Over the years I have become terrible at planning things. For example this barbecue idea I have had over the last several years has never really worked out for me. I have this image in my mind of how I want things to turn out, usually resembling someone’s Pinterest board with red and white checkered table clothes, mason jar filled drinks, and old wooden picnic tables. It never really amounts to anything. I wanted a real barbecue, the kind with burned hot dogs, tons of people, and ice-cold beer (even though I don’t drink beer). I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I really had anything to do with a barbecue. Finally this past weekend we did it! I know, summer has come and gone, but we had the time so we fit it in!
There was one major problem, we didn’t have a grill! Where do you even get those after summer? I first suggested Target, but it’s November and what if they didn’t have any. If you know anything about LA traffic it could take your entire day just for one trip to Target, not to mention having to buy all the things for the barbecue. The house was just purchased and missing a few necessities (Not that a barbecue grill is a necessity).
The next major problem was that I just made the vow to only drink protein shakes to combat my cream cheese filled diet I seemed to be on. I seriously just made a vow to cut out a ton of calories not more than 24 hours prior to this barbecue idea! Talk about a lack of will power!
I found a grill pan and figured that would have to do, but then someone suggest they bring their George Forman Grill. Remember those! I haven’t seen one since high school. I loved that grill by the way! I made everything in it, especially grilled cheese.
So there it was, the grill dilemma was solved, but I still had the issue with over eating. I didn’t want to overstuff myself, but I have zero will power when I am presented with tons of food. Especially after a few cocktails, I become a food magnet. That’s when I decided on a compromise. We will make tons of burgers, but I will balance things out with a healthy salad containing the oh-so-healthy quinoa that we have all grown to know and love. I learned about a new spice called sumac that I have been using a lot more lately. Sumac is a spice used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking. Read more about it HERE. You can find it at any Middle Eastern market or just buy it on Amazon HERE.
The salad turned out great. I meant for it to be a healthy alternative, but leave it to the guys to find ways to make something healthy a little less healthy. They started using it as a dip. My first reaction was to roll my eyes, however after trying it on top of a chip was actually pretty good! I think next time I will use this as filling inside a pita with chicken.
3 Roma tomatoes, cubed
1 English cucumber, cubed
1 small medium red onion, finely sliced
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
1 small lemon, juiced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 ½ teaspoon sumac powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss everything together in a bowl. It’s as simple as that. I love this salad because you can add to it or substitute items. Instead of quinoa you can use chickpeas. Also, instead of a red onion you can use green onions.