Starting off the New Year by eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to give up delicious foods that satisfy.
This Greek salad is the perfect example. Plump juicy roasted shrimp, succulent olives, fiber filled lentils and tangy feta all drizzled with a creamy lemon vinaigrette tastes like you’re eating a bowl of your favorite pig out food, but in fact you are enjoying one of the healthiest diets on the planet.
The Mediterranean Diet consisting of fish, fresh vegetables and olive oil has been proven ( See Harvard article here) time and time again to be linked to reduced heart disease, reduced stress and longevity. Sign me up!
It is packed full of healthy vegetables, but you won’t feel like your eating a bowl of lawn clippings and sour vinegar.
By emulsifying the vinegrette with a high power blender or immersion blender, you can turn fresh lemon juice, antioxidant packed herbs, garlic and olive oil into a creamy indulgent dressing for the salad. This salad is fantastic the day you make it , but even beytter on day two.
And here’s to good health in 2022.
1 lb 21-25 size fresh shrimp
1 1/2 tsp Herbes De Provence, divided
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup slivered sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, reserve the oil
7.75 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup French green lentils
1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
1 green bell pepper, seeded & diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
8 oz feta, buy in block form and cut into cubes
2 large lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, buy Greek if you can find it
1/8 cup fresh mint leaves, plus addtional for garnish
Fresh basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
FOr the salad
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Peel and devein the shrimp. In a small bowl, toss the shrimp in 1 tsp Herbes De Provence, 1 TBSP oil oilve from the sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 tsp kosher salt until well coated.
Place the coated shrimp on sheet pan and roasted at 400 degrees until just pink- about 9-10 minutes. Do not over cook. Remove the shrimp from the pan, cool and cut into bite size pieces.
- Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Rinse the dried lentils with water to remove any grit.
Add in the lentils to the pot of boiling water. Reduce to the heat to a simmer and cook for 17-19 minutes stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse the lentils with cold tap water. Shake off as much water as you can. Set cooled lentils aside in a large salad bowl.
- In the large salad bowl combine the cooked lentils, roasted shrimp, green bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, chick peas, cucumber, olives and top with chunks of feta.
Garnish with fresh mint and basil leaves.
- For the Vinaigrette:
- Combine 1 TBSP of the reserved olive oil from the sun dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, zest from the 2 lemons, juice from the two lemons, 2 garlic cloves, mint leaves, basil leaves, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp oregano and 1/2 tsp Herbes De Provence in a high speed blender. Blend on high until emulsified and creamy. Pour half the vingrette over the salad and save half for additional servings.
- You can use an immersion blender to make the vinaigrette or place all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk vigorously until emulsifed.
If using the hand whisking method, you will need to mince the garlic and herbs very finely. A high power blender is the preferred equipment to attain the correct thickness for the dressing.
- Purchase my preferred blender here.
A note on Feta Cheese:
Try and purchase imported Greek block feta and not pre crumbled domestic feta. The crumbled version is very dry adn does not add the tanginess real Feta can impart to the salad. Most grocery stores sell block feta near their deli counter or at the cheese mongers section. My favorite brand is here and can be purchased at most grocery stores that carry fine cheeses.