Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

A lemony Middle Eastern salad that uses quinoa instead of traditional bulgur to put a twist on a classic. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is a great picnic or BBQ side dish that gives you a boost of protein with the quinoa and a bite of freshness with the mint and parsley.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

Over the next week I am going to put out some Memorial Day weekend inspiration! Many of us will be barbecuing over the weekend and you shouldn’t neglect your side dishes people. Especially when they are this easy.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a grain that is very rich in protein and one of the healthier options when it comes to grains. It makes great cold salads like this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad or could be used in place of white rice in a hot dish. If you think quinoa is bitter than you probably aren’t rinsing it well enough before you cook it. You have to rinse your quinoa and then cook it to get that taste away. Also quinoa will take on any flavor you give it! In this case a lemony herb dressing covers the quinoa to make this healthy side dish or even lunch.

Here is the first of my Memorial Day Weekend Party Ideas!

What makes this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad even better is the fact that you can make it a head of time. Either put the dressing on before you serve it or you can dress it up to one day in advance, any longer and it will loose it’s texture.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad 

What you need (Serves 6-8):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rinsed and cooked quinoa according to package, cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 1 hot house or Persian cucumber, seeded, unpeeled, and diced small
  • 2 scallions (aka green onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package, don’t forget to rinse. *If the quinoa is cooked and there is excess water in the pot drain it. Once the quinoa is cooked and slightly cooled add the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. While quinoa is cooking prepare your vegetables into small uniform cuts: tomatoes and cucumber. Next, chop your herbs.
  3. In a large bowl combine scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the quinoa into the large bowl and mix well. Can be made up to one day in advance. You can also leave the oil and lemon juice off until right before serving if making a few days in advance. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

Enjoy your Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad!

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Pork Carnitas Tacos with Salsa Verde and Pico De Gallo

Pork Carnitas

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Celebrate May 5th with Pork Carnitas, Salsa Verde and Pico De Gallo that is perfect for your Healthy Mexican Fiesta.

This Pork Carnitas recipe works perfectly in tacos. Let the pork cook for a few hours in the oven with yummy aromatics like oranges, bay leaves, lime juice, cumin, and oregano. The result is pork that absorbs all that flavor and then is browned under the broiler for that crispy texture.

Pork CarnitasPork Carnitas

I also served this pork with a Salsa Verde that was inspired by a Mexican Restaurant that I frequently visit. They serve this green salsa on the table so you can add it to your dishes as you please. Salsa Verde is green and just uses tomatillo tomatoes to give it the green color along with fresh cilantro and jalapeno to adds some heat! I grilled the ingredients to add a nice smoky flavor.

Healthy Salsa Verde Salsa Verde

Pico De GalloTo add some freshness you can make my Pico De Gallo which helps brighten up your Pork Carnitas Taco! This Pico De Gallo is basically just roma tomates, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno which can be added to any of your favorite proteins.

You can also use this pork recipe for a Mexican Salad Bowl by putting the Pork Carnitas on top of a greens and adding the Salsa Verde, Pico De Gallo, Avocado, and whatever add-ins you like!

Pico De Gallo

Here’s How to Make the Photos Above:

Ingredients:

Corn Tortillas

For the Pork Carnitas:

1 4-5 pound bone in or boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 orange juice and peel
juice of 1 lime (throwout the peel)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups of water

For the Salsa Verde:
4-5 tomatillos (outer layer removed and rinsed)
1 jalapeno (this adds heat unless you remove the seeds)
1 medium onion peeled and sliced in half
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup of packed cilantro, 2 cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Pico De Gallo
4-5 Roma Tomates
1 Small Red Onion
1/2 a Jalapeno, seeds removed
2 cups of chopped cilantro
1 lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a dutch oven or large pot that can go in the oven place the cubed pork, and all the other ingredients in the pot. Heat on burner over medium-high heat until the pork mixture begins to simmer. Cover and move to oven for 2 hours or until pork is tender enough to be pulled with fork. *If you bought a bone in pork butt and cut it off the bone put the bone in the pot also to add flavor*
  2. While pork is cooking heat grill over high heat and place the tomatillos, jalapeno, and onion on the grill. Let grill until they become blistered and slightly blackened. Put right into a blender with cilantro, 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of water. Move to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Next make the Pico De Gallo by dicing the roma tomatoes into small uniform pieces (remove some of the tomato seeds if it has a lot), the red onion the same size, half a seeded jalapeno, and finally fold in the chopped cilantro. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper. Put to the side.
  4. Remove pork from oven and use a slotted spoon to move pork to a cutting board. Remove the orange peel, onion and bay leaf into garbage. When just the cooking broth is left heat over high heat to a rapid boil until the liquid has reduced by half and become syrupy (20-30 minutes).
  5. While sauce is reducing shred meat if the pieces are still big and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Heat broiler to high and place rack in the middle of the oven. Spoon the reduced sauce evenly over the meat and toss to evenly coat. Flatten the meat out.
  6. Put under broiler for 5-7 minutes until the meat becomes browned. Remove from oven and flip the pork carnitas over, broil for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  7. Warm taco shells in the oven while the meat is broiling and assemble taco with the salsa verde and Pico De Gallo!

It may seem like a lot of steps for the pork but it is so worth it! Do not skip boiling the liquid that the pork cooked in to pour over before you broil it. And definitely do not skip broiling the meat to get the crispy texture.

Enjoy your Cinco De Mayo with Pork Carnitas Tacos 

The Pork Carnitas recipe is from Pinterest and was originally posted on MyKitchenEsapades.com 

Caprese Salad

caprese salad

Caprese Salad with fresh sliced mozzarella, yellow, red, and green heirloom tomatoes. It’s tomato season so I need to find some way to use all these gorgeous tomatoes. You may have seen an earlier post that is similar to this but a different preparation – my Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad.

In this recipe the tomatoes are different (heirloom as opposed to little orange tomatoes)and the tomatoes are presented as a traditional Caprese Salad.

If you haven’t taken advantage of all the amazing tomatoes that you can find at the farmers market, super market, and in your own garden then now is the time before it’s too late!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 heirloom tomatoes – i used red, yellow, and green
  • basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper
  • fresh mozzarella ball

What to do:

  1. Prepare tomatoes by slicing heirloom tomatoes to preferred thickness. Also slice mozzarella cheese.
  2. Lay tomatoes on a serving tray and sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes.
  3. Next lay mozzarella slices over the tomatoes followed by torn basil. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and drizzle more olive oil over the top.

That’s it! This is a perfect appetizer for a party or serve as a side to your dinner and enjoy the freshness of summer!

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

tomato basil mozzarella saladTomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad – From the Garden!

We have so many tomatoes in the garden right now. Everyday this one tomato plant produces so many delicious orange grape tomatoes. I decided to make a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad that is super easy to make and tastes so fresh.

I am not a huge fan of tomatoes. But I am trying to change that. Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene and few other vitamins. Tomatoes are also a sweet yet low in calories snack. Perfect for someone who is watching what they eat.

It’s super easy, here’s what you will need:

  • A pint of tomatoes or from your own garden like I did – as many as you have! Cut them all in half.
  • A small piece of a fresh mozzarella ball cut up into small cubes
  • 6 basil leaves (from my garden) – chopped
  • About 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

What to do:

  1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a bowl.
  2. Pour about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar over the top. Season well with salt and pepper.  Mix.
  3. Enjoy! This was so delicious. I ate this as a side with dinner. It would go great as an appetizer, or served with fish, chicken, or slice of french bread.