Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

How was your weekend? We spent Saturday running errands and then went to an improv show in the evening. It was fun, but the day was super hot (high 90’s), and I spent most of it trying to stay cool.

By Sunday I was feeling super lazy and wanted to avoid the heat at all costs. So I stayed in and threw together this quick salad for lunch. It’s the perfect cool and fresh antidote to steamy weather!

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 pkg. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 4 oz. feta, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Place chickpeas and olives in a large bowl.

Halve or quarter cherry tomatoes, depending on size. Peel, seed, and chop cucumber. Chop romaine. Add tomatoes and romaine to chickpeas and olives; toss to combine. Top with feta.

Combine olive oil and lemon in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to emulsify. Stir in basil.

Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.

Enjoy!

Quick Chopped Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Note: this recipe is very flexible. Try adding other vegetables, such as peppers, zucchini, or carrots. You can also add nuts, capers, and additional herbs. Experiment!

What is your favorite meal on a hot day?

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Lentil Brown Rice Salad + Weekly Meal Plan

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to create a weekly meal plan. If I’m staring into our refrigerator at 7:00 pm trying to come up with dinner ideas, I will most likely end up on the phone with our favorite Mexican place instead of cooking a healthy dinner.

Walking on the beach in Chacala, Mexico - www.HelloLittleHome.comIt doesn’t take much to put me in the mood for a Mexican vacation dinner!

I like to keep it super easy during the week. Some of my favorite time saving meals are hands-off crock pot recipes, big salads (ala Elaine from Seinfeld), and one pot dinners, such as soups or curries.

Or, I’ll cook a big pot of brown rice early in the week and use it for multiple meals. That’s what I did when I came up with this week’s meal plan:

Here is my totally customizable recipe for brown rice salad:

Lentil brown Rice Salad

Lentil Brown Rice Salad
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (cold)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1 pkg cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped

Lentil Brown Rice Salad

Cook lentils in boiling, salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Combine lentils, rice, cucumber, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well. Add dressing, feta, and basil. Toss until well mixed. Adjust seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Notes: This recipe is very flexible. Try adding nuts, olives, roasted peppers, or marinated artichoke hearts. Replace the lentils with garbanzo or black beans. Substitute quinoa for the brown rice. The possibilities are endless!

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