Salads are a staple for people who wish to make positive changes to their health. You can have a salad during breakfast, lunch or dinner using your favorite crisp vegetables. Add in some high-quality protein, fruits, raw nuts and seeds plus a drizzle of flavorful salad dressing, and you’ve got a hearty and wholesome meal.
If you’re running out of ideas for your next salad, look no further than this Smashed Cucumber Salad With Lemon Herb Dressing and Raw Sheep Milk Feta from My Longevity Kitchen.
Now that summer is in full swing, the cool and refreshing taste of cucumbers will tickle your taste buds. The creamy feta cheese and tangy and rich lemon-olive oil dressing complement the cucumbers very well, too.
- 1 English cucumber (seedless), peeled
- 3 ounces sheep milk feta cheese (raw)
- 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 6 chives or 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (from organic lemon)
- Zest from ¼ organic lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
- Place the peeled cucumber on a large cutting board with a larger sheet of plastic wrap covering the cucumber on all sides. Get ready to smash: using a heavy-bottom pan, press down on one end of the cucumber until you feel it start to crack.
Now, starting at the same end, give your cucumber a few whacks until it starts splitting and smashing all the way down the length of the cucumber.
- After smashing, remove the plastic, and slice the cucumber into 1-inch slices, leaving the cucumber in its original shape.
- Use a spatula to carefully transfer the cucumber onto a serving platter (it will take a few trips), recreating the shape of the smashed cucumber.
- Mix together your dressing: parsley, chives, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.
Assembling the Salad
- Right when it’s time to eat, scatter the feta cheese pieces all over the cucumber. Drizzle all of the dressing on the cucumber and feta, being sure to cover the outside pieces of cucumber too. Serve with a spoon. This salad will save well in the fridge; even though it gets watery, it’s still delicious.
Note: If you are unable to locate raw sheep feta, organic feta cheese may be substituted.
Say Hello to Health Boosts With This Smashed Cucumber Salad
Unlike traditional salads that use leafy greens, this Smashed Cucumber Salad With Lemon Herb Dressing and Raw Sheep Milk Feta Recipe uses “smashed” chunks of delicious cucumber as a base. Even better, the salad dressing isn’t store-bought and artificially flavored, but a homemade blend that is rich in healthy fats courtesy of the olive oil and nutrients from both the lemon juice and zest.
Be as Cool (and Healthy) as a Cucumber
Cucumber contains numerous health benefits, especially when they’re fresh and organic. For starters, these bright green vegetables are hydrating because they’re 95 percent water, and are rich in antioxidants but low in calories.
Cucumbers are also a very good source of fiber. The soluble fiber in these vegetables dissolves into a gel-like texture once it’s in your gut and aids in slowing down your digestion. This process enables you to feel full longer, which helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Cucumbers can also help boost your brain health because of an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin, which could improve your memory and shield nerve cells from age-related decline.1
Aside from these health benefits, however, cucumbers could greatly help in reducing your risk of breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.2 This occurs because of the presence of both polyphenols called lignans and phytonutrients called cucurbitacins.
Raw Feta Cheese Is the Right Choice
If you’ve had Greek salad before, surely you’re familiar with feta cheese. This soft cheese made from either goat’s or sheep’s milk is known across the globe for its creamy and crumbly texture and salty and tangy flavor.3
Although this recipe calls for raw feta cheese made from sheep’s milk, you can use just about any type of raw cheese that you like. Don’t let so-called “health experts” fool you into thinking that raw, unpasteurized cheese is harmful. There are actually health benefits you can get from raw cheese, such as:
- High-quality proteins and amino acids
- High-quality saturated and omega-3 fats
- Minerals such as calcium, zinc and phosphorus
- Vitamins A, B2, B12, D and K2
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that can fight cancer and boost metabolism
Raw and unpasteurized cheese made from grass-fed animal milk is also better than pasteurized cheese created with milk from grain-fed animals, as the former has:
- An ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio of 2:1
- Five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to pasteurized cheese
- Higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, D and E
- Zero traces of antibiotics and growth hormones
- Natural enzymes that have been preserved because the cheese is unpasteurized
Love Your Lemons
There’s more to this bright citrus fruit than just for making lemonade. Instead of buying salad dressing at the grocery store next time, try using lemon juice as a base, sprinkle in some lemon zest and mix with olive oil. Not only will your dressing taste great, but it will deliver health boosts as well.
Lemons have an impressive amount of vitamin C that can fight infections. They also contain citric acid that can assist with proper digestion and work toward dissolving kidney stones, as well as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that may inhibit the onset of scurvy. Meanwhile, flavonoid glycosides called esperetin and naringenin that are present in lemons help get rid of harmful free radicals.
You can also find flavonoid antioxidants in lemons that can help combat heart disease, cancer and inflammation.4 Plus you can be assured of healthy mucous membranes, skin and vision because of beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A, to name a few.
Throw in Some Coconut Oil for a Good Dose of Healthy Fats
I've written about the benefits of coconut oil before, and there's no shortage of praise for this amazing product. For one, it's a great source of high-quality healthy fats, most notably lauric acid. In fact, coconut oil contains the highest amount of lauric acid than any other food on Earth.
The benefits of lauric acid kick in once it becomes digested and converted into monolaurin. It's been found that monolaurin may help with fighting ailments such as influenza, measles, protozoa and even HIV and herpes. Coconut oil may also promote heart health and healthy brain function, and may give your immune system a boost.
Despite having only a handful of ingredients, this recipe brings a plethora of health benefits that your body will surely love. If you're not into spicy food, give this recipe a chance. Who knows, maybe you'll like it!
About the Author
Inspired by the ideas from the “Perfect Health Diet” and the Weston A. Price Foundation, Marisa Moon started her blog My Longevity Kitchen so she can share with other people her whole food and gluten-free recipes that maximize nutrition and minimize toxins. Her blog has been nominated for Paleo Magazine’s 2015 Best New Blog Award. All of her recipes are gluten free and compliant with a variety of ancestral diets and real food lifestyles.
Apart from managing her blog, Marisa also teaches nutritional lifestyle workshops and develops recipes for HI-VIBE, an organic superfood juicery, all in Chicago, Illinois.
Sources and References
Tags: Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables, Gluten-Free, Raw