Menu Monday: Les Eckert Presents Ethnic Dishes

The Great Lakes Culinary Institute is home to some of the best culinary professionals and cooking classes in the region and we were lucky enough to have the director LIVE on ‘the four’ for this week’s Menu Monday.

Les Eckert was in the Heritage House kitchen to bring us two ethnic dishes that you can try at home.

Here are the recipes:

Mexican Quinoa Bowls with Chili-Cilantro Sauce


  • 12 oz vegetable broth
  • ¾ c quinoa, white or red
  • ½ c cashews
  • 4 oz green chilies, diced, canned
  • 2/3 c cilantro, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 15 oz black beans, canned – rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c red onion, thinly sliced and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 8 radicchio leaves (cup-shaped)
  • 3 c romaine heart, sliced thin
  • 1 Haas avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, fresh, sliced very thin (optional)
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges


  1. To cook the quinoa, bring vegetable broth and quinoa to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered until tender, 12-15 minutes.
  2. To make the chili-cilantro sauce, add cashews, green chilies, cilantro (reserve some for garnish), olive oil and salt into a blender. Blender until smooth, set aside.
  3. To make the quinoa salad, in a bowl mix together quinoa, black beans, onion, red bell pepper, and chili-cilantro sauce.
  4. Line four serving bowls with two radicchio cups and romaine. Add quinoa salad and top with avocado slices and garnish with jalapenos, limes, and cilantro

Thai Mushroom Soup


  • 3 T dried wakame (brown) seaweed, such as Emerald Cove, crushed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb shiitake mushrooms, fresh and sliced thin
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 28 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¾ t salt, more to taste
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 T tamari, more to taste
  • Garnish cilantro, minced and a few whole leaves


  1. Place crushed seaweed in a bowl and add enough warm water to the bowl to cover the seaweed. Allow the seaweed to rehydrate, 10-20 minutes.
  2. Warm a soup pot on medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil has a slight shimmer movement in the pan add the minced garlic and cook until it softens, about 5-minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and lightly browned about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and coconut milk to the pot and stir until combined.
  5. Drain the seaweed, squeezing out the excess liquid and add the seaweed only to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  6. Just before serving add lime juice and tamari to the pot. Portion into bowls and garnish with cilantro

To learn more about the Great Lakes Culinary Institute at Northwestern Michigan College, click here.

Categories: Recipes, the four