Summer salad makeover: 3 delicious recipes

Potatoes, cabbage and spinach are all gut-friendly foods. So we asked Best Health guest columnist Joy McCarthy to incorporate them into healthier versions of those buckets of potato salad, coleslaw and pasta salad you see at the grocery store

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Greek Potato Salad

"My Greek Potato Salad has the keys to a great salad: It's super-fresh and uses high-quality ingredients. Find quality vege­tables and feta cheese at your farmers' market to make it worth every morsel."

Dressing
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea or rock salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salad
1 kg (2 lb.) red potatoes, washed and chopped (skins on)
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted black olives
Handful each chopped dill and mint
1 package (120 g/4 oz.)
crumbled light feta cheese

Method
In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and set aside to let the flavours mingle. If potatoes are large, cut in half or quarters. In a large pot of water, gently boil potatoes until tender (approximately 20 minutes, depending on size of potato pieces); cool to room temperature. Be careful not to overcook, as the peel will come off. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and remaining salad ingredients except cheese; toss with dressing. Serve immediately and sprinkle with cheese just before serving, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Serves eight as a side dish.

Per serving: 297 calories, 7 g protein, 20 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 8 mg cholesterol, 491 mg sodium

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Creamy Apple-Cabbage Slaw

"The Creamy Apple-Cabbage Slaw is crunchy, quick to make and flavourful, and one of my favourite summertime salads. It's great with fish for dinner, or as a lunch on its own. Packed full of fibre and detoxifying phytonutrients, this salad will keep you satisfied for hours."

Dressing
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tahini paste
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea or rock salt

Slaw

1 large purple cabbage, shredded
2 Granny Smith apples, finely chopped (leave peel on)
2 large carrots, grated
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Method

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, combine all slaw ingredients and toss with dressing. You can serve this immediately but, better yet, chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Serves eight as a side dish.

Per serving: 229 calories, 3 g protein, 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 19 g carbohydrates, 6 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium

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Spinach-Pesto Pasta Salad

"My Spinach-Pesto Pasta Salad has lots of fresh twists: It uses spelt pasta; has spinach pesto for added flavour; and includes hemp, a Canadian super-food. Hemp is full of skin-loving, anti-inflammatory nutrients: omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). Nutritious and delicious!"

3 cups (750 mL) cooked spelt pasta (rotini or fusilli)

Pesto
3 cups (750 mL) fresh spinach
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup (125 mL) hemp seeds
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil or hemp oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea or rock salt

Method
Chill cooked pasta. In a food processor, combine all pesto ingredients; process to desired consistency. (I personally like my pesto with a bit of texture and crunch, rather than smooth and creamy, but it's up to you!) In a large bowl, add pesto to chilled pasta and toss. Add more extra virgin olive oil if desired. Enjoy immediately, or chill and serve the next day. This dish can also be served warm.

Serves eight as a side dish.

Per serving: 245 calories, 10 g protein, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 21 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium