Cooler temperatures mean it’s the perfect time to hike, bike, float, camp, picnic and just explore The Natural State. If you’re going on a hike, ride or float trip, take my protein-packed Asian Quinoa Salad as a main dish. Camping? Make my Orange Date Granola for a satisfying breakfast or snack. My simple Mediterranean-inspired Chicken Wraps are perfect for picnics, and my mayonnaise-free Chickpea Salad stands in for potato salad as a satisfying side dish. Enjoy the outdoors this month!
Asian Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 main-dish or 8 side-dish servings.
1 cup white quinoa, uncooked
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
2 1/4 cups roasted, salted peanuts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger or ginger paste
Prepare quinoa according to package directions, substituting chicken broth for water and adding salt when broth boils. Place prepared quinoa in a bowl or airtight container. Add green onions, cilantro, carrots and peanuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add half the dressing to quinoa, and stir before adding second half, so it evenly coats quinoa. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
Orange Date Granola
Makes 4 servings.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
Zest from 1 1/2 oranges
1 cup dates, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Heat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, honey and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cinnamon, oats and nuts. Stir wet ingredients into oat mixture until thoroughly coated. Evenly spread mixture on baking sheet; top with orange zest. Bake 10 minutes. Stir, then bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven (it will look wet).
Stir in dates and dried cranberries. (If you want granola in larger clumps, press mixture together when it comes out of oven, so it will stick together as it dries.)
Cool completely before storing in airtight container. Will keep for a week or more.
Mediterranean-inspired Chicken Wraps
Makes 4 wraps.
4 (10-inch) tortillas
8 tablespoons or more prepared hummus
20 slices of deli chicken (I use rotisserie-seasoned)
8 slices cucumber, halved
1/3 cup kalamata olives, patted dry, pitted and chopped
4 large leaves romaine or iceberg lettuce
Pickled onion or thinly sliced onion, to taste
4 slices of tomato, halved
Spread each tortilla with 2 tablespoons or more of hummus. Add 5 slices of deli meat to each, and top with 4 cucumber halves. Add olives, lettuce and onion. Fold in one side of wrap, then the other to close; secure with a toothpick. When packing, roll each wrap in a paper towel before putting in plastic bag or container. When it’s time to eat, open and add tomato (adding tomato in advance can make wraps soggy).
Notes: Substitute any kind of wrap; spinach is another good flavor. Also, you can use chopped sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.
Makes 4 servings.
1 (15- to 16-ounce)can chickpeas, drained
2/3 cup carrots,shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Place chickpeas in a bowl or airtight container. Add carrots, red bell pepper, onion and cumin seed. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and sugar until sugar dissolves. Toss chickpeas with dressing. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Note: This salad is even better the next day.