Post-Vacation Detox Salad

By Katherine

Sean and I just got back from an incredible two and half weeks in New Zealand. The scenery was stunning, the people were unbelievably friendly, and the food and wine were both plentiful and delicious.  We may have overindulged, just a bit. 

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Upon our return, we both decided that we needed to try to undo a little of the damage done while we were gone and have a little health detox of sorts.  For us, this means cutting down on alcohol and increasing our salad and vegetable intake.  Luckily, I was inspired by an amazing salad I had in Christchurch and decided to try to recreate it at home, with a few modifications.  The inspiration was the spiced lamb salad at Pomeroy's Old Brewery Inn in Christchurch (if you ever find yourself in Christchurch, definitely go here - great beer, food, and atmosphere).  It was a mediterranean-style salad, with roasted zucchini and eggplant, feta, olives, tomatoes, and a mint-yogurt dressing, topped with slices of grilled lamb and a spicy red sauce.  My re-creation at home omitted the lamb and the tomatoes (to keep it vegetarian, and because I forgot them, respectively) and added toasted pine nuts for a little crunch. I think it turned out pretty great - it was delicious but still felt healthy.  Putting roasted vegetables on salads is one of my new favorite tricks - it makes the salad feel more substantial, but it's still healthy since it's vegetables. This mint-yogurt dressing is also yummy, low-fat, and could be used for all sorts of things (sauce for grilled meat, dip for veggies, etc.) 

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Post-Vacation Detox Salad

2 small to medium zucchini, sliced

1 medium eggplant, cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

5 oz. mesclun or other salad greens

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1/4 cup Kalamata olives 

1/4 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced

3 radishes, thinly sliced

2 oz. feta cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Mint-Yogurt Dressing:

1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

Juice from 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the zucchini and eggplant with the olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and roast for approximately 25 minutes (you want some color on the veggies for flavor).  While the vegetables are roasting, make the dressing by whisking the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and mint together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside (you want the flavors to have a little time to meld together).  Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over low heat until golden brown, stirring or shaking frequently (about 3-5 minutes). Don't walk away and forget about them, which will result in tragically burned pine nuts. (You could also toast them in the oven while the vegetables are roasting; just be sure to check them frequently.)  Once the zucchini and eggplant are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes. In a large salad bowl, layer the remaining salad ingredients, topping with the roasted vegetables and pine nuts.  Toss everything with the mint-yogurt dressing and serve with hot sauce on the side for those who might like some spice.