Grilled Lentil Salad

Hi friends!

 Sometimes the most delicious recipes come out of thin air. Case in point: grilled lentil salad. Last week my hubby and I were at a loss for what to have for dinner. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store because I had a full fridge. The problem was, I went to the grocery store without any kind of plan as to what my meals for the week would be. I don’t usually do this, but when I do, it almost always ends up with me stringing together the hodge podge of produce, protein, and grain I did pick up in any way that remotely makes sense. Luckily, this time not only did it make sense, it was utterly delicious!
We have a charcoal grill, which is great because of the flavor we get when we grill anything, but not so great for the time it takes to get ready. So, when we grill, I want to grill everything. I figure, if we’re going to the trouble to turn it on, why not use it! After putting our heads together, we decided to make this grilled lentil salad. I cannot lie, the original idea was really Michael’s, but then I thought of this grilled panzanella salad I made last year and thought, why couldn’t I do something similar with lentils? Turns out, you can! And it’s delicious!
You could really use whatever veggies you have on hand, but red peppers, onions, and zucchini offered a nice mix of flavors and textures. You can also choose how charred you want them, I like my veggies really charred, especially with a charcoal flavor, but if you don’t, just take a couple minutes off of grilling time.
Lentils are great. Yummy and versatile. Plus they are nutritional powerhouses. We try to incorporate lots of lentils into out diets, but you have to be creative. No one likes a big bowl of plain ol lentils. Green lentils work best for this recipe because they stand up well in a salad. You could also use black lentils, but red lentils won’t hold together enough to be tossed in this salad.
The dressing for this salad is tangy, a little spicy, and works great with the lentils and veggies. Once you taste it you’ll probably also want to put it on green salad, dip grilled chicken into it, or use it for one of a million other things for which it would also be really delicious!
Make sure to pour it on the salad while everything is still hot so that it can soak in and coat everything. Speaking of hot, a great thing about this salad is that it can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. It would also be great to take to a picnic or potluck since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will hold up well even after a few hours.
In every bite of this salad you get the grill flavor of the veggies, the meaty texture of the lentils, and the tangy dressing. It’s perfect for a side dish or as a very balanced lunch on it’s own, complete with protein (thanks lentils!). Better yet, make it as a side dish one night and you’ve got lunch ready for tomorrow! Score!!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 red bell peppers, whole
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions until al dente. Set aside
  2. Slice onion into three equal rounds (about 1/2″ thick). Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Drizzle onion, red pepper, and zucchini with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Grill over medium high heat on a charcoal or gas grill (you can also use a grill pan on the stove). Grill red peppers until they are charred and black all around (you will remove skins later). Grill onions 4-5 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and onions soften. Grill zucchini 3-4 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and flesh softens. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before slicing. For a tutorial about how to remove skins from a red bell pepper, look here.
  3. Chop veggies and add them to a large bowl with the lentils.
  4. Mix together mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for the dressing. Beat with a whisk for a minute or two until completely emulsified. Drizzle over the still warm salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top with chopped chives. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Hey there!

Isn’t it funny how some things just stick with you? Over a year ago my hubby and I went out to eat and had these amazing grilled artichokes. Ever since I’ve thought about recreating them almost every time I’ve picked up artichokes from the farmers market. I’ve tried a couple of times, but never achieved the result I wanted to. Then, the other night we were watching Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and one of the places was featuring grilled artichokes. They were demo-ing how they boiled the artichokes until they were completely tender and then put them on the grill. A light bulb went off. The couple times I’ve tried, I didn’t want to cook the artichokes though because I worried they wold get overdone on the grill. I was ready to hit the market and try again.

I found some perfect artichokes and set about cleaning them and getting them ready for the grill. You want to trim the stem and the bottom layer of leaves. You also want to give the top a slice just to get the pointies (that’s the technical term) off. Then slice them down the middle. 

Pretty huh? If you only ever have boiled artichokes whole, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful they are inside. Grab a spoon and start digging out the hairy part of the center. You can’t eat it, so might as well get it out of there now. Then, drop them into a pot of boiling water to cook until they are tender. Remove them and let them cool slightly. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides and get ready for the grill.

While they are on the grill, you can make your lemon aioli. This aioli is really simple and as an added benefit to any other pregnant women out there, it’s eggless! Because you don’t use egg, it is a little thinner than a traditional aioli, but tastes great and is perfect for dipping your grilled leaves into.

The artichokes grill up quickly, so you’ll have them on the table ready to devour in no time. Every time I eat artichokes I just can’t help but think, “Someone must have been really, really hungry to figure out that you could eat this thing.” And I am so glad they did!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Ingredients

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • For aioli
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t salt

Instructions

  1. In a blender, comine all ingredients for aioli and blend for 3 minutes or until very well incorporated.
  2. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  3. Clean artichokes: trim stem and bottom row of leaves and slice the top off. Cut down the middle. Using a spoon, dig out the hairy part and discard.
  4. Drop into boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Remove and let cool slightly.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Grill over high heat about 3 minutes per side, until charred but not burnt.
  7. Serve immediately with aioli.

