Picnic Wraps with Feta & Quinoa Salad

Picnic Wraps with Feta & Quinoa Salad / loveandlemons.com

In my opinion, the world cannot have too many quinoa salads. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other grains too… farro, millet, and wheatberries are all lovely, but my real go-to grain is quinoa. I love to make a big batch and keep it on hand – it’s the perfect catch-all for vegetables, nuts and cheeses that I usually have around. Of course, since this salad was destined for a picnic without any silverware, I decided to have my cake (salad?) and eat it too by putting it in a wrap.

Picnic Wraps with Feta & Quinoa Salad / loveandlemons.com

This quinoa salad filling includes so many of my favorite things – crunchy cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, herbs, bits of kale, and a good sprinkling of crumbled ATHENOS Feta Cheese. I have to admit that I have a mild obsession with feta cheese – I love that salty tangy bite and I can’t help but to toss those little crumbles into so many things. 

Picnic Wraps with Feta & Quinoa Salad / loveandlemons.com

I wrapped everything in large sprouted tortillas with a good slather of kale pesto and a few pickled onions that I happened to have in the fridge. I realize that the ingredient list for this recipe looks a little long but I have a secret to these quick meals, which is to keep a few interesting components on-hand. In this case, I used a combination of feta cheese and some extra pesto I had in the fridge. You may have hummus, nuts, herbs, whatever. Keep these sorts of things around and you’ll always be ready for a delicious go-to meal.

Picnic Wraps with Feta & Quinoa Salad / loveandlemons.com

Happy wrapping!

Heirloom Tomato & Mango Pico

Heirloom Tomato & Mango Pico de Gallo / loveandlemons.com

I love pico and I love mango salsa, so I’m not sure why it took so long to come up with the delicious idea to combine the two. This is probably the prettiest salsa I’ve ever made, but I also love the flavor and texture variety that each tomato brings to the table bowl. Cherry tomatoes are sweet, green tomatoes are more tart and firm. I always find myself adding a pinch of sugar to my tomato salsa for balance, but that’s not necessary this time because of the sweet juicy mango.

Heirloom Tomato & Mango Pico de Gallo / loveandlemons.com

Make a big batch, it’ll keep in your fridge for 3-4 days if you don’t stand there dipping chip after chip into it like we do. Scoop it on all kinds of tacos, into burrito bowls, or serve it over corn fritters, zucchini cakes, or these black bean patties:

Heirloom Tomato & Mango Pico de Gallo / loveandlemons.com

Portobello Tacos w/ Vegan Jalapeño Sauce

Portobello Tacos w/ Creamy Vegan Jalapeño Sauce / loveandlemons.com

Today we’re celebrating Taco Wednesday, because oops, I missed Taco Tuesday. I know this because Jack has this new favorite t-shirt that says “Taco Tuesday,” and he gets a kick out of wearing it weekly when the event comes around.

But, really, we’re up for tacos any day of the week so here we go…

Portobello Tacos w/ Creamy Vegan Jalapeño Sauce / loveandlemons.comPortobello Tacos w/ Creamy Vegan Jalapeño Sauce / loveandlemons.com

If mushrooms aren’t your thing, don’t stop reading because this recipe is ALL about this sauce. I was going for a vegan cool ranch sort of thing with cashews, onion, garlic, roasted jalapeños, and cucumber (the cool part)… and while it’s not exactly a replica of everyone’s favorite midwestern condiment – it’s darn tasty.

It was delicious on these grilled portobello tacos. It was equally good on the fish tacos I ate the next day… and it was also good as a dressing on the kale & avocado salad I ate the day after. I always love a “blend once” eat 3 times kind of sauce.

Portobello Tacos w/ Creamy Vegan Jalapeño Sauce / loveandlemons.com

What I like about this creamy sauce is that you can make it as spicy as you like. Use 1/2 of a jalapeño for a mildly spicy sauce, 1 for medium, 2 for extra spicy. Start with less and taste, you can always add more. Pictured is a mild version (which is why it’s pretty white) because Mr. Taco Tuesday is a little sensitive about spice.

Portobello Tacos w/ Creamy Vegan Jalapeño Sauce / loveandlemons.com

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

Happy Friday!

We’re getting the weekend started a little early today with my favorite late summer drink. It’s been nearly 100 degrees around here lately – and to that I say, let’s make it hotter! Bring on the jalapeños…

Jalapeño Margaritas / @loveandlemons

My #1 rule of margaritas is to never use margarita mix. Fresh limes are a must. My #2 rule: mess with this recipe and make it your own. Adjust the ratios to make your margaritas as sweet, sour and/or spicy as you like. (I always like mine on the tart & spicy side). Double the recipe if you’re having friends over.

These are best served with salsa and tortilla chips… which are best served in this gorgeous platter from Crate & Barrel, who so kindly provided us with the serving pieces & glassware for this post. Check out the full story we created for the Crate & Barrel blog along with some healthy tailgating recipes!

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

I keep a food journal when we travel. It’s nothing fancy, just a little book that isn’t my iphone. There are no pictures or charming doodles… there aren’t really even sentences, just scribbles of ingredients and descriptions of what we ate and where. Some dishes, I’ll try to recreate at home, but not all of them. The chosen few that make it off the list and into my kitchen come down to a few components: how badly I crave something, the ability to decipher my chicken-scratch handwriting, and the availability of similar ingredients without having to visit specialty stores.

This one (a take-away lunch I ate one day at Roscioli) easily fit into all three categories especially since it’s eggplant season! I loved how simple and perfect these ingredients worked together: hearty farro, eggplant, and roasted tomatoes with lots of basil & olive oil. It had my name written all over it and I thought you all would like it too…

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

This came together even easier than I expected – no fancy dressing, no cheese, just a good splash of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. The bright tangy flavor comes from roasting the tomatoes until they’re shriveled up and lightly dry and brown around the outside. Their concentrated sweet flavor is what makes this, although you could also chop up sun dried tomatoes in a pinch.

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com

I cooked my eggplant simply in a pan with garlic and chickpeas (the chickpeas were my addition if you couldn’t tell)… and tossed it all with farro, arugula, basil and pine nuts. The best part about this salad is that it keeps well. Make it ahead, serve it at room temp or store it in the fridge and have it for lunch the next day. I served my leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top – which is not the Italian way but it was so delicious that I recommend you do that anyway.

Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad / loveandlemons.com