I Love Olives: Easy Meal Edition

As I said earlier this summer, I worked far away from my home.  So I relied on quick’n easy meals filled with healthy ingredients.  Olives became one of my favorite ingredients to use because I love salty food 🙂

Green Machine Salad

IMG_4625

Place a few handfuls of fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add pitted green olives, Samira’s hummus, a handful of Biena’s Chickpea Snacks, and an avocado.

Quinoa Spinach Salad

IMG_5220.JPG

Cook around 1/4 cup of tri-colored quinoa according to the instructions on the bag.

Place spinach in a bowl.  Add quinoa, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Greek Power Bowl

IMG_5066.JPG

Place spinach in a bowl.  Add kalamata olives, Samira’s hummus and spicy grape leaves, and Watusee Chickpeatos.

Enjoy!

 

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

One of these days I hope SweetGreen discovers my food blog and names a salad after one of my inspirations… that day has yet to come!  This salad is unique because the shrimp is marinated in an herb and salt mixture, Aglio Olio, that my cousin mailed to me from California.

Aglio Olio

Aglio Olio

She knows I am a big foodie and she usually mixes the seasoning with olive oil as a dip for bread.  I took the liberty of repurposing it and was met with success.

"Shrimp My Ride" Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad (for one)

6 shrimp washed and deveined

olive oil

Aglio Olio seasoning

half an avocado (or full if you’d rather just go for it)

half a yellow bell pepper (chopped)

carrot (chopped)

1/4 cup feta

handful sunflower seeds

6 Greek olives (pitted and chopped)

2 cups romaine lettuce

2 cups spinach

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Place the shrimp in a bowl.  Pour olive oil on top to cover it.  Sprinkle on the Agli Olio salt and herb mixture to season the shrimp.

Grill the shrimp until each side is pink and cooked through.

Place spinach and lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.  Cut the tails off of the shrimp.  Place everything on top of the greens.  Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress the salad.  Dig in!

 

 

Shell Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile

Earlier this summer, I was begifted Jerusalem written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi by my friend Sheila.  The cookbook is so beautiful to look at, the pictures are stellar and the duo gives insight about traditional cuisine of the city.  The first recipe I tried of the book was this pasta dish and although my family did not seem to like the flavor combinations I thought it was delicious.  By warned, the chile flake pine nut garnish is spicy so make sure your guests like heat!

photo-5

 

Shell Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile (makes lb)

2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

2/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lb fresh or frozen peas thawed

1 lb shell pasta

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 tsp. chile flakes

1 2/3 cup torn basil leaves

8 oz. feta cheese

salt and ground pepper

Put the yogurt, 6 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.

Cook the pasta according to instructions.  With two minutes left for the pasta to cook, pour the remaining peas into the pasta water to heat.  Drain both together.

As the pasta is cooking, heat the rest of the olive oil, pine nuts, and chile flakes at medium heat for 4 minutes.

When the pasta and peas are drained SLOWLY add them to the sauce so the yogurt does not split.  Then mix in the basil, feta, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  When plating spoon over pine nuts and drizzle some of the oil on top.

photo-5 copy

 

 

Nectarine Spinach Salad

I know I tend to go through phases with my posts, so I will try and make this the last salad you see for at least a little while.  I liked the pairing of salty feta to contrast the sweet nectarine, but I think the dish needed something with a more robust flavor like blue cheese which I will try out next time!

photo-5

Nectarine Spinach Salad

nectarine sliced thin

spinach

sunflower seeds

feta

balsamic vinegar

Place the spinach down on a platter.  Lay the nectarine slices on top.  Crumbled the cheese and sprinkle the seeds on top.  Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!

Romaine Greek Salad

photo-72

Romaine Greek Salad

romaine salad

chickpeas, washed and drained from a can

feta cheese

fresh tomatoes

cucumber

kalamata olives

sunflower seeds

lemon juice

olive oil

Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together to make the dressing.  I went 1/4 parts lemon juice 3/4 parts olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the tomatoes and add salt to help counteract their juiciness.  Let them dry a little on a towel.  Chop the cucumber.  Chop and pit the olives.

Place the romaine in a large salad bowl.  Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives.  Crumble the feta cheese on top.  Sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.

Drizzle on the dressing and toss the salad.

 

Summer Spinach Salad

This dish was a take on my favorite spinach salad with cranberries, feta, and walnuts, but I added some leftover grilled corn that I had from the night before.  I made it quickly for a family dinner so I did not record the exact proportions, but I don’t think you can mess it up!

SALAD

Summer Spinach Salad

spinach

grilled corn

cranberries

chopped walnuts

salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

feta

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Cut the grilled corn off of the cob using a sharp knife.

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle on the grilled corn.  Crumble the feta on top.  Add the walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

For the dressing mix 1/3 part balsamic vinegar and 2/3 part olive oil.

Pour over the dressing and toss the salad.

Creamy Grilled Corn

This side dish was inspired from traditional Mexican street corn, but I substituted many of the ingredients for what I had in my cupboard. A great accompaniment to burgers and dogs, it will be sure to grace the table at countless cookouts.  My sister claims it is her new favorite dish!  Grilling the corn is really easy, just brush it with olive oil and place on the outside sections of the grill until it is cooked through.

IMG_3348

Creamy Grilled Corn (serves 4-6 as a side)

4 ears of grilled corn

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

2.5 limes juiced

zest of one lime

red pepper chili flakes to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife.

Pour olive oil in a pan on medium/ high heat.  Put corn in pan.  Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Cook until everything is heated and serve hot.

 

Chopped Greek Salad

This salad is an effortless side dish perfect for spring and summer BBQ’s.  All you have to do is chop up the vegetables and feta, and whisk together an easy dressing.

IMG_3203

Greek Chopped Salad (equal parts of all ingredients)

chopped tomatoes

chopped cucumber

pitted kalamata olives

crumbled feta cheese

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Top with balsamic dressing below.

Balsamic Dressing

1/3 part olive oil

2/3 part balsamic vinegar

freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

 

Tomato Feta Salad

One of the days in Barcelona we went to the Park Guell, home of the famous El Draco sculpture (seen below), and I had a really simple but delicious salad for lunch.  Composed of fresh tomatoes, feta, croutons, and sliced onion, it was a perfect light meal.  It also works as a wonderful springtime/ summer side dish!

photo-5

My own version I whipped together under 10 minutes and I omitted the croutons and raw onion.  If you want an added kick drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top for flavor.

Tomato Feta Salad

tomatoes (sliced into wedges or cubes)

feta (cubes around 1X.5 in)

olive oil to drizzle on top

black pepper to taste

salt (I found I did not need to add salt because feta has a briny flavor, but it is all up to your personal preference)

Mix all the ingredients together and serve!

photo-4      photo-3

Balsamic Ravioli

This recipe is basically a spin-off from one of my favorite salads.  Spinach, feta, dried cranberries, walnuts, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  I swapped out the spinach for asparagus and ravioli to make the meal a little more substantial.  I love how there are tart, sweet, salty, and savory elements in this pasta dish, and it takes less than thirty minutes to cook!

photo 3-5

Balsamic Ravioli (serves 1)

Cheese ravioli (cooked per instructions on the package)

Asparagus, rough ends removed, and cut into one inch pieces

Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese to crumble on top

Dried cranberries

Chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter in a skillet at medium heat.  Add the asparagus and salt and pepper.  When the asparagus is cooked through add the balsamic and olive oil.  Turn the heat on high and cook for a few more minutes, stir the sauce so the vinegar does not burn.  Add the ravioli, cheese, walnuts, and cranberries, and cook until the ravioli is warmed through.  Then plate and dig in!