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Once again, I had a major learning experience in the kitchen. In dreaming up this recipe, I thought I would buy some good goat cheese rather than the feta in a plastic bowl that I usually buy. I’m here to tell you Feta Cheese does NOT = Goat Cheese. This fabulous ingredient is just one in the symphony that made this dish sing! This was a vegetarian dish that was bursting with flavor! We ate it warm, but it would be great served chilled as well. The expected Greek flavors of kalamata olives and goat cheese, were complimented by artichoke hearts and fresh, organic spring onions. The quinoa/bulgar mix made it a hearty dish that was very satisfying.

Tip: If you’re looking to cut fat and calories, canned artichoke hearts are a great ingredient! These canned hearts are usually packed in water. Their counterparts in glass jars are usually packed in oil. Of course, if you’re cooking your own artichokes you can totally control the fat content! 

You can easily adapt this into a vegan dish by leaving off the cheese. It would still taste great, but the cheese definitely adds  great flavor!

Warm Quinoa Salad

8.8 oz of quinoa or bulgar/quinoa mix

4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

2 spring onions, sliced

5 oz kalamata olives, sliced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp Garlic olive oil

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled (See tip below)

Fill a large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Add quinoa or bulgar mix, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Half way through the cook time, sauté next 5 ingredients in garlic olive oil over medium heat. When quinoa is doing cooking, drain in a sieve and then add o sautéed vegetables. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir well. Scoop up servings on plates and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.

Tip: I found the goat cheese to be very soft and sticky, so it was difficult to crumble. I put the cheese in the freezer for a few minutes and it hardened enough so that it crumbled much easier. Only put it in the freezer for a FEW minutes though! It hardens up very fast.