Can you think back to a time in your life when you experienced a food that was different than the traditional food you grew up with? It happened to me during my second summer of university at Acadia. I applied for a summer job at The Kitchen Door, which was a small, mainly takeaway bistro, that served Italian and Mediterranean-style food. I had no experience whatsoever with this type of cuisine aside from basics like spaghetti (which they didn’t serve).
That summer I experienced a whole new world of food and flavour that I immediately fell in love with. Pesto, sundried tomatoes, olives, certain pastas like orzo and tortellini, along with different grains like couscous and farro became a staple in my diet.
My love affair with Mediterranean food deepened as I spent multiple summers in Italy during my time on the international rowing circuit. No matter where I was or how many years had passed there was one recipe that I kept coming back to time and time again. Carol DeMatteis, the head chef, and owner of The Kitchen Door, had no idea how much of a gift that summer was to me. I have literally made her Greek Salad recipe hundreds of times over the years and it is one that I will hand down to my children, for sure. When made with the freshest ingredients, this salad is not only appealing to the eye but also to the tastebuds of all ages. It is a perfect side to serve with just about any clean protein that you cook up on the BBQ, or it can stand alone as a quick lunch on the go.
One of the big principles of health-supportive meal preparation is that we eat from the rainbow. Dr. Mark Hyman in his cookbook, FOOD What the Heck Should We Eat, advises us to eat an assortment of colourful plants on a daily basis and you’ll reap the benefits of numerous phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support optimal health. Our food contains information that our bodies use to heal; my rule of thumb is to always have at least two different colours of vegetables on the plate at every meal. There is no question that this recipe has got you covered. Delicious and nutritious, you can’t beat it.
The original recipe that I’d written down is long gone, so this is mostly a free-wheeling meal, but I have done my best to put numbers to it. However, feel free to change any of the quantities to suit your taste. From The Kitchen Door to my kitchen, and now to yours, enjoy!
Serves 4 | Preparation time: 10 minutes
1 English Cucumber, quartered and deseeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tomatoes, quartered and deseeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ Sweet Pepper of any colour, deseeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ Red Onion (or red cabbage for non-onion lovers), thinly sliced
½ cup Kalamata Olives, pitted
¼ cup Feta Cheese, diced
1 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Juice of ½ lemon freshly squeezed
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)
½ tsp Pepper
- Cut all vegetables in like-sized,
- Add the olives and feta cheese
- Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice
- Season with oregano, salt, and pepper to taste