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Yesterday I touched on a few herbs and spices that have health benefits, and I realized that I forgot my favorite! This little Mediterranean beauty is the first medicinal herb I ever used! Introducing my friend oregano! I can remember a time in life where things were rough and I had gotten sick and just couldn’t get to the doctor. Looking for a home remedy became my first priority. After much research I found that this little beauty could help me battle the ill feelings.
The use and love of oregano goes back to the Greek and Roman days. It is thought to be the symbol of happiness, thus many brides and grooms would be crowned with a laurel of Oregano. As well, it has has been revered for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It has been used to treat food borne pathogens, MRSA, cold and flu, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, and as a topical insect repellant. There are many more uses as well. For easy use make sure you search for that little bottle labeled ‘oil of oregano’ if you want the potent form. Most health food stores carry it. However cooking with it, or eating it fresh in dishes will give great benefits as well. The oil form is obviously just more concentrated. Oregano contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. It has many positive attributes, don’t you think?
Take advantage of those attributes, because oregano can be enjoyed in many dishes. The most common use we think of is slow cooked into a magnificent pasta sauce. To add a refreshing pop, sprinkle fresh oregano on your next slice of pizza. Its as good or better on top than it is blended into a pizza sauce. Fresh forms can also be sprinkled on garlic bread, in salads and onto omelets for a flavor twist. I unfortunately do not have fresh growing at home right now, however, I still make the most of the dried on hand. The tomato sauce I canned over the summer. now in my pantry, gets a little help transforming into an amazing pasta sauce, with the help of my oregano (and some other spicy friends). Any way you try it, its delicious in my book! With all of these great health benefits, well, just consider those as bonus points! Enjoy getting to know this wonderful herb!
I recently enjoyed this mediterranean quinoa salad while on a trip to Santa Monica. It was so delicious, I had it three times while there! When I find dishes I like, or love, I always take note of the ingredients and come home to make my copycat. This mediterranean quinoa salad incorporates fresh healthy ingredients and was really easy to create. Give or take any vegetable you need, I recently added zucchini to mine and it was amazing! Hope you enjoy this refreshing salad, and it becomes a family favorite for you too.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of oregano
For the salad:
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups spinach and/or mixed greens with arugula
1/4 green beans, halved or 1/4 pieces
1/4 cup garbanzo beans
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
10 kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, spinach and/or mixed greens, and about half of the prepared dressing. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Add the vegetables, and remainder of the dressing to bowl. Mix well.
Fold in the feta, and sprinkle with desired amount of almonds. You can either refrigerate or enjoy immediately!