As the temperature increases and summer begins, healthy lighter meals may be just what we need over the next few months.
This simple salad can be refreshing on a hot summer day, and as it refreshes it also provides our body with many essential nutrients to fuel and support our work and play. You can serve it up as a light lunch, or as a side at dinner.
According to Dr. Masley, this salad is sometimes served with breadcrumbs in Sicily, but he suggests using chopped pistachio instead for both flavor and to reduce the glycemic load of the dish.
Here are a few health benefits of this Sicilian Orange Salad
Oranges are a popular citrus fruit known for their vitamin C content and are primarily water as well as carbohydrates which provide energy for the body. As a good source of fiber, particularly soluble fiber, oranges can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, improve blood glucose control, and aid weight loss which can reduce the risk for developing cardiovascular disease (1). Citrus fruit contains flavonoids like naringin that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can be beneficial for obesity, diabetes, and hypertension (2) (3).
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant with a mild, licorice-like flavor that is loaded with nutrients. This low-calorie plant is a good source of vitamin C which is necessary for the structure and support of nerve cells, tissue repair, and immune health (4).
Fennel and its seeds provide potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as manganese a trace mineral that is required for the normal function of the nervous system, brain, and enzyme systems in the body (5). Fennel contains flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol which have strong anti-inflammatory effects and also help to regulate immune function (6).
Pistachios are a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These tasty little tree nuts are also rich in nutrients like vitamin B6 which is important for blood sugar regulation and hemoglobin formation – the protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood (7). Rich in potassium pistachios can aid the normal functioning of cells as potassium regulates heartbeat, muscle, and nerve function, and is necessary for protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism (8).
Dr. Masely’s Sicilican Orange Salad Recipe
4 medium-large oranges, peeled/cut into wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small-medium fennel bulb, chopped
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. pistachio, finely chopped
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. honey
Combine all salad ingredients (except the pistachios) in a large salad bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients until well blended and toss with the salad. Garnish the salad with the chopped pistachio and serve.
Here’s another take on a Sicilian Salad.