Do you ever prepare a dish and then wish you had written down the recipe?

That happens to me a lot.

I love to experiment in the kitchen. Some of my favorite dishes that I’ve created in the past have been because I’ve thrown random ingredients together. Or because of a mistake.

Fortunately, the following Mediterranean Salad recipe wasn’t quite like that.

My Trip Through Spain

Sight upon arriving in Toledo, location of Mediterranean Salad Recipe

The sight upon arriving in the center of Toledo

I first made this recipe traveling in Spain June 2014.

I was staying in a hostel in Toledo and there were very few food stores around where I was. It was the middle of tourist central.

Sure, there were too many souvenir shops to count, religious buildings of all kinds, restaurants, bars and museums nearby, but very few grocery stores.

I was finally able to find a small store within walking distance of my hostel. Unfortunately, the supply of foods wasn’t what I desired. I was disappointed to say the least.

There were shelves of canned goods ranging from tomato sauce to microwavable meals. Jars with contents packed with salt, sugar and oil. A range of products made from refined white flour were available— from cookies to bread.

Fortunately, they had a small produce section. The produce quality wasn’t impressive, but it was better than basically eating sugar and salt packaged in an assortment of forms. I grabbed some decent tomatoes.

The store had a teeny tiny refrigerated section as well. I was glad to find a bag of assorted greens to give myself some real nutrition among the refined wheat products and processed canned goods.

I picked out some other food selections: jarred lentils, canned tomato sauce, a bag of oranges, dried parsley and green peas.

The Hostel Chef

Lentils in tomato sauce with green peas

Dinner!

I returned to the hostel and assessed my food selections.

The main meal was an easy decision; I made lentils and peas in a tomato sauce. I added a combination of herbs and spices available at the hostel, plus what was left over from living in Spain and traveling Morocco.

I hadn’t thought much about what I was going to pair the greens with. I opted for a simple salad. I was thankful the greens were a variety and not one type, like lettuce or spinach. That gave me more flavors to work with.

The only produce that would go with my salad was tomato. I diced a few and threw them onto the bed of greens already on the plate.

Next was the dressing. I’m not a fan of eating greens without some sort of dressing, so this was a necessity. Thankfully, there was red wine vinegar at the hostel. Good thing I was in Europe and not the US or I probably wouldn’t have had this option. I hadn’t used red wine vinegar before — I was accustomed to white wine vinegar. I drizzled some on anyway.

I remembered I had a few nuts left over from when my mom sent me a package whilst living in Spain. They would allow me to absorb more nutrition from the small amount of produce I had and add more texture. I grabbed two and smashed them open. I chopped the nuts into small pieces and sprinkled them on the salad.

For a final touch, I sprinkled some dry parsley on top.

I was done making dinner.

When I took my first bite of the salad, I was surprised by how flavorful it was. I wasn’t expecting a salad nearly as tasty as this!

The variety of greens had a crisp texture. The tomatoes were juicy and flavorful despite their location of purchase. The walnuts provided a delectable crunch to the salad that paired well with the salad base. The red wine vinegar harmonized with the sweet tones of the tomatoes.

I savored every bite as I ate my salad and lentils while the sun began to set in the heart of Toledo.

Sunset across the roofs of Toledo

A beautiful sight to see while enjoying a wholesome dinner.

Despite the frustration of finding acceptable food to eat, I was satisfied with what I had accomplished. I managed to eat a healthy, homemade meal among thousands of tourists who ate papas fritas, ice cream and churros.

Recipe:

Appreciate the simplicity of fresh greens and tomatoes with this Mediterranean Salad. Easy to prepare so you can live la vida like the Spaniards do: in relaxation and comfort. This salad is a refreshing entrée before any main meal.

Vegan and free of added salt, sugar, oil, gluten, soy and seeds.

Reasons to love this recipe: simple, fresh, ready in less than 30 minutes, less than 10 ingredients

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 c baby red lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 4 c radicchio, roughly chopped
  • 4 c coarse frisee, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 tomatoes, diced
  • 8 walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or to taste

Preparation:

Begin by washing the greens, removing undesirable parts and roughly chopping them into bite-sized pieces. Then incorporate all ingredients but the vinegar and toss. Finally, add the red wine vinegar to the mixture.

Toss again and enjoy immediately.

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  • Updated last year
Sara Binde
 

Sara is a health and nutrition coach. She advocates for a whole foods plant-based lifestyle and teaches the world how to achieve weight loss.