Appetizer, gluten free


Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

We were at some new friends' house for dinner this past weekend and they made a whole Greek-themed dinner. I brought a sub-par peach cake, we listened to Greek music and I soaked in being on the other side of the kitchen. I really like hosting and having people over, but it is such a treat to be the one invited as a guest. I just finished the lovely Jessica Fetchor's book Stir and from the perspective of someone who is sick, she mentions as being the natural hostess and care taker, it is uncomfortable sometimes to be on the other side, being cared for, but how necessary it is. I realize I was merely at someone else's house for dinner on a Saturday night, not holding a candle close to Jessica's story of surviving a brain aneurysm, but we can relate to stories by way of our own reality. I was craving to sit at the table instead of standing in front of the stove, is that ok to say on a food blog? As someone who gets paid to write recipes for work? Maybe especially so. My favorite, unrelated to this, line in the book:

"But we are always swept this way and that. We create the life we want to live, yes. Then, in return, that life creates us. We follow the tides; we have no other choice. We splash about beneath the brightest of moons, then the darkest of skies, tug hard from the surface on anchors that refuse to budge, and then, if we are very brave, dive deep." 

I just really enjoyed the book and Jessica's perspective. Perhaps I feel swept up in some sort of tide myself. Anyway. Erin made this chunky Greek salad with tomato halves, slices of cucumber, whole olives and feta cheese scattered throughout. It seemed so rustic but classic and I could have eaten the entire bowl. So, in light of loving to have lunches ready in the fridge, I thought maybe I could chop everything small and have a Greek salsa type thing. I could bring it to BBQs as a dip or toss it with a bit of lettuce for lunch or just sit with the serving bowl and a bag of sturdy crackers. It is exactly as I imagined it'd be and worth sharing here. No new technique or farmers market romance, just the tale of a summer staple gone right. 

Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

GREEK SALAD DIP // Serves 6 as an appetizer

I'll bring this dip to summer parties, but it's also great to keep stocked at home for a quick lunch. Stuff the mixture into a pita or into romaine leaves to make a meal of it. Not that crackers and a dip like this are not a sufficient lunch. You could add some cooked quinoa and a little more dressing and consider it a side dish, making it even more perfect for backyard BBQs.

  • 1 cup cooked French Lentils
  • 2-3 persian cucumbers
  • 2 roma tomatoes, or something similar
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, to taste

Put the lentils into a large mixing bowl. Scoop out the seedy center and finely dice the cucumbers. Do the same with the tomatoes and red pepper. The smaller the dice, the easier to scoop with a cracker. Add them to the mixing bowl. Add the red onion, olives, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper flakes, olive oil and vinegar and stir to mix. Gently stir in the crumbled feta and taste for seasonings. 

Serve at room temperature or chilled. The salad will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, the vegetables getting a bit softer by the day but still enjoyable. 

Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
Greek Salad Dip . Sprouted Kitchen
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Appetizer, Snack, Summer


There are moments when the weight of something simple, gets the best of you. All the beliefs and values we have, that compose this big ol' life of ours, can get generalized or maybe even overlooked until someone or some moment or some thing breaks out and makes life quite genuine.

I was reminded yesterday of how much we need people. I have some great people around me, and I am so thankful for the different facets of relationships. All the little wedding decisions and to-do lists got the best of me yesterday, and I lost it while talking to my mom about the color of invitation paper (by lose it, I mean tears, not angry rage). We sat on my parents backyard steps, and I needed her to hug me right then and change the subject. I needed her to comfort me, and ummm, I needed her to go pick out the paper as well. I am SO excited to get married, beyond anxious, but a few tears are expected in all of this. We're not as independent as we'd like to think we are, and it's humbling to admit that we need people; that we're dependent. Sometimes I think we need to be reminded of the obvious, and sometimes it's the little things that take us there. I could keep my mini life lessons to myself, but knowing how I often get wrapped up in my own inner dialogue, I thought one of you may need to get out of your head for a second as well.

On that note, it seems avocado toast is the trendy snack of the summer. I am a partaker myself, but needed another quick snack option, that resembles the satisfying greatness that comes from goodies piled on a good slice of grainy toast. You could use any spreadable cheese of choice, but ricotta keeps everything nice and moist here. Consider making extra zucchini, then you're set for the next few snack times.

