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Lighter Greek-Inspired Recipes to Enjoy

As temperatures heat up, eating lighter meals can help us keep cool as well. Try the following Greek-inspired dishes for light options that are big on flavor.

Pasta salads are a favorite side dish for summer barbecues or any time of year. The following pasta salad incorporates classic Greek flavors to create a memorable accompaniment your meal. Serve with your favorite grilled meats and enjoy.

Greek Pasta Salad

1 package pasta, corkscrews or your favorite shape

2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped

2-3 small cucumbers, chopped

1 medium to large red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta, Dodonis

1/2 cup Greek olives of your choice

1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Cook the pasta according to package directions, careful not to overcook. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta, and olives. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and minced garlic. Add to the pasta mixture and toss to combine all the ingredients and evenly distribute the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Cucumber Salad

4 small to medium cucumbers

1 ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch wedges

2/3 cup pitted Greek olives of you choice

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 1/2 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)

1 tablespoon Greek dried oregano

3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon Greek sea salt

Slice cucumbers into long strips using a vegetable peeler. Arrange cucumber strips, tomatoes, and olives in a salad bowl. Add the green onions, feta, and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with pepper and salt and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.


Chicken and Veggie Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Chicken salad. Photo by Travis Yewell, via Unsplash

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup cold water plus 2 tablespoons, divided

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, plus 2 sliced garlic cloves, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt, divided

1 cup green beans

1 small broccoli crown

4 (4 ounce) chicken cutlets, trimmed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small to medium red onion, sliced

4 cups thinly sliced kale

2 cups cooked brown rice

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Whisk the tahini and the 1/4 cup water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Trim green beans and cut in half. Break broccoli into florets. Season the chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, and then add the broccoli and green beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the kale and add the remaining 2 tablespoons water. Cover and steam until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Slice the chicken. To serve, divide rice and the vegetables among 4 bowls and top with the chicken. Drizzle with the reserved dressing and sprinkle with parsley.


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