Pappardelle Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

IMG_3673

When brainstorming for a simple meal to pair with our Pinot Noir at ONEHOPE, I had one thing stuck in my mind and knew we had to make it work – pasta.  Pasta is so simple to make and can be manipulated to perfectly pair with any wine.  Whether you’re craving something creamy, acidic, cheesy, spicy – there’s a pasta for every desired taste profile.  Since mushrooms and goat cheese are both wonderful for a Pinot Noir, I searched the web for inspiration and landed on this.  Done and done!  A ribbon pasta just seemed more romantic (a la Lady and the Tramp) so I decided on Pappardelle in lieu of Ziti to keep with our Valentine’s Day theme and to also really soak up that goat cheese.  This savory, hearty pasta pairs wonderfully with ONEHOPE’s Edna Valley Pinot Noir. This wine is just acidic enough to cut through the rich goat cheese and is the perfect, full bodied and earthy compliment to portobello mushrooms and sweet, caramelized onions. YUM!

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pappardelle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed, caps sliced in half and then crosswise into ~1/4″ slices)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 4 ounces freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions

  1. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir occasionally for ~30-40 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
  2. While onions are caramelizing, in a large pot, boil your pasta in salted water according pasta’s instructions.
  3. Remove onions from pan and heat 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add mushrooms and stir until soft and medium brown. In the same pan, add the onions, balsamic vinegar, pepper, half the parsley.
  4. When pasta is fully cooked, drain and add remaining olive oil to the pot. Return cooked pasta to pot, add the onion and mushroom mixture, salt, water, 2/3 of the goat cheese and 2 ounces of grated parmesan. Toss while making sure to evenly coat pasta and meld flavors. Plate immediately.
  5. Garnish each dish with remaining fresh, crumbled goat cheese, top with remaining parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.
  6. Pair with ONEHOPE’s Edna Valley Pinot Noir.  Cheers!

PS: Check out my other Valentine’s Day wine pairings here and here.

IMG_3342

IMG_3348

IMG_3355

IMG_3359

IMG_3447

IMG_3506

IMG_3565

IMG_3673

Wilted Frisée with Coarse Grain Mustard Vinaigrette and Granny Smith Apples

Frisee-Salad-5

No meal is complete without something green so when putting together a 3 course wine dinner, I knew we needed a little something fresh that would be a perfect pairing with Chardonnay. While I was bouncing around ideas with our Sommelier, she threw out the idea of a wilted frisée salad.  Honestly, I was skeptical.  Frisée are the little bitter greens that I’ve always picked out of a mixed green salad simply because they’re always a little too tough or frankly, bitter (which they are by nature). I’ve never been a fan. Creating a salad comprised of all frisée scared me, but she convinced me when she suggested slightly wilting it to make it easier to eat and to help meld the flavors of a course grain mustard vinaigrette. I decided to take the chance and I’m so glad I did. I could not believe how much I LOVED this salad – I actually went back for seconds! The combination of light, slightly bitter greens, mustard vinaigrette and apples are the prefect compliment to our California Chardonnay. The chopped, granny smith apples bring out the hint of apple and pear in the wine while the mustard vinaigrette offers the perfect touch of acidity to compliment the bitterness of the greens. This is a delicious, light and crisp salad to enjoy before a hearty main course (coming tomorrow). YUM! Give it a try this weekend for your Valentine and I promise you’ll love it.  Just be sure to pair it with a little Chardonnay. The combo is pretty spectacular.  Scroll down to view the recipe!

Frisee-Salad-1

Frisee-Salad-2

Yield: 2 salads

Ingredients

1 head frisée
1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup feta
1/2 medium granny smith apple (chopped)

Directions

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Toss greens in pan until slightly wilted and just starting to brown.
3. To make your vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, red wine vinegar, black pepper, salt and remaining olive oil.
4. In a large bowl, toss greens, chopped apple, feta and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Serve with a crisp chardonnay.

Frisee-Salad-3

Frisee-Salad-4

Frisee-Salad-7

Frisee-Salad-9

Cherry Preserves & Goat Cheese Puff Pastry Appetizer

Cherry-Pastry-15

Happy Wine Wednesday!  With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I wanted to share a little something I put together for work – Valentine’s Day food and wine pairings.  Jake and I are true foodies and we love exploring new restaurants in our area, but some of my happiest memories with him are when we’ve cooked together and enjoyed a great bottle of wine at home.  The goal was to create 3 easy-moderate recipes that paired deliciously with three of our wines and could be simply replicated by a couple or whichever partner has decided to treat the other on Valentines Day.  I did some research and after bouncing ideas around with our Sommelier, we decided on a few that would be perfect.  We gave them a try and they were SO GOOD!  I will definitely, 100% be making each of these again… and maybe this weekend :-)

The first one is a sweet and savory pastry that will melt in your mouth. Paired with ONEHOPE California Chardonnay, the goat cheese, cherry and buttery pastry highlight the crisp apple and pear notes in the wine. Enjoy the hint of caramel on the finish to perfectly meld with the savory goat cheese and pastry. YUM!  Find the recipe below and stay tuned for two more yummy treats tomorrow and Friday. xoxo

Cherry-Pastry-1

Cherry-Pastry-2

Cherry-Pastry-3

Yield: 4 large pastries

Ingredients

2 sheets puff pastry
8 oz. cherry preserves
8 oz. chevre
Egg wash (1 egg + 2 tablespoons of water lightly beaten)
2 tbs melted butter
Powdered sugar (optional)

…and the perfect Chardonnay :-)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. If using frozen puff pastry, allow it to thaw for 30 minutes.  You want your pastry to be workable, but not sticky.
3. Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to just under 1/4″
4. Cut out your dough using a large cookie cutter. We were able to cut out 8 large hearts (enough for 4 pastries) and 4 small hearts (enough for 2 pastries).
5. Place half of the cut out dough on your work surface and layer shapes with chevre and preserves. Be careful not to use too much of the either cheese or preserves. For a 4″ heart cookie cutter, we used about 2 tablespoons chevre and 2 tablespoons preserves per pastry. Be sure to leave a 1/2″ border of dough around the filling.
6. Place the remaining dough shapes on your work surface. Using a knife, score the dough in whatever design desired. This will allow your pastry to vent while baking.
7. Give the scored dough shapes a little stretch and place over the shapes with the chevre and cherry preserves. Make sure the edges line up.
8. Using a fork, press the top and bottom layers of dough together around the edge of your pastry to seal it shut.
9. Using a brush, lightly coat each pastry with egg wash and melted butter. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes (or until edges are golden and pastry begins to flake).
10. Remove from oven and allow pastries to set for 2-3 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cherry-Pastry-4

Cherry-Pastry-20

Cherry-Pastry-5

Cherry-Pastry-6

Cherry-Pastry-7

Cherry-Pastry-8

Cherry-Pastry-9

Cherry-Pastry-10

Cherry-Pastry-11

Cherry-Pastry-12

Cherry-Pastry-13

Cherry-Pastry-14

Cherry-Pastry-16

Cherry-Pastry-17

Cherry-Pastry-18

Cherry-Pastry-19

Thanksgiving Week

Fall-Entertaining-Tablescape-2

Happy Thanksgiving week!  Jake and I took the red eye to New Orleans on Monday night to be here with his family for the holiday and it’s a little different than what we normally do, but I’m happy to be in such an amazing city with loved ones.  I just wanted to pass along the Fall / Winter Entertaining Guide I put together for ONEHOPE in case you were looking for any more recipe ideas for tomorrow.  There are definitely some yummy ones in there so check it out.  All of the images from that shoot can be seen here so be sure to visit there for some more decor tips and ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg

Fall-Entertaining-Beets-3

Fall-Entertaining-Tablescape-5

 

Images by Brian Tropiano.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut-Squash-Soup-9

