Simple, healthy, springtime salad
You’ll find many seasonal veggies in this springtime salad – cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, mint, arugula, and spinach are all available here in Texas in May.
Purchasing seasonal vegetables not only helps to keep costs lower but can also mean that we’re getting more of certain nutrients if we purchase locally.
One study found that beta-carotene levels in peas, carrots, and spinach were higher in freshly picked produce when compared to less fresh or frozen samples (1).
Health Benefits of this Dish
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), usually eaten as a vegetable, is actually a nutritious low-calorie fruit. This fruit contains essential nutrients like vitamin K and calcium, both important for bone health (2).
Consuming cucumbers (with the peel) also provides potassium and magnesium, important minerals for normal cell function in the body, proper heartbeat, and muscle and nerve function which can help to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke (3) (4).
The plant compounds, flavonoids and tannins, in cucumbers have antioxidant properties that help to prevent free radical damage of our cells which in turn reduce our risk for chronic disease conditions (5).
Mint (Mentha) is a common plant that comes in many types like peppermint, spearmint, and apple mint (7). The different types of mint will have varying levels of nutrients, but, in general, mint is a good source of vitamin A and antioxidants (8).
Peppermint has pain-relieving properties attributed to the chemical compounds menthol and camphor, and the essential oil has been used to alleviate headaches, muscle spasms, and gut pain (9) (10). When using peppermint essential oil on the skin be sure to use a carrier oil.
The leaves of peppermint are rich in menthol which acts as an antispasmodic, which can help to relieve gas pain and IBS symptoms (10).
Mint can be used in foods, as in this recipe, or can be consumed as a tea.
Cucumber Salad with Mint Recipe:
2 large cucumbers, sliced
¼ cup red onions, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup arugula or spinach
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
herbs, sea salt, and black pepper to taste
In a large bowl toss all salad ingredients together. Place all vinegarette ingredients into a glass jar with a lid and shake to combine. Toss the vinegarette with the salad and serve.
Here’s another cucumber salad recipe.