Zero Food Waste itself is on hiatus this week (although I did not in fact waste any food) due to my guest post at Well Kept Wallet. Please read over there, and thanks to Deacon Hayes and his team there for having me. That said, I did have a recipe written up, so if you’re interested in that, read on!
Groceries this week:
Dental floss, $3.49
Brown sugar, $.99
red onion, $.90
Sweet potatoes, $1.40
Frozen blueberries, $3.00
Total with tax: $17.76
Chicken breasts, $6
Black pepper, $2.50
Grand total: $30.26
This week’s recipe is really all about the dressing. It’s from an awesome vegetarian recipe you can find at Smitten Kitchen. I admit up front that both the recipe I just linked, and the recipe I developed from it, are unusually intense for me; multiple pans are involved and although nothing is actually *difficult*, doing all the steps takes a while. However, this is not a place where you want to skimp. I tried the lentil salad once without toasting and grinding the spices and it was just…not that great. Whereas with that step, it is an amazing feast of deliciousness. It keeps well, however, so I always make a double batch and then I can eat it for lunch all week and I feel better about the time investment.
This week, I had feta to use up and for some reason I was craving chicken. I started thinking about a chicken-feta-red onion salad, and then realized that what I really wanted was to have a version of that lentil-chickpea salad except using chicken. I also had cooked quinoa in the freezer from a little while back, and I’d brought lemons back from California (my friends have a lemon tree.) I have to say, despite the effort I had to put in, this is absolutely everything I’d hoped it would be — I had it for dinner last night and have probably three servings left. Here’s the recipe as I made it, but you could easily just make the dressing and put it on anything — vegetable salads, whatever.
1 split chicken breast, bone in, skin on, cooked however you like (I pan-roasted mine), cooled, and cut into bite sized pieces
Feta cheese, crumbled
Italian parsley, chopped
2 cups cooked quinoa (or any other grain, or you could just skip this)
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
For the dressing:
4 tbsp tahini
6 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp water
4 tsp whole coriander seeds
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 garlic clove
salt to taste (I used 1/2 tsp of sea salt but could have used a bit more probably)
1) Toss the red onion with 4 tsp lemon juice and 4 tsp olive oil and a couple pinches of salt and let that sit while you work on everything else. (Alternately — and I might do this next time — make quick-pickled red onions instead.
2) Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a nonstick or cast-iron pan on the stovetop, then grind them with a mortar and pestle. Again, I know this seems like a pain, but it is a must-do.
3) Blend all the dressing ingredients using an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, you can put everything in a jar and shake it up well instead, but in that case, chop the garlic up as small as possible, then put the salt on top of it and smash the garlic and salt together with the handle of your heaviest knife before scraping the salt/garlic mixture into the jar.
4) Add the feta and parsley to the onion mixture and toss/stir; then add the chicken and quinoa (if using); then toss with the dressing. Eat, and experience bliss. This is best room temperature, although I think the original lentil-chickpea salad is best a little warm; I usually heat it up just a bit in the microwave when I bring it to work.