cook fresh food. be sassy.

Posts tagged as vegan

Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan, Delicious)

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:10pm

Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartHi! I’m still here! I’m still working on Twin Cities Chef’s Table, which has meant no blogging for me. Because I didn’t have enough going on – writing a book, getting a divorce, dealing with this seriously fucked up winter – I also decided to spend the next 60 days on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which is in effect an elimination diet to weed out food sensitivities. Long story short: It’s not just gluten, baby. With the stress of above, other food sensitivities that I’ve suspected all along but kind of gotten away with are no longer cooperating with me. Also, I took the opportunity of seclusion and cooking only for myself to undertake an experiment, adding a few things back into my diet that I had avoided when I gave up gluten almost 4 years ago – time flies! – namely corn, rice, potatoes, dairy, some starches like tapioca and arrowroot starch. My body said: HELL NO, STEPHANIE. Bloating, abdominal pain, joint pain, puffy eyes, fatigue, hair loss, low body temperature, basically all the inflammation/hypothyroid symptoms I had before I gave up gluten.

Scary and disappointing.Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartAnd so, back to the drawing board. I’d been meaning to do it eventually anyhow. I really, really want to know the foods that cause damage to my gut and my immune system to attack my thyroid. Rebirth is the order of the day. Spring will be upon us soon enough and I’m ready to be my rock-n-roll self again, even if it means eliminating for the next several weeks:

All grains & grain-like substances (including chia, hemp, millet, oats, etc.)
All nuts, seeds, and their oils
Nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, chiles/peppers, eggplants)

Yup. I made the commitment to myself last week, cried for about 20 minutes, made a grocery list, and hit the store. I can totally do this. It’s not even that far off from how I already eat. And in fact, it’s totally spurred my creativity – helped by the fact that I feel so much better already, now that I’ve gotten past two days of coffee fog. Also: immediately glowing skin. It really is so powerful what eating a nutrient-dense (and inflammation-free, because I’ve eaten a nutrient-dense diet for years) diet does for skin. I also credit adding bone broths to my routine a few months ago – eat collagen to make collagen. I definitely see the difference.

I’m not going to over-exaggerate, eating this way is not simple. First of all, it requires a lot of prep and cooking, which I enjoy thoroughly, but I know many don’t. Also, I’m feeding one or two people, none of whom are picky and small. The biggest loss for me, given my lifestyle and career, is eating out. All restaurants cook with canola oil, which I wish they didn’t because it’s terrible for everyone, but it’s cheap and vegetarian, so there it is. Also, if you think about it for a minute, almost all seasoning involves nightshades or seeds: chiles, cumin, caraway, coriander, on and on.

Please follow me on Instagram or follow Fresh Tart’s Facebook page (links on the right) for the daily meals I’ve been rather merrily preparing for myself. At the end of the 60 days, I’ll reintroduce the eliminated foods one by one, one week at a time, and gauge my reaction to them. And then I’ll know. Once and for all. I might be sad to know, but it’s better than suffering ill health.

If you’re interested in the protocol yourself, please read everything on The Paleo Mom’s amazing website and buy her new book, The Paleo Approach, which will explain the scientific, food-related causes of autoimmune disease and how to address it. Plantain Tortillas | Fresh TartAnd in the interim, Paleo Tortillas! I first made The Paleo Mom’s plantain crackers, because having something salty/crunchy to snack on was the first loss I really felt. They are fantastic. Then I started poking around for plantain “bread” of some sort and came upon a modified version of the crackers, turned into a pizza crust. I thought, I’d bet this process would make killer tortilla/wraps so I played around with the recipe I found on the blog Simple & Merry and tada! Absolutely delicious. Soft, chewy, mildly sweet, wonderful stuffed with beef, avocado, and a zippy garnish of lime and cabbage. I’m totally making fish tacos with these – plantains and fish are marvelous together. And as I mention below, I can imagine leaving out the garlic and serving these filled with berries and a drizzle of coconut cream, mmm. Plantains…who knew? (I know, millions of people, just not native Midwesterners, ha.) See what you think.

Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan)
Adapted from a pizza crust recipe on Simple & Merry
Makes 12 tortillas

1 pound peeled, cubed large green plantains (I’ve found they can be at various stages of ripeness, anywhere from bright green to yellow-ish; I suspect super-ripe/blackened plantains would be delicious if you left out the garlic and ate them with warm fruit for breakfast or dessert)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil; avocado oil is more neutral tasting and takes high heat better)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange racks in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add ingredients to the bowl of a blender (a Vitamix is wonderful for making these). Add 1/3 cup of water to the blender, cover, and puree on lowest setting for a minute or two. Gradually turn speed up, adding a bit more water if needed, to form a thick, smooth puree, similar to smooth hummus.

With a spoon, smooth batter into 12 equal tortillas onto the two baking sheets, approximately 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches across. Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until puffed and browning in spots.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Or, cool to room temperature and store in airtight container for up to 3 days. Can be gently reheated before serving.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 12, 2013 at 4:24pm

Kimchi Fried Rice | Fresh TartLet me introduce you to your new late night (or morning after?) go-to dish. You can’t argue with the restorative powers of kimchi – spicy fermented vegetables – especially when tossed with rice, sesame oil, and spicy chili paste. Go for Korean gochujang because it’s incredible (spicy-sweet with just a hint of funky, in the best possible way), or reach for sriracha because you’re already addicted and stocked up. I add tamari, which is not traditional, but the mellow saltiness plays so nicely with tangy kimchi. This is fusion cooking the way it’s meant to be – fast, flavorful, and plucking all of your favorite notes, preferably straight from your fridge.Kimchi Fried Rice | Fresh TartThere are lots of options here – skip the pork and egg for a vegan dish. Skip just the pork for a vegetarian dish. It’s also not traditional, but if you skip the pork, coconut oil is a lovely addition, and so nourishing that I’m always trying to find tasty places to sneak it in.Fulton Beer | Fresh TartI got the idea for this dish last week, while chatting with Brian Hoffman of Fulton Beer. The whole Fulton gang hosted a little gathering at their newly-leased, currently-under-construction production facility. Because I can’t actually drink their beer (gluten), I held a pint of the evening’s brew and smelled it, touched my lips to it, and basically tortured myself while chatting with Brian about all of the beautiful, spicy foods that would be marvelous with such a hoppy, fruity, fragrant beer.

Sigh. Fulton Beer | Fresh TartI distracted myself from self-pity by enjoying the crew’s signature hospitality. Every time we get together I’m impressed all over again by the four couples’ collective friendship, talent, good humor, good taste, enthusiasm, and charm. What can I say? I adore them all, even though I can’t drink their beer. I was giddy on their behalf, scanning the abyss that is their new Northeast Minneapolis facility (for the moment called AFB, as in Another Fulton Brewery), imagining the shiny new tanks and thousands of bottles of deliciousness that will be leaving through the giant loading dock by late 2014, making its way into your belly but not mine. (Worry not, tasting room fans, the original North Loop Fulton brewery – aka 414 – remains in operation.)

That’s a long way of saying that Brian suggests, “With the fried rice, I would go with The Ringer or Batch 300. As we talked about, hoppy and spicy are a match made in heaven, and both of these beers deliver on that note. Both are also light enough in malt character and body to not overpower the kimchi, rice, or the egg.” So there you go. Fulton forth and tell me how much you enjoyed it so I can live vicariously through you.

Recipe for Kimchi Fried Rice at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Tostones (Fried Plantains) with Pineapple Salsa

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:00pm

Tostones with Pineapple SalsaI had such a hard time deciding what to focus on for this post. The pineapple salsa, so gorgeous with fish, also gorgeous made with ripe-right-now peaches? Or the tostones (twice-fried plantains), which are so easy to make, although if you’d rather have fresh corn tortillas, those would be heavenly too? Or the black bean spread, which was supposed to be guacamole, but my avocados were hard as rocks, therefore black bean spread? I was (am) all over the board, tempted to suggest in effect several of my favorite foods, all in one post.

