My first international trip was a Mediterranean cruise with my family when I was 16. We traveled to various stops throughout Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Not only was this trip wonderful for obvious reasons, but I also loved it because since the ship provided a safely, confined space, my mom allowed me to roam freely around the giant ship without parental supervision. What! This was the greatest privilege of independence while traveling I had been given so far. Just after a couple days I knew this ship like the back of my hand. Whenever we were on the ship, I spent the majority of my time exploring on my own because as soon as we got off to go on a tour I had to stay close by my family – you see, I have a reputation of skillfully winding my way through a crowd, so much so I inadvertently end up losing the rest of my party. My bad.
Unfortunately, during this trip I was still an incredibly picky eater. Seeing as we spent most of our time on the cruise ship, I relished in the familiar comfort foods of American cuisine. I’m embarrassed to say that despite being surrounded by countless new, ethnic, and elaborate dishes, I ate the same thing every night – chicken fettuccine alfredo with a baked parmesan garnish. This was then followed by numerous freshly baked cookies and milk as I watched the nightly movie on the pool deck. Looking back I wish I would have been more adventurous with my food choices – I mean, gosh when I went to Thailand, I tried a fried maggot! – especially since we were traveling in a region that has one of my now favorite cuisine – Mediterranean and Greek. One day I plan to go back, and do the food portion of traveling in these regions right!
Lately I have been making a lot of baked goodies, so I wanted to create an easy to make, healthy meal option – especially for those, who like me, have little self-restraint when it comes to holiday goodies. With this salad I like to prep it ahead of time for the week, so I have a ready-made snack or meal when my sweet tooth is trying to take over. The Mediterranean flavors lend to a fresh, and healthy tasting salad. I didn’t create a specific salad dressing for this recipe, but it can either be simply topped with equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or my favorite, Brianna’s Home Style Real French Vinaigrette dressing!
Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Prep time:Serves: 5
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1 pound chicken (breasts or tender)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped (about 5-6 cups)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1/2 cup feta
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Prepare the couscous per packaging instructions, then allow to cool.
- As the couscous cools, cook the chicken in a large skillet, seasoning with garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
- Once the chicken is cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces and allow to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, garbanzo beans, cucumber, avocado, feta, sun dried tomatoes, lemon zest, couscous, and chicken.
- For the dressing, either drizzle equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or my favorite, Brianna's Home Style Real French Vinaigrette dressing. To store, place a paper towel against the top of the salad, tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then store in the refrigerator.