Healthy (and Quick) European Inspired Meals

{By Ellery Sadler}

I was recently able to tour Europe, which was not only a girl’s dream come true, but also a food-lover’s paradise. And I love food.

After eating at delicious French café’s and family run Italian restaurants, I was struck by how distinctive European dishes are, and how different from American food! All the European dishes I had were light and fresh and simple – none of it was drowned in sauces or burdened with cheap seasonings. It was simple, with bold flavors and fresh ingredients. It was food like food was meant to be. So I decided, once I got back, to recreate some of my favorite dishes.

Smoked Salmon and Brie Baguette Sandwich

This was sold everywhere in France, at almost every café and street vendor. And walking along the crowded, curving alleyways of Paris, men in trim business suits and stylish Parisian women would pass by eating smoked salmon baguettes. So if you want to be a chic Parisian – eat this sandwich. It is absolutely ‘faaaabulous’, as Julia Child would say ;)

You will need:

  • Crusty baguette
  • Cold-smoked salmon
  • Cucumbers – thinly sliced
  • Brie
  • Onion – thinly sliced

Cut the bread in half lengthwise and layer with thin slices of cucumber and onion. Then top with smoked salmon and brie. A simple, but flavorful dish.  Enjoy!

Sliced Spinach Salad

As a side dish, I love to do thinly sliced spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette and grated parmesan cheese – an elegant, refreshing dish. To quickly slice the spinach, roll a handful of leaves up together and then rough chop them.

Cucumber Quinoa Salad on Fresh Tomato

This dish was partially inspired by a delicious cous cous dish we had at a little Italian restaurant, but it is mostly our invention. After eating all the delicate, flavorful European dishes we decided to create one of our own. It’s important to let the simple, bold flavors speak for themselves and this light, summery dish is perfect for lunch or dinner – it’s healthy, satisfying and very European.

Serves 4

For the quinoa you will need:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¾ cup of corn
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 grated  radishes (you can just grate them on a cheese grater)
  • ¼ cup diced onion

To cook the quinoa place in a pan with 1 tbs oil, sauté for 2 minutes and then add the 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, toss the rest on the ingredients together in 1/3 a cup of white wine vinegar and a dash of oil. Add some fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the quinoa and put in the fridge until chilled. For presentation you can pile it one two slices of ripe, red tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Bon appetite!