Considering the name of this blog, it's pretty obvious that we love our veggies. But finding creative ways to use them can sometimes become a challenge, especially when I don't have a lot of time or a huge budget. It's just a fact that using real, whole food ingredients is almost always cheaper (and healthier!) than relying on pre-packaged convenience foods or highly processed meat alternatives.
This dish comes together so quickly, especially if you have a pre-cooked grain on hand, like I usually do. But even if you don't, a batch of quinoa cooks up in about 15-20 minutes and can easily be thrown in to the already short prep time of 30 minutes, maybe even less!
There are a lot of things I love about this dish. It's light but satisfying, it's full of delicious, fresh, yet humble ingredients that keep the cost in check, it's loaded with flavor and brighness thanks to fresh lemon juice, and it can be served either hot or cold! We ate it hot for dinner one night, then I took leftovers to work the next day for lunch and at it cold--super yummy! I did add an extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the cold version. A little extra fresh lemon juice would work, too!
You might wonder if two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil is too much, but I like the added depth of flavor that resulted from using that much--the oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice creates the "dressing" for this salad. You could certainly opt to use less oil and more vinegar and/or lemon juice if the fat content is concerning to you.
The feta cheese is totally optional--if you follow a completely plant-based diet, just skip it, this dish will still be delicious! You all know how I feel about vegan cheese--I just don't like it and can't justify the expense most of the time, so here, we made an exception to our general rule and used real cheese. You could also skip the grain, or pseudo-grain, and serve this with white beans, chickpeas, or red kidney beans.
You could totally make this even more Mediterranean by adding black/kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, or you could give it an Italian spin by skipping the oregano and replacing it with some chopped fresh basil and parmesan or Romano cheese (real or vegan--prepared vegan parm is actually not too bad. Nutritional yeast would also be an option.)
I would love for you to let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it, as well as any variations you try!
Hot or Cold Greek Veggie Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Servings: 4-6
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil