Integrative health recipe corner: mediterranean cucumber salad & chickpea medley
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and American Cancer Society (ACS) both recommend a diet that is high in plant-based nutrition for cancer prevention and survivorship. This month’s Recipe Corner highlights garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. These healthy gems, as well as other beans and peas, are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber helps promote bowel regularity, which aids in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Beans are important in the prevention of other conditions related to chronic diseases—their high fiber content helps in lowering cholesterol and other lipid levels, and in improving blood sugar levels and insulin levels. They are also a good source of plant-based protein that is low in fat. Besides being high in fiber and protein, garbanzo beans contain many vitamins and minerals, including potassium, manganese, folic acid, copper, iron and zinc.
Why don’t you try one, or both, of these fresh-tasting, delicious recipes?
Mediterranean cucumber salad
This salad is delicious alone or served on top of a bed of salad greens. With the addition of sliced tomatoes and an ear of corn, a meal is created.
- 2 cups diced cucumber
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (reduced fat, if desired)
- 1 cup cooked or canned low sodium or salt-free garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine the cucumber, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, onion, olives and parsley. Mix the lemon juice with the olive oil, then pour onto salad. Stir gently. Sprinkle with pepper to taste. Chill for two hours before serving.
This recipe can be eaten several ways. For one, you can place it atop a bed of salad greens or aside sliced tomatoes, as suggested with the previous recipe. For another idea, you can stuff this salad into a whole-grain pita pocket alone or along with hummus as your pita spread.
- 5-6 cups of cooked or canned low sodium or salt-free garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 5 ounces baby spinach leaves, well-washed
- 1 ½ cups cilantro or parsley, large stems removed, well-washed
- ¾ cup red onion, chopped finely
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
Place the spinach and parsley or cilantro in a food processor and pulse until chopped very small. You will probably have to do this in batches if you have a small food processor.
Take the chopped spinach and parsley or cilantro and place it in a large bowl along with the chickpeas and chopped red onion, and stir.
In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the spinach-chickpea mixture and stir gently, but well.
This is best left to stand for 10 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator, to let the flavors develop.