Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Middle Eastern Salad- Eating on the Road

We were watching of all things a show about fast food in foreign countries a while back. (Yea… I know) and were surprised to hear that in the Middle East this was something that big chains like McDonald's and even Subway, needed to add to their menus to catch on locally. (Sad that they are there at all but that's another topic.) This salad is a staple in some countries and especially for breakfast, an idea I rather liked. It caught my interest and I did some researching, even before the show was over.

It goes by different names: Israeli Salad, Arabic Salad, Palestinian Salad and probably others I am not aware of but rather than get into this hot bed of debate I decided to call it just Middle Eastern Salad.

It has some very simple fresh ingredients like tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, and herbs like parsley and mint and of course there are many variations as well. I decide to whip this up to take on our trip and it filled in quite well for many snacks and meals.

Although you can eat this as is as a salad, I also made up a no bean Raw Red Pepper Hummus (I have posted something similar here) to have on hand and the two worked out nicely to fill pita bread for a heartier meal as well as to use for chips and veggies. For all raw, you can use endive lettuce as scoops, something we often do.

We cleared out our mini bar fridge and stocked it with things like fresh fruit, smoothies, the hummus and salad, along with veggies and of course water. This really helped us to keep a lid on eating out too much while away from home. The hummus lasted about 5 days and the salad about 3-4. The chips, not that long at all.

In Room Dining- (sorry the lighting wasn't the best.)

Middle Eastern Salad

3 large cucumbers peeled and seeded and then diced
4 medium tomatoes, seed and diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 small red onion, diced or about 5 green onions chopped
1 medium lemon zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste 

(I omitted the salt so just know that you might want to add this when serving and not before. It will make the cucumbers sweat and it will become watery as it sits.)

Mix all the above in a bowl and let sit at least 15 minutes or store in a sealed container and chill. 
It makes about 2 quarts and will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

As a side note, I have discovered a great substitute for store bought chips- Pita bread. 
Most often you can find pita bread that is free from preservatives and sometimes salt and oil as well. Gluten free would be a bonus but I have yet to discover that. I find that I don't react too much to pita.

I just cut them up into triangles and pop into the oven at about 325 degrees for 7-8 minutes until desired crispness. The hummus I made had quite a bit of garlic so I left these plain but for garlic flavored you can spritz with water and dust lightly with garlic powder. As an alternative you can spray with olive oil and do the same but I'm watching the use of oil and don't miss it at all.

On a Personal Note:

We had a great trip and although we tried to stay with our eating routine, we did stray while eating in restaurants and with friends and family. We both have decided that a cleanse or detox is definitely in order to feel our best again. 

So we are back to high raw food, salads, juices and smoothies for a while.

I can't wait to get back in the kitchen.

Until next time….

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