Understanding what constitutes a healthy diet can be bewildering and stressful. Even as a future Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 7 years of nutrition education under my belt, I sometimes find myself confused about the best way to eat. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Much if it, while not based in sound science, is still extremely compelling. But there is one thing you can always count on – vegetables. And this Mediterranean salad is the perfect way to include some fresh, colorful vegetables in your diet.
Vegetables have always been in vogue, for good reason. They are an excellent, low calorie source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other healthful phytochemicals. They have been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and even certain types of cancer. Those are just some of the reasons why I make sure I eat some vegetables every day. And they don’t have to be fancy. Even cut up raw vegetables are an excellent way to increase your daily intake.
This Mediterranean salad is another great way to reach your daily quota of vegetables. The rainbow of colors makes it a beautiful addition to any meal. But those colors also mean that it contains a wide range of phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables are different colors due to their different phytochemicals. They are the compounds that provide many of the health benefits of fresh produce. That is why it is so important to eat a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
This vegan salad can be thrown together in no time, and benefits from a simple home made dijon vinaigrette.
- 3 large tomatoes
- ¼ cup baby tomatoes
- 1 avocado
- 1 Persian cucumber or ½ hothouse cucumber
- ½ red onion
- Bunch of fresh basil
- For the dressing:
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice the large tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and red onion, and lay them out in a serving dish.
- Halve the baby tomatoes and add to the dish.
- Chop the basil and sprinkle over the salad.
- In a small jug or cup, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.