One of the many things I love about fall is eating seasonally and experimenting with fall flavors.  Fall is the perfect time to experiment with butternut squash, figs, root vegetables and all sorts of yummy produce and I always find myself craving a great, hearty soup around this time of the year.  A quick internet search for a great butternut squash soup recipe lead me to this with an almost perfect 5 star review average with over 1,900 reviews (!!!).  I knew I had to give it a try.  I adjusted it a tiny bit to make it slightly healthier and the end result was nothing short of incredible.  We served it with warm sliced sourdough bread and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the hint of spice and creamy, buttery flavor one weekend when we had friends in town and we were thrilled with their feedback. This is something really great to make on a cool fall weekend so I wanted to pass it along.  Cheers!

Ingredients

6 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
4 tablespoons butter
1 5lb. butternut squash
3 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Apple Topping

1 apple diced (I used a fuji apple)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Season with garlic salt and olive oil.  Place in a baking dish cut side down and fill dish with 1″ of water.

2.  Roast squash for 45 minutes or until soft and tender.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Once squash is cool enough to handle, remove skin, discard seeds and dice remaining squash.

4..  In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

5.  Puree squash and cream cheese using a hand blender until smooth.  Heat for 10 more minutes (do not boil).

Directions for Apple Topping

1.  In a small pan, heat butter until melted.

2.  Add apple and brown sugar.  Saute on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Butternut-Squash-Soup-1

Butternut-Squash-Soup-2

Butternut-Squash-Soup-4

Butternut-Squash-Soup-5

Butternut-Squash-Soup-6

Butternut-Squash-Soup-7

Butternut-Squash-Soup-8

Butternut-Squash-Soup-10

Butternut-Squash-Soup-11

Chardonnay + Cheese

DIY-CHARDONNAY-CHEESE-PLATE

When I first started working for a wine company, I knew absolutely nothing about wine beyond the fact that I liked to drink it.  I had no formal education in wine and the extent of my experience with it was picking up the cheapest or prettiest + cheapest combination bottle in my local market.  Like a lot of early wine drinkers, I couldn’t differentiate between varietals, wasn’t quite sure which wines pair with what foods and couldn’t appreciate any of the complexities that I now seek in my fermented grapes.  While most of the people that work in our company don’t fall in the “wine snob” category, we still experience know-it-alls (or think they know-it-all) wine snobs at events and in meetings with buyers which makes the industry intimidating and honestly, annoying at times.  My personal opinion is that wine is a subjective experience that is supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be an experience.  Certain wines will enhance certain flavors in certain foods, but learning it through experience rather than studying wine notes from a book is really what this industry should be all about.  No two palates are the same and everyone is going to taste wine differently which is exactly what makes it so fun and personal.

This division of our company puts on wine tastings in the customer’s preferred setting of choice and while some of our reps have a ton of wine experience, many of them don’t and are eager to learn what to serve at their tastings and what favors are going to pair the best with each wine.  Last month our focus was Chardonnay so I had some serious fun putting together a cheese plate and easy apps that would be delicious with Chard.  I thought I’d pass it along just in case anyone is interested in learning more about what to pair with Chardonnay.  Check it out below :-)

CREATING THE PERFECT CHARDONNAY CHEESE PLATE

When you think of a wine party, the most obvious food pairing is cheese.  However, with Chardonnay, cheese isn’t always the easiest to pair with a varietal that has such incredible stylistic range.  While some chardonnays are extremely fruity and citrusy, others are oaky and buttery which can compete with the creamy cheeses you might initially think to pair with a white wine.  I explored a few different cheeses to find the best combination with our Chardonnay that offers a perfectly balanced profile of fruit and oak.  As told by our Sommelier:

With most Chardonnays, you get some green apple, a little citrus, and depending on the producer either no or tons of oak and malolactic fermentation to give it that buttered popcorn style. Our Chardonnay undergoes an extremely cold, slow fermentation that extracts tons of tropical fruit character out of this wine. Scents of pineapple, banana, white peach and pear jump out of the glass at me when I pour it. It spends about six months in American oak, but only 20% new oak. The rest of the barrels are all 2-3 years old so it is more for a textural component rather than making the wine overly oaky. You get some notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, but it is definitely in balance with the fruit character of the wine.

