How to Make a Mediterranean Diet Salad

Craft a Heart-Healthy Salad in Honor of Mediterranean Diet Month

We might not be able to make it to Greece or Southern Italy anytime soon, but we can bring the cuisine to us by celebrating Mediterranean Diet Month in our own kitchens. The healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet are touted by numerous studies, and for good reason: it promotes heart health, good vision, and weight control, to name a few. An easy way to get the Mediterranean diet into your own life is by dressing up an everyday salad with elements of this regional cuisine.

Nuts, legumes, and seeds: The next time you are debating salad toppings, consider a handful of walnuts, a serving of chickpeas, or a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. The protein, fiber, and healthy fats contained in these small bites will help keep you full and energized throughout the day. Even better, center your entire salad around a legume, like this chickpea, almond, and goat cheese salad.

Fresh vegetables: You'll be hard-pressed to find any Mediterranean meal served without a good helping of vegetables. Foods like greens, eggplant, zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes, and cucumbers are popular choices, which is why YumSugar's recipe for a warm mushroom and artichoke salad is a natural choice.

Learn more ways to make your salad Mediterranean after the break!

Whole grains: Whether it's farro, brown rice, or spelt, add heart-healthy whole grains to your next salad. Nutrient-dense whole grains provide a hearty dose of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Need some inspiration? Try this recipe for a cooling spelt salad with veggies.

Olive oil: Whether it's a main dish, roasted vegetables, or a bowl of pasta, olive oil is everywhere in the Mediterranean diet. Containing good-for-you monounsaturated fats, olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. To reap the most in healthy benefits, choose high-quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil that hasn't been heated — exactly what you'll find in this simple recipe for olive oil and red wine vinegar salad dressing.

Fish: What's a salad without a little extra protein? The Mediterranean diet takes the focus off of beef and onto fish. Full of omega-3s, iron, and calcium, this tuna and farro salad recipe is a perfect combo of everything good about the Mediterranean diet.