So let me present them all as options and let you decide which combination of sweet, salty, spicy, crispy, chewy, and creamy hits the spot. Mix and match:

Tostones or fresh corn tortillas
Black beans or guacamole
Crab, halibut, or shrimp
Pineapple, pineapple + peach, or peach salsaTostones with Pineappple SalsaPictured are tostones topped with black beans, pineapple salsa, and crab meat. It’s a pretty killer combination. I devoured them for dinner, but at two bites apiece (by my wolfy measure), they’d make a terrific party appetizer. Given canned lump crab meat, seasoned with ground cumin, fresh lime juice, and a bit of minced serrano chile, they’re ready in less than 30 minutes. If you rolled the goods in scorched fresh tortillas…15 minutes, easily. Heck, you could even pile it all atop store-bought tortilla chips, a flavor-crunch-explosion of an easy hors d’oeuvre if ever there was one.

That said, if you’re grilling anyhow, why not toss a couple of skewers of shrimp on ahead of time? Brush with garlicky oil, sprinkle with salt, and when they’re done, finish with squeezes of fresh lime juice. The guacamole angle would be pretty dreamy here. As would peach salsa.pinapplesalsasalsaWhen I make the halibut, which I most certainly will get around to soon, I’ll pan roast it and top it with pineapple salsa and nothing else. It’s hard to improve upon the perfection of crusty-silky halibut.

You have the idea. Get started with the pineapple salsa and tostone recipes and have some spicy, crispy fun!

Recipes for Pineapple Salsa and Tostones at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

White Bean Salad with Tomato & Avocado aka Power Outage Pantry Salad

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jun 25, 2013 at 4:40pm

White Bean Salad with Tomato & AvocadoIs your power back on? Hooey what a series of storms. It always breaks my heart to see grand old trees downed, especially if their falling damages homes and cars. I hope that you escaped damage and if not, that you’re back on track soon.

After losing power, I’m thinking ahead to the next outage. Pessimistic? Perhaps, although I’m thinking about the simplest of things – batteries in our clock radios, a plan for where to buy dry ice (suggestions?), and a few more pantry staples. I have an electric cooktop these days, so I was pretty happy to have foods on hand that I could eat at room temperature. But I wished I’d had a few more! Luckily I had canned beans and tuna, as well as a perfectly ripe avocado and tomato, so I was able to pull together this refreshing, filling salad in no time at all.White Bean Salad with Tomato & AvocadoCooked white beans are always lovely to have on hand. I used canned this go-round, but when I’m feeling organized, I’ll cook a pot of them on a Sunday, with garlic, onion, and herbs, and freeze what I don’t eat right away. Bean salads make terrific vegetarian/vegan fare when entertaining and are always popular on buffets because they improve with sitting a bit.

Building a dish atop smashed avocado is my favorite way to include avocado in a salad. Slices are fine, and a dollop of guacamole always rocks, but it’s particularly satisfying to swipe every bite through a perfectly seasoned, smooth and creamy puree. Build on layers of crunch (celery, nuts) and creaminess (olive oil, tender beans, cheeses) for main dish-worthy salads.

Recipe for White Bean Salad with Tomato & Avocado at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Blast of Spring Green Juice + CSA Box Pizza

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Apr 10, 2013 at 12:09pm

Certainly green juices are all the rage right now and I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you were rolling your eyes at the trend. We all know how food crushes go, where you suddenly don’t know anything about health if you’re not snacking on goji berries, sipping kombucha, and whirring spirulina into kale smoothies.

But this juice trend I actually love and as my fellow spring-starved Minnesotans, I suspect you might too. I’ve had a juicer for a couple of years but hadn’t really used it. As buds pop on the trees, thoughts turn to not just romance but also lighter, more colorful food. And honestly, after being completely fed up with blaming the weather for how sluggish I’ve been feeling, I was inspired by a gloriously juicy post on Roost (you must take a peek at it, what a gorgeous blog!) to dust off the juicer and make myself a glass…of spring! Kablam! Fresh green juice is at once tart and intensely herbal, with a hint of sweet and salt. It smells like not-winter, and makes me smile, and does other nice things too like wake me up better than a cup of coffee and add a bit of glow to my skin. What’s not to love?

When you prep the herbs, vegetables, and fruit for your juicer, you realize pretty quickly that juicing consumes a fair amount of produce each week. Which is terrific, I can’t think of an easier way to add a serious blast of plants to your diet. I’m obviously working with co-op and grocery store offerings right now, but I can’t help but dream of summer, and farmers markets, and this slick new (to me) way for using up all of the loveliness that arrives each week in a CSA box. I’m the queen of pickles, and I’m happy to make sauces and soups and can and freeze them, but adding fresh juice to the mix is the perfect way to guarantee that nothing in that box goes to waste.

