When my friend told me she has a mean quinoa recipe with feta and olives, I knew we had to get together and have some fun. Since we couldn’t just eat a salad on it’s own, we went ahead and made some fish too. But, I’ll hold that recipe for next week. You can see it all on my snapchat (User Name: packyourmat).
Our main ingredient will be Kalamata olives and feta cheese, which will make this dish and the one coming up next week, extremely Greek. I have fond memories of the country and the islands of Greece. At the age of 20, it was my first international travel alone. I ended up in Athens during the Olympics and partied on the islands for about a week. It was nothing short of memorable. Traveling was so foreign to me then, but the foods, not so much. However, my time in Greece was definitely where I caught the travel bug.
My paternal grandparents, who were both born and raised in Athens, always made sure that the cuisine was present during our dinners together. Greek food is very close to home. I’m really hoping to get grandma in on this one of these Mediterranean Mondays, so stay tuned. My second trip to Greece was with my former partner. We had a blast and could not stop eating the fava beans from Santorini, Greek Salad with every meal, and the delicious dip called Skordalia which I am obsessed with. So, you get the point, Greece is special to me.
The Mediterranean region is known to be a cultural stage for western civilization. During this time of exchange, the cuisine has evolved quite a bit, but what I do appreciate about it is the simple ingredients that come into play, which in my opinion makes this food so delicious.
During my time abroad, I visited almost all of the Mediterranean countries. It was the food, I believe, that took me back. Even though I enjoyed my travels to the north of Europe, something about the beautiful sea, the sun and the vibrant energy of the folks in the south appeals to me more. But, I really think it was the olive oil. It might have also been the beautiful men.
I digress. Last week, I decided to make a watermelon gazpacho. Everyone who tried it, loved it. Talking to my bestie who was inspired by all the snapchats, we thought, why not, let’s make it an ongoing thing and call it “Mediterranean Mondays”. Eating clean is fun, but at times difficult for me, especially because there is so much ice cream temptation during this time of sweltering summer heat in LA. However, it’s been about 10 days into it and I’ve been noticing really positive changes on my body. In an effort to cook more and bring more seasonal, non-processed stuff into my body, I’m going to dedicate every Monday to just that and hope that the inspiration will continue throughout the week.
Easy to Make Greek Quinoa Salad
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 cup red quinoa uncooked
1 whole large tomato pierced
1 teaspoon cumin
2-1/4 cups water
3 medium sized diced tomatoes
2 diced cucumbers
3 tbsp Trader Joe’s olive tapenade
1 small bunch of chopped cilantro
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
salt to taste
Boil quinoa, cumin and whole large tomato (pierced with fork) in water. Follow boiling instructions on package. Let quinoa come to room temperature once cooked.
Add: tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, tapenade and feta
Salt and lemon to taste
Mix and enjoy. If you would like to add more olive oil or lemon, feel free to think outside the bowl. However, we like the olive tapenade to be the “pièce de résistance”.
For fun photos related to food, travel and yoga follow my Instagram page.