Should My Salad Be Organic? (and a Cucumber Chickpea Salad)
I spend a lot of my time thinking about food. Cooking food. Writing about food.
Even with all of that, I still sometimes get overwhelmed trying to figure out what food I should buy.
For example, when do I need to buy organic and when can I spare my overburdened food budget and buy conventional produce?
Lucky for me there’s help figuring that out. I check with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Every year they produce a list of the “Dirty Dozen” — produce that’s the most impacted by pesticides when grown conventionally that you should buy organic. The current list includes these fruits and vegetables: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, imported nectarines, potatoes, spinach and strawberries. The current list also includes two additions: kale/collard greens and summer squash because when they were tested they carried residues of toxic pesticides that aren’t in use any more.
EWG also produces a list of produce that’s probably okay to buy conventional. These they call “The Clean Fifteen.” These include: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen sweet peas, and sweet potatoes.
Once I know the facts, I can go ahead and indulge in the produce I love. For the salad below, I am sure to buy organic cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. That way I can enjoy without worry!
Other favorite salad recipes include:
- Citrus Fruit Salad
- Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
- Corn and Avocado Salad
- Star Spangled Salad
- Crazy Simple Raw Kale Salad
Cucumber Chickpea Salad
serves 2 – 4
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
- 1 tomato or large handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- small bunch of fresh basil, minced
- small bunch of fresh chives, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- salt and pepper
- Thinly slice cucumbers and tomato.
- Combine vegetables with chickpeas and minced herbs.
- Toss salad with olive oil and then with the red wine vinegar and agave nectar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe Note: I don’t like a very oil-heavy salad, you can always adjust the oil and vinegar amounts to suit your taste.
Kim Lutz is a vegan mom to two boys, and lives with her rocker husband, dog and cat. She is the author of Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes and the gluten-free, allergen-free, vegan website, welcomingkitchen.com. Kim is the co-author with Megan Hart, MS, RD, LD, of two other cookbooks.
Read all of Kim’s posts here.