With the onset of cooler weather, new schedules and an invigorating pace, eating nourishing meals is an important way to keep up energy levels. With few having the time to devote to cooking an elaborate meal, a collection of delicious and dependable 30-minute recipes for a quick but satisfying meal can be handy. What else keeps things simple? Having fresh staples such as grapes on hand helps brighten up any recipe and fuel up after activities.
Mediterranean ingredients and flavours create dishes that nicely bridge the gap between summer and winter — they’re refreshing, colourful and filled with fruits and vegetables. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Grapes offers a fresh twist on the Middle Eastern classic, replacing the traditional bulgur with quinoa, and using grapes in place of tomatoes. The result? An approachable and modern salad that works as well for a quick dinner as it does for a brown bag lunch the next day. Pair with grilled chicken or fish, or simply add chickpeas or kidney beans for a heartier meatless entree.
With Mediterranean Pizza, there is no need to fuss with dough because whole-wheat naan, an Indian flatbread, makes the perfect crust. Simply top with cumin and paprika-seasoned ground lamb, bake it, and then finish with a lightly dressed grape and red onion combination that perfectly complements the flavours in the meat. Pita or flatbread can take the place of naan, and lamb can be replaced by ground beef or turkey as desired.
Finally, when it’s time to decorate the table, create a simple but stunning centrepiece with gorgeous black, red and green grapes.
1 1/2 cups halved red grapes
2 tablespoons lightly chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup slivered red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided) plus additional for drizzling
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound ground lamb, beef, or dark meat turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
2 whole-wheat naans
Heat oven to 250C. In a large bowl combine the grapes, parsley leaves, red onion, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and meat, and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Place naans on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread the meat mixture on the naans. Bake until each naan is browned and lightly crisp, 8-10 minutes. Top with grape mixture and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired. Cut in pieces and serve.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Grapes
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup halved red grapes
3/4 cup halved green grapes
2 cups diced cucumber
2/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa; reduce the heat and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain any excess water, then fluff the quinoa and transfer it onto a baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, cucumber, parsley, dill, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Gently fold the cooled quinoa into the grape mixture and serve.