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There are a few select things that make a recipe a winner in my books. I’m most excited about a recipe when the flavors are spot on, when its easy to put together and when the ingredients are easy to get or are flexible enough for substitutions.

Now, it doesn’t mean that every recipe found on this blog has all of these traits or falls neatly into each of these categories. Some things just take longer than others, that’s just a given. It also doesn’t mean those things aren’t worth making because they take longer either.

That notion would be absurd. Everyone knows that certain things cooked over a long period of time can sometimes bring the flavors to new heights. But quick, easy recipes are essential for most of us leading busier lives than we wish to be living.

Back pocket recipe

This recipe is one for the back pocket, one to whip together on a moments notice and can either pair beautifully with grilled meat or play the leading role. The addition of chickpeas,white beans and/or walnuts can make this filling enough for a vegetarian or even a vegan if the cheese is left out. Feel free to play around with this as much as you like, the base is truly flexible and delightful, even to those that aren’t particularly fond of raw zucchini (that’s me).

Even though I’m not particularly fond of raw zucchini, I’m pretty excited about this salad. I had it for snack today (just to try it out, you know how that is), then we had it for dinner tonight, with the addition of some corn, and I can tell you honestly, I’m looking forward to making a fresh batch and having it for lunch tomorrow! When the entire recipe takes 5 minutes to make, making a fresh batch is not that intimidating.

I’m also excited about using the left over dressing this week to pair with roasted bone marrow on crusty sourdough bread, then using it as a spread for my pea and avocado crostini recipe that I’m trying out tomorrow, and possibly using it to marinate some chicken. This dressing, of course, would be delightful on a regular salad as well. Now that’s flexibility!

Here are some possible changes and possible substitutions:

  • -Sub in blue cheese, gorgonzola, goat cheese, pecorino or parmesan for feta
  • -Add in cooked corn (did this one tonight and it was DELISH), peas, white beans, chickpeas or nuts
  • -Add a variety of herbs such as chopped cilantro, parsley, basil or dill
  • -Omit the pea shoots and radishes

Zucchini, Feta and Mint Salad

recipe for 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main (add a bean, nut or meat)

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 4 radishes (optional)
  • a quarter lemon, preserved
  • 1 cup pea shoots (optional)
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Wash and slice the zucchini any way you like. Thin delicate slices will work best. I chose to use my mandoline and used the julienne setting. To julienne by hand, see this helpful video. Thinly slice the radishes. Remove the pulp and pith of the lemon and thinly slice into strips. Add the zucchini, radishes, lemon, pea shoots and mint leaves to a large bowl. Toss the ingredients with 2 Tbsp of Parsley Vinaigrette (or as much or as little as you like) and season with plenty of fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of salt.

1 cup of chickpeas or 1/2 cup toasted walnuts are a nice addition if you plan to eat this as a vegetarian main course.

Parsley Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients into a blender, food processor or use an emulsion blender to make a smooth, thick and creamy dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.


I’m sharing this with Real Food 101, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless MondaysFat Tuesday, A Little Birdie Told Me, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Friday Food Flicks, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.

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