You know cooler weather is on the way, but still need to beat the summer heat? Get out of the kitchen with this refreshing veggie salad that doesn't require you to get near a hot stove. It only takes about 15 minutes to prep and assemble, so you'll be done “cooking” in a flash.
Good news for busy nurses who have to hustle to eat healthfully (and avoid the easy out of fast food) while working long shifts or crazy schedules.
Another plus for this dish: juicy vegetables are up to 90 percent water by weight, so they help re-hydrate your body when temperatures soar.
August is the perfect time to feature this salad; it tastes extra yummy when tomatoes and cucumbers are in peak season. Change up the taste with popular choices, like Early Girl tomatoes from the supermarket, or venture into beefy heirloom varieties at the farmer's market, or sweet cherry tomatoes from your own patio salsa garden.
Mediterranean “Tom and Cuke” Salad
Time: 15 minutes from start to finish – no kidding!
Servings: 4 starter salads of ¾ cup each; or 2 entrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together: ½ teaspoon salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
You may be tempted to reduce the calorie count of this salad by using a fat-free dressing. Don't. Fat is necessary to help your body absorb nutrients from vegetables. Mediterranean cooking is known for its inclusion of healthful plant fats, like the olive oil in this recipe.
Add the following ingredients to the dressing and toss gently.
-2 cups unpeeled cucumbers, quartered length wise, and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
-2 cups cored tomatoes cut into ½-inch cubes
-¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
-¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
To turn this salad into a heartier entree meal, serve it on a bed of super-hydrating crisp lettuce (94 percent H2O!). Then top with your favorite lean protein, such as grilled chicken breast, poached salmon, canned tuna, cooked lentils or garbanzo beans. Finally, garnish with whole-grain breads, in the form of crunchy croutons or pita triangles. Sit back in the shade and enjoy summer's bounty!
How are you doing with keeping your cool during these last days of heat? We want to hear from you!
Jebra Turner is a health reporter and former H.R. manager responsible for overseeing employee health and safety. She lives in Portland, Oregon, but you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.