Test Kitchen: Cucumber Apple Slaw

This month we’ve been focusing one MED instead of MEDS.  We started the month with a webinar where Faithful Families facilitators learned how to adapt and modify Faithful Families recipes for different tastes and audiences.  In addition to adapting and modifying recipes, facilitators also learned about new resources and recipes from the Mediterranean-style of eating.  We decided to give that a try with one of the delicious recipes – here is our Cucumber Apple Slaw!

For those of you who were unable to participate in this fantastic webinar, let’s take just a minute to recap the most salient points…  The Mediterranean-style of eating incorporates the basics of healthy eating traditionally practiced in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.  The Mediterranean-style diet has not only been shown to promote health, but has been shown to lower chronic disease risk.  Some foods that you once may have thought of as unhealthy, such as nuts, olive oil, olives, and whole grains, are now a part of your daily diet!  Below are a few guidelines to consider when eating the Mediterranean way.

  • Get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Choose a variety of colors and eat more of the dark green, leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, spinach, and turnip greens.
  • Eat primarily plant-based foods. Replace red meat with plant-based proteins, such as beans and legumes often.
  • Choose whole grain foods such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and popcorn. When choosing bread and pasta, look for “whole” in the first ingredient on the ingredient list (e.g., “whole grain wheat”).
  • Choose at least three ounces of nuts and seeds per week, while keeping within your calorie budget. Avoid candied, honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts and seeds.
  • Choose olive oil. Replace solid fats (e.g., butter and margarine) and other oils with olive oil. Use olive oil for cooking, in dressings and marinades. Aim to consume at least 4 tablespoons per day, while keeping within your calorie budget.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Sofrito is often used.
  • Eat seafood at least three times per week. Include fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon. Avoid fried fish. Eat white-meat poultry, such as turkey and chicken, at least twice a week.
  • Be physically active with family and friends. Aim to be moderately physically active (e.g., brisk walking) at least 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day.
  • Drink red wine, in moderation (optional)—no more than five ounces of wine/day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and no more than 10 ounces of wine/day for younger men.

Now that I have your interest piqued and your mouth watering, let me introduce you to a new Mediterranean recipe of our own.  We took a standard apple cucumber slaw recipe and added some natural sweetness along with a splash of bold vinaigrette dressing.  Try it and see what you think!

Apple Cucumber Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, cut into matchsticks (use a sweet apple such as Red Delicious, or a tart apple such as Granny Smith)
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • walnuts (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar/applecidar vinegar/rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions:

1- Cut the apple, cucumber, celery, and pear into small, matchstick-like pieces.  I chose not to peel the apple and pear, but feel free to peel your fruit before chopping if you’d like.  Next, finely chop some sweet onion– I used a Vidalia onion… for me, it was the perfect sweetness!

2- Mix ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste.  If you’d like, sprinkle some crunchy walnut pieces onto the top of the salad for a healthy indulgence!

3- There are actually three different ways to finish off the salad.  First, you could end here and enjoy!  The slaw is good with or without a dressing!  Second, you could add a pre-made vinaigrette dressing.  It saves on time and still tastes delicious.  Finally, you could top the salad with some homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  This dressing is amazing, from the fresh raspberries, to the splash of vinegar!  It’s up to you; create your own masterpiece and enjoy the flavor down to the very last bite.

Happy cooking!