Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

   

So it’s been almost 3 weeks since I made my last post, but not without good reason! Of course the holidays have a way of absorbing up all of your free time, but that’s not the real excuse. I’m sure that by looking around this page a bit (at least if you’re familiar with my blog from before) you can notice that I have a new awesome site design! For Christmas my boyfriend began this project as one of his gifts to me and when I saw the preview of what was in store by the time it was done, I nearly exploded with excitement. He put a ton of his free time into seeing it through and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Once I realized the new design was incoming I really wanted to wait to make a new post. I have a few more recipes lined up as a result of the mini hiatus (including roasted cauliflower soup and limoncello), but I knew that my first post of 2014 had  to be something healthy. This is, after all, the one time of the year that the human race unanimously decides to improve their well being (at least for a couple of weeks until someone caves and shows up at the office with donuts).

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad 

A while back someone commented on how much they enjoyed looking through my blog. She pointed out that she particularly loved the Mediterranean influence she often sees in my recipes. I thought, “Wow… I guess I do have a tendency to cook with lemon, chickpeas, parsley, etc…” And who wouldn’t? The fresh flavors so commonly associated with Mediterranean food are incredible. This salad brings some of those influences together into one filling dish for under 350 calories. There is protein. There is fiber. There is nutrient dense broccoli. It’s definitely a recipe to ring in the new year and kick start your healthier eating habits.

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad
Serves 4
A quick, healthy lunch inspired by the fresh flavors in Mediterranean cooking.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
13 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of pre-cooked whole grain blend (I used the red quinoa and brown rice blend by Village Harvest, which is found in the freezer section)
  2. 3 cups raw broccoli, chopped
  3. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  4. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 tablespoon water
  7. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Prepare grain according to package instructions. In my case I just popped it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
  2. Place broccoli in a bowl and microwave a couple of minutes until no longer raw, but still crunchy and green. I combined my broccoli with the grain to save time while heating.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, lemon, water, and spices to form the dressing.
  4. Combine all ingredients with the dressing in a large bowl and toss well to combine.
  5. Eat slightly warm as is or transfer to the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes first (my preference).
Calories
  1. 341
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Crunchy Mediterranean Grain Salad


Mediterranean Veggie Burger

   

I have conflicting emotions whenever I go into a restaurant and see they have a veggie burger on the menu. On one hand I get excited – hoping for a hearty, flavorful patty made in-house by someone that understands not all vegetarians are out to eat fat-free, gluten-free, low-sodium rabbit food. I mean I’m going there for a burger after all. On the other hand I get an overwhelming feeling of cynicism, as I know I’m much more likely to be presented with one of those mass-produced hockey pucks from the freezer aisle of the local grocery store. Then on another hand (I can have three hands; don’t judge me) I’m just thankful there is a vegetarian option at all. One thing I can always count on though is a super delicious veggie burger made in my own kitchen.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

For me, a well-crafted veggie burger needs to hit on three major points: pronounced flavor, contrasting textures, and the ability to make me lean back and pat my belly in sated bliss upon consumption. Having the recipe be quick and easy certainly doesn’t hurt either. This vegan patty whips up in the food processor in just a minute or two, but then it meets all of my requirements for an excellent burger as well. When paired with the olive and tomato relish, a smear of bright lemon basil pesto, and warm feta cheese (or not if you’re vegan) it all comes together into a savory, complex combination of flavors that truly satisfies a rumbling tummy.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

There are two key factors that contribute to the texture of these burgers. Obviously one of them is going to be the ingredients. I blend farro into the mix for a nice bit of chew throughout, and at the last minute I also add in roasted, salted pumpkin seeds for just a little bit of crunch. The second factor is properly combining the ingredients. Don’t go crazy and pulverize your ingredients into an nondescript, beige paste. Small pieces of chickpea, bits of chewy grain, and whole seeds will give your burger a much nicer bite. When your patties are formed you should be able to identify most of the recipe’s components. If it looks like a chunk of slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough you’ve definitely gone too far.

Mediterranean Veggie Burger

Mediterranean Veggie Burger
Serves 4
Quick to make and packed with flavor, these vegan burgers make a great weeknight meal.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained
  2. 1 cup cooked farro (I use a pre-cooked farro/rice blend by Village Harvest, but whatever hearty grain you have on hand should work fine)
  3. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon tahini
  5. 1 rounded tablespoon nutritional yeast
  6. 1/2 tablespoon egg replacer powder or corn starch
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  10. Salt, to taste (amount varies depending on whether you’re canned chickpeas are salted – I used about 1/4 of a teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the pumpkin seeds into the food processor and pulse until combined, but still chunky.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds and pulse a little bit more. I personally prefer most of the seeds to remain intact, so one or two quick blitzes does the trick for me.
  3. Divide mixture into four equal pieces and shape into patties. If desired you can cover and transfer to the refrigerator to cook later.
  4. Heat a small amount of olive oil or cooking spray in a nonstick skillet and sear your patties on each side.
  5. Serve on toasted bun with tomato olive topping (recipe below), pesto spread, greens, and if you’re not vegan, melted cheese (I used a blend of havarti and feta).
Calories
  1. 236
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Olive Tomato Relish
Serves 4
The combination of sweet tomatoes and salty olives is a perfect addition to the smoky flavors in the burger.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 8 kalamata olives, minced (about half the size of your tomatoes)
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  4. Fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  2. Serve on top of your burger.
Calories
  1. 34
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Mediterranean Veggie Burger