Mother's Day is just around the corner! How will you celebrate the mothers in your life?
May we make a humble suggestion? Try salad!
Now, before you laugh us off your screen, think about it for a minute. This salad wouldn't be a sad little salad that you eat because you feel like you have to order a salad. Nor would it be an eerily insincere salad like the ones people are freaking out over on Women Laughing Alone with Salad. No, this salad would be a tasty health-boosting salad. It offers a homemade meal with a side of huge health benefits. What's not to love?
The Mediterranean Chef Salad is a healthful and delicious mix of fresh and filling ingredients.
Serving Size: 1 and 1/2 cups
- 2 cups ready-to-serve romaine lettuce
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh carrots
- 16 grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup cooked or canned chickpeas (if canned, drain and rinse first)
- 2 teaspoons crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon freshly-chopped parsley
- Toss lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, and chickpeas together in a large salad bowl.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Toss with oil, vinegar, and seasonings just before serving.
- Top each salad with a teaspoon of finely crumbled feta cheese.
- Garnish the salads with whole wheat pita triangles or a little bit of mint.
- No red wine vinegar? Try white wine or champagne vinegar instead.
- Serves 2.
- Each serving contains 264 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 102 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrate, 12 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar, and 12 g protein.
- Each serving has 225% DV vitamin A, 21% DV vitamin C, 12% DV calcium, and 22% DV iron.
Free recipe! Download your copy of the Mother's Day Mediterranean Chef's Salad recipe today.
The Salad and Health Connection:
Now, this salad is more than just a tasty treat. It's also packed with foods that are sure to give your health a boost. So offer the gift of health to the mothers in your life. Here's the rundown of how the salad ingredients come together to fight disease...
Romaine lettuce is full of vitamins A, C, and K. These vitamins protect your bones, decrease inflammation, support cell growth and development, protect vision, support your circulatory system, and improve immune function.
According to a new 10-year study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, carrots may play a key role in preventing coronary heart disease (CHD). The study authors note "Carrots […] were associated with a 32% lower risk of CHD [… and] a higher intake of deep orange fruit and vegetables and especially carrots may protect against CHD."
Continuing down the salad ingredient list, tomatoes are excellent sources of lycopene, a phytochemical that may help prevent cancer and heart disease. Similarly, red grapes contain a special cancer-fighting compound called resveratrol, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Chickpeas are chock-full of both fiber and protein, a dynamic duo that helps keep blood sugar levels steady and healthful. Both fiber and protein help food move through the digestive tract at optimal speeds, neither too quickly nor too slowly. Plus, chickpeas are good sources of protein, yet they lack the saturated fat and cholesterol that often accompany animal sources of protein.
Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats, which improve cholesterol levels, insulin regulation, and blood sugar control. Of course, olive oil is also very calorie-dense, which is why it should be consumed in moderation. This tasty salad contains only 1/2 teaspoon of oil -- that's 1/4 teaspoon per serving.
Lemon juice is great for you too! It contains limonin, a cancer-fighting element that appears to reduce the risk of breast, colon, lung, and skin cancer. According to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) “limonoids [have] been shown to help fight various forms of cancer. ARS scientists were the first to show that every time we bite into a citrus slice or drink a glass of orange juice, we can readily access a limonoid called ‘limonin.’”
And last, but not least, there is black pepper. According to the paper, Black Pepper and Health Claims: a Comprehensive Treatise, ”Black pepper (Piper Nigrum L.) is an important healthy food owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial potential and gastro-protective modules.”
Every single one of these health-boosting foods is in that salad.
Now do you see why you should make it this Mother's Day?
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.