A few months I saw a package of freekeh in the grocery store, and I couldn't stop making jokes about it. It's super-freekeh. It's time to get your freek on. Let your freek flag fly. But it's no joke that this roasted wheat is the new supergrain in town! While I'm not ready to kick quinoa to the curb, I am always ready to add a delicious new grain to my repertoire, especially one with so many health benefits.
Freekeh is similar in texture and taste to brown rice, but contains four times the fibre, as well as more protein than most grains. It makes a great addition to stir-fries, and served cold it makes a tasty salad. This recipe was born of my desire to add more poetry to my life, or at least a different way to eat Greek salad. It's flavourful and satisfying, and incorporates lemon, one of the trendiest foods of 2014. Being food fashion-forward AND being able to tell dinner guests they are about to get freekeh? Priceless.
Look for freekeh in the Middle Eastern section in your local grocery store.
Prepare freekeh as per package directions, allow to cool completely. (Tip: make the freekeh the day before and refrigerate until ready to use).
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice. olive oil, garlic and oregano.
In a large bowl, toss together cooled freekeh, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper, feta cheese, and olives with the dressing.
Want more delicious hearty salad recipes? Try my Fiesta Quinoa Salad or my Dill-icious Pasta Salad. Don't want to get your freek on tonight, but feeling like a toga party? Try my Ode To Joy Greek Salad.
When I was a swinging single girl, I used to eat the following things for dinner on a rotating basis: instant rice with steamed broccoli, popcorn, and pasta with jarred sauce. Regardless of the brand I purchased, the sauce never had quite the right flavour for me—it was always too sweet or too garlicky, too bland or too bloat-inducing. I wasn't much of a cook back then (obviously), so I didn't know how easy it can be to make a basic tomato sauce.
These days, I make most things from scratch, including this easy basic tomato sauce. Jarred sauces often contain a lot of added sugar and sodium, and don't always hit the spot, flavourwise. The beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility—I will frequently add chopped sun-dried, canned, or oven-roasted tomatoes to it for a different flavour and texture, depending on what I have on hand. Roasted red peppers or onions are lovely additions, as well. My meat-loving family loves this sauce with meatballs or chicken sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and topped with cheese. The possibilities are endless, really.
When you're stuck for a meal idea, what could be easier than boiling up some pasta and making this sauce? Not much! It's healthier, faster, and much cheaper than ordering a pizza. What are you waiting for? Make this tonight!
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Cook for a minute or two until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Pour strained tomatoes into the saucepan, add baking soda, and stir. The sauce will foam up. When it stops foaming, add Italian seasoning or basil and oregano. Add cracked black pepper to taste.
Cook over medium until heated through, then simmer until ready to serve.
If desired, add diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or caramelized onions and serve with your favourite pasta. For the meat-lovers, serve with sauteed chicken breast or meatballs. Top with shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese, if desired.
NOTE: This sauce makes a great base for lasagna! It also freezes well for an even more quick and convenient weeknight dinner.
See for yourself how easy this is. Watch me whip up a batch of Easy Basic Tomato Sauce in a under two minutes!
It seems whenever I turn on the news these days, the first story is about the frigidly cold weather, followed by advice on staying warm. When the wind chill factor dips below minus thirty, there is not much that can tempt me to leave the warmth of my house, even if the fridge is almost empty and the cupboards are nearly bare.
This recipe was born on one of those days, when I couldn't face going outside, let alone carrying grocery bags in the cold. I had a roll of polenta and a few canned goods in the cupboard, and a zucchini in the fridge—in other words, the makings for a warming, flavourful dinner.
Polenta is not something I cook with often, but when I do, I wonder why I don't use it more frequently. It's scrumptious with a savoury sauce, and so simple to prepare. This meal is gluten-free, vegan, and very filling and satisfying, not to mention quick to throw together and inexpensive. It's a perfect winter weeknight meal!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place tomatoes in a large saucepan, add baking soda, and stir. Mixture will foam up; when the foam subsides, add Italian seasoning, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the chickpeas and cook over medium until hot, reduce heat, and simmer.
Meanwhile, toss zucchini slices in olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
Arrange slices of polenta on a separate baking sheet, and put into the oven during the last 10-15 minutes of the zucchini roasting. Remove from oven when polenta is heated through and golden and crispy on the outside.
Divide polenta slices among four plates, pour tomato and chickpea mixture over top. Add roasted zucchini, and garnish with black olives, if desired.
(Yield: 4 large servings)