinoa for roughly five minutes, perhaps tossing it around once or twice. Don’t take your eye off it! It will absolutely burn if you ignore it. You want the quinoa to get golden (although a bit of burn ain’t so bad) and crunchy.
Clean your romaine, drain well, then sliver and throw into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt (it will chill while you’re working on the quinoa). Toss well with the dressing, then fold in quinoa and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta solves all problems. Am I right, or am I right?
I’ve made it twice this week — not because I’m riddled with issues, but because we’ve been snowed in — in SOUTH CAROLINA! Yes. Sheer chaos, but I love it. There are ultimately two recipes below, one for vodka sauce and one with a red wine base. Honestly, I was going to make the vodka sauce again but realized we were out of vodka, so I busted out some red wine instead. The spinach pairs beautifully with the vodka sauce, and the spinach-mushroom does wonders with the red wine sauce, but obviously, you do you.
I realize the coconut milk is unexpected, but it’s a great way to create that gorgeous pink hue and creaminess without bogging down the sauce with heavy cream. If you’re vegan, you can nix the cheese and up the salt, or even toy with adding nutritional yeast.
Vodka Sauce or Red Wine Sauce Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 t red pepper flakes or 1 red chile, diced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3/4 cup red wine or 1/3 cup vodka
1 25.5 oz jar San Marzano diced tomatoes
1/3 cup light canned coconut milk (use the white part)
1/3 cup grated romano or parm
2-3 cups spinach
10 bella mushrooms, quartered
sea salt and black pepper to taste
pasta of your choice (I used brown rice penne)
Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil. Season it with enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Cook your pasta of choice (big fan of brown-rice penne or veggie spiraled noodles) al dente and drain. Start this process after you’ve added the tomatoes to your sauce.
Warm your olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and chili pepper seasoned with a good dash of salt and pepper for 5 minutes or until slightly golden. If you’re adding mushrooms, toss them in and now and give them a good stir. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes or until they soften. Time to add your booze! Choose whether you want a vodka or red wine sauce and let it cook off for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, taste for seasoning, then let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add your coconut milk, cheese choice, and spinach. Give it a spin with your spoon, covering all the spinach with sauce, and turn off the heat after one minute. I like my spinach to wilt, but not to disappear (and spinach is notorious for curling into little green nothings). Taste for more salt and pepper and serve over your favorite pasta. I highly recommend adding a quick glug of extra virgin olive oil on top right before you serve with a dusting of finishing salt such as Maldon (the KING OF SALT).
(Just a note: it’s difficult to get the true taste of a sauce when it’s pipping hot, so I high recommend letting it cool a bit before serving.)
There aren’t many things better in the world than pasta.
I crave any and every kind on a daily basis, but with the blaring summer months upon us, a big bowl of carbs isn’t always *gasp* what makes me feel best. That was the impetus for this creation — swap traditional lasagna noodles for a beautiful, summer vegetable — zucchini! I also tweaked the traditional bolognese by swapped lentils for ground beef and using dairy-free ricotta as a final adjustment. The results —a light, healthy, nutritious, but still wildly flavorful and delicious summer lasagna. Buon Appetito!
*Recipe originally posted on The New Potato.
Zucchini Lentil Bolognese Lasagna
2 large zucchinis, ends lopped and cut into thin ribbons
2 large carrots
1/2 sweet onion
2 stalks of celery
1 fresno or red chili pepper, minced*
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus a bit for drizzling
1 cup red wine
2 T tomato paste
1 can of organic brown lentils (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1/4 cup light coconut milk (the white part)
6 oz Kite Hill Ricotta (or regular ricotta)
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Table salt for the zucchini sweating
1 T ghee or organic butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Layer your zucchini ribbons onto sheets of paper towels. Sprinkle salt on each ribbon and let sit for roughly 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce. The zucchini will start to ‘sweat’. Blot off the excess moisture, flip them, re-sprinkle salt, and repeat the process. This may seem unnecessary, but it will prevent your lasagna from being soggy. Trust me. Zucchini needs it’s sauna time.
Place your onions into the food processor and blitz it into tiny pieces. Place the onions into a separate bowl, and then repeat the blitzing with your carrots and celery. Warm your olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep sauté pan. Toss in your onions and sprinkle generously with sea salt and a smattering of black pepper. Sauté for five minutes then add carrots, celery, and chili pepper. Sauté for another five to seven minutes. Add your red wine to the mix and stir well. Let the mixture simmer for roughly three minutes. Mix in tomato paste, coconut milk, and lentils. Taste for additional seasoning (I tend to be generous with the sea salt). Let this pile of goodness cook down for another five to 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat. If it seems to watery, let it simmer a bit longer or kick up the heat. If using ghee or butter, melt and stir into the mix.
Place enough sauce into the base of a square casserole dish (mine is 7 1/2”) to lightly coat the entire base. Cover with one layer of zucchini noodles, placed side-by-side. Crumble a 1/3 of your cheese on top of the noodles and another thin layer of sauce to cover the zucchini. Repeat this two more times (you’ll most likely have three layers of zucchini) and top the final layer of zucchini with sauce and a good drizzle of olive oil and sea salt (skip the ricotta for the top). Bake covered for 20 minutes and remove the lid for the 10 more or until the zucchinis have golden speckles and a good bubbling is rolling.
Remember this isn’t traditional lasagna, so be dainty when you cut into your pieces and transfer to individual plates. I recommend using a large spatula to transfer your pieces.
*If you don’t like spicy, you can skip. If you can’t find a good chili pepper, you can always use dried red chili pepper flakes, or a spicy olive oil like Lucini’s Fiery Chili Extra Virgin Olive Oil (in which case do 1/4 cup regular oil and 1/4 cup spicy).
**If you can’t find Kite Hill Ricotta, and you prefer a dairy-free cheese, blend 1 cup soaked cashews, 1/4 cup veggie broth, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, and good pinch of sea salt. Adjust your liquids to find a ricotta-like consistency.