Mediterranean Salad Recipes That You Will Love
Do you want to eat more healthfully, but find yourself strapped for time and cash? If so, Mediterranean Diet salads could be the perfect solution!
While this dietary approach has long been associated with higher-end restaurants, it can actually be a very cost-effective way to get delicious meals that are also good for you. In this blog post, I’m going to explain how a few simple switch-ups in ingredients can transform any regular salad into an awesome Mediterranean creation — plus give tips on preparing these salads for maximum nutrition at minimal expense. So, if you’re looking for ways to mix up your diet without breaking the bank (or sacrificing flavor!), keep reading: we’ve got all the information you need!
The highly versatile Mediterranean diet offers plenty of low-cost meals that are both nutritious and delicious and packed with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil. Here are a few of our favourite Mediterranean diet lunches that won’t break the bank.
Top Tips For Reduced Cost Mediterranean Lunches
Do you want to make sure that your kitchen is always stocked with the right ingredients for healthy Mediterranean salads? With so many options available, it can seem intimidating to pick out what items you need.
But never fear! Here, we’ll go over all the basics necessary for making flavorful and nutritious salad recipes, from choosing a delicious extra virgin olive oil to stocking up on fresh vegetables. Get ready for some fuss-free meal prepping that will help guarantee delicious lunches and dinners every single day!
Speaking to Houston Life, culinary nutritionist with Fully Mediterranean Pam Fullenweider shared some really useful tips on how to make The Mediterranean Diet work to keep costs down while getting the most nutrition for the value. Some of Fullenweider’s favorite tips are:
- Meal planning is key to helping you save money.
- Purchase bulk items.
- Use meatless meals/vegetarian protein sources to save money.
- Buy canned or frozen produce.
- Keep your pantry stocked with inexpensive, essential items that mix and match with any number of foods.
- Use up your leftovers to make a new lunch.
Easy Mediterranean Salads With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
So, now that you have stocked up your pantry with the essentials of Mediterranean kitchen, it’s time to get busy! Here are a few of our favourite Mediterranean diet lunches that will help you keep an eye on your budget.
Bulgar Salad With Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Chickpeas, Olive Oil, Lemon & Dill
- 1 cup bulgur
- 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup Morocco Gold extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small English (or hothouse) cucumber, seeded and diced
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the bulgur in a large bowl with ½ teaspoon salt and 1¼ cups boiling water. Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and let sit for 15-30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Let cool, then fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, to soften the bite of the raw onions, place them in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for ten minutes, and then drain. (Feel free to skip this step if you don't mind the strong taste of raw onions.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the Morocco Gold extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, sugar, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add the cooled bulgur, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, dill, parsley, and chick peas. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Chill until ready to serve or up to two days. Serve cold or room temperature.
Mediterranean Bean Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 15 ounce can of cannellini beans drained and well rinsed
- 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans chickpeas drained and well rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomato halves
- 2 small Persian cucumbers halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (do not peel)
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup peppadew peppers rough chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives halved
- 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives halved
- 1 cup assorted colourful bell peppers diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichokes
- About 10 large basil leaves shredded
- Dressing: 1/4 cup Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar or more to taste
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs I used thyme, oregano, and rosemary
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust any of them. Add more vinegar if you want a tangier flavour. Set aside.
- Put the beans in a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a generous amount of the dressing.
- The salad will keep, well covered, for several days in the refrigerator.
- As with all bean salads, be sure to give it a quick toss just before serving if it's been sitting, the dressing will tend to settle at the bottom.
- Those delicious cannellini beans are delicate! Be gentle when you rinse and toss them.
- This is a great salad to store in mason jars for grab and go lunches.
We loved this article from Insider which shares five easy and delicious Mediterranean Salads to keep you feeling full at lunchtime. Talking to Insider, Dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine, who aims to eat a Mediterranean-style diet, told Insider a balanced salad should contain the following components:
These are our body’s main source of fuel, Ludlam-Raine said. She recommended choosing higher fiber and wholegrain options where possible, such as quinoa, wholegrain rice, wholewheat pasta, or wholemeal pitta.
“I personally like the mixed grains in the microwavable bags for my salads,” she said.
Vegetables, salad, and fruit Ludlam-Raine recommended aiming for two handfuls of produce, for example a handful of salad leaves, crudités, roasted vegetables, or pomegranate seeds.
“The greater variety of plant-based foods in your diet, the better your gut microbes will be, which means better physical and mental health,” she said.
“Whether it’s animal or plant-based, protein is digested slowly and helps to keep us fuller for longer,” Ludlam-Raine said.
Good sources in salads include chickpeas, feta cheese, mixed beans, hummus, chicken, edamame beans, and salmon, she said.
“Fats provide some of the essential fatty acids our body can’t make itself and help to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K,” Ludlam-Raine said.
To get a source in your salad, try adding a handful of olives, mixed seeds, flaked almonds, a dollop of pesto, or a drizzle of rapeseed or olive oil, she said.