Bring summer back with this delicious and highly nutritious green salad. It is extremely beneficial for the overall health, an energy booster and a nutrient powerhouse. This combination of flavours and textures is the ultimate delight for the palate: crunchy, creamy, sweet, peppery, smoky and juicy.
This salad is particularly rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, lycopene and lutein, and is low in sodium (see notes below for more details). It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cleansing and detoxifying properties. Thanks to the calories in avocado, it helps reduce the appetite, thus preventing overeating and helping with weight control.
The amount of vitamin C considerably increases the uptake of iron. The absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in this salad is greatly improved by the presence of healthy monounsaturated fats in avocado. The carotenoids are more concentrated in the green flesh of the avocado and can easily be retained by peeling it (cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, cut each half in two and peel the skin off like you would a banana).
This green salad has a high water and fiber content, both necessary for maintaining a healthy digestive system. To get the best of all these ingredients, make the salad right before serving it. It takes no more than a few minutes (once the peppers are ready). The smoky flavour of the peppers really comes through and combines perfectly with the sweetness of the tomatoes and the pungent taste of the capers.
Green Salad with Roasted Peppers and Avocado
- 1 large heart of romaine lettuce, broken into bite-size pieces
- 2 big sweet pointed peppers (or 2 large red bell peppers), grilled, skin and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 10 cm / 4" cucumber, cut into medium pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes, quartered, deseeded and cut into medium pieces
- 2 handfuls of watercress, stalks broken into smaller pieces
- 2 Tb capers
Mix everything in a large bowl with a pinch of salt or lemon juice and done! There's nothing to it and the health benefits are endless. You can change the amounts according to your preferences.
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Did you know...
Romaine or cos lettuce has a high water content and is very rich in beta-carotene (especially the green part), vitamin C, K and folate. It also provides a good amount of protein, fiber, omega 3, B vitamins and minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron and calcium. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and cleansing properties, it is a very low caloric food and is especially beneficial for the heart and colon.
Cucumbers contain lignans - phytoestrogens with antioxidant qualities that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Cucumbers have anti-inflammatory properties and are an important source of vitaminc C, beta-carotene, manganese, iron and calcium. They have a high water and fiber content that helps reduce constipation and maintain kidney function. Cucumbers are an excellent source of potassium which helps counter the negative effects of high levels of sodium, thus reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Potassium is an important mineral involved in nerve and muscle function and in regulating the blood pH and body fluid. Cucumbers are excellent for athletes, providing electrolytes that help restore the loss from strenuous exercise.
Watercress is rightfully considered a superfood for being extremely nutritious. It is very rich in vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K, potassium and iodine (important for thyroid function) and is low in sodium and calories. Regular consumption is beneficial for the liver, kidney and heart. Watercress maintains healthy eyes, nails, hair, skin and bones, increases energy levels, helps regulate metabolism, and strengthens the immune system thanks to its antioxidant properties. Iron, folate and vitamin B6 are important for producing healthy blood cells.
Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, including fighting off the free radicals and preventing the skin from being damaged by the UV rays. They are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, E, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber, and they are also low in sodium and calories. The carotenes in tomatoes protect against age-related macular degeneration. Flavonoids help maintain vision, mucous membranes and skin healthy. Tomato is considered a fruit, not a vegetable.
Avocado. This fruit is a nutrient powerhouse and a great addition to a wholesome diet. It contains more protein than most fruits and is a complete food, providing all the essential amino acids. Being high in calories, it gives a quicker feeling of saturation, thus preventing overeating and helping with weight control. The highest amount of fats in avocado are monounsaturated fats which help regulate blood sugar and lower the bad cholesterol, while increasing the good cholesterol, resulting in a decreased risk of heart disease.
Avocados are also rich in dietary fiber (mostly insoluble) which helps lower cholesterol levels and prevent colon cancer. It is very rich in vitamins B5, B6, E, K, C, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and is one of the best sources of potassium (the youth mineral). Avocado contains lutein, an important antioxidant that is beneficial for the eyes and skin. Due to its mild flavour, creamy texture and high nutritional density, it is an excellent baby food. Lemon prevents avocado from turning brown after exposure to air. Avocado oil has nourishing, moisturizing and regenerative qualities and is highly beneficial for skin care (it is also a natural sunscreen). Avocados are toxic for cats, dogs and other animals.
For peppers and lemon please read my notes on Ajvar.