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cooking again!

Last night was the first time I’ve cooked any sort of food for Dave and myself… in… let’s see… 11 days. Unbelievable! I think that is the longest stretch of “no-cook” time for me since back in 2008 when we were traveling through France and Italy with the kids. But, I’m back and the recipes will again be flowing, thanks for hanging in there with me through the trip to Sedona, the foot injury, and birthdays. 😀

On Wednesday, my dad took me to True Food Kitchen at Scottsdale Quarter for my birthday lunch. I usually order the light and luscious Edamame Dumplings, or their delicious Herb Hummus, or the fabulous Wild Ahi Sliders… but this time I decided to try the Mediterranean Chopped Salad. Good choice! Actually, I’ve never had anything I didn’t enjoy from the menu. The photo at the top is the True Food salad – taken with my new iPhone 4s, which I LOVE!  Once I got home, I just had to recreate it for Dave.  He, of course, loved it… and you will too.

True Food uses red quinoa in their salad, I had the white on hand (you can also find black quinoa), otherwise, this salad tasted exactly like the one you’d be served at the restaurant. They also offer the salad with the addition of grilled chicken or salmon, obviously, you can too.

True Food Kitchen’s Mediterranean Chopped Salad Knock-off

2 cups cold water
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed under cold running water

Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 of an English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 large handfuls green beans, trimmed and steamed
2 cups cherry or teardrop tomatoes
3/4 cup Marcona almonds
3 cups arugula or spinach leaves
1 cup crumbled feta or queso cotija cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and stir, simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and spread out on a plate to cool to room temperature.

While the quinoa is cooking and cooling, make the vinaigrette. Place the garlic, lemon zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, oregano, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and blend well.  While continually whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, until the dressing is emulsified.

In a large salad bowl, toss together the cucumber, olives, green beans, tomatoes, almonds, and arugula. Add the cooled quinoa, cheese, and vinaigrette.  Toss until all ingredients are coated with the vinaigrette, taste for seasoning, and serve.

Serves 4

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1 Marissa { 10.29.11 at 1:28 PM }

This sounds amazing!! Definitely making it next week!

2 Faisal { 04.23.12 at 10:09 PM }

Thanks for this!! It is so close that I now have a great recipe to use at home. Is there a difference in taste with different quinoa? Thanks again for cracking the code!

3 Linda Hopkins { 04.24.12 at 8:47 AM }

Hi Faisal, Yes there is a bit of a taste difference. The lighter colored quinoa hae a more delicate taste and the darker colors are a bit nuttier and richer in flavor. Thanks for the question/comment and thanks for visiting. Best wishes.

4 Vera { 12.15.12 at 7:22 PM }

I love True Food Mediterranean Salad! Your recipe is spot on! I was totally planning to make the salad at home, but wasn’t sure how to go about the dressing. Your dressing is delicious! Thank you for posting. I believe they use watercress which is what I used also. Watercress is kind of difficult to get a hold of so next time I’ll use arugula like you suggest.

5 Sarah { 12.30.12 at 11:37 AM }

I went to True Food for the first time last night and had this salad. It was love at first bite.Thank you for recreating it!!!!

6 Maggie { 08.24.14 at 12:42 PM }

This is my favorite salad recipe of all time!!! I make it regularly. Thanks for all of your amazing recipes and Happy 5th Blogiversary!

7 Tandra { 08.13.15 at 8:52 AM }

This is now one of my go to recipe’s! I absolutely love it and have shared it with several of my co workers who now make the dressing weekly for other dishes. Thanks for the time and effort allocated to recreating the True Foods version you nailed it!

8 Linda Hopkins { 08.13.15 at 4:17 PM }

Thank you Tandra, You just made my day! 🙂

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