This post has been sponsored by Bertolli Olive Oil. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If there is one thing in our house that I feel like we go through all the time, it's olive oil! We use it for just about EVERYTHING in the kitchen from sauteing veggies, to dipping our bread, to salad dressings, you name it. And today, I am so excited to partner up with Bertolli and bring you this simple recipe bursting with a robust olive flavor!
If you have recently been cruising down the aisles at Kroger, you may have noticed Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil's fresh NEW packaging. Don't worry, they may have a new look but the same great taste is still what you can count on for sure. And just wait until you get a taste of it in this recipe! Infusing olive oil might seem a bit out of your league, but I promise it is so easy!
I am a sucker for history and brands that have been around for a long, long time. Bertolli has been around for over 150 years and was founded in Lucca, Tuscany--one of the top places I want to visit when the hubby takes me to Italy one of these days. There are places you can stay and just learn to cook there, and you better believe that's exactly what I want to do! They are currently the world's number one olive oil brand. You can't beat that, now can you?!
But you may be asking, Lorie, aren't all olive oils the same? What's the big deal? Well, the answer is actually 'no.' First and foremost, when you select an extra virgin olive oil, it is cold pressed and basically in its purest, truest flavor. Other olive oils can be refined, blended with other oils and run through a thermal or chemical process. These processes reduce the purity of the flavor and the oil itself. I don't know about you, but I love olive oil for the flavor. That's why it makes such an amazing part of so many salad dressings and other recipes.
Speaking of flavor, let's talk about infused olive oils. Have you ever gone into an olive oil specialty store full of unique infused olive oils? They always seem so fancy, and you just assume there must be some extravagant process to make them. Well, guess again. It is so simple and takes any olive oil up a few notches instantly!
The key is tossing your favorite herbs or other ingredients into a saucepan and very lightly heating with olive oil for about 10-15 minutes. Then, you allow the mixture to cool and boom. You are finished. Pour it through a strainer and cover. You are all set with a game changer for your next salad or dish. If you come across this recipe and want to make it right NOW, then you can use the Extra Virgin Olive Oil on its own. It will still be amazing, especially with the inclusion of the fresh thyme.
Before we dive into more of this recipe, let's talk a bit more about how my grocery trips have changed so much lately. First of all, now that we have the little one, grocery shopping can be a bit of a challenge if I have to take him with me. He loves the grocery cart for the first 15 minutes but after that, he is over it. So now we have been making our weekly stops at Kroger via Click List. It has been life changing for me, and I also found we have saved so much more on groceries because I can go through and add specific items to my cart straight from the coupon section one by one. I texted a friend after we did it the first time and said I should have started this so much sooner!
Since I got everything for this recipe without even stepping out of my car, I am 100% certain it tastes even better. Agree?!
The infused olive oil makes this recipe so unique and if you end up making this for a crowd, they will never know how simple and easy the recipe was to pull off. A lot of flavor and not a lot of sweat. Blackberry season actually spans the end of summer into early fall, so I find these berries are the perfect way to hold on to the last bit of summer. The berries I used for this recipe were seriously the size of my finger--big and juicy! As for all the other ingredients, you should find this recipe pretty adaptable for those who may have any specific allergies or health needs. Opt for a dairy-free cheese if needed, and you can certainly swap the almonds for any sort of seed as well.
Other than that, go grab yourself a fresh new bottle of Bertolli and let the flavor take you away!
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 c Blackberry Thyme Infused Olive Oil (see notes)
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1/4 c red onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 c sliced almonds
- 1/3 c feta cheese
- 1/2 - 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions (for even quicker, you can grab pre-cooked quinoa and microwave it. You will need about 3 cups, cooked).
- Slice and prep all other ingredients. When quinoa is cooked, toss it in bowl with the spinach to wilt.
- Add in olive oil, garlic, almonds, red onion, thyme leaves and salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Allow to cool for several minutes and then fold in blackberries. Add feta crumbles before serving.