CHEESE: I sought to find the best cheese to pair with our style Chardonnay and found a few favorites: Mt. Tam, a brie-style triple cream crafted by Cowgirl Creamery in California.  Another favorite was Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar which is nutty in flavor and has a similar consistency to parmesan while being much more mild to taste – perfect for our style Chardonnay.  The two can be purchased in a set from Cowgirl Creamery that also includes and absolutely unbelievable Echo Mountain Blue Cheese (still delicious with our Chardonnay when drizzled in a little honey and perfect for the reds at your wine tasting tasting), or can be ordered individually as well.  If you’re looking for less expensive options, both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer a wide variety of double-triple cream, brie and mild-medium cheddar cheeses that will be perfect for pairing with Chardonnay.

OTHER BITES TO INCLUDE: In my opinion, creating the perfect cheese plate is all about striking a balance between cheeses and other small bites that enhance the flavors of your wine.  Some crackers and perhaps a loaf of fresh French Bread are key.  The fig spread and honey found in both our Wine & Cheese Party and Cheese Party Packages are essential for getting that sweeter balance and will make cheeses like a tangy blue cheese more approachable for those who might not love an extra sharp cheese on its own.  Figs are also particularly delicious with our Chardonnay and can be served with any cheese imaginable all the way from a creamy brie to an aged, extra sharp cheddar or parmesan.  An artichoke spread (also found in both our Wine & Cheese Party and Cheese Party Packages) offers a savory yet citrusy touch while olive oil is a natural pairing and will give your guests something light to dip their bread in when they’ve indulged in enough cheese ;-)

PS: From a gorgeous marble cheese board to honey, olive oil, salami, cheese knives, and more, our Wine & Cheese Party and Cheese Party Packages offer a one stop shop for all of the goodies you will need to create the perfect wine and cheese party.  Cheers!

Wine Wednesday | Pear + Goat Cheese Crostini

Pear-Goat-Cheese-Crostini-Feature

Happy Wine Wednesday!  We’re halfway through the week, y’all!  The past 7 days have been exceptionally exciting and I’m thrilled to be feeling the most inspired that I have in a very long time.  Jake and I spent last weekend in Napa and we’re heading back tomorrow for a big project that we’re working on together for our company (more details on that later), but there have been a lot of exciting changes in the works :-)  In the meantime, for Wine Wednesday, I wanted to share one of my absolute FAVORITE appetizer recipes that we whipped up for our Pink Party.

Inspired by one of my favorite salads, this Pear + Goat Cheese Crostini is basically an easier-to-eat/one-hand-required version that is perfect for a party or wine tasting.  The creaminess of the goat cheese combined with the slightly sweet balsamic vinaigrette and pears are LEGIT with a well balanced Chardonnay (light on the oak, but not overly sweet). Get in my bellyyyy!  Check out the recipe below and bookmark it for your next party so you can wow your friends and thank me later ;-)

Prep: 20 minutes
Serves: 10-15

Ingredients

1 loaf French bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
5 oz. arugula
3 oz. Goat Cheese
1 Pear (diced)
1/2 cup Glazed Walnut Pieces (I used Fresh Gourmet brand – available in the salad or crouton aisle)

Ingredients for Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While oven is preheating, slice bread into ~1/4″ slices.

2.  Combine olive oil and minced garlic.  Brush mixture onto bread slices.  Place bread on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes on lower rack or until bread has started to toast.

3.  While the bread is in the oven, combine all ingredients for dressing until thoroughly mixed. I like to put everything in a mason jar and shake it up to get an even consistency. This also makes it easy to save leftovers

4.  Remove toasts from oven.  When they have cooled enough to handle, spread each toast with goat cheese.  Return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until goat cheese has softened.

