This post is my goodbye to summer. These last few cherry tomatoes were so high up on my gargantuan tomato plants I nearly needed a step ladder to reach them. Fall is a coming, but not in my mind before I can put the last few fresh cherry tomatoes to good use.
It looks so pretty as it’s coming together in the bowl.
I made this Quinoa and Garbanzo Greek Salad and thoroughly enjoyed all its flavors and textures.
Some people are weirded out by textures in their food. They don’t like shellfish for its slipperiness, for example. I am the opposite. I prefer lots of textures in my food. Crunchy nuts, crisp-tender roasted vegetables, cooked beans with firm skins and creamy centers, juicy citrus segments, silky over-easy egg yolks – even slippery shellfish. The more interesting shapes and varied ingredients the merrier.
More textures also probably mean more healthful ingredients. Leaving the skin on a cucumber or crust on bread for croutons, for example, will add more to the chew, and those parts, skins and crusts, have more nutrients.
Here are some quick tips for adding more texture to dishes like salads, soups, stews, rice bowls, quesadillas and stir fries.
- Add poppy or sunflower seeds, or chopped cashews, peanuts or almonds to almost any dish.
- Include multiple parts of a vegetable in a pasta, such as the florets, stalks and leaves (sautéed) of broccoli.
- Use a vegetable or fruit in different forms, such as spinach sautéed in a soup and chopped fresh into ribbons for garnish, or include onions sautéed, raw and pickled in a rice bowl.
- Use different kinds of noodles (penne and fusilli) or rice (brown and basmati) in soups and stir fries.
- Add a pile of fresh herbs to nearly anything.
- Make a vegetable soup and purée half the cooked veggies and leave the other half whole or at least chunky.
- Get creative with toppings like dried fruit for salads and rice bowls (raisins are awesome in Mexican-flavored dishes) or olives and capers to pasta.
- Choose naturally textured foods like chunky peanut butter and jam with its seeds instead of jelly.
The smooth garbanzos and wiry quinoa in this recipe have very different textures and together make a hearty base for the salad. The unpeeled cucumber and creamy feta cling together while the crunchy sunflower seeds peek around every nook and cranny. Even the dressing gets heft from the pile of fresh chopped herbs infusing it.
Enjoy this last burst of summer. Fall weather – and vegetables – will be here before we know it.
Quinoa and Garbanzo Greek Salad
This recipe makes a lot. I make it on Sundays and we munch on it throughout the week in salads with greens and other veggies, in a bowl with spice sautéed greens and an egg on top, or in quesadillas.
1 cup uncooked quinoa
Juice from two lemons at room temperature
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup (or thereabouts) fresh herbs minced such as dill, thyme, oregano, and/or parsley (I grow all of these herbs so I use a mix, but if you don't have easy access, go with the dill and thyme.)
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 container feta cheese
1 whole cucumber, unpeeled (more nutrients that way but peel it if you prefer), chopped
1/2 red onion, minced as small as you can make it (nobody except maybe my Dad likes a big bite of raw red onion)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/2 to 3/4 hulled sunflower seeds
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard in a pint jar. Tightly screw on a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add herbs and shake to combine; set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add quinoa once cooked and cooled slightly. Stir to combine then pour dressing over and mix well.