Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: March 27, 2024

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Colorful Mediterranean chopped salad in a wooden bowl, ready to be tossed.

This Mediterranean Chopped Salad recipe is so delightful and packs a tonne of flavor thanks to its array of gorgeous vegetables, vibrant herbs, and umami-rich condiments like olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Each hearty serving of this glorious salad delivers 20 grams of protein and 18 grams of fiber, along with healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts, ensuring you feel full and satisfied. The rainbow of colors in our dish also means we’re getting a broad spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants to nourish our microbiome.

It’s also incredibly easy to prepare, with rice being the only component that needs cooking. The key to achieving that perfect bite? Ensure all your veggies are chopped to a similar or smaller size than the chickpeas. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but mixing all these small pieces together makes the flavor of the salad ten times better!

Mediterranean chopped salad in a wooden bowl, ingredients freshly tossed.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Micro nutrient-packed: It is packed with vitamins and minerals to support overall health, with notably high levels of folate, Vitamins A, C, K, and magnesium.
  • High-volume: Many of the ingredients are high volume with an overall lower calorie density, making it an excellent option for weight loss and weight management.
  • Protein-Powered: Offers a satisfying 20 grams of protein per serving.
  • High Fiber: With 18 grams of fiber and many different plants it’s a great one for gut health.
  • Quick Meal Prep: Simple to assemble with a balance of fresh and pantry staples.
  • Versatile: Easy to customize with your favorite ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

Assorted fresh ingredients for Mediterranean chopped salad labeled for identification.
  • Chickpeas: A good source of fiber and plant-based protein and can be used canned or cooked from dried.
  • Yellow Tomatoes: Rich in vitamins A and C. Red tomatoes can also be used instead.
  • Red Bell Pepper: High in vitamin C and adds a sweet crunch.
  • Cucumber: Adds hydration and fiber with a refreshing taste.
  • Brown Rice: Provides complex carbohydrates. Can be substituted with quinoa.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Whisk together the whole-grain mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red onions to create your dressing. Pour the dressing at the bottom of a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, chickpeas, brown rice, dill, basil, sundried tomatoes, baby capers, olives, and toasted pine nuts. Mix until everything is beautifully combined, and serve your gorgeous salad!

Overhead view of a colorful Mediterranean chopped salad in a wooden bowl, ready to be tossed.

Variations and Tips

  • Boost the Protein: This salad makes for two very generous servings, with each serving containing 20 g of protein. To boost this amount, an easy swap would be to replace the 1½ cups of cooked chickpeas with 2 cups of cooked brown or black lentils. This alone would take it to 27 g of protein. Another idea could be to pair it with some grilled tofu (my Herby Lemon Tofu would be so good in this!).
  • Salad Prep: If you wish to turn this salad into a meal prep, you can use our classic layering technique. In a fitted container, start with the sauce, followed by the chickpeas, rice, capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, pine nuts, and fresh herbs. Skip the lettuce, as it won’t stay fresh long enough. Alternatively, try our Easy Brown Rice Mediterranean Salad. It’s so delicious and makes for the perfect lunch to have at work.
  • More Veggies: Feel free to include additional vegetables like spinach or arugula. You can also mix the herbs and add fresh parsley or oregano.
  • Change It Up: Swap out chickpeas for any other bean variety you love. Lentils or white beans would be delicious here.
  • Olives Twist: Use kalamata olives or any juicy olives that you can get your hands on; they would all be delicious.
  • Sodium tip: You might notice that I didn’t add any salt to this recipe (it might be a first!), and I would recommend waiting until you’ve tried a couple of bites of the salad before deciding to add more. I’ve added a lot of ingredients that pack big umami flavors, such as olives, capers, and sundried tomatoes. Like me, you might find that it’s salty enough. However, these ingredients do vary a lot depending on the brand, so if you choose to add some salt, I would recommend sea salt flakes and perhaps a crack or two of black pepper.
  • If you feel like it, a little bit of vegan feta cheese goes a long way and pairs beautifully with our salad. You could even have it on a toasted slice of our 1 Ingredient Buckwheat Bread to make it even more satisfying.
Mediterranean chopped salad served in a bowl, ingredients freshly tossed.

Why You’ll Love This Mediterranean Chopped Salad

  • Yummy
  • Nourishing
  • Colorful
  • Easy
  • Versatile
Colorful Mediterranean chopped salad in a wooden bowl, ready to be tossed.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

5 from 4 votes
Enjoy this nutritious Mediterranean Chopped Salad, a delicious mix of fresh vegetables, beans, and herbs, perfect for a quick and nourishing lunch or meal prep.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes

Video

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lettuce gem head (chopped (about 4 cups))
  • 5 oz yellow tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 cucumber (finely chopped)
  • cups chickpeas (cooked)
  • cup brown rice (cooked)
  • ¼ cup dill (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup basil (sliced)
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp baby capers
  • 10 Sicillian olives (pitted and chopped)
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red onions (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Whisk together whole grain mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red onions to make the dressing.
  • Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl, followed by layers of lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, chickpeas, rice, dill, basil, sundried tomatoes, baby capers, olives, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Mix everything together to combine, and enjoy!

Per Serving

Calories 580kcalCarbohydrates 74gProtein 20gFat 26gSodium 672mgFiber 18gVitamin A 557IUVitamin C 97mgCalcium 182mgIron 7mg
COURSE Salad
CUISINE Mediterranean
KEYWORDS Fiber-Rich, Healthy Eating, High Protein, Meal Prep
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FAQ

Is this salad suitable for a plant-based diet?

Yes, it’s perfect for those following a plant-based lifestyle; it’s been nutritionally balanced to be a satisfying and filling main dish, but it would also make for a beautiful side at your next gathering.

Can I use quinoa instead of brown rice?

Certainly, quinoa is a nutritious, protein-rich alternative.

Are canned beans as nutritious as fresh?

Canned beans are a great time-saver and offer similar nutritional benefits to fresh beans. Make sure to rinse well under cold water to reduce sodium and oligosaccharide content (that compound that can sometimes make us feel bloated).

How long does this salad keep?

When stored properly in the fridge, enjoy within two days for the best taste and texture.

Can this recipe be doubled?

Absolutely, it’s easy to scale up for more servings.

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5 Comments

    1. absolutely, I think roasted almonds would be delicious in this, but any nuts you like will work 🙂

  1. Hey, I made this salad many times and it’s definitely one of my faves. I also love how beautiful all your salads are, how practical cause you are set for work and they’re also so healthy.5 stars

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