Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper

quinoa

I promise I don’t live off of cookies and cupcakes although it might seem that way from my blog posts. More often than not, I try to cook healthy meals. There were a few ingredients in our fridge that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make a healthy side for dinner with red bell peppers, basil and quinoa. It makes about four servings and paired perfectly with our tilapia and broccoli.

Basil Quinoa with Red Bell Pepper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine cold water and ice cubes to make an ice bath. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add basil to boiling water, stirring once and then draining immediately. Quickly place basil in ice bath to cool. Remove and gently squeeze out excess water.
  2. Place basil, cheese, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor. Cover and process until nearly smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together warm, cooked quinoa and bell pepper. Add basil mixture and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad

watermelon

Hello, June! How did you sneak up on us already? I may not be ready for the heat, but I am ready for the barbecues! This grilled watermelon and feta salad is a great addition to any summer cookout. The charred watermelon adds a unique, seasonal twist to the classic combo.

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I used the same ingredients to make two versions of the salad. The stacked salad is a fun, aesthetically-pleasing way to serve it at a backyard barbecue. For a traditional side, the tossed salad can be made in one bowl and easily transported to a party. The cool, refreshing dish is sure to be a hit.

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Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad: Two Ways

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole feta cheese
  • 1/2 large watermelon, cut into slices 1″ thick
  • 1 avocado
  •  2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and paper to taste
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauecpan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened, about five minutes. Let cool.
  2. Lightly drizzle olive oil over watermelon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill quickly, about 30 seconds per side, until slightly charred.
  3. Toss arugula with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  4. For the stacked salad: Cut feta cheese length wise into four smaller squares. Cut watermelon slices into 8 squares that are the same size as the feta. Place one watermelon square on the plate and then top it with the feta square, another watermelon square and a slice of avocado. Sprinkle desired amount of arugula on top of watermelon stack and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.
  5. For the tossed salad: Place 1 cup of arugula on a plate. Cut cheese, watermelon and avocado into bite-sized squares, then add to arugula and toss. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

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