If you too are dreaming of garden-ripe treats, get thee to Seward Co-op this coming Saturday, April 13, for their 12th Annual Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring the kids and meet with more than 30 participating farms as you decide which CSA share to purchase. Make sure to enter drawings to win a meat bundle from the experts in the co-op’s meat department (valued at $200); copies of Seward’s 40th Anniversary book for sale; and $1,500 worth of full grocery cart giveaways to several lucky winners (eligible with a $20 purchase). See the full list of farms and start planning for a bounty of fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and meats!

Slam a juice before you head over to get inspired…

Recipe for Blast of Spring Green Juice at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

And for lunch or dinner, make this lovely Spring CSA Box Pizza via Seward Co-op! The colors and flavors are just stunning. Bring on spring and short of that (snow-cough-snow), see you at the fair!

Spring CSA Box Pizza
Recipe via Seward Co-op
Serves 4

Holy Land Lavash bread (or flatbread naan), one package
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, woody end snapped off, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch pieces
4 petit pan or sunburst summer squashes, sliced thin
3/4 lb. sliced wild or farmed fresh mushrooms
1 – 4 oz log of Stickney Hill fresh chevre (goat cheese), broken into small pieces, set aside
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced as thin as possible, set aside
1 large spring onion, bulb and green part sliced thin, set aside
2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, picked from stems
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, preheat that in the oven too. Otherwise place individual pizzas directly on the center rack.

Lightly sauté asparagus summer squash and mushrooms separately, but in the same pan, using the 2 Tbsp. of oil divided. Use more oil if needed. Set each vegetable aside separately in small bowls.

Lay out the 4 Lavash breads on a board or on the counter. Divide and distribute the mozzarella cheese among them all. Distribute all the other sautéed vegetables evenly among the pizzas on top of the mozzarella cheese.

Divide and distribute the chevre pieces with your fingers evenly among each pizza in 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces. This is kind of messy as the cheese is a bit wet and sticky.

Sprinkle the spring onion pieces around the pizzas as well as the Parmesan cheese. Distribute the fresh thyme among them. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, turning mid way as needed. Bake until crust is golden brown.

Serve with a side salad… some of the ingredients of which you may have found from the very same CSA Box!

Chile-Tomato "Harissa"

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:01pm

Is there anything more fun than conjuring something delicious from nothing but your imagination and leftovers? Don’t answer that, but instead consider the primal satisfaction that comes from being both resourceful and frugal. I may have read a few too many Laura Ingalls Wilder stories as a young girl, but preparing meals from a perfect recipe with perfect ingredients is neither as fun nor as tasty as making things up as I go from whatever I have on hand. Urban pioneering. Or something.

Anyhow, that’s all a long explanation for how I arrived at making this harissa, the of-the-moment condiment that is making its way into every meal at our house. Not only was the harissa itself arrived at in my attempt to not waste lovely ingredients leftover from other recipes, but in turn I’m using the harissa to make up an endless number of flavorful dishes on the fly.

I’m calling this harissa although it’s really a deliciously ubiquitous chile-tomato paste, relevant to put a Middle Eastern spin on a dish, but also at home in Tex-Mex and Asian dishes as well. The depth of flavor comes from toasting the chiles and spices as well as roasting the tomatoes. I lean on the grocery-store versions of harissa and chile pastes as much as the next person, but you really can’t beat the intensity and freshness of flavor achieved by making harissa yourself. Harissa typically doesn’t include tomatoes, but I do love how the tomatoes temper the paste’s heat, and add a level of acidity, that I think widens harissa’s horizons. Scrape the finished, cooled paste into a jar and enjoy for several weeks, in any way you can think of.

