Fresh Fridays 
April 5, 2013
Vol. V, No. 6            
Bowl of quinoa with vegetables with

As the weather warms up and farmers' markets reopen, our culinary cravings shift from heavy comfort foods to lighter fare. Salads of all kinds can satisfy the appetite for fresh, light flavors.


The base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds, herbs and spices--all of which make fantastic salads when combined in the right proportions!


Salads are an easy and delicious way to add vegetables and fruit to your meals, and get the family to try new ingredients. They can also be a great time saver since most salads require only assembly, not cooking. So often we get in a salad rut: lettuce, tomato, cucumber with a dressing from the bottle. Let the tips and recipes below inspire you to think beyond the leaf.


Try these tips for building delicious salads this spring and summer:

  • Combine fruits and vegetables in the same salad. The Summer Crab Salad includes pineapple, as well as bell pepper and onion. And the Fruit Salad with Orange Vinaigrette includes avocado. Berries pair well with spinach. And tomatoes and peaches play nicely together. Play with ingredients that are in season where you live.

  • Dress all of your salads. Fruit salad is a family-friendly stand-by, but sometimes the same bowl of watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes gets old. Try a bright citrus vinaigrette, like the one below, or mix up a yogurt and mint sauce for your next fruit salad. Try flavored vinegars, infused olive oils, spices, and fresh herbs for new vinaigrette combinations. Adding a little bit of a healthy fat like olive oil to your salad also helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients in fruits and vegetables.
  • Make it hearty. A salad can quickly go from side dish to main event with just a few additions. Add whole grain pasta or brown rice to your chopped salad along with some black beans or grilled shrimp for a quick and easy dinner. Other easy additions could be quinoa, whole wheat couscous, canned tuna, chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, tofu, or left-over chicken or fish.

  • Add texture. Make your salad more interesting, flavorful, and nutritious by sprinkling some nuts on top. Dried fruit, toasted coconut, water chestnuts, or crumbled whole grain crackers can also make your salad more exciting.   
(Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.)

Web links

Whole Grain of the Month: Sprouted Grain
Sprouting increases many of a grain's key nutrients. Learn more about sprouted grains, their nutritional benefits, and how to cook with them.

Patricia Wells: Salad as a Meal
Need more inspiration and guidance for creating delicious salads? Check out Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season by Patricia Wells.

Vegetables, Revised book cover with a large head of green cabbage on a black background.
When you find yourself preparing the same three vegetables over and over again, pick up a copy of James Peterson's Vegetables, Revised.

Win a Book! Cover of The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan book.
We are pleased to announce that Fresh Fridays reader Pat Garvey is the winner of last month's Mediterranean Diet Pyramid 20th Anniversary book give-away! A new month means a new book give-away to celebrate this special anniversary.

Do you have a favorite Mediterranean-inspired appetizer? We want to know for your chance to win our popular book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan. The book is flying off of shelves here at Oldways and is one of the best-selling Mediterranean cookbooks on!

Entering is easy: just post a comment on our Facebook page, tweet us at @OldwaysPT, or email [email protected] your favorite Mediterranean-inspired appetizer for your chance to win. We are accepting entries from today through Friday, April 19. The winner will be announced the week of April 29.

Already own the book? Love it? Help us spread the word by writing a review on!

This mayonnaise-free pasta salad makes the perfect side dish for picnics and barbecues. The protein from the eggs, fiber in the vegetables, and whole grains in the pasta help keep you full long after your meal ends.

Photo and recipe courtesy of the Egg Nutrition Center

This flavorful salad requires only assembly--no cooking--which makes it great for getting elegant food on the table quickly.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Prsident Cheesecrabsalad

Salad dressing is not just for green salads! Try this fruit salad with vinaigrette to brighten up your next brunch or picnic. Select fruits that are local and in season, when possible, for the best flavor.   

Photo and recipe courtesy of International Collection
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        



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Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.       



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Did you know...?
Assortment of raw vegetables including red peppers, asparagus, green grapes, onions, carrots, and lettuce.


Salads made with local, in-season produce have the best flavor and nutrition. Many grocery stores proudly carry local produce. Another great source for it is farmers' markets, where you can purchase your fruit and vegetables directly from the folks who grew it. Search for a farmers' market near you at




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