Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Do you ever eat something and immediately start craving it again after the meal is over? This happens to me often, but with a salad? Very unlike me, I know, but I got completely hooked on the fresh lightness of this Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette.

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Diane made a version last summer for her mom’s, my Nina’s, birthday. We had a big cookout at Nina’s house and for some reason I kept getting drawn to additional servings of Diane’s salad. Maybe it was the zesty dressing, maybe it was the salty feta cheese or maybe it was just that it felt heartier than a normal, plain salad because of the quinoa. Either way, about a week later I set out to try and recreate my version of it. It’s actually a fairly basic salad, but everything together makes for a satisfying summer side dish.

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

I like using a mix of spinach leaves and spring mix greens. You can usually buy this already combined in one package at the grocery store; my store calls it the 50/50 mix. Then we add on some quinoa, which adds protein and great texture. Tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions are next, along with some creamy avocado and crumbled feta cheese. Now, onto the simple roasted garlic and lemon vinaigrette. I say simple because it’s just olive oil, roasted garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and honey blended together.

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although the recipe only calls for one clove of garlic, you have a couple options. You can follow the instructions below to just roast a single clove, which will do the trick for this recipe and take less time. But, if you have more time then you can follow the additional directions for a whole bulb of roasted garlic – perfect for slathering on warm, crusty bread or tossing into a pasta dish.

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Vinaigrettes are especially easy to adjust to your personal preferences so feel free to play around with the lemon and garlic amounts until you find your perfect version. Enjoy!

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette  |  Lemon & Mocha

Quinoa Spinach and Greens Salad with a Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup uncooked quinoa (or 2 cups cooked)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
  • 1½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, roasted (see note)
  • 6 cups spinach and spring mix (either 6 cups total of the 50/50 blend or 3 cups of each)
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • ⅓ cup feta crumbles, plus more if desired
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Combine ⅔ cup uncooked quinoa with 1⅓ cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool; the quinoa should be cooked and the water should be absorbed.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon and honey. Mash and chop up the roasted garlic clove and whisk into the dressing. Alternatively, you could blend everything together in a blender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, toss together the spinach and spring mix, cooked quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber and scallions. When ready to serve, add the avocado, feta, dressing and toss to combine. Add more feta on top if desired.
Notes
To roast 1 clove of garlic: Place unpeeled clove of garlic on a small square of aluminum foil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil then wrap up in the foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool then peel/pop out of the clove of garlic.
To roast a bulb of garlic: Cut the top off the head of garlic so that almost all the cloves are exposed. Place the head of garlic in a little square of aluminum foil and curve up the sides. Lightly drizzle the garlic with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Seal up the foil to make a little packet. Roast for 35 minutes then let cool. Once it's cool enough to handle, squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves.

 

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

I still remember the day Matt and I bought our cast iron pan. Of course I do, it’s a food-related memory! We were in our very first apartment right out of college and Matt had seen someone online make steak in a cast iron pan. They seared it on the stove-top then finished it off in the oven resulting in a charred outside and juicy, tender inside.

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt gets convinced he wants to make something it usually happens right away, much unlike my years and years worth of recipes piled up, so we walked to the nearest hardware store and bought the cast iron pan. Thankfully we didn’t have to walk far because this thing is heavy! Matt cooked us up some steaks and they were pure perfection. All these years later we’ve gotten a little fancier with our cooking and now prefer to sous vide our steaks, but this recent recipe had me go back to our cast iron steak roots.

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

This recipe came from my favorite little cookbook, “Cook This, Not That!” and was one we hadn’t tried before. It’s incredibly simple: steak is cooked then topped with a panko breadcrumb and blue cheese mixture that gets crispy and bubbly in the oven.

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

We already know blue cheese and steak is a winning combination from my Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce recipe and the crunch from the breadcrumbs adds great texture and flavor. Matt and I gobbled this down for dinner and even had the leftovers the next day for lunch – we couldn’t wait for dinner. I told you we’ve been living the good life with our meals!

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a delicious salad side that made a great meal alongside this steak and I’ll share it with you all later this week. In the meantime, enjoy this recipe and the rest of your Monday!

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak  |  Lemon & Mocha

Blue Cheese Crusted Steak
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 sirloin or tenderloin steaks (4-6 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the panko, blue cheese, parsley and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
  3. In a large cast iron pan or oven safe pan (see note) heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper then sear the meat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the steaks from the heat and top with the panko mixture. Transfer the steaks to the oven to finish cooking, about 6 minutes. For medium, the internal temperature should be 140 degrees F. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
If you don’t have an oven safe pan, cook on the stove-top in sauté pan then transfer to a baking sheet or baking dish for the oven step.

Recipe from Cook This, Not That!.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Elote Stuffed Zucchini

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another elote dish?! I know, I know, I just can’t get enough of it during the summer! Elote, also known as Mexican street corn, is fresh, zesty, creamy, cheesy and everything you want in a summertime snack.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

To recap, here on Lemon & Mocha I have recipes for Elote Wonton Bites, Elote Pizza, Elote Hot Dogs and Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Now add in this dinner-worthy Elote Stuffed Zucchini. Zucchini and corn are already a classic summer pairing so it all made sense to hook them up together in this new elote twist.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

In addition to the traditional lime, chili powder, salt and cotija cheese, which is a crumbly Mexican cheese, I’ve added in ground chicken to make the meal a little heartier as well as some shredded mozzarella to make it extra cheesy. As always, feel free to increase the cheese quantities if you are a cheese fanatic.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course, the best part, as with all elote dishes, is the toppings that get put on after the dish is done. For these stuffed zucchinis, we’re adding plenty of salty crumbled cotija and a generous drizzle of a quick lime mayo after they come out of the oven. Yum!

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re looking for something to make with the extra zucchini flesh since we’re scooping out the inside of the zucchini to make these you could follow my lead and make this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I just grated up the little melon-balled zucchini chunks even though they were partially cooked and the bread still came out as moist, chocolatey and delicious as always. Elote Stuffed Zucchini for dinner and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread for dessert? Yes, please!

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Elote Stuffed Zucchini
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
for the zucchini
  • 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • ½ pound ground chicken
  • 1 15-ounce can corn, no salt added (about 1½ cups corn kernels) drained
  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Cotija cheese, for topping (see note)
for the lime mayo
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch chili powder
Directions
for the zucchini
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 13x9” pan with cooking spray. Lay the zucchini halves, cut side down, in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. While the zucchini is baking, sauté the ground chicken. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until cooked through, breaking up as needed. Remove from the heat and add to a large mixing bowl. In the mixing bowl with the chicken, add the corn, mozzarella cheese, red onion, lime zest and juice, cilantro, smoked paprika and salt. Stir until combined.
  3. Carefully flip over the zucchini halves so they are cut side up. I move a few at a time to a cutting board. Use a melon baller to scoop out the inside of the zucchini, leaving a ¼” border. Place the zucchini back into the pan, cut side up, then fill with the chicken and corn mixture. Add ½ cup water to the bottom of the pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. When the elote stuffed zucchini come out of the oven, carefully remove them from the pan to plates or a serving dish. Serve hot, topped with plenty of crumbled cotija cheese and a generous drizzle of the lime mayo.
for the lime mayo
  1. Combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground cumin and chili powder in a small bowl. Pour into a squeeze bottle if you have one.
Notes
If you can’t find cotija cheese, substitute queso fresco. If you can’t find either, use feta cheese.

 

National Ice Cream Day

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have important news! This Sunday, July 21st is National Ice Cream Day! I tend to celebrate ice cream all year round, especially during the summer, but in case you wanted to make something extra special for this Sunday’s holiday I thought I would share some of my favorite ice cream recipes here on Lemon & Mocha.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
There’s nothing wrong with going classic. The only flavor necessary according to my Babu.

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae Ice Cream Pie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae Ice Cream Pie
The picture says it all.

Orange-Vanilla Frozen Custard  |  Lemon & Mocha

Orange-Vanilla Frozen Custard
The Food Network’s take on the quintessential orange-vanilla swirl custard cone from Kohr Brothers. Perfect for hot summer days.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream Pie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream Pie
Pumpkin? In July? No, I’m not crazy, I just have this really awesome idea that you should make this ice cream pie and swap the pumpkin ice cream for some butter pecan ice cream. Or maybe salted caramel. So many possibilities here.

Coffee Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Coffee Ice Cream
I go back and forth on my favorite ice cream flavor recipe I’ve posted here and this Coffee Ice Cream usually ends up on top. So creamy with a perfect coffee-infused base.

Stracciatella Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato Pie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Stracciatella Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato Pie
If you want to make a dessert that will be gone in seconds, then this is the one to bust out.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Easy, simple ingredients with a big peanut buttery payoff.

Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones
Do you order in a cup or cone? I almost always go cone and these are the ultimate cones. Plus they’re fun to make!

How will you be celebrating on Sunday?

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember when I said I had exciting dinner recipes to share with you all? Well get psyched to start cooking because this is one of those recipes! In fact it was so good that I bumped it way up in the schedule just so you could have access to it sooner. This Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet is fresh, zesty, garlicky and just the right amount buttery.

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Like last week’s Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil, this dish is on the table in under thirty minutes making it perfect for weeknight mealtime. Also like last week’s dinner recipe, it tastes gourmet enough for company. Even better is that all the cook time is either on your grill or in the oven giving you plenty of time to hang out with your guests or relax with your feet up and a glass of wine until dinner is ready!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

I pulled this recipe from one of my food binders. It was a random side-column weeknight recipe in an issue of the Food Network Magazine from a couple years ago. Normally I skip over these recipes, but I’m so glad I saved it! Never would I have thought it would be so delicious. Now I’m really motivated to continue cooking through my food binders to see what other hidden gems have been sitting in there for all these years!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

These foil packets have artichoke hearts, lemon slices and shrimp all layered together and cooked with garlic, oregano, fresh parsley, olive oil, white wine and a little butter. The best part is after they’re cooked you top them with a crunchy breadcrumb mixture of toasted panko, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, grated Parmesan and more garlic. I served the shrimp over whole wheat cous cous, which is both super quick to make and soaked up all the extra lemony-butter sauce perfectly. I like serving extra veggies with dinner so I steamed some broccoli, too, but that definitely made the portions too big since the packets on their own are pretty shrimp-packed.

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

I made these foil packets in our big toaster oven so I included the oven instructions in the recipe below. If you’re making them on the grill I included the instructions from the original recipe, although I have not tried these foil packets on the grill so I can’t guarantee the recommended cook time. If you do make them on the grill just follow the instructions to check them after ten minutes to see if the shrimp are cooked through or not. I found in the oven the shrimp took longer than I thought to cook through, which is why I listed seventeen to twenty minutes for the oven cook time. I think it was because they were wrapped up in the packet so it took them longer than if they were just on a baking sheet directly exposed to the heating element. Also, I found the shrimp in the middle of the packet, which means they were under the thickest, folded part of the foil, were the shrimp that were taking the longest to cook. I hope you all try this one soon!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus ½ lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic (1½ cloves minced, ½ clove grated)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4-5 ounces frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Salt
Directions
  1. If using the grill, preheat to medium-high. If using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook until toasted and golden, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and put the toasted panko in a small mixing bowl. Add the Italian seasoning, lemon zest, grated garlic and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  3. Tear off 2 sheets of aluminum foil large enough to fully enclose a single layer of half the shrimp. Divide the artichoke hearts between the 2 foil sheets. Season with a little salt and divide the dried oregano between the 2 foil sheets. Place the lemon slices over top then add 1 tablespoon of butter to each packet. Season the shrimp with salt and then divide between the 2 packets, placing on top of the lemon slices and artichokes. Season with the red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and minced garlic. Drizzle with the dry white wine and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided between the two packets. Fold in the sides of the foil packets then bring the other 2 ends together to fold over and completely seal. There should be a little room left in the packet for heat to circulate.
  4. If grilling, grill until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 10 minutes. If baking, cook in the oven until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 17-20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with the panko mixture before serving.
Notes
If you would prefer to use canned quartered artichoke hearts simply rinse and drain well.

 Recipe from July/August 2017 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!