5.  Remove toasts and transfer to serving platter.  Garnish each toast with a few sprigs of arugula, diced pear and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over top and serve with a glass of Chardonnay.  This one is awesome :-)

Pear-Costini-2

Pear-Crostini-3

Pear-Crostini-5

Pear-Crostini-4

Pear-Crostini-6

Pear-Crostini-7

Pear-Crostini-8

Pear-Crostini-9

Pear-Crostini-10

Pear-Crostini-11

Pear-Crostini-12

Pear-Crostini-13

Pear-Crostini-15

Pear-Crostini-16

 

Brie + Fig + Walnut Cups

Brie-Fig-FeatureIf there is anything in the world that I absolutely love, it’s great food and wine.  Some of my fondest memories are with friends and family sharing a great bottle of wine and a simple cheese platter or dishes to pass.  The art of food and wine pairings is one that I’m slowly trying to master since so much of my life revolves around wine.  It can be really intimidating, but a quick google search and reading the tasting notes on the bottle get you halfway there already.  The rest is acquired over time with drinking more wine and experimenting – not a bad deal ;-)

For our Pink Party, I was on the hunt for some great simple recipes that would pair well with Chardonnay and this was was such a winner.  The combination of brie, candied walnuts and figs all wrapped up in buttery, flaky phyllo dough was so delicious with a well balanced Chardonnay (lightly oaked with a slightly sweet/caramel finish).  I’m dying for an excuse to make these again.  Enjoy!

Prep: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients

1 package phyllo dough sheets (available in the dessert freezer aisle)
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 – 10-14 oz. wheel of brie cheese (cut into 12 wedges)
Fig spread (available in this set)
Walnuts (I use Fresh Gourmet Glazed Walnuts)

Instructions

1.  Allow phyllo dough to thaw for time designated on the package and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on wax paper and brush with melted butter.  Layer another piece of phyllo dough on top and repeat until you have 6 layers.

3.  Cut the phyllo dough into 12 sections.

4.  Butter the bottoms and sides of each well of a cupcake pan and place each section of 6 layers of phyllo dough into individual wells.  You need to have enough phyllo to wrap around the contents and close on the top so it’s sometimes easier to save one of the 6 layers for covering the top.

5.  Place one wedge of brie into the bottom of each cup and layer 3 tablespoons of fig spread and 1 tablespoon of walnuts into each cup.  You should use all of your fig spread so if you have extra, add it to your pastries.  If you prefer to remove the rind from the brie, do that at this time.

6. Close each cup and brush the tops with melted butter.

7. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until phyllo is slightly browned and crispy.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Gently scoop each cup out being careful not to tear the layers and place on serving dish.  Serve while warm with ONEHOPE Chardonnay – DELICIOUS!

Recipe inspired by this.

Brie-Fig-Cups-2

Brie-Fig-Cups

Brie-Fig-Cups-3

Brie-Fig-Cups-4

Brie-Fig-Cups-5

Brie-Fig-Cups-6

Brie-Fig-Cups-8

Brie-Fig-Cups-9

Brie-Fig-Cups-11

Brie-Fig-Cup-12

Brie-Fig-Cups-10

Brie-Fig-Cups-13

Brie-Fig-Cups-14

Brie-Fig-Cups-16 Brie-Fig-Cups-17

Brie-Fig-Cups-18

Brie-Fig-Cups-20

Pink Party for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink-Party-Table-1

Call me #basic, but by the time September rolls around, I’m ready to embrace all things fall.  From autumn inspired recipes, to warm mulled wines, to pumpkins and candles that remind me of fall scents back home in Michigan – I just can’t get enough of my favorite season.  October, however, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it marks the beginning of the most important time of the year for us at work.  Since half the profits from our Chardonnay give back to Gateway for Cancer Research (providing clinical trials to women with breast cancer), just when we’re ready to dive head first into fall, everything turns PINK.

