I can’t say I’ve ever felt quite more adult than this past Friday evening, gathering around a dear friend’s patio table, Andrew by my side, with a group of similarly coupled, degree holding, business owning, mortgage toting, baby growing compadres (yada, yada.. accomplishments). Not that our essences were exuding worldly heirs of maturity, or maybe they were- chatting life, transition, future with a table of ten in the midst of our magnificent middle eastern inspired potluck munch. But, that simultaneously jarring yet inspiriting realization Andrew and I, who I often consider these wildly impassioned, definitively wandering shmoo’s, are doing it. Growing up.
Surrounded by new friends and warm familiar faces, Andrew and I cohosted the second of what we’re hoping will become a regular shindig, a Middle Eastern inspired Shabbat potluck. The table overflowing with salty olives, raw radish, locally grown butter lettuce salad, and the most divinely spiced eggplant with an avocado tahini (yes, I’ve asked for the recipe..), plus a swoon worthy dark chocolate babka to top it all off, I came with a Mediterranean Herby Quinoa Salad. A very simple yet intensely bright green grain salad, the quinoa is simmered with whole lemons and vegetable bullion, giving it this rich savoriness I’ve never quite experience. Tossed warm with broccolette, fresh mint, dill, and spinach, the greens wilt in while still holding their crunch integrity. With lightly toasted pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds for added crunch, this warm salad makes more than enough for a hungry table of potluck or picnic guests, or is (dare I say!) even better cold, served over the course of a busy workweek with extra lemon juice and thick slices of ripe avocado.
Mediterranean Herby Quinoa Salad [serves 6]
inspired by: A Modern Way to Eat, Anna Jones, Laura’s Herbed Green Quinoa
2 large unwaxed lemons
1 ½ cups quinoa, uncooked
2 ½ cups + ¼ cup water, divided
½ low sodium vegetable stock cube
2 bunches (about ¾ pound) broccolette, stalks chopped, florets left whole
1 cup frozen lima beans
¼ cup sliced raw almonds
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 leek, washed, trimmed, and finely sliced into rounds
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Cut 1 of the lemons in half and place both halves in a medium pot with the quinoa. Cover with 2 ½ cups water and crumble in the vegetable stock cube. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has absorbed.
Lay the broccolette and lima beans directly on top of the quinoa, add the remaining ¼ cup water and return pot’s cover. Continue to steam for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until broccolette has just began to soften and is a very vibrant green. Remove from heat and remove the lemon halves, using tongs to squeeze the lemon juice into the quinoa. Transfer to a large serving dish. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat almonds and pumpkin seeds over medium heat, until just toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the serving dish.
In the same skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat until just hot. Add the leek and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and just golden. Transfer to the serving dish.
Add the spinach, mint, and dill to the serving dish. Squeeze over the juice of the second lemon, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and using tongs, gently toss the salad until all ingredients are evenly distributed and dressed. Season to taste, serve, and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per serving]
300 Calories, 12g Fat, 40g Carbohydrates, 7g Fiber, 2.5g Sugar, 11.5g Protein
for my memory + your back pocket – 25 weeks pregnant, wearing: The Row, Mahogany Sunglasses