Popular Salads from Around the World
Do you get tired of eating the same boring salad day in and day out? To spice things up, try venturing outside of your basic plate of greens to a world of international salads that will delight your taste buds. All three of these salads are built with healthy ingredients however we made some minor adjustments that will not sacrifice the taste. You may never grow bored of salad again!
Tabouli is a Middle Eastern salad made from bulgur wheat, finely chopped parsley, scallions and tomatoes. This tangy crunchy salad is dressed with a blend of lemon juice and olive oil. Use less olive oil for a lighter dish. As a variation try wheat berries in place of the traditional bulgur wheat. Both are excellent sources of whole grains and fiber. Use part mint and part parsley for a refreshing twist. Swap out the scallions for a white onion. Tabouli is traditionally served over Romaine lettuce but also goes well with whole grain pita wedges as a light appetizer. It is a low calorie dish with about 80 calories per ½ cup serving.
Greek salads are very popular, found in both Greek and non-Greek restaurants alike. There are variations to this dish but the basic vegetable ingredients include tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, and green bell peppers. Interestingly, the traditional version does not include lettuce. Seasonings include a sprinkling of dried oregano and minced garlic. Whisk these together with a high quality extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. You may use less oil and more vinegar than the recipe calls for. The vinegar offers extra flavor and virtually no calories, sodium or fat. Top salad with flavorful Feta cheese crumbles or cubes and Greek Kalamata olives. You may garnish with pickled pepperoncini for a hot kick. The heart healthy fats of olive oil and olives make this salad a real winner. Feta cheese is typically not high in fat but you may use a reduced-fat version to save one gram of artery-clogging saturated fat without sacrificing one bit of taste.
Salad Nicoise is a French tuna and vegetable salad that can be served as a main dish. Its high protein content with tuna and eggs make this salad very satiating. The vinaigrette dressing is so simple, containing four basic ingredients: red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced scallions and olive oil (add salt and pepper to taste). The salad base is plentiful with greens and topped with tomato wedges, bell pepper strips, basil leaves and black olives. Hard boiled eggs and canned tuna garnish the top. Grilled tuna steaks may be used as a variation. Outside of France boiled potatoes and cooked green beans are very popular additions. This is another heart healthy salad rich in omega-3 fats found in tuna and monounsaturated fats in olive oil and olives.
Whether you are looking for a main dish, appetizer or light salad to accompany your meal, try something new with an international twist and make your salad come to life again!