Quick Side Dishes and Chimichurri Beer Burgers

April 13, 2010

I’ve been on a mission to find quick side dishes lately. I haven’t tired of cooking, but with longer days and more time spent outside in the evenings I haven’t wanted to spend a lot of time cooking at night.
On a related note, I think I also lose my spark of excitement for evening cooking because I know after the sun goes down the pictures won’t be blog worthy. Why bother, right? This little fact that my blog and photo quality determine what time of day I’m motivated to cook may be indication of an issue that needs attention, but we’ll save that for another day.
So back to the quick sides.
Lately, I’ve found myself tossing broccoli in to steam, sautéing mushrooms and onions to toss in with couscous. You know; nothing exciting, but still relatively tasty and healthy.
Last night when we needed something to go with our grilled chicken I decided to make some pasta salad; something I haven’t made in a really long time. I had a few more exciting ingredients to use in the dish, so this one I thought I would share.
I don’t make pasta salads much anymore mainly because I lack ideas for non-bottled dressings. However, with using the cheese and olives in this, it only needed a drizzle of olive oil and a shake of black ground pepper to be complete.
Gorgonzola, Olive & Spinach Pasta Salad

½ cup fresh spinach, finely chopped, firmly packed
15 pimento stuffed green olives, halved
1 – 2 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups dry, whole wheat pasta, cooked and rinsed to cool
Black pepper to taste

In a medium-sized bowl combine the spinach, olives, cheese and olive oil. Stir to break up the cheese so it is evenly distributed.

Add the drained pasta to bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper. You can add salt too if you wish, but I found the olives and cheese added enough salty flavor for my tastes. Serves 4.


I also said yesterday that I would tell you a little more about the burgers we grilled on Sunday. If you are at all familiar with Argentinean cuisine, then you know about chimichurri. It is a sauce made of herbs, oil and vinegar that is served with meat or it is sometimes used as a marinade.
Before we left Brazil, my husband took a work trip to Argentina and his colleagues gave him some chimichurri. It is in the dry form and you simply add the oil to make the sauce. I’m sure similar products can be found at Latin markets around the States, or you could make a version of your own like this one from Simply Recipes.
Seeing it in the cabinet the other night I decided to season the burgers with it. The result was fantastic! They were full of flavor and had a slight spiciness that went wonderfully with the grass-fed beef I used.
I finished off the burger-making process by using the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day to make buns. I was worried they would be too heavy and sweet for the burgers, but they ended up pairing nicely.
Chimichurri Beer Burgers

1 lb grass-fed beef
¼ cup beer (I used a light ale)
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp chimichurri seasoning mix
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to incorporate the spices. Form into 4 equal patties. Grill or pan fry based on your preferences. It took about 8 minutes on our new grill to cook them through.
I topped mine with some Chive and Onion Jack Cheese, and sautéed onions and mushrooms!

I’m submitting the pasta salad to the April Side Dish Showdown at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.

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  • Lazaro Cooks! April 13, 2010 at 9:13 am

    That is awesome chimichurri beer burgers. Now I eat a lot of chimi on my steaks. I make it. Where did you find it in seasoning form? I need to get my hands on this!

    Bottle salad dressings are vile. Homemade is so simple and fresh. Here is my go to quick vinagreta or vinaigrette.

    In a glass bowl combine:
    2 tbs Spanish sherry vinegar
    3 to 4 tbs Avocado oil (whole foods has it) 3 or 4 tbs oil depending on how acidic you like it.
    1 tbs organic honey
    pinch sea salt
    pinch brown sugar
    pinch black pepper
    Whisk well

    Sorry I got a bit long-winded there…many apologies.


  • The Food Hunter April 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I love this pasta salad.

  • Ju Lima April 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Ju Lima April 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    yummm to both salad and burgers!! i’ve been on a run lately, but will write you soon! miss ya!

  • sarah (Catch A Cub In Its Den) April 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    talk about ooey-gooey goodness! that burger looks delish!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance April 14, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Those rolls look really, really good. I just can’t seem to make myself bake bread… However I looove making up salad dressing recipes. Pasta salad is a perfect idea for those. With my little blender I concoct all sorts of things 🙂

  • 5 Star Foodie April 14, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I love the combination of gorgonzola and olives in your delightful pasta salad! And the burgers look excellent!

  • kat April 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

    That pasta salad looks so good. I’m the same way about doing side dishes usually too..

  • Blake April 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I’m convinced that chimichurri is the best thing in the world. I was introduced to it when I lived in Argentina. Thanks for the recipe!

  • lauren April 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    where did you find the chimichurri seasoning? regular grocery store? I had a chimichurri risotto the other night and loved it.

    We are headed to Cincinatti tomorrow, but will be pretty crazy busy visiting with my fiance’s family. But you know how that is – sorry – would have loved to meet you!

  • Cinnamon-Girl April 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I never saw a chimichurri like this! How delicious on your beer burgers! Such flavor. And I love everything about the pasta salad! Thanks for sending it to the Showdown.

  • Sagan April 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    That photo makes me want a burger RIGHT NOW.


  • Lori April 15, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Lazaro – Thanks for posting the recipe, that sounds great. I’ll definitely have to try it.

    Food Hunter – Thanks!

    Ju – Thanks! Hope things are going well.

    sarah – Thanks, they were really tasty.

    Michelle – I’ll have to keep my eye out on the blog for those dressings! I don’t have much success with bread. This batch turned out okay, though. One of the better ones.

    5 Star – I’m a big fan of Gorgonzola. Love the salty flavor it adds.

    kat – Especially this time of year it is the faster the better.

    Blake- I haven’t had it straight from the source yet. I’m sure it is even better!

    Lauren – This one actually came from Argentina. I expect you could find something similar in Latin markets, but we don’t have one around here. Only Mexican specifically and I haven’t tried there.

    Reeni – No problem, glad I was able to participate.

    Sagan – Yeah, darn the food photos, always hungry. 🙂

  • OysterCulture April 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love the sound of everything – the strong distinctive gorgonzola cheese in the pasta dish and the chimichurri beer burgers, how yummy is that! Best of luck in the contest.

  • Tangled Noodle April 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I am so happy that grilling season is finally here! In fact, burgers are on tap tomorrow. Excellent idea to season the patties with chimichurri but those buns look even more wonderful. I’ve heard such great things about this book – must get! As for your pasta salad, these flavors are some of my husband’s favorites – I’ll have to toss a bowl for him!

  • Debinhawaii April 16, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Those burgers look and sound incredible–love the idea of the chimichurri seasoning. The pasta salad looks like a great combination of flavors too. ;-(

  • Erica April 19, 2010 at 5:46 am

    The pasta salad looks great! I recently made something somewhat similar. Love you you can switch up the ingredients so many different ways and have a tasty new creation!! Josh would love those burgers. Beef+beer=man heaven 😉

  • Ana Powell May 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Awesome side dish.
    Great combination of flavours x

  • Joanne May 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I totally know what you mean about picture taking. I’ve been having dinner for lunch just because the lighting is better at 1. It’s insanity. the things I do for this blog…

    That pasta salad looks delicious though! I love olives. As in have a serious addiction to them. and those burgers…holy YUM.

  • Lauren June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    This recipe sounds great and the burger looks amazing! I especially liked that your recipe calls for Grass Fed Beef. It is much healthier than grain fed beef and adds an entirely new level of flavor. I work with La Cense beef that sells 100% grass fed beef directly to consumers. I think that you really can’t go wrong as it is delicious and lower in fat and calories!