SMART Choices with Sara; Zesty Greek Salad 

By Sara Passante 

Mankato Times 

What’s my favorite color? Antioxidant green. 

Have you ever done research on the food you eat? Or wondered what nutrients you maybe aren’t getting enough of? I know I have wondered about what antioxidants and minerals are high or low in my diet and which colorful fruits and vegetables I need more of. Antioxidants boost your immune system, they help you build strong bones, hair, skin, and nails. They fight off disease causing free-radicals and even keep your heart healthy. I try to get as many antioxidants throughout my day as possible by eating colorful foods-always having a large plate of greens at some point. 

If you want to become a healthier person, than food is the best place to start since you already make many decisions daily about food. Sometimes it is overwhelming to read about all the health concerns of the additives in food, but don’t get into the mindset that everything is going to kill you. It starts in your cart. Begin to read labels and choose foods with short ingredient lists with words you can actually pronounce. Drink more water and add whole foods into your diet. Here is a great recipe for a roasted chickpea salad that is perfect for dinner tonight and an on-the-go lunch tomorrow.  Enjoy the recipe and feel free to email me with any questions.

Zesty Greek Salad

This is a wonderful salad that goes great with warm pita bread or flatbread. Use leftovers to make a wrap with a whole wheat tortilla and try mashed avocado or hummus as the spread. YUM!

Power foods in this recipe: Tomatoes (lycopene, vitamin C), basil (vitamin K & anti-inflammatory properties), spinach (super-antioxidant properties, calcium), red onion (biotin), garlic (anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich), lemon (vitamin C), olive oil (healthy heart, vitamin E), chickpeas (fiber, folate, lean protein)

All you need:Sara Pasante, SMART Choices with Sara, Hy-Vee, Zesty Greek Salad, Mankato, Mankato Times

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 small red onion, sliced

10 oz. fresh spinach

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 oz basil (about 10 leafs), thinly sliced

1 lb grape tomatoes

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 oz crumbled feta

All you do:

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, mix chickpeas, 2 tbsp olive oil, ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and 2 cloves minced garlic. Toss to coat all chickpeas. Spread mixture on prepared pan and roast about 25 minutes, or until chickpeas are browned and crispy.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to skillet then add red onion, ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic and stir frequently for 2 minutes. Add spinach and wilt slightly (about 2 minutes). Stir in lemon juice, zest and basil. Cook 1 minute then remove from heat. In a large bowl combine roasted chickpeas, onion-spinach mixture, tomatoes and vinegar. Stir together gently then top with crumble feta on top and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Thanks for joining me this week. I would love to hear from you. Any questions or feedback are always welcome. 

Here is how you can contact me:

Hy-Vee email:

Come into the store and talk with me in person. Just ask for Sara Passante at Customer Service the next time you’re in the store. I’d love to meet you!

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