 

 

 

Spice Rubbed Tri Tip with Spicy Chimmichurri

Hi friends!

This week has been long and I am ready for the weekend! Finally, it’s Friday! :) This weekend should be a good one too – St. Paddy’s Day AND Selection Sunday on the same day?! Guess I’ll be filling out my bracket with a big cup of Green…tea. Turns out St. Patrick’s Day is considerably less exciting when you are pregnant and can’t drink! :) Oh well, I’ll make up for my lack of green beer with lots of green baked goods. Fair trade…right??
If you aren’t totally into corned beef and cabbage, this is a yummy alternative that will still get you in the spirit to celebrate. I mean, do you see how bright green that chimichurri is?? No one will be pinching you during this meal!
It’s been warming up here in northern California, and we’ve been taking full advantage of the warmer evenings and extra hour of daylight by BBQing as much as we can. Tri tip is one of those classic bbqing meats. Well… I know that now. But would you believe that I had never even heard of trip tip until I came to school in California?!? Apparently, it is a very California “thing” because as soon as I got here it was pretty much the only thing on the menu at every bar-b-que. If you didn’t have tri tip, you were in trouble. And now I can see why. It’s a perfect meat to grill.
Especially if you give it a little rub. A little spice rub, that is. A dry rub on tri tip works WAY better than a marinade, plus you can leave it on anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour, so it’s a super go-with-the-flow preparation. *Note: the rub recipe featured here makes more than you will need for one tri tip, but it keeps well in a sealed container in the pantry.
While you are grilling the steak (or in my case, while your husband is outside grilling!) you can make the chimichurri. A chimmichuri is a blend of herbs, oil, and whatever else you fancy. This spicy version contains garlic, serrano pepper, and red wine vinegar. It goes wonderfully with the steak and not too spicy rub. If you want to, you can make the chimichurri ahead of time, as much as a day or two, to let the flavors blend. Just be careful because if it’s in your fridge you’ll want to slather it on sandwiches, dunk veggies in it, and whisk it into eggs, among other things! Did I mention you should probably make a double batch??
After the steak is grilled and rested, slice it against the grain and douse with chimichurri. Don’t forget to have some extra on the table for dipping! If you’re eating it on Sunday it would go great with a big green salad and some grilled asparagus. Throw in a green beer, green tea, or drop some food coloring in your milk and you’ve got a meal St. Patrick would envy!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Spice Rubbed Tri Tip with Spicy Chimmichurri

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb tri tip
  • For Spice Rub:
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • For chimichurri
  • 3 cups loosely packed parsley
  • 3 cups loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper (*note: serrano peppers are spicy! Remove seeds and ribs if you want it less spicy)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. To prepare chimichurri, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Remove tri tip 1 hour before you are going to be grilling to bring to room temperature.
  3. Mix all rub ingredients together. Rub generously over meat. Let sit 5-60 minutes.
  4. Sear tri tip over direct heat until grill marks form, about 10 minutes per side. Move to indirect heat and grill 20-30 minutes, until temperature reaches 130 degrees. Remove and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with chimichurri.

Grilled Nectarine Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

Hey!

You know you’ve found something great when you’re still thinking about a meal you had several days later. That is what this salad’s been doing to me for the past few days! I am going to just have to make it again so I stop dreaming about it!

One of my favorite things about my weekly trip to the farmer’s market is that you get to see the seasons change through food. Living in California, I am pretty lucky that I get really great variety all year long, but even here, the winds of change are bringing fall around and everything that comes with is! This week was the first week we had apples at the farmer’s market! Since I am from Washington-apple loving is in my blood. I bought a couple ponds of honey crisp apples and ate one as I was walking around the market. It was so crisp, sweet, and tart and I went back to the stand and bought a few more pounds. I just knew the amount I first bought wouldn’t last me through the week!

But enough about apples. Let’s talk nectarines.

My favorite stone fruit stand had several signs up this week letting us all know that the days for peaches, nectarines, pluots, and all the other goodies are numbered. So, I am taking full advantage while I still can. Seriously, I could pretty much start my own farm stand with all the fruit currently on my kitchen counter!

I’ve wanted to create this salad ever since I had grilled nectarines with goat cheese at my friend Elise’s house a few weeks ago. She simply grilled the nectarine halves and then slathered them with goat cheese. It was one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had! And so simple! The grilling brings so much flavor out of the nectarines, it’s like you’ve roasted them for an hour in the oven.

Then, add in the creamy goat cheese and get ready for your mind to be blown. Usually, I like textural differences as much as the next gal, but there is something about the warm, gooey nectarine flesh paired with the super creamy goat cheese. They melt together to form this rich, decadent, sweet, tangy, bite of perfection. throw in some arugula for spice and lemon juice for tartness and tang and you’ve got a salad you’ll be dreaming about too.

