Author Archives: Cherylanne Skolnicki

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Since the weather has blessedly turned a bit warmer here in Cincinnati (okay, truthfully we’re all jumping the gun and running around in shorts and teeshirts because we can hardly believe that 10 days ago we were shoveling SNOW) , this week’s meatless meal idea is a cold quinoa salad.

Made heartier by the addition of Lima beans and black beans, this is a great meal for an evening when you want to channel spring. You can make it ahead and eat it after you’ve made time for a walk or a run or a quick game of pickup basketball, just because you finally CAN.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing


1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa

3 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. grated lemon rind

½ tsp pepper

3 tsp. minced garlic

1 (10 oz. package) frozen Lima beans or edamame

4 cups chopped tomatoes

½ cup sliced green onions

½ cup chopped carrot

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover pan for 15 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook Lima beans or edamame according to package, omitting salt and fat. Cool completely.
  3. Combine olive oil, salt, basil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, lemon rind, pepper, and minced garlic. Once well combined stir in cooked quinoa.
  4. Add cooled Lima beans, tomatoes, green onions, carrots, and black beans to the quinoa and stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Serve as is or atop a bed of baby spinach.


Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

Next up in our meatless Lenten meals series is this one dish skillet penne. The beauty of this dish is that the whole thing cooks in ONE POT keeping the mess to a minimum and cleanup to minutes. It will seem a little strange to cook pasta in a nonstick skillet, but a pot is a pot, and this definitely works!

Once the pasta cooks, instead of draining it, you’ll simply add the other ingredients, and the leftover thickened cooking liquid will form the basis for the sauce. Easy peasy.

Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

Serves 4


2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups water
8 ounces penne pasta (2 1/2 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice to taste


1. In a 12″ nonstick skillet, combine broth, water, penne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until penne is tender and liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

2.While the pasta cooks, cut the tomatoes and chop the olives.

3. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and olives, and cook until they are heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. Off the heat, stir in basil, Parmesan, and olive oil. Squeeze a lemon over the whole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

* adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers

I can’t remember when veggie burgers first because a staple in my meatless meal rotation, but it was probably when I was single and living in Atlanta and looking for super quick ideas that worked “for one”. I’m still partial to Gardenburger Original, but there are so many ways to make variations at home, that every now and then I branch out!

So, continuing with this meatless meal idea series for Lent 2015, here is a twist on a veggie burger that uses chickpeas and potatoes as the basis for the burger. Earthy and hearty, these are so good you won’t miss the meat a bit. I like these toppped with cucumber, tomato and tzatziki, but you could use lettuce, spinach, red onion, avocado, roasted red peppers, or whatever combination of toppings appeals to you!


Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers


1 8 oz. red potato

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs. fresh parsley

½ tsp. lemon rind

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

2 large egg whites


  1. Place red potato in sauce pan and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the water, coarsely chop and place in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 Tbs. olive oil and garlic, mash until slightly chunky.
  2. Stir together 3 Tbs. of chickpeas, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper, leaving the chickpeas whole, not mashed.
  3. Take the remaining chickpeas and mash into the potato mixture until well blended. Gently fold in the whole chickpea mixture into the mashed chick pea mixture. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties.
  4. Heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add 3 patties at a time, cooking on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Serve on whole wheat buns with cucumber slices, tomato, and a drizzle of tzatziki.