– vegan – gluten free – grain free – oil free – refined sugar free – Low calorie –
Kachumbari is a classic tomato, onion and chile pepper dish popular in Kenya, Tanzania and the surrounding Great Lakes region. Closely resembling a pico de gallo, this fresh salad is made with raw vegetables combined with a balsamic-based dressing upon serving. If you’re not a fan of the heat, you can easily omit the chile pepper and still create a delicious dish. Traditionally served with rice or as a side dish, kachumbari can also be served with chips, on top of toasted bread with avocado, in a tofu scramble or in tacos and burritos to name a few possibilities.
A mixing bowl
A small jar or bowl
See below for a breakdown of nutritional information and substitutions.
For this dish, you will need:
- 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 tomatoes: 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. Substitutions: any type of tomato will work, but roma tomatoes or hothouse tomatoes are best for this recipe.
- White onion: lacks in nutrient density, but don’t take that to mean onions aren’t good for you. Onions aids the body in removing toxins and detoxifying the liver. Like many vegetables in the allium family, onions contain sulfur compounds, a chemical already present in our bodies. Aside from leaving your eyes with a burning sensation, the sulfur compounds 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. Substitutions: any type of onion will work.
- Chile peppers: lacking in vitamins and minerals, but also lacking any sugar, fat and refined carbs. An active chemical compound called capsaicin is responsible for giving the pepper it’s spiciness. Capsaicin can boost metabolism by 4-5% per day, making it easier to lose weight. Substitutions: jalapeno pepper.
- Garlic cloves: like other vegetables in the allium family, garlic contains sulfur compounds (sulfites) that assist with protein synthesis and the building of cell structures. Substitutions: you can replace 1 garlic clove with 2 tsp minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
- Agave nectar: a low-glycemic natural sweetener. While honey, maple syrup and table sugar have a glycemic index of 50 or higher, agave is closer to 20. Although high glycemic foods aren’t necessarily bad for you (pineapple has a GI of 70), they will cause a larger insulin spike, leading to temporarily higher blood glucose levels. People with high blood sugar may want to limit high glycemic foods. Agave should still be used sparingly, since it is high in natural sugar (fructose). Substitutions: pure maple syrup.
- Balsamic vinegar: low in fat and calories, but lacks in any nutritional value. Vinegar has been shown to help with controlling blood sugar, weight management and reducing cholesterol and is a good substitution compared to oil-based dressings. However, vinegar is very acidic which can have some harmful consequences like irritating the central nervous system.
- Cilantro: a 1/4 cup serving of cilantro has about 12% of your daily vitamin A and 14% of your daily vitamin K intake. Like many other raw herbs, cilantro is a very powerful antioxidant.
- Lime: the citric acid in lime juice makes it great for aiding digestion and boosting the metabolism, often leading to weight loss. Substitutions: lemon juice will also work.
- Sea salt: a natural alternative to table salt, which is more heavily processed and contains additives.