Using Olive Oil For Best Salad Dressing

Budget Friendly Lunchboxes With Mediterranean Flavour

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

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 And Inexpensive Mediterranean Lunches 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 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Bulgar Salad With Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Chickpeas, Olive Oil, Lemon & Dill

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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

Mediterranean Bean Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust any of them. Add more vinegar if you want a tangier flavour. Set aside.
  2. Put the beans in a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a generous amount of the dressing.
  3. The salad will keep, well covered, for several days in the refrigerator.
  4. 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.
  5. Those delicious cannellini beans are delicate! Be gentle when you rinse and toss them.
  6. This is a great salad to store in mason jars for grab and go lunches.

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