Zero Food Waste 2015, Week 12: Guest Posting (plus tahini-cumin-coriander dressing)

Hi folks!

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
Parsley, $.89
Brown sugar, $.99
red onion, $.90
Broccoli, $1.99
Raisins, $3.79
Sweet potatoes, $1.40
Frozen blueberries, $3.00
Milk, $1.07
Total with tax: $17.76

Farmer’s market
Chicken breasts, $6
Apples, $4
Black pepper, $2.50
Total: $12.50

Grand total: $30.26

Tahini-cumin-coriander dressing

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.

22 thoughts on “Zero Food Waste 2015, Week 12: Guest Posting (plus tahini-cumin-coriander dressing)

  1. Kirsten says:

    congrats on that guest post. What great visibility! And you continue to inspire me with minimal food waste 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks 🙂

  2. Yum-yum I love anything with cumin….looks like a delish dressing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      it is SO GOOD. The cumin’s amazing. I just finished a bowl of the chicken salad and I’m still smiling at how good it tastes 🙂

  3. The dressing sounds yummy! My homemade dressing is lemon mixed with some homemade hummus. Sometimes I add a little olive oil if I’m feeling “naughty.” lol! Working on that zero waste challenge with ya!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      lemon mixed with hummus sounds pretty close to this! My grandmother always made lemon juice and olive oil salad dressings, and whenever I use lemon in a salad I think about her.

  4. I go through spurts with my food waste. Sometimes I’m very good at keeping it under control and other times I throw out a lot of food. Right now I’m doing pretty good at not wasting! #win 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I used to be a champion food waster, especially of vegetables — always over-bought. The challenge is really helping me figure out how not to do it. Good for you for doing well at it too 🙂

  5. We love your zero food waste challenge. Thanks for setting a great example! And wow — this recipe sounds incredible!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks for visiting, and for the compliment! And yeah, it is incredible — so delicious 🙂 Let me know if you give it a try.

  6. Oh my gosh that dressing features basically all of my favorite ingredients! I´ll have to try it! And I loved reading a summary of your journey on the guest post! Very motivational, indeed. 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s so good! I kind of want to put it on everything. Glad you liked the guest post 🙂

  7. That dressing sounds so good! It’s got some of my fav ingredients all together!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s a beautiful blend of great things, I agree!

  8. Hannah says:

    Do you like fancy dental floss too? My husband swears by the cheap stuff, but I like the glide kind myself. And that recipe is definitely happening tonight (I’m adding the sage and chickpeas back in though, just substituting chicken for lentils).

    PS- (I’m a huge Smitten Kitchen fan, my favorite recipe of hers is the breakfast crumble).

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I do prefer the glide kind 🙂 I haven’t bought any in ages and ages but I need to start being more regular about flossing. Yay for making that recipe! It’s so good in all versions — I think a chicken-chickpea version would be rad. And yeah, I love that site. I don’t know what I’d do with out it!

      1. Hannah says:

        Recipe=Awesome, thanks again for sharing it!

        1. thesingledollar says:

          I’m so glad you like it too! I just absolutely adore it.

  9. ARBM says:

    This is the third or fourth recipe I’ve read recently that uses a mortar and pestle… maybe that’s a sign that I need one? Might try to borrow one for a little while and see if I use it often enough… This recipe does sound delicious though, so I might have to try it out this weekend.
    Oh, and well done on the guest post!!!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Mine is from IKEA — I bought it over a decade ago, but I think it was really only a few dollars. I don’t use it all that often, but when you need it, you really need it, you know?

  10. So I’m curious to know, what were the meals you made with these groceries? You have a really low grocery budget and I’m interested to know how that translates to daily meal planning. As someone who is horrible at meal planning, I always love to see how others do it, especially on a low budget.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Sure! Let me say first that while I am now pretty good at this, it was not ever thus — it took me years to really work out a successful way of doing this. So even if you’re not great at it now, don’t despair 🙂

      Breakfast: oatmeal pretty much every day. That’s what the brown sugar, raisins, and blueberries were for. I already had oats and nuts/seeds in stock.

      Lunch and dinner: I made two dishes and have been rotating them. One was the chicken salad described in the post, and I used stuff I had in stock (tahini, spices, leftover feta) and added stuff I bought: chicken, red onion, parsley. Then I again used stuff from stock (rice, vinegar, tahini, miso, sesame oil, olive oil) and used the sweet potatoes and broccoli to make this:

      Snack: apples (on the grocery list; it’s the end of the season so I got a lot for a low price); occasionally bread (which I make myself, and made this week — all from stuff in stock, it’s just wheat flour, bread flour, yeast, honey, salt, and oil. I’ll run out of wheat flour soon so I’ll have to buy more, but most of this stuff lasts a long time.)

      I also drink coffee, which I didn’t have to buy this week but will next week.

      So, the secret to my low grocery costs is to build meals using stuff I already have — obviously I have to re-buy that stuff sometimes, but usually not that often. If I’d had to buy every ingredient in those two recipes I would have had at least double the grocery bill this week!

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