A recent lunch out was far beyond the normal for me. For one it was in Portland, I think it was on the west side of the city but for actual address it could have been close to the Columbia River or close to Salem (thank goodness I wasn’t driving). For two, it was a vegetarian restaurant, I have nothing against vegetarian and I am quite smitten with many recipes from both the vegetarian and vegan world, but I had never had the opportunity to go to a 100 percent veggie eating establishment before (yes am quite sheltered).
At lunch I had the most FABULOUS beet salad, it was so good I dreamed about it that night and was determined to replicate the flavors and textures of the meal. I wish I would have committed the menu description to memory for I cannot get all the goodies figured out, but I didn’t let that stop me to take a foray into culinary plagiarism that turned out pretty darn good.
Quinoa was not an ingredient in my restaurant meal, but Bob’s Red Mill Tri-Color adds so much flavor I decided to make the leap.
Since I am an early riser, my mini crock pot is perfect for the job. I pop the quinoa in with water put the lid on. No stirring or watching the pot. By the time do a little writing, get the morning chores in my barn done, and am back in the house to make breakfast (about 2 hours) the ancient grain is cooked tender with still a little firmness. The quinoa is set in a sealed container in the fridge to be used in the next few days.
I harvested fresh greens from what I had available in the garden (and fence row).
Kale was the only green that matched what I had at the restaurant, but my mixture is what I had on hand, so that is what became my basis.
I used a cooked golden beet sliced into bite-sized nuggets, but I am sure that either or both red and golden would be delicious. The restaurant also had small chunks of steamed squash cooked just enough to be tender without any squishy-ness.
I used ground walnuts and my secret ingredient of Fig Vanilla Balsamic Vinegar to make the flavors pop.
In the restaurant, they added grated apple, I would have too that but didn’t have any handy. They topped the salad with dollop of chive laced goat cheese on top. I used cream cheese, feta and a bit of mozzarella stuffed into sweet mini peppers and popped them under the broiler until they had a slightly browned crust.
I was very happy with the outcome for this meal. I am tempted to go back to that restaurant to see if I can purloin more of their delicious ideas. With spring making more greens available each day, the combinations are endless.