My Plant-Based Week
My Plant-Based Week

Hot or Cold Greek Veggie Salad

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

Printable Version

 

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces mushrooms (I like baby portobello mushrooms for this dish), sliced
2 small or one medium zucchini, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp fine grain sea salt, to taste
2-3 tsp dried oregano, to taste
Cracked pepper, to taste
2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
Fresh lemon juice, optional
Crumbled feta cheese, optional
3 cups cooked brown rice, quinoa or pasta
 
1. In a large pot, skillet, or wok, heat olive oil and balsamic vinegar over medium heat until hot. Add diced onion and saute until onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms begin to darken and soften and garlic is fragrant, about 5-6 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, salt, oregano and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, until everything is thoroughly heated through. You don't want the zucchini to become too soft--the idea is to have a decent crunch left to it. Add the spinach and stir until it's just wilted. This won't take long!
3. Add the juice from one half of a large lemon and stir well, then remove from heat. The lemon juice is optional, but I love the brightness it adds to this dish. Just don't actually cook the mixture after adding the lemon juice as citrus tends to become bitter as it's exposed to cooking heat.
4. Add the feta, if using and spoon the mixture over the cooked grain (or pseudo-grain!) you are using--we used both quinoa and brown rice as I was a bit low on each but had enough when I combined them. I would likely have used all protein-rich quinoa if I'd had enough!
5. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to eat, warm in the microwave, or eat it cold with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, if desired.
 
Tips and Variations:
1. If you prefer to go grain-free (or pseudo-grain free) with this dish, you could add some cooked chickpeas, red kidney,  or white beans instead. 
2. You can certainly make this dish even more Mediterranean-inspired by adding black or kalamat olives and artichoke hearts. I chose to keep it simple to keep overall cost down.
3. If you want to give this a distinctly Italian flare, try adding some chopped fresh basil and replace the feta with a really good grated parmesan or Romano cheese, if you're using cheese. Vegan parmesan or a little nutritional yeast would work, too.

 

 

 

Comments

There are no entries yet.
Please enter the code
* Required fields

Hi! I'm Milissa and my passions are healthy, mostly-plant-based food, saving money, enjoying my family, living in grace and honoring God.

Print Print | Sitemap
© Milissa McDaniel - 1&1 MyWebsite