Tuna Rice Salad with Balsamic Tomato Vinaigrette

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Spring is finally here in Philly! And for real this time! The weather is getting so much nicer, that I’m finally able to go to class without a puffy winter coat. Food wise, one of my favorite things about Spring season, is that I get to eat salads at every single meal. I crave fresh, tasty and healthy lunch options, which brings me to experiment with a ton of veggies and dressings. Since I get bored quite easily with the typical “mixed greens and tomatoes” type of salad, I love to add several types of grains, or other add-ins to my go-to recipes. Among “mixed salads,” rice ones are at the top of my list. Once you have the base, you can add whatever your heart desires and make a tasty dish in no time. This brown rice tuna salad is very easy to make, and adaptable so you can let your creative “kitchen juices” flow. All you need to remember is that simpler is better, and you’re in for a great new dish. Bon appétit!

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Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 small can of tuna
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1/4 shallot
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil, and cook the rice for the time indicated on the packaging. Mine takes about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the carrot and the cucumber, and set aside. Using a fork, flake the tuna in its can.
  3. Next, make the “balsamic-tomato vinaigrette.” Roughly chop the cherry tomatoes, shallot, and parsley, and put them in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is still slightly chunky, but starting to get homogeneous. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and pulse again. Set aside as well.
  4. When the rice is cooked, put it in a colander and let cold water run over it. As soon as the grains are at room temperature, drain thoroughly and place them in a bowl.
  5. Toss the rice with the flaked tuna, grated veggies, and “balsamic-tomato vinaigrette”. Enjoy!
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Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges with Whipped Feta

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I’m feeling fancy today! Food wise obviously, since it’s 11am and I’m still wearing sweatpants. I guess Valentine’s day just makes me wish for more than one of my go-to lunch recipes. So here I am, sharing this ~fancy~ dish with you. As my obsession with squash grows stronger, I decided to experiment again with my favorite pairing: acorn squash and feta cheese. This recipe really hits the spot if you crave a combination of the caramelized squash flavor, and the feta cheese’s tanginess. Plus it’s easy, delicious, and it looks ridiculously good when dressed on a plate. Don’t hesitate to try it if you want to impress your friends, family, or special someone. You won’t regret it. Bon Appétit!

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Recipe loosely inspired by Lark & Linen


Prep Time: 10 min Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 4 oz crumbled feta (room temperature)
  • 1-2 oz whipped cream cheese
  • a handful of arugula or spring mix
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the squash in 1″ wedges and drizzle with olive oil. Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 40 min, or until tender and golden brown edges.
  3. While the squash cooks, whip the feta in a food processor with the cream cheese. This should take about 4-5 minutes until the mixture becomes really creamy.
  4. Next, reduce the balsamic vinegar in a small pot on medium heat. When it thickens, set aside.
  5. Lightly toss the arugula with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Spread a dollop of the whipped feta on a plate, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and top with the roasted squash wedges and the mixed greens.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Every now and then I like to experiment with completely new ingredients. I just go grocery shopping and I pick one thing that I’ve never cooked before. If I’m lucky, I discover a great new flavor and that one ingredient usually ends up on my go-to shopping list. This time, I was wandering along the store’s aisles when I stumbled upon an acorn squash. I liked its shape and its color, so I decided it would be my new ingredient of the week. This recipe turned out to be one of my favorites so far! It’s full of sweet and savory flavors, healthy, filling and beautiful just to look at. Bon appétit!

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This recipe was inspired by Love and Lemons


Prep time: 40 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • a handful of toasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • a pinch of ground cumin and nutmeg
  • Fresh chopped parsley to taste
  • 1 tbs lemon juice, with zest
  • drizzle of agave nectar (or honey)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Scoop the seeds out of the 1/2 squash, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and put to roast flesh down for about 25 min. Flip the half over and bake for another 15 min, until the flesh is tender and the edges are starting to get brown.
  2. Meanwhile, sautée the diced onion with the chopped tomatoes in a pan over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook until translucent. Add the ground cumin and nutmeg and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  3. Bring the heat to low and add the cooked quinoa, a splash of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice with zest and a good drizzle of agave nectar. Then add the fresh parsley and crumbled feta and toss gently.
  4. Once the squash is done, scoop the filling into it and top with another drizzle of olive oil and toasted sunflower seeds.

TIPYou can add dried cranberry, currants or other berries to the toppings for extra sweetness.