Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

I’m not quite sure how I came across this recipe.  I want to say it’s because we had a cucumber in our produce box, but with the service we use (Imperfect Produce – link to site and also I have written about them in the past) we get to pick what’s in there.  I don’t really make a lot of stuff with cucumber, so I’m hesitant to think I’d pick a cucumber.  I think it could have also been that we had some old quinoa lying around and I don’t cook very often with quinoa so I needed some recipe inspiration.  That’s where this Cucumber Quinoa Salad from Gimme Some Oven comes in!

This salad is super easy to make and also very filling and tasty.  It makes a great lunch, side dish, or even dinner on a hot summer day.  I follow the instructions very closely to the original, but I have noticed that it can take about 50% more quinoa and still be tasty.  So if you want to spread out the salad a bit with more quinoa, that works great.  I sometimes use 3 cups cooked quinoa instead of the recommended 2 cups.

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Salad Ingredients:
1 cucumber, diced
2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 roughly chopped basil leaves
1 batch lemony vinaigrette (see below)

Lemony Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra virgin oil
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:
Combine all salad ingredients into a large bowl and mix.  Combine all Lemony Vinaigrette ingredients into a smaller bowl and whisk together.  Pour Lemony Vinaigrette mixture onto salad and mix one last time.

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“Pulled Pork” AKA BBQ Sweet Potato Sammies with All of the Slaws!

This sandwich, as the post title states, is a vegetarian take on pulled pork.  Personally, I find it just as delicious and it’s super easy to make.  It makes a great lunch because you can simply make it the night before and you’ll have plenty to bring for a few days of lunches.  Plus, it’s great because it goes great with a variety of different slaws, which I’ll include below too.

BBQ Sweet Potato Sammies

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
BBQ sauce of your choosing (4-5 tbsp is good – feel free to add more/less. I like more.)
Olive Oil cooking spray
Buns (for sandwich)
Some kind of slaw (directions below)

Directions:

  1. Wash and skin sweet potatoes.  I usually just like to cut off the top/bottom of the potatoes and remove any weird spots from the skin.
  2. Shred potatoes.  You can either use a cheese grater for this, or you can use a spiralizer machine.  The spiralizer machine will cut your potatoes into curls, but I usually just take the curls and chop them up a little.  This is the easiest way, but the cheese grater method makes it a little more like a pulled pork texture.  I’d say if you’re making this for a party, use the cheese grater.  If you’re making it for yourself, use the spiralizer.

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  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Once it’s heated up, cook your potatoes for 10 minutes.  Stirring semi-constantly.
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  4. After the 10 minutes, add your BBQ sauce and cook while stirring for another  5 minutes.
  5. You’re done!  Time to make the slaw.

For the slaw, I’m not the biggest fan of regular coleslaw (too much mayo), but I’m sure this will taste just fine with that.  I prefer vinegar based slaws, so here are a few I’ve made and I think taste really great with the BBQ sweet potatoes.

Clean Eating Mango Slaw

This slaw adds a nice sweet and salty flavor to your sammy.  I found this recipe on iFoodReal.

Ingredients:
1 lb white cabbage, shredded (thinly sliced is fine too)
1 large mango, diced
3 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp white vinegar (or 2 if you’re like me and love vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:  Combine all ingredients and toss in a large bowl!

Red Cabbage Slaw

This is a nice crunchy and colorful slaw to add to your BBQ sweet potatoes.  I found this recipe on Real Housemoms.

Ingredients:
1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions: Toss ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for at least one hour.

Ginger Lime Asian Slaw

This slaw adds a nice sweet, but tangy flavor.  It’s a bit more involved than the first two, but it’s worth it.  I found this recipe on Real Food Real Deals.

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Ingredients:
8 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar

Directions:

    1. Combine cabbage, carrots, apple, salt, and lime juice into a large bowl.
    2. In a medium skillet, cook the onion, in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and cook for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a bowl, mix together remaining tbsp of olive oil, honey, and rice vinegar.  Add the veggies from the pan.
    4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and mix.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Lunch Option: Vegan Cabbage Curry

More vegan stuff!  So the reason for all the vegan recipes?  Well, a few months ago I decided to go full vegetarian (I will make exceptions on rare occasions, but for the most part I don’t eat meat anymore), and I also found out after I made that decision that I have high cholesterol!  Woo! Not enough that I need medication, but enough that some dietary changes were suggested.  I am not super strict about it since I already eat fairly healthy, but I cut out my morning yogurt and replaced it with oatmeal or a granola bar, and I try to cut out other items like dairy when I am cooking at home.  That way, I don’t have to be outrageously picky when I go out to eat.  Given the changes I’ve made, I think it will make a dent in the numbers.

I cooked this recipe for dinner one night and decided that it was better as a lunch meal.  It’s flavorful, but not enough that it left me satisfied me for dinner.  However, for lunch it is perfect because I’m not a big fan of heavy lunches.  It’s light enough to bring as a lunch and leaves me full, but not feeling sluggish.

I originally found this recipe on Healthier Steps, but modified it and added a few ingredients.  You should have about 4 days worth of lunches when you make this batch!

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Ingredients:

Jasmine rice – 4 servings

1/2 of a large cabbage, cut into strips

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground thyme or 2 fresh sprigs

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 carrot, chopped

1 can of chick peas

1 cup of potatoes or sweet potatoes, chopped into small chunks

1-14oz can of light coconut milk

1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Prep and cook rice.  You can have the rice cooking while you make the curry.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add coriander, turmeric, thyme, cumin, carrot, chick peas, potatoes, and cabbage and stir.
  4. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover saucepan and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Add some cornstarch if the sauce is not thick enough.

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