Category Archives: greek

Mediterranean Quinoa

So…this picture is probably looking familiar at this point, but now this three-part recipe is complete. We started with the tzatziki sauce, then made the spinach and feta turkey meatballs, then this mediterranean quinoa. Then we assembled it the other way around. This was honestly one of the best things I’ve made in a while – and so incredibly healthy, filling and delicious, spiked with all those bright Greek flavors. I know I rave about quinoa a lot, but it really is one of the best vegetable-grains-disguised-as-pastas/couscous, ever. 

MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA
– 1 cup quinoa, cooked (so about 1/2 a cup, dry)
– 1/3 English cucumber, diced
– Handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
– 2 tbsp chopped parsley
– 1/3 c crumbled feta

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (make sure you rinse this really, really well first). Set aside to cool.

2. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and feta to the cooked quinoa, combine.


3. Serve with something else – this is an amazing base for spinach & feta turkey meatballs and tzaiki sauce, or even good on its own.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs

 

Meatballs top the list of my favorite foods, especially when they’re over pasta. My mom’s meatballs are completely amazing, so I’ve never tried to duplicate them, but I’ve got to start somewhere. I put these together based on a recipe for my Greek Turkey Meatloaf, and ended up with a lighter, brighter, Greek-er (is that a word? Anyway.) version of a traditional meatball. They were fantastic. I’m seriously convinced that a combo of spinach and feta makes just about everything better. 

– 1.5 lbs ground turkey 

– 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained pretty well 
– 1/2 tbsp chopped dill 
– Squeeze of lemon – this sounds weird, but just trust me. 
– 1/2 C crumbled feta 
– 1/3 panko bread crumbs 
– 1 egg 
– Salt & pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking tray. 


2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, feta, spinach, egg, dill, lemon, salt & pepper. Dig your hands in and just mix it up – it’s kind of gross and satisfying all at once. 


3. Form turkey meatballs into approximately golfball sizes, place on the tray. 


4. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for 12 minutes more until they gain a little color and are fully cooked through. I put these on top of a mediterranean quinoa and topped them with Tzatziki sauce, and we housed them. Fantastic. 



Tzatziki Sauce

The best part about this sauce is this: it is way easier to make than to spell.

With that, the greatest Tzatziki (dammit.  every time.) sauce for anything that needs a lemony, cucumber-y, garlic-y kick to it. I used this on top of spinach and feta turkey meatballs and a mediterranean quinoa, and it was perfect.

TZATZIKI SAUCE (makes about 1.5 cups)
– 1/4 english cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated
– 1 container plain Greek yogurt (the one I used was almost 6 oz.)
– 1 tsp. fresh chopped dill
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 2 cloves garlic, grated
– a little salt & pepper

1. This is tough. Ready?

2. Combine everything. Taste, season, chill & enjoy.


Greek Turkey Meatloaf “Roll-Up”

I love making Spanakopita, even though all those delicate layers of pastry dough are my nemesis (nemeses??).  That said, all those Greek flavors – spinach, feta, a little lemon, and dill – are some of my very favorites.  Could we take those and incorporate them into a turkey meatloaf?  Yes.  Yes we could.  This was delicious, and I didn’t tell B what I had added, but he noticed the light lemon and dill flavor after a couple of bites.  They definitely add a different dimension to your typical turkey meatloaf, but in an awesome way. Rolling this up makes it so pretty, too!
 
GREEK TURKEY MEATLOAF “ROLL-UP” (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
– 2 lbs ground turkey
– 1 Vidalia onion, diced
– 5-6 packed cups fresh baby spinach (approx. a 10-oz. bag), wilted, drained, and chopped
– 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
– 1 egg & 1 egg white, slightly beaten
– 1 cup panko bread crumbs
– 2 tbspns olive oil (or 1 tbspn olive oil and 1 tbspn butter)
– salt and pepper
– dried dill (1.5 tbsps)
– juice of 3/4 of a lemon  (approx. 1.5 tbsp)
 
1. Preheat the oven to 400. 
 
2. Heat 2 tbspns olive oil (or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter) in a large saute pan over medium heat.
 
3. Dice the vidalia onion like this:
Half an onion, slice off the top part (but keep the “root” part intact) and then make slits along the ridges of the onion, almost down to the root. You can kind of follow the natural lines of the onion.  Then flip it on its side, and slice it horizontally. The onion will “dice” itself naturally.
 
4. Saute the onion in the oil or oil/butter combo until soft, add salt/pepper to taste.
 
5. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine turkey, dill, breadcrumbs, the lemon juice, the egg, 1/2 a teaspoon salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon pepper.
 
6. When onion is soft, remove from the pan and put on a plate to cool slightly.
 
7. Put pan that previously contained onions back on the heat, and add spinach to it.  Lower heat and stir until just wilted, then remove spinach and drain by either pressing spinach against the sides of a sieve, using a cheesecloth to wring it out in bunches, or squeezing most of the liquid out with your hands (but let it cool first, obviously). When the spinach is drained, roughly chop. Set aside.
 
8. Add cooled onions to the turkey mixture, stir everything to combine. You can really get your hands in there to mix it up, which is probably easiest. Form turkey mixture into a ball, and then press into an oblong shape on a piece of wax paper, and flatten minimally.
 
9. Top turkey mixture with chopped spinach, and then top with the crumbled feta:
10. Using the wax paper to help get things moving, roll the turkey meatloaf, beginning at either short end of the roll. It should look like this when you’re finished:
12. Put the meatloaf in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake in the oven at 400 for approx. an hour, or when the internal temperature reaches 160 Degrees 160 degrees.  About 45 minutes into this, I took it out of the oven and drained off the fat/liquid that had pooled in the foil. You don’t have to, but it probably helps.
 
This is really pretty, so tasty, and is even better for lunch the next day, hot or cold.