Enjoy!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Grilled Nectarine Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese
Author: 
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 7oz bag of arugula
  • 4 nectarines (preferably a tad bit underripe to stand up to grilling)
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for coating nectarines
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice nectarines in about 1″ wide slices. Place slices in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
  2. Grill nectarines over medium high heat about 3-4 minutes per side, until grill marks appear. Grill on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Toss arugula with 2 tablespoons evoo and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates. Top with goat cheese. Arrange still-warm grilled nectarine slices on top.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Spicy Tofu Sandwich

Cheers to Friday everyone!

I am super into tofu right now. It it totally the culinary equivalent of this season’s rainbow colored jeans in my kitchen. And this sandwich is my reserved for special occasion Saturday night happy hours with the girls hot pink skinnies!

This tofu sandwich is not only packed with tons of flavor due to a delicious spice rub…

but you also get double the flavor by grilling the tofu for the sandwiches!

The rub is earthy and spicy. You toast the spices whole and grind them yourself to pull out as much flavor as you can.

Then, marinating the tofu for several hours really lets everything sink in.

This sandwich isn’t one of those “trick you into thinking it’s meat” tofu dishes – but that’s OK! It has a flavor all its own. And it’s definitely big flavor. Oh – and if you want to kick it up even another notch? Mix 1 cup of Greek Yogurt with 2 tablespoons of the marinade and use it as a spread for the bun!

Pile the tofu up high and then load it up with greens, tomato, onion, and pickles, or whatever your heart desires! This is a light, fun, summery dinner that I think you are going to love!

Enjoy!

Recipe via Food & Wine. See it here!

 

Chimichurri

Hey there!

We’ve been grilling fools lately. We should really just keep the charcoal going round the clock so the ol’ Weber can be ready at a moment’s notice. Grilling is just my all time favorite method of cooking. Period. Especially in summer when you can stand outside, it’s still warm, and preferably you have one of these in your hand, while the smell of charcoal and cooked meat fills the air. Perfection.

Have you been grilling too? Need something to spice up your latest grilled offering? Hurry up and make this chimichurri.

All these blended herbs are so fresh they can brighten up nearly anything you can throw on the grill. I’ve dunked tri trip in it, drizzled it over grilled zucchini, slathered it on chicken, and soaked some crusty bread in this delicious green goodness.

It just keeps getting better. Everything I’ve tried it on works. Next up I want to grill some fish and dollop some chimichurri. If it’s half as good as it sounds in my head it will be a winner. You can also make a big batch and it keeps in the fridge really well. Not only that, but as it sits the flavors meld even further and things get really great.

Try this the next time you fire up your grill, I will be!

 

Enjoy!

Chimichurri
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 whole jalapeño (stem removed)
  • 1 small yellow onion (or ½ a large one)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Throw all ingredients into a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate up to a week

 

Grilled Portobello Burgers

Summer. Al fresco dining. Long evenings. BBQ. BURGERS.

But…mushroom burgers???

Y.E.S.

My mom used to trick us into eating new foods by putting them in familiar “packaging.” Having parents that forbid picky eating was one of the best parts of growing up because now there are hardly any foods I “don’t like.” I was also never allowed to say “I don’t like” something-it was always “I don’t care for (blank).” I’m actually still not sure quite what the difference is except one sounds nicer, especially when someone other than your mom made dinner. What’s the point? If you think you don’t like mushrooms try this twist on familiar packaging and see if you still “don’t care for them.”  :)

These grilled portobello burgers are so satisfying you won’t even notice you’re going meatless. In fact, the marinated mushrooms are so meaty, if you close your eyes you’d swear you weren’t biting down on just veggies.

And then there’s the flavor…oh, the flavor!

First of all portobello mushrooms alone have a delicious beefy, earthy flavor.

Combine that with the fact that they take a marinade very very well and you get an out of this world flavorful burger.

The combo of balsamic vinegar, herbs, and mustard compliments the natural flavor of the mushroom and makes these burgers so flavorful. No ketchup necessary! (but don’t forget the aioil! we’ll get to that later…)

These burgers grill up super quickly. Top with cheese, avocado, a thick slice of onion, and roasted red bell pepper. Don’t forget to slather on your homemade aioli-which will really impress your guests. You don’t have to tell them it took 30 seconds flat in the blender ;)

Next time you’re ready to fire up the grill, swap your meat for a mushroom. Then don’t feel bad about having dessert!

Enjoy!

Grilled Portobello Burgers
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large Portobello Mushroom Caps
  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 garlic cloves-minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Aioli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Toppings
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 freshly roasted red bell pepper (or 1 jar prepared)
  • 4 fresh hamburger buns
Instructions
  1. To make aioli: combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth (about 1 minute). Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make marinade: Combine vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, herbs de provence, salt, and pepper in a blender. Emulsify (30 seconds to 1 minute).
  3. Prepare mushrooms. Remove stems. Use the back of a spoon to remove gills as best you can. Place the mushrooms stem side up in a rectangular baking dish. Pour marinade over mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours.
  4. Grill mushrooms over medium high heat 5-8 minutes, until tender and very slightly charred. During the last minute of grilling, add cheese and let melt. Assemble burgers with aioli, avocado, red pepper, and onion.

 

 

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