Feel the breeze of the Mediterranean with this healthy vegan salad

vegan diet

An increasing number of people decide to adopt a vegan lifestyle every year. There are lots of benefits to this diet, and if you are wondering why people would change their eating habits or if you happen to be curious about vegan recipes in general, we recommend you keep reading this article.

Mood and health boost

Vegan diets are based on plants, grains and other products that do not come from animals. This diet is high in nutrients such as vitamin A, C and E, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium among others, which can be found in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.

One of its great benefits is that it is used to reduce the risk of suffering from multiple diseases due to the phytochemicals that reside in these kinds of foods. Moreover, it is said (and proven) that vegan diets boost our mood and energy: the low-grade inflammation that results from consuming plant-based ingredients flips off a sort of metabolic switch in our chemical pathway, which is in charge of producing energy. 

Thus, consuming non starchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, dark chocolate, cabbage, red pepper, onions and garlic will stabilize our insulin levels and nurture our gut microbiome, reducing inflammation and boosting our energy levels and our mood as a consequence.

Still, there is one common myth that revolves around the idea that vegan diets are tasteless and boring, and many people tend to get carried away by this idea. However, we are here to debunk that myth once and for all.

Pasta, please!

A plant-based diet means consuming foods that are naturally grown from the soil. But this is not exclusive to eating vegetables or fruits only: pasta is an excellent option to include in any vegan diet.

Pasta is a natural plant-based food made from grains like wheat or rye, and it can be included in any vegan recipe such as vegan salads, to improve the health benefits we obtain from them. From a nutritious perspective, pasta is a great source of carbohydrates which are essential to provide energy to our brain, our muscles and our nervous system. 

There are many different kinds of pasta that can be easily found in the market, but if you wish to avoid making boring meals and incorporate new ingredients, orzo pasta is a great choice. 

Orzo is made from durum wheat semolina, which means that has a high gluten content. In Italy, it is also known as pastina, rosini or risi. It is a versatile staple that can be served as a side dish or as a complement to any salad. For pasta, orzo packs a great amount of protein, highly necessary to contribute to muscle growth, healthy aging, and bone and tissue health. Also, orzo made from whole grains can provide several minerals and vitamins such as manganese, zinc and magnesium among others.

There are dozens of orzo recipes to try out there. Here we bring this simple one, and you’ll surely be mesmerized by this pastina.

Mediterranean orzo salad recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1½ Cup dry orzo pasta.
  • 2 Green onions. 
  • ½ Green bell pepper.
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes.
  • ½ Cup parsley.
  • ¼ Cup olives.
  • 2 Tablespoons capers.
  • Feta cheese to taste.
  • ¼ Cup olive oil.
  • Juice of a lemon.
  • Zest of a lemon.
  • 1 Garlic clove.
  • Oregano to taste.

Directions:

This orzo recipe is great because it not only brings the Mediterranean flavors to your table, but it is also very easy to make.

  1. First of all, bring water to a boil and cook your pasta for about 8 minutes. It is a great idea to cook the orzo first and assemble the rest of the ingredients later. It will be better if the orzo pasta is still warm when the salad is tossed together, that way the flavors will be better absorbed!
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes cut in halves, green onions chopped finely, green bell pepper, parsley, olives and capers. Toss them a little bit and then add the orzo pasta. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine about 1/4 cup of olive oil, the zest of a lemon and its juice, a minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and oregano. Whisk all these ingredients to combine them.
  4. Now it’s time to pour the dressing into your salad. Mix all the ingredients and top with crumbles of feta cheese. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge.

Serve and enjoy!