I try very hard to only eat meat 3 or 4 times a week (I'm talking all meals here, not just dinner). I know there are many valid reasons for limiting or excluding meat entirely from ones diet (hormones, drugs, cruelty, cost etc.) but my main reason is because animal protein is significantly harder for your body to digest than other types of protein. Eating large quantities of animal protein (especially fattier meats) puts extra stress on the kidneys and pancreas and while I like my meat as much as anyone else, I like my organs more! I'm always looking for more vegetarian meals and this is one I like to make partially because I usually have everything I need already in the fridge. Ha! No grocery shopping!
No cooking needed. Just a few minutes of washing, chopping and whisking and dinner is ready to be launched into the belly! And really you don't need me to give you a "recipe" really, it's essentially a Greek salad.
1 seedless English cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 red or vidallia onion, diced
20 Kalamata olives, pitts removed
2-3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
2 or 3 oz feta cheese
5 or 6 diced pepperoncini, stems and seeds removed (optional)
For the vinaigrette
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Toss the onion, cucumber, tomato, olives and pepperoncini (if you are using them) in a large bowl. Crumble the feta and add to the bowl. Leave the romaine lettuce to the side until ready to use (adding to the bowl will make it soggy, especially if you have leftovers).
Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, oregano, black pepper in a bowl. Add the olive oil last and keep whisking until blended. Pour the vinaigrette over the bowl with your veggies and feta. Stir to combine flavors. You can probably skip the salt since the feta, olives and pepperoncini peppers are loaded with them.
Slice the pita pockets in half and fill with lettuce and a big scoop of salad. Serve with a little hummus if you like. Eat.
All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley