Your Life A to Z Recipe: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014: Lemon Quinoa Dolmas/Kale & Fennel Slaw/Sesame Bite Salad with Cucumber Vinaigrette

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Lemon Quinoa Dolmas

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 Pieces

1 cup dry white quinoa
6 large chard leaves, large stems removed (about 6.5 ounces)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic, grated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped pine nuts, toasted
½ cup crumbled feta

1. In a small saucepan add 1 cup dry quinoa. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let cool.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add whole chard leaves and cook for 30 seconds or until soft. Lay on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
3. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, honey, garlic and salt in a small bowl.  Pour mixture over warm quinoa and stir to combine.
4. Fold in parsley, pine nuts and feta in to quinoa mixture. 
5. Lay one chard leaf on a flat surface.  Place 1/3 cup quinoa mixture on the middle bottom portion of chard.  Fold in the right and left side of the leaf and roll up tightly like a burrito.  Repeat for remaining leaves.
6. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Cooks Note: Add dried fruit like golden raisins or cranberries for twist.

Nutrition Facts for one serving:  220 calories; 10g total fat; 3g saturated fat; 10mg cholesterol; 380mg sodium; 26g carbohydrate; 4g fiber; 7g protein

Kale & Fennel Slaw

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

1 cup thinly sliced fennel, bulb part only
4 cups thinly sliced kale, sterns & tough ribs removed

1 stalk of fennel with fronds (about 12 inches in length)
½ cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 piece ginger, peeled (about 1 inch cube)
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Cut stalks of fennel bulb. Discard all but one stalk.
2. Slice fennel bulb in half. Cut out triangular shaped core at the base of bulb.
3. Combine sliced fennel and kale in a medium size mixing bowl.
4. Roughly chop the stalk of fennel and place into a blender along with parsley, ginger, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, canola oil, water and salt.
5. Pulse several times until well combined.
6. Pour dressing over kale and fennel mixture and toss to combine.

Cook’s Note: We recommend slicing the fennel on a mandolin.

Nutrition Facts for one serving (¼ recipe): 200 calories, 15 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 190 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g protein.

Sesame Bite Salad with Cucumber Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cucumber Vinaigrette
1 small cucumber about  (5 ounces)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sesame Bites
6 ounces extra firm tofu
6 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

8 ounces red butter lettuce (about 1 head), chopped
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small cucumber (about 5 ounces), sliced into rounds
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1. To make the vinaigrette cut the cucumber into a 4 pieces. Add cucumber, vinegar, canola oil, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes to a blender. Process on high about 45 seconds or until well blended. Set aside.
2. Drain tofu. Slice tofu in half horizontally from right to left. Cut one half into 12 equal squares and set aside. Save the remaining tofu for another use.
3. Combine sesame seeds, powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.
4. Pour 2 tablespoons of sesame oil into a small mixing bowl.
5. Place 1 tofu square into the sesame oil and coat each side evenly. Next place the tofu square into the sesame seed mixture and toss to coat. When all sides are evenly coated in seeds, transfer the tofu square to a non-stick sheet pan. Repeat process.
6. Bake tofu squares in a convection oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
7. Make the salad by combining the lettuce, carrots, cucumber and bell pepper in a large bowl. Pour cucumber vinaigrette over salad and gently toss.
8. Divide salad into 4 portions and top with 4 sesame squares per plate.

Nutrition Facts for one serving (1/4 of recipe):  320 calories; 26g total fat; 3g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 390mg sodium; 16g carbohydrate; 5g fiber; 9g protein.