A few ideas to get you started:

Spoon over leftover steak, pork, chicken, tofu, or any number of vegetables and roll into warm corn tortillas.
Smear on grilled flatbread and top with an egg fried in olive oil.
Stir into broth for cooking couscous or rice. Serve the cooked grains with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, olives, fresh herbs, a crumble of cheese, and toasted nuts. Top with a poached egg to gild the lily.
Swirl into a bowl of pretty much any soup to take it from just fine to truly incredible. Think Asian noodle soups, Italian-style broth soups, Mexican-style tortilla soups.
Whisk into vinaigrettes.
Add to pasta sauces, creamy or tomato, for lovely color and depth of flavor.
Mix into and onto meatloaf or meatballs.
Brush onto grilling or roasting chicken.
Spread on generously buttered bread before making your best grilled cheese sandwich ever. Ditto quesadillas.

Do not be surprised if you consider rubbing it into sore muscles!

Recipe for Chile-Tomato “Harissa” at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.


Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 24, 2013 at 6:34am

I have the delightful privilege of running around town with a pack of broads who know a thing or two about cocktails. Like girlfriends everywhere, we meet up to celebrate victories and soothe defeats, although we have the bonus of calling our cackling “work.” We thoroughly enjoyed a recent laugh (or three) at the sparkly new Borough/Parlour, the most recent iteration of the Minneapolis upstairs/downstairs restaurant/bar trend.

To date I’ve shared just small plates at Borough’s bar, with large groups of snackers, which is rather perfect in my book because that’s how I like to eat. The Scotch egg with a runny yolk is not to be missed, if you’re a pork-n-eggs sort of girl, which I most certainly am. In fact everything that flashed by and made its way onto my fork was nicely done: bites of bison tartare, crispy fries with fried eggs, a rosy-pink burger, and roasted Brussels sprouts were all highlights. But chefs Nick O’Leary and Tyler Shipton are sending out more than just small plates; in fact they’ve organized the menu around seasonal small, medium, and large offerings, and I will most certainly be back to taste my way through it.

Owners Brent Frederick and Jacob Toledo have seen Borough’s interior done right, in essence a North Loop-loft chic enough to match the hand-crafted cocktails, with homey touches like box grater-sconced lights and a burnished nickel bar to keep the flannel-clad among us feeling fine.

As lovely as Borough is, I can tell that the real hang is going to be downstairs at Parlour. Not that the drinks upstairs aren’t fabulous, because they are. It’s more the giddiness, I think, of cradling Jesse Held-designed cocktails while nibbling on something other than Cheetos. It blew my mind a little bit, or a lesser bit, given actual food in my stomach to soften the kablam of Parlour’s killericious sips. But even more than the snacks, I fell hard for the luscious seating, sexy lighting, polished concrete floors, and of course those superstar cocktails. Held, president of the North Star Bartenders’ Guild, is The Man behind Parlour, which is a very good thing given he’s been making and serving all of our favorite drinks all over town for years. Despite the soft light, this is his moment to shine.

Here’s what we all love about great bartenders: they remember what we like. The first drink I ever requested from Held was back when he was at The Inn, and I distinctly remember saying, “I love none-too-sweet gin sippiness, mister.” Perhaps not the most exact request, but enough to inspire a gorgeous gin something, whatever the heck it was. I was not one bit surprised that when I asked him for a cool cocktail recipe to share with you all, he whipped up an Aviation, a bracingly fresh blast of gin, with just a hint of floral sweetness, to chase away a frigid Minnesota eve. Pair this cocktail with bites of salty ham atop crusty bread and be very glad.

Jesse Held’s recipe for The Aviation at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Chickpea Soup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:07pm

Chickpea Soup with Crispy Brussels & Walnuts

Braise a pot of beans one day, eat well for the next several. It’s the laziest, most delicious way to fill a week with food that I can imagine.

Day 1 eat a bowlful of beans, on their own or alongside a roast or spooned over rice.

Day 2 fry some beans until crispy and top with sauteed greens and a poached egg.

Day 3 puree some of the cold beans with garlic, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil and eat the spread with chips or smeared generously on grilled bread.

Chickpea Soup with Crispy Brussels & Walnuts

Day 4 puree some of the warm beans with chicken or vegetable stock and eat piping hot as soup, topped with crispy Brussels sprouts and toasted walnuts (fry sliced Brussels in hot olive oil/butter combination).

Your ideas? Share them!

