Healthy Salad Recipes: Quinoa and Fruit, and Mediterranean Spiced Chickpea and Freekeh

When it comes to healthy recipes using whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and delicious spices, these two dishes have all the ingredients. During this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Fun and Fit as a Family event, I’ll be demonstrating how to make these salads at Baptist Health’s exhibit. Recipe cards will be available, or you can make the salads now. Enjoy the Mediterranean Spiced Chickpea and Freekeh Salad at room temperature, and chill the Quinoa Fruit Salad for a fresh, healthy sweet treat tomorrow.

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Serves 6

2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups mango diced
2 tablespoons Pomegranate seeds
1 cup pineapple, diced
1 cup cucumber, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons scallion, chopped

Juice of 1 large lime
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
2. To make the Honey Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, honey, and mint together until combined.
3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and mango. Pour honey lime dressing over the fruit salad and mix until well combined.
4. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional Information: Calories 136, Total Fat 0g, Sodium 7mg, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 12g, Protein 3g

Mediterranean Spiced Chick pea and Freekeh Salad

Serves 8-­10

2 small eggplants
2 tsp Goya spice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (15.5 ounce) canned low sodium chickpeas, drained (or 2 cups cooked)
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup uncooked freekeh
3 cups water
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 large English cucumber, peeled & chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp mint, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of ½ a lemon
1 teaspoon Goya spice
Sea salt
Black pepper, pinch
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Set them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the SPICE ; toss to coat.
2. Roast for 20­-25 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Set aside.
3. Combine freekeh and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, stir, cover it and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Drain any extra water. Set aside.
4. While the eggplant is in the oven, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas, Goya spice and salt. Toss and toast until the chickpeas are well coated with the spice mix and golden. Set aside.
5. Gently toss all of the remaining ingredients together with the roasted eggplant, freekeh and spiced chickpeas. Add olive oil as needed to keep it loose, and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Enjoy at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Nutritional Information: Calories 272, Total Fat 11g; Sodium 418mg, Dietary Fiber 9g, Sugars 5g, Protein 9g

Chef-Richard-headshot-REVISED-2014-300x241.jpgABOUT CHEF RICHARD

Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at South Miami Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011 for the opening of West Kendall Baptist Hospital. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.

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