ZUCCHINI TOASTS // Makes 4 Toasts, Serves 2

1 Fresh Whole Grain Loaf

4 Zucchini (About 2 1/2 Cups when diced)

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2-3 tsp. Lemon Pepper

1 tsp. Fennel Seed (optional)

Sea Salt (If your Lemon Pepper Blend DOESN'T have salt already)

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese

2 Tbsp. Minced Shallot

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

Fresh Parsley + Mint

Oven to 475'

1. Cut both end off the zucchini. Cut each in half length wise, then each long half into 4 sticks, dice. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

2. Spread zucchini on a large baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil and lemon pepper, optional fennel seed, and salt IF needed. The zucchini should have a very light coating of oil, add a bit more if need be. Use your preferences on the amount of spices too. Spread to make one even layer on the baking tray for more browning. Bake on the upper third rack for 18-20 minutes, or until they've got some good crispy edges. Remove to cool.

3. While zucchini is roasting, mix the ricotta, mustard and shallot together in a small bowl, set aside.

4. Chop even amounts parsley and mint, about 1/3 cup in total.

5. Toast your bread slices, I thought 1/2'' thick was perfect. Spread a few dollops of the ricotta mix, a sprinkle of the herb mix, pile zucchini on top, and another sprinkle of herbs. Yum.

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Appetizer, Entrée, Side, Summer, Gluten Free, Salad


My free time has been a bit limited lately, so cooking hasn't been worth sharing. I would call it more 'assembling' than I would cooking in the past two weeks. I missed it, it is my therapy. I was so excited to be making something that I talked through making this entire salad. Imagine Food Network with no eye contact or matching pans and bowls. I paid close attention to cutting things evenly and paused to share a helpful hint. Hugh started replying to my rhetorical questions at first, until he realized I wasn't responding or looking for feedback, and let me carry on being completely crazy while he took pictures. It's really wonderful that he loves me, because sometimes I just can't help myself from being crazy (Hugh, thank you. xo).

This salad is not complicated in the slightest, but it was the tastiest combination I've had in quite sometime. It reinforces the fact, that finding seasonal, fresh produce guarantees a better product. It was my first time cooking with red quinoa, and I found it to be a bit firmer, which is just perfect to toss into a salad. It is not crucial by any means, but if you can get your hands on some red quinoa, it certainly make a gorgeous alternative to the white variety. I enjoyed this as written below, because I like to eat A LOT of salad, and it not having the weight of cheese or a protein was ideal for me yesterday when I consumed the entire bowl. However, if I were making this for other people, or maybe myself on a less vegetable gluttonous day, it would be excellent with a bit of either feta, goat cheese or a piece of grilled fish to make it more of an entree.

Eat good foods and enjoy your weekend ~

NECTARINE+FENNEL SALAD // Serves 4 as a side

I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy your produce from a local farm stand or farmers market for this salad. Seek out an incredibly fragrant nectarine, a delicate avocado with buttery insides, a plump fennel bulb. It is very light, and what makes it great is the use of ripe, fresh produce. Just a mere suggestion that you could translate as a command.

1/2-3/4 Cup Cooked Red Quinoa

1 Nectarine

1 Avocado

1/2 Cup Shelled, Roasted Pistachio Nuts

1 Cup Thinly Sliced Fennel (use a mandoline if you have one!)

2 Cups Arugula (or lettuce of choice)

// Mustard Chive Vinaigrette //

* These are estimates, give or take to your own taste.

1 Small Clove Garlic

1/4 Cup Roughly Chopped Chives

1 Tbsp. Apricot Jam (Honey or Agave will work)

2 tsp. Dijon Mustard

1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch Salt/Pepper

1. Put all viniagrette ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse until everything is combined, about 30 seconds. Taste for salt and pepper.

2. Working in a large mixing bowl, add the cooked and cooled red quinoa, and about 3 tbsp. of the vinaigrette to keep it moist. Stir.

3. Halve the nectarine, remove the pit, and slice into thin pieces. Halve the avocado and cut into small chunks. Add the fennel slices, pistachios and half of the nectarine and avocado pieces to the bowl, save the other half for garnish.

4. I suggest using clean hands to toss everything, so you can be gentle and retain the shapes of the avocado and nectarine. Add desired amount of dressing and give one more toss to coat. Garnish with fresh slices of nectarine and avocado.

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