The soup pictured is made with chickpeas, although the foolproof recipe – via Cafe Levain chef Adam Vickerman – is written for white beans. His technique works for whatever beans you like, so experiment away! (Leftover beans freeze beautifully, by the way.)

Original recipe for Braised White Beans at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Crunchy Wild Rice Salad with Citrus Dressing

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 20, 2012 at 10:30am

crunchy wild rice salad with citrus dressing stephanie meyer fresh tart

Happy Almost Thanksgiving! If you’re searching for a refreshing, flavorful salad for the holiday table, I’ve got just the dish. This wild rice salad has been a Meyer family favorite for years and I’m always happy to see it on my plate. Right when the richness of buttery stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, and buttery gravy threatens to tank your palate, slide your fork over for a bite of this salad, snappy and downright refreshing with orange zest and the crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds.

crunchy wild rice salad with citrus dressing stephanie meyer fresh tart

Bonus 1: It tastes even better the next day, which makes it a perfect do-ahead dish as well as a leftovers treat.
Bonus 2: It can easily be made vegan.
Bonus 3: You can play with the ingredients to your heart’s content. Pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds. Pomegranate seeds instead of golden raisins. Add cubes of roasted squash. Add cubes of apple. Just don’t add marshmallows…

Enjoy a lovely meal, everyone!

Recipe for Crunchy Wild Rice Salad with Citrus Dressing at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 21, 2012 at 4:10pm

quinoa tabbouleh gluten-free stephanie meyer fresh tart

While the rest of my garden is toast, the parsley lives on, just begging me to make tabbouleh salad. Except tabbouleh is made with bulgur, which is wheat, which I can’t eat. Damn it!

Enter quinoa, the grain that is conveniently a gluten-free seed, hey. I’m not as obsessed with quinoa as some, but in a salad like this, its nutty crunchiness is perfectly tabboulehesque…in fact, you would likely not realize you weren’t eating traditional tabbouleh salad if someone (like me) didn’t point it out.

And except for all the substitutions I made, because that is one of the best things about tabbouleh – it welcomes just about any vegetable or nut you have knocking around in your kitchen. Zucchini not cucumbers? Fine! Roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes? Lovely! Pistachios in place of pine nuts? Great!

No matter the salad ingredients, I always add lemon zest, toasted cumin and coriander seeds, and toasted sesame oil to to the dressing to really pop the flavor. The recipe below is vegan, but feel free to cook the quinoa in chicken stock, or toss in crumbled feta cheese and/or pieces of tender chicken for further popping.

Or try this, my very favorite way to eat tabbouleh: while it hums alongside hummus (together stuffed into a warm, fresh pita for a flavorful sandwich if you’re not gluten-free), this simple trick is even more mind-blowing: smear a generous dollop of Greek yogurt in the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle it lightly with a bit of salt and freshly cracked pepper, then spoon the tabbouleh over the top. As you enjoy your salad, swipe the bottom of the bowl with your spoon (I suggest a spoon, not a fork), so each bite of nutty crunchiness is elevated by a slide of creamy yogurt. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it very much.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Serves 6

1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2″ dice (about 1 c.)
1/2 – 1 c. chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (to taste)
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 c. chopped (pitted) kalamata olives
1/2 c. chopped toasted pistachios (or pine nuts)

1/2 tsp. each cumin & coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt

freshly ground black pepper

Greek yogurt for serving

Add quinoa, salt, and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer quinoa for 10 minutes. Keep covered, remove from heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a medium bowl to cool, fluffing with a fork a few times as it comes to room temperature.

Meanwhile, over a gas flame or under a broiler, scorch the bell pepper until blackened on all sides. Place in a small paper bag for 20 minutes. When cool, slide charred skin off, remove and discard seeds and stem, and cut flesh into 1/4″ dice.

While the quinoa and bell pepper cool, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant (watch carefully so they don’t burn). Grind in a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle and add to a small bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, and salt. Set aside.

When quinoa is cool, add the bell pepper, zucchini, parsley, mint, scallions, olives, and pistachios. Whisk dressing and pour over salad, tossing well to combine. Season with freshly ground black pepper (and a bit more salt, if needed). Serve with Greek yogurt. Can be made one day ahead; however, reserve pistachios until just before serving to preserve crunch.