Mediterranean Farro Salad with Chickpeas

This is a delicious, nutritious, and hearty salad that lasts for days in the fridge.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Farro Tabbouleh with Feta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, halved, seeded, and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you like parsley, use the entire bunch)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 ounces feta, 1/2-inch diced-not crumbled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, drained

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the farro and place it in a large saucepan with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. I highly recommend cooking farro the way it is prepared in Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, chickpeas, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. 
  3. Drain the farro and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the warm farro to the vegetables and herbs and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Carefully stir in the feta and olives.

*I have found with most beans and grain salads that much less oil is needed in the dressing than typical green salads. Therefor typical oil to acid ratios don’t apply.


Blue Zones Kitchen Black Eyed Pea Salad with Mint & Onions

Adapted from The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (or four 15-ounce cans, drained) (pinto or white beans work well too)
  • 3 green onions, tops removed and coarsely chopped (I chop the tops as well)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (I like using 2 carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup greens like spinach, baby kale, or sweet dandelion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (at least 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dill (optional for garnish)
  • Juice of 2 lemon (my addition – I don’t think the vinegar adds nearly enough acid so I like to add lemon juice)
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped (my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (my addition)

Directions

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid, tilting lid slightly to let some steam escape.
  2. Cook for an hour, or until peas are tender.
  3. While peas are still hot, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. If using canned black-eyed peas, just drain, rinse, and heat on a stovetop over medium heat with all other ingredients until warmed through (5-6 minutes). (I usually use canned beans and don’t bother heating them).
  5. Garnish with dill, if using.
  6. Serve warm or cold.


Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard

This is a simple, nutritions, and surprisingly delicious dish that comes together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 servings Soba noodles, 110g (I like Eden Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 medium bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken (or vegetable flavor)
  • Freshly cracked pepper 
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package.
  2. Drain the soba noodles, reserving a little cooking water.
  3. Optional: Stir the noodles with a little butter and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a little oil or butter in a large saucepan or pot.
  5. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add bouillon and 1/4 water and stir.
  7. Add chard and cook until soft and wilted, approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chard and soy sauce to the noodles and toss well. If the noodles seem dry, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid.


Orzo with Everything

This is a no-recipe. Add as much or little of these as you like. For ideas of other ingredients to add, see Ina Garten’s wonderful recipe for Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Half a package of orzo
  • Dash of cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pine nuts, pan toasted in a bit of butter (until butter and pine nuts are browned)
  • Golden raisins, chopped into pieces
  • Garbanzo beans (start with 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
    Dressing:
  • Lemon juice to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)
  • Olive oil to taste (start with 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)

Directions

  1. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and cool.
  2. Toss the orzo with dressing and taste to adjust.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as needed.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Za’atar Oil

Recipe adapted from Milk Street’s Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Aleppo Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon salted butter (I use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2 inch-dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper (I use za’atar)
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I also like to boil it down until it is thickened a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper or Za’atar and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  4. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper or za’atar oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.

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DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.

Add the lentils, rice, water and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving. Serve with mint and lemon wedges.


White Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes. It’s my son’s absolute favorite meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans soaked overnight in a brine of 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt to 3 quarts water)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven or stovetop pressure cooker.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are completely soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce and beans and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, uncover and simmer until desired consistency is reached. We like ours pretty saucy.
  5. Pressure cooker instructions: Sometimes, rather than using a regular pot, I’ll prepare this in my stovetop pressure cooker. I let it come to pressure for about 5 seconds and do a quick release. It’s amazing how much of an impact that makes on the final result.

Serve over rice.


Dr. Weil’s Tuscan Kale Salad

Recipe from Dr. Weil

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch Lacinato or dinosaur kale (the flat leaves), chopped into small pieces
  • Juice of 1 lemon (I use 2 tablespoons)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed (I use half of a clove)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (I use 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (I use Panko)
  • I like to add currants or cranberries

Directions

  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well, using your hands, gently massage the dressing into the leaves. This step is very important as it tenderizes the leaves.
  3. Add most of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Ina Garten's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. It makes a great side dish, pot luck dish, or even a meal on its own. It’s great cold or at room temperature, and holds up beautifully in the fridge. I modified the recipe slightly to reduce unnecessary oil. I have also simplified the directions. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled) (I use 1/2 pound)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 2 tablespoons – there is plenty of oil already on the vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices, approximately 1/2 inch thick). Lightly brush the slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once they are coated, cut the slices into cubes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables. (The reason I add oil to the eggplant separately from the other vegetables is because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge and will prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour the vegetables onto a sheet pan (two sheet pans may be necessary to prevent the vegetables from being over crowded). Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. 

Quinoa Salad with Feta, Grapes & Walnuts

This nutritious salad is a meal in itself. I love all the different textures and flavors. This salad is great in a packed lunch and holds up really well in the fridge. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (or use sliced or slivered almonds)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa (great directions here). For roasted quinoa see here.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake well.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl. Add dressing and toss well.


Bulgar & Feta Salad (low-fat)

Because of this hearty, nutrient dense grain, this salad is a meal in itself. Bulgar is a great source of manganese, fiber and protein. This salad is bursting with flavor and will hold up great for leftovers. 
Original recipe from Nutrition Action.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water
  • ¾ cup bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (I think it needs 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste (I prefer 3 tablespoons)
  • I like to add 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small pot, bring 1½ cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil.
  2. Stir in the bulgur, turn off the burner, and cover the pot. Allow the bulgur to steep for 10 minutes, then drain and put into a large bowl.
  3. Toss the bulgur with the oil and aloe to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, and feta. Season with the lemon juice and plenty of pepper.

Nutrition Information:
Per Serving—
Calories: 180
Sodium: 260 mg
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Protein: 8 g
Fiber: 6 g