Now that we’re in the middle of the summer here in New York City, and the markets are bursting with colorful produce, I get inspired to make seasonal variations of all of my favorite dishes every day. Since tomatoes and bell peppers are looking (and tasting) amazing lately, I wanted to use them to create a salad that I could stuff some creamy avocados with. As you may remember from previous posts, we Peruvians love using avocados in all kinds of ways, and stuffing them with different ingredients is one of the most popular and easiest ways to eat them.
I had some mint in the fridge, some chickpeas that I was initially going to use to make hummus, and tons of extra virgin olive oil, as always, so I mixed all these ingredients together in a bowl with my juicy cherry tomatoes and orange bell pepper. Without realizing it, this combination started looking quite Mediterranean, which is no surprise as most of the dishes I make are strongly influenced by the healthy Mediterranean Diet. After all, this diet consists mostly of tons of fresh seasonal vegetables and healthy fats high in Omega-3s, and this is the way I choose to eat every day, being the health-conscious, food loving vegetarian that I am. This salad needed an extra touch though, and that’s where some sliced California Ripe Olives came in. Whenever you feel like your dish is lacking something, or you simply want to make it more tasty, I recommend you try adding olives to it. It’s such an easy thing to do, and it can totally change a dish. I’m a black olive fanatic, and will eat them on their own, blended into a spread with some crackers, or add them to everything, from salads, to pasta sauces, to stews. I just can’t get enough of their amazing taste, and I also feel the healthy fats they contain make me feel fuller, stronger, warmer (in the winter), and more energized. And for those who don’t know it, even though olives are usually thought of as part of the Mediterranean diet, and are indeed an important element of this nutritious, heart-and longevity-friendly way of eating, they are part of many different diets too, including the Peruvian diet! In Peru we are crazy about olives and include them in many of our dishes, such as this Arroz al Olivar (olive rice).
If you want to learn more about the benefits and uses of this ingredient click here.
I also have one extra, cool fact to share. Tomatoes are also a staple of the Mediterranean diet, but guess where they are originally from?
So this dish ended up being a real, complete fusion. But what dish is not a fusion these days, in our globalized world?
Want to start using this healthy ingredients in your home recipes too? If you join the California Ripe Olives Midsummer Mediterranean Giveaway, you will have the chance to win a fabulous prize package to help you enjoy tasty flavors this season and beyond. What are you waiting for?
- ½ cup California Black Ripe Olives, drained, rinsed, and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in 8 pieces
- ½ bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup mint, sliced or chopped
- 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ medium red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 large, ripe avocados
- Mix all the ingredients, except the avocados, in a bowl.
- Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and take out some of the flesh from the center of each half with a spoon. Chop that flesh and mix it into the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Place 2 avocado halves in each plate, and stuff with the Mediterranean salad. If you have any remaining salad, stuff some extra avocados or serve it next to the stuffed avocados.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.