We have a division of our company called Hope at Home which offers at-home wine parties that benefit the cause of your choice with 15% going back to the non-profit of your choice.  As our Art Director, I’m always on the hunt for creative and fun ways for our team to stay inspired and get motivated to throw their own parties – especially during our cause months.  A big challenge for me this year at work was figuring out how to throw a pink party, when everyone wants to curl up with a blanket, drink warm mulled wine and pull out their orange pumpkins and decor.  I poked around the internet for some inspiration and ultimately ended up coming back again and again to a flower arrangement that embraced pink and orange equally.  It was inherently pink but also perfectly fall so I decided to run with it.

Since everything we put together had to be easily replicated by our team members who might not be full fledged floral designers or regular party hosts, I broke it down into three simple DIYS and four food/appetizer ideas that both embrace the fall season and pair wonderfully with our Chardonnay.  The best part of this project (beside seeing it all come together) was definitely trying the recipes.  They were SO good and everyone in the office chowed down while we popped open a few bottles of Chardonnay.  Check out everything below from the DIY and recipes to shots from our own little Pink Party ;-)

PS: If you’re interested in hosting your own PINK party for Breast Cancer Awareness Month or if you’d like to raise money for another cause that you’re passionate about OR if you’d like to make an income while giving back to various causes, please consider Hope at Home :-)

DIY YARN FRINGE BACKDROP

DIY PINK FALL FLORALS

DIY FLORAL ICE CUBES

PINK MARSHMALLOW DIP

PEAR + GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI

BRIE + FIG PASTRY BITES

CHARDONNAY CHEESE PLATE

PINK-PARTY-COLLAGE

Pink-Party-Flower-2

Pink-Party-Table-2

Pink-Party-Florals

Pink-Party-Wine

Pink-Party-Beth

Pink-Party-Table-4

Pink-Party-Table-3

Pink-Party-Group

CHEERS!

 

 

Salad Wars – Quinoa Salad

Quinoa-Salad-Feature-2

Happy Tuesday!  I meant to post the second salad of Salad Wars last week, but things got crazy at work and there was just no darn time for blogging.  You know how that goes!

Now back to salads…

This salad probably takes the cake as one of the best everyday salad I’ve ever had.  Jake and I visited some friends last summer when they got engaged and moved into their first place together.  Lauren whipped this up for everyone and I was sold.  I had to have the recipe.  Thankfully she sent it over a few days later and I’ve been making it ever since and it’s such a hit every time.  What’s really great is that it’s so simple to make ahead of time too and these days I’m all about easy lunches.  Usually on Sunday or Monday night I’ll make a great big batch of quinoa (2 cups of quinoa in 4 cups of chicken stock) and then I have a ton of it for the week to throw into anything that needs a little extra something.  Pre-chop the veggies (peppers, onion and cucumber) and you’re good to go.  Simple lunches FOR. THE. WIN.  Huge thanks to Lauren for changing my salad life and turning me on to quinoa!

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 people (entree sized portion)

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh spinach
1 cucumber (peeled and chopped)
1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1/4 red onion (chopped)
1 avocado
1/2 cup feta
1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic (minced)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  In a small pot, combine chicken stock with quinoa, garlic, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

2.  While cooking the quinoa, chop all of your veggies.

3.  Once quinoa has absorbed all of the chicken stock (about 20 minutes) remove from heat for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.

4.  Combine spinach, veggies and feta and pour quinoa over top.  Juice lemon and add olive oil and balsamic.  Toss and serve.

5.  Two great wines to pair… this one and this one :-)

Quinoa-Salad-1

Quinoa-Salad-2
Quinoa-Salad-3

Quinoa-Salad-4

Quinoa-Salad-5

Quinoa-Salad-6

Quinoa-Salad-9

Quinoa-Salad-10

Quinoa-Salad-11

Quinoa-Salad-12

Quinoa-Salad-13

Quinoa-Salad-14