Inspiring you to make healthy food and choices one step at a time

March 15, 2010

Greek Salad with all the Works

If I could tell you how to increase your vegetable intake without even eating more vegetables, would you be interested? 

Well, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, with his Eat to Live and Eat to Health books, says that people miss up to 70 % of their green leafy vegetable intake by...get this...Not Chewing Sufficiently. So the good news is that you can actually and easily increase your vegetable intake by 70% just by chewing your food better. Wow, and that doesn't even take 15 minutes. :)

There are many versions of Greek Salad; the one I like best is adapted from ones I grew up eating. As with any salad, you dress it with ingredients you love. Salads are a daily meal for those that want optimal health. It's one of the basics in a nutrient dense meal plan.

Greek Salad with all the Works

Roasted Beets
Jarred or canned beets are not a good representation of such a nutritious root. For this awesome salad it's best to use fresh beets and roast them. It's easy and not time consuming at all.

The night before I plan on having the salad, I roast the beets. First wash them (you don't want to peel or cut at all) and if you have stems, cut them to one inch. Place in small dish covered with foil. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until easily pierced with knife. (I choose this temperature because I can roast garlic and veggies at the same time as to make the oven most productive.) After they are done I let them sit in the dish until cool enough to handle. So far this has only taken about 5 minutes of prep time. Now this will take only 5 more. Be prepared for your hands to turn a little pink but this is why I do it at night. :) Take a paper towel and rub off the peel of the beet. It comes right off and leaves a beautiful shiny texture. It's that easy. Stick them whole in a container to refrigerate until ready for use.

Potato Salad - Greek style

5-6 potatoes, chopped (a real time saver is to wash well and leave the skins on) Put in cold water and bring to boil. Boil about 10 minutes until fork tender. Drain and place in bowl.

1/4 c. parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. salad dressing (below)
Sea salt or Kosher salt

I love mixing it all together while potatoes are still warm. The potatoes really seem to soak up the dressing to give them a great flavor.

Onto the actual salad part...

1 head romaine lettuce (green leaf, red leaf, etc.)
2 tomatoes, cut up in larger chunks
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 roasted beets, cut off bottom of root and slice into wedges
greek kalamato olives
greek feta cheese
radishes and sliced green pepper (opt)

Salad dressing 
(to use on green salad and potato salad)

1/3 c. lemon juice (or white vinegar)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. sea salt 
Whisk these together and drizzle in oil while whisking: 

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)

Once combined, pour over potato salad. As for plating your dish, I like to pile the potato salad in the middle of the plate and then after tossing the salad, serve with green salad on top. This way you get a great combination of flavors with both salads. Finish it off with a sprinkle of oregano.

If you're not used to a strong olive oil flavor, feel free to start with "light" olive oil or another mild flavored oil of your choosing. But remember olive oil has the wonder-working omega 9s that we all need in our body so getting used to the flavor has real benefits.

Use what you have locally
I get the olives and feta cheese at a local produce stand. They are Greek so they carry delicious greek cuisine. The feta cheese is made from sheep's milk which is better than the cow's milk (not mucus forming and far superior in taste) and the olives and olive oil are fresher and better priced than in the grocery stores.Obviously, you may not have a greek produce stand near you but find out what you do have and use it. It'll have fresher ingredients and a new world of flavors for you to try.

And like your mama told you, Chew Your Food!

For more great recipes go to:
Tempt My Tummy
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


Candi said...

I love when good food looks pretty too! And they looks delicious!

Pamela Scott said...

YUMMM that looks really good a must try, thanks

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Wow, that is fascinating on the chewing. I'll definitely think about that when eating from now on ... thank you. Now, your salad looks so wonderful! That first photo actually looks like a house plant ... the greens are so vibrant and alive. :-)


Melanie said...

Greek Salad is my favorite. Yours sounds great. The best dressing on a Greek salad I have ever had is from Queens on Belcher. One of the owners (Peter) and my husband used to work together years ago. Peter makes the dressing.
I will have to try roasting fresh beets.

Upstatemamma said...

Looks like an awesome salad!! And wow!! about the chewing!! I knew that chewing your food better can help yu eat less I did not know it could help you get more nutrients out of your vegetables. Cool1

Haddock said...

This looks nice (and healthy)

Inspired2cook said...

I love roasted beets! YUMM!!!

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