By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Full of bold flavors, this salad is a great way to incorporate artichokes into a main meal. Not only will it hopefully delight your palate, but it can also help protect you against the ravages of free radical stress. How? Artichoke hearts help promote detoxification by supporting liver function; they also contain inulin, a carbohydrate which can help diabetic patients improve their blood sugar levels. Onions contain compounds that help improve prostate health, support the immune system and protect against cancer; they also are known to help lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Red bell peppers are full of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant for vision and eye health as well as immune system function; be sure to go organic with bell peppers, though, as they tend to be the highest in pesticides (if you choose to go with tomatoes, you’ll get lycopene, a powerful antioxidant). The monounsaturated fat in olives will help your body absorb beta-carotene (and lycopene).
As for taste, briny capers bring a salty flavor, and feta cheese adds piquancy without too much fat. For a main-dish salad, try adding cooked, chilled and flaked wild Alaskan salmon (canned is okay) or organic chicken breasts, cooked, chilled and cut into bite-sized pieces.
*Choose organic produce whenever possible*
- 2 cans or jars of artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained and rinsed
- 1 to 2 medium-size red bell peppers, diced; or 2 to 4 tomatoes, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 1 ½ Tbsp chopped red onion
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of capers
- 8 to 10 black olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp feta cheese
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Chopped fresh oregano or dried oregano, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Slice artichoke hearts into halves or quarters and place into large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Serves 4.
© 2012 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.