Tag Archives: summer side dishes

Beet Quinoa Salad

How often do you go to the market for one thing, but end up walking out with more items than what you intended to buy? A few days ago, I went to my local Whole Foods for one thing and came across this gem:

Local Produce Box at Whole Foods

Similar to a CSA box, this local produce share included lettuce, kale, red chard, tomatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers. Salad in a box! No sifting through items in the produce section! SOLD! (I really hope Whole Foods at Fresh Pond starts to carry these on a regular basis!) This package was a little more than salad in a box though. The fun part about CSA-like boxes is that there may be something unfamiliar in there…like beets.


Beet Quinoa Salad


I don’t know how or why, but I’ve never bought or cooked beets. All you have to do is clean them, and boil for 40-minutes to an hour. Peel, slice, and you’re done – simple! Not wanting to waste anything in this box, I found a recipe in Béatrice Peltre’s book, La Tartine Gourmande, for Beet Quinoa Salad. Beets, quinoa, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, and a mixture of herbs combine to make a salad bursting with the flavors of summer. (Not to mention completely beautiful to photograph!)


Beet Quinoa Salad




Zucchini fritters

The herb chicken I made in the crock-pot for dinner was ready to go. Jeff was on his way over, and I needed a vegetable side dish to whip up in a pinch. Let’s face it – steamed vegetables can get boring really quickly. There’s only so many times a girl can eat steamed zucchini sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, and some Italian seasonings as a side dish. With two zucchinis in my refrigerator, I wanted to create something different with them.  So I found a recipe for zucchini fritters on Smitten Kitchen and modified it a bit to be gluten-free.

Out came my box grater, and naturally a mess resulted on tiny counter top. If you don’t already know, be aware –  zucchini is a very watery vegetable. Zucchini water ended up EVERYWHERE. (I’m not a neat cook.) But the shredded vegetable inside the box grater looked delicious!

As I’ve started reading more about cooking and baking gluten-free foods, I learned that gluten-free flours taste better when they are combined together. So instead of all-purpose flour, I mixed millet and amaranth flour together. The flours added a wonderful nutty taste to the fritters. The recipe I used had extra ingredients for toppings, but we really enjoyed them completely plain. I made another batch to bring to a cookout over the weekend, and they were a fantastic appetizer!


Zucchini Fritters (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 10 fritters

1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)

1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, extra to taste

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup Millet flour

1/4 cup Amaranth flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons Olive oil (for frying)


Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Trim off the ends of the zucchini. Using a box grater or the shredding blade in a food processor, grate the zucchini.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and salt together. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wring out excess water from the zucchini. As the Smitten Kitchen recipe suggested, I pressed the zucchini against the sides of colander with a spoon. That didn’t seem to get all the water out, so I switched to towels. I couldn’t believe how much water drained out!

Place the shredded zucchini back into a bowl and mix in the egg and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the millet and amaranth flours, and the baking powder. Toss the mixture in with the zucchini and stir until everything is combined.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, drop small spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan. Slightly flatten each spoonful with a spatula and cook 3-4 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Flip each fritter and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Place each fritter on a paper towel to drain, then transfer them onto a cookie sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining batter. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes.