A simple refreshing salad full of crunch and flavor that can be paired with almost anything.
Eating this type of salad puts a big smile on my face. It is one of those things where you just feel better about yourself. Then, you start planning the next day with cardio, weightlifting then yoga and mediation in the afternoon. It never really happens that way, but with this Mediterranean salad your body will thank you. This salad will go with almost any meal. If you are a stickler to authenticity, it is inspired by Greek and Mediterranean flavors. Think grilled chicken and lamb or stewed dishes with a lot of fresh herbs. It also works with with a nice fruity white wine and some crusty sourdough bread. I know this, because I accidentally, okay intentionally opened a bottle of J Vineyards 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. It was a perfect combination watching the sunset. What a great stress reliever as well!
The key to making this salad great is good ingredients. The tomatoes need to be firm but ripe with a nice sweetness. I tried regular hot house tomatoes once and it wasn’t the same. About ten years ago, I became obsessed with Black Kumato tomatoes. They are the color of brandy wine with a flavor and texture that are both very consistent. I have found them in regular size and the smaller cherry variety at both regular grocery stores and specialty markets. Use a good feta cheese as well. I like to buy blocks packed in brine and crumble my own cheese. My recommendation based on preference is Greek feta.
Always, wash and dry all of your vegetables. Even if you are using organic, it is always best to be on the safe side and clean fresh vegetables before use.
WHAT DO RED RADISHES CONTAIN THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR INTAKE DURING PREGNANCY?
See nutrition information below.
MAKING THE MEDITERRANEAN SALAD
Use a small to medium mixing bowl. Cut tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, red onion and radishes. Using the tomatoes as a guide, cut the rest of the vegetables the same size. 3/4″ square is a good bite sized portion. I usually remove the cucumber seeds because I make the salad ahead of time or I make enough to last for two days. The seeds sometimes start to break down and get soggy then mushy. If you like the seeds no worries keep them in the salad. Remove the seeds and as much of the white membrane as possible for the bell peppers. The stems on cherry and pear tomatoes are edible. With larger tomatoes use your knife or a tomato corer and discard the stem.
*Tasting Notes: After cutting the cucumber and red radish, soak in ice water for 15 minutes then drain. This helps to retain a nice crispy texture.
Gently mix all the vegetables together with the olives, roasted garlic and dill. Make sure you either buy pitted olives or remember to tell anyone else that is eating with you to watch out for the pits. Season to taste with sea salt. Add 2 tablespoons lemon oil to taste then fold all the vegetables together. Crumble feta cheese over the top. Eat or refrigerate and save for later. See below for recipes links.
Red Radishes are known to aide in digestion. They also contain folate, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Folate is vitamin B-9, which produces DNA and coverts carbohydrates to energy in the body. Folate is an essential part of a balanced diet during periods of growth and pregnancy.
Bell peppers are another superfood that contain vitamins A, C, B-6, E and K. Other properties of bell peppers are lycopene, potassium, fiber, thiamin and folate. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may decrease the onset of certain diseases and some form of cancers.
Red Onions have a strong flavor and a bite that not all people enjoy. In salads with the other ingredients and the lemon oil, the strong taste is muted while the flavor is still retained. They are excellent when marinated in vinegar which help to make it much more palatable. Raw red onions are very nutritious containing vitamin C, iron, calcium and fiber. In addition, there is quercetin which is a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that support a healthy lifestyle. Another product that red onions contain is sulphur which is another anti-inflammatory that may assist with cardiovascular health and the production of taurine an essential amino acid.