Monday, May 24, 2010

Mediterranean Pepper Salad

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I kinda broke a rule by eating this salad. Due to my GI issues I’m not really supposed to eat raw veggies because when I do my abdomen becomes painfully distended, making me look about 3 months pregnant and causing considerable pain. I have always enjoyed snacking on raw vegetables, especially bell peppers, because they are delightfully crisp and crunchy. Thus far I have been so good about following the diet put forth by both the nutritionist and doctor. I obediently stopped eating salads, quit snacking on raw carrots, gave up broccoli completely, etc. Therefore, I felt I deserved to eat some peppers, by far my favorite raw veggie. I decided a bell pepper salad would sufficiently satisfy my craving. Unfortunately, I was only able to eat one portion of this salad, and I paid the price for it, but it was definitely worth it. Once my stomach issue is fixed, I can’t wait to make this salad so I can enjoy it properly, without my stomach blowing up like a balloon within 30 minutes of my first bite of food. I made this the day before I planned on serving it so it could sit and marinate in the yummy dressing overnight.

Mediterranean Pepper Salad
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For pickling the red onion:*
¼ c red wine vinegar
¼ c cold water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ red onion, diced

For the salad:
2-3 bell peppers, diced (I used half of each a red, orange, and yellow pepper)
Seedless cucumber, ~½ c diced
pitted kalamata olives, ~¼ c
Grape tomatoes, I like to halve them and squeeze out the seeds (I think I used ~1/3 c)
Feta cheese, to taste

For dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tsp grainy mustard
Fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste (1-2 tsp)
Oregano, to taste
1-2 tsp agave (or sugar or honey)
Couple splashes red wine vinegar (~tbsp or two)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the diced red onion and set it aside while you chop your veggies and pit your olives.

Put veggies (peppers, cucumber, olives, tomatoes) in a large bowl. Make sure the amount of each veggie is to your personal liking. Then, drain onion and add to the bowl.

Whisk together dressing ingredients, adjust to taste. Pour some or all of the dressing, based on your preference over veggies, stir to combine. Add a handful or two of crumbled feta cheese. Refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temp.

*Note: I’m not a big fan of the taste of raw onion, so I did the pickling step to lessen the blow. This step could be omitted if you are a lover of raw onion.

Source: adapted from smitten kitchen

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