Salads are the ultimate ingredient of a healthy and balanced Mediterranean vegan diet –or any diet for that matter- for a healthy and strong immune system. But as most things in life, we need to enhance them, experiment and create so as not to become bored of eating the same vegetables over and over. And the best source of inspiration is –of course- Mediterranean diet, a diet that’s mostly plant-based and filled with benefits that are proven constantly by researches on many health conditions, from cardiovascular to gut and brain.
Today’s Mediterranean salad, apart from being delicious, containing legumes, vegetables and spices, it’s ideal for immune and microbiota support. Extra virgin olive oil, as a source of healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, helps in heart health lowering serum cholesterol and glucose, while cucumber pickles and olives are fermented products rich in probiotics our gut microbiota so loves and needs.
Sun-dried tomatoes, apart from their Mediterranean essence, provide us with vitamin C, folic acid, lycopene and fibre, while aromatic oregano is a precious spice with antioxidant and anticancer properties, rich in volatile components, flavonoids, vitamins C, E, K, A and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc. It also helps in flatulence and its aroma gives a unique taste and essence wherever you add it.
Ingredients for 2 people
5 organic potatoes
2 pickled cucumbers
4 broccoli florets
1 cup black-eyed beans soaked overnight and boiled
4 sun-dried tomatoes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cut your potatoes in small pieces and put them in a pan with a bit of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of cumin, fresh oregano and thyme. Sauté them for a few minutes, until they change color.
Add some water with salt and simmer for about 30 minutes, until your potatoes soften.
At the same time, cut your broccoli and zucchini and boil or steam them for about 6 minutes, so they are crunchy.
Once your potatoes are soft, toss your zucchini, broccoli and black-eyed peas and mix them all together along with olive oil, extra thyme, cumin, fresh oregano and a bit of lemon juice (you can also add slices of lemon). Finally, add your sun-dried tomatoes, your pickles and the olives and mix.
Make sure you add fermented foods in your meals as often as you can. Foods like kefir, olives, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh are rich in probiotics which help maintain the health of the gut microbiota and our overall health.