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Got a bumper crop of tomatoes? I’ve got you covered. This salad combines all the goodies of a Mediterranean diet in one bowl. The salad is vegan, but can be modified with the addition of cheese, grilled chicken, fish or shrimp if you like.

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked number one by US News & World reports for 3 years in a row. Why, you say? Maybe because it’s loaded with health benefits including reduced rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity. AND- it’s delicious and sustainable.

A Mediterranean diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean poultry and fish and low-fat dairy products. This type of diet is high in fiber and antioxidants to help fight disease. It’s not restrictive and can be versatile and affordable.

The key to this delicious salad is the creamy dressing made with tahini. Tahini is an oily paste made out of ground sesame seeds. It’s typically used in hummus and makes an excellent dressing. If you don’t have tahini on hand, try natural peanut butter (the type made with just nuts and salt).

Health benefits of each ingredient:

Greens– high in lutein and beta-carotene to protein your eyes. A source of potassium to help lower blood pressure. Vitamin C protects against cancer and heart disease.

Tomatoes– a source of lycopene to protect against prostate and ovarian cancer. A source of vitamin C and potassium.

Chick peas– a great source of soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol. A plant-based, inexpensive source of protein.

Olives– high in mono-unsaturated fat to help sustain HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels. A source of sodium for flavor, low in carbs.

Cucumbers- high in water for hydration.

Onions– a source of quercetin (and antioxidant to protect cells) and inulin- a pre-biotic fiber to protect your gut.

Tahini- a source of polyunsaturated fat as well as zinc and magnesium.

Lemon juice– high in vitamin C

 

Salad

4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (can sub spinach leaves or arugula)

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

½ cucumber, chopped

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 Tbsp. diced red onion

Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon or 3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/3 cup tahini

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. oregano

1-2 Tbsp. water (as needed)

Directions:

  1. Place the lettuce, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and red onions in a large bowl.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, garlic, cumin and oregano. Add water to make a thinner dressing.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe was shown on Fox 19 in Cincinnati earlier today. Check out the video: Chickpea Salad with Lisa Andrews – clipped version (fox19.com)

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