Lighter Meals With Quinoa and Greek Flavors

Lighter meals like salads that are relatively quick to prepare are a great option for quick weeknight meals. Often used in salads, quinoa, a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth, originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America. Quinoa is rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.

Quinoa, Asparagus and Feta Salad

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup quinoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

4 ounces crumbled feta, Dodonis

1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 lemon, zested

For the dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Greek honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, add the quinoa and salt, stir, and then cover the saucepan with a lid. Reduce heat to low. Simmer the mixture until quinoa is tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, let quinoa rest for 5 minutes, and then transfer quinoa to a bowl to cool.

Bring a pot of water up to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and cook the asparagus just until tender but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes; drain in a colander. Stir the asparagus, feta, almonds, green onions, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest into quinoa. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, Dijon mustard, and black pepper together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and stir gently to combine.

Broiled Vegetables with Quinoa and Feta

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Greek dried oregano

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium-large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium-large red onion, sliced

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled

1 cup crumbled feta, Dodonis

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, 3 tablespoons of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, olives, the remaining oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Broil until the vegetables are lightly charred and tender, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl along with the pan juices. Add quinoa, feta and pine nuts, drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Shrimp with Zucchini, Lemon and Garlic

2 pounds fresh or frozen large shrimp in shells

2 lemons

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups sliced zucchini

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Greek dried oregano

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact, if desired. Rinse shrimp in cool water, pat dry. Squeeze 1/4 cup juice from about one and a half of the lemons. Reserve the remaining lemon half.

In a 10-inch nonstick skillet heat about half of the oil over medium-high. Add shrimp, 2 of the garlic cloves, a pinch of the salt, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook and stir 2 minutes or just until shrimp are opaque. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Transfer to a serving plate and cover to keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, zucchini, pepper, and the remaining garlic clove and salt. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until zucchini is just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the oregano and the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stir. Serve over cooked orzo or quinoa. Squeeze juice from the reserved lemon half to serve, if preferred.


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