– Vegan – Gluten free – Grain free – Low calorie –
Skip the pasta and switch it out for a much more nutrient-dense option – chickpeas! This chickpea greek salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and herbs, paired with a light lemon vinaigrette – a refreshing summer dish.
A large mixing bowl
See below for a breakdown of nutritional information and substitutions.
For the base of this salad, you will need:
- Chickpeas: a nutrient-dense food, loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats. Just one cup of chickpeas has 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 10 grams of fiber. Additionally, one cup has 12% of your daily omega-6, 70% of your manganese, 43% of your copper, 18% of your phosphorus and much more. Substitute: any bean will work for this recipe.
- Cucumber: composed of 96% water, cucumber lacks many vitamins and minerals. However, they make a refreshing addition to salads, sandwiches and side dishes without the extra calories. Their high water content also promotes hydration and regular bowel movements.
- Roma tomato: like cucumbers, tomatoes have a high water content of 94%, making them a good food for hydration and regular bowel movements, but no the most nutritionally-dense. However, one medium red tomato still has 65% of your daily vitamin A, 33% of your daily vitamin C as well as a good source of a few other vitamins and minerals. Substitute: any type of small or diced tomato will work for this recipe.
- Red onion: lack in nutrient density, but like many vegetables in the allium family, contain sulfur compounds, a chemical already present in our bodies. Aside from leaving your eyes with a burning sensation, the sulfur compounds that assist in protein synthesis and the building of cell structures. Although onions are good both cooked and raw, raw onions have higher levels of sulfur compounds. Substitute: you can use any type of onion for this recipe.
- Orange bell pepper: an incredible source of vitamin C. Just 1 bell pepper has about 455% of your daily recommended vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C increases the absorption rate of iron by 4-fold, so adding bell pepper to a green leafy salad has health benefits for many reasons. Substitute: any type of sweet bell pepper.
- Kalamata olives: although not very nutrient-dense, these olives are a sacred fruit in the Mediterranean and paired nicely in this salad. Kalamata olives are a good source of healthy fats similar to those found in extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh parsley: has a strengthening and cleansing effect for the bladder and the kidneys. Its high chlorophyll levels helps to clean the blood and get the lymphatic system moving. Furthermore, half a cup of fresh parsley has 100% of your daily vitamin A, 53% of your vitamin C and 500% of your vitamin K. Eating fresh herbs raw is most effective, which makes them a perfect addition to this salad. Substitute: for every tablespoon of fresh parsley, you can substitute 1 tsp of dried parsley.
To make the lemon vinaigrette, you will need:
- Extra virgin olive oil: one of the best oils for its healthy, monounsaturated fats. Just 4 tablespoons of evoo has over 35% of your daily intake of vitamin K and vitamin E, as well as 5% of your daily omega-6. It is also one of the most beneficial foods for healing inflammation due to the presence of oleic acid and oleocanthol. It is important to choose extra virgin olive oil over other lighter olive oils that have been diluted with cheaper oils like soybean oil or canola oil that have less health benefits. Evoo becomes even more valuable when you pair it with fresh vegetables, as the fats from the oil help to better absorb the nutrients in the vegetables. Substitute: avocado oil.
- Fresh lemon juice: always opt for fresh lemons compared to bottled lemon juice, which contains additives and preservatives to keep its color. Fresh lemon juice has a brighter, stronger flavor, so you will need much less of it to get the same effect as bottled juice. The juice of one lemon has 25% of your daily vitamin C intake. The high acidity of citrus fruits also makes them beneficial for digestion and weight loss.
- Red wine vinegar: like most vinegar, red wine vinegar, is beneficial for weight loss and easy digestion due to the acetic acid that soothes inflammation in the gut. Substitute: red wine vinegar can be substituted for equal parts balsamic vinegar.
- Ground mustard: one tablespoon of ground mustard contains 24% of your daily selenium intake, an antioxidant that plays an important role in the immune system by reducing inflammation and enhancing immunity. Substitute: for every tsp of ground mustard, substitute with 1 tbsp dijon mustard.
- Oregano: antioxidant-rich, helping to prevent against disease and free radical damage. Oregano has also been shown to help fight infection by killing bad bacteria. Like many other herbs, oregano has cancer-fighting properties.