The Boy and I love fast-casual places. There are so many in the DC area that can be described as the “Chipotle of…” and then fill in the blank with your favorite type of food. And apparently there’s a good reason for that – the reason being that people in DC don’t have the same overwhelming food options as New York, but are still a big city where people are willing to spend a little more to get a meal that is a) made fast but with b) quality ingredients. So DC has become a sort of experimental center for all these types of places.
“But Maggie,” I hear you saying, “What does any of this have to do with a salad dressing recipe?” Well, there’s one of these kinds of places in our neighborhood that does Mediterranean food, and it’s super tasty. On the occasional night where I’m exhausted and not interested in cooking, and the Boy is home from work early, we will sometimes make the trip over there and get super yummy bowls of goodness to go. I love to get the braised lamb on a bed of toasted quinoa with all kinds of roasted veggies, lettuce, grilled corn, feta and so much garlic sauce it makes me breathe fire for days.
You’re still waiting for the connection, right? Well here it is – a week or so ago, it was kind of late, and we were in that typical situation where we would head over to get dinner, but it was so darn hot, and neither of us wanted to leave the comfort of air conditioning. So I said I would try to recreate something like that yummy bowl of goodness at home. We didn’t have lamb, nor was I interested in roasting any vegetables, but I could easily do quinoa and spinach with feta. I just needed a dressing like their garlic one, and since we also love lemon, I wanted that in there too. Some quick googling brought me to this ridiculously easy recipe (seriously – maybe 5 minutes of work?). After putting the salad bowls together, I was hesitant. Would it be any good?
Damn straight, it was amazing. This is going to become my new go-to lazy night meal. Heck, we already had a repeat once already. And while the other ingredients are totally fine…it’s this dressing that steals the show. If you make it, you will not be sorry.
Lemon Garlic Dressing
Yield: 6 servings
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (note: I didn’t use this, so let’s say it’s optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt.
In a bowl whisk together garlic paste, lemon juice, vinegar, zest, and pepper and whisk in oil until emulsified.
Dressing may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring dressing to room temperature before serving.
To make my favorite salad, cook according to directions one serving of quinoa per person. Cool in fridge for at least 15 minutes after finished cooking. In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa with a generous helping of baby spinach – there should be equal amounts of each by volume. Pour slightly more dressing than you would use for a normal salad over the grain/leaf combination. Mix together – both should be decidedly wet with the dressing. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Mix a little more. Enjoy!
Details: Lemon Garlic Dressing from Food Network