Mediterranean Zoodle Salad

I’ve been melting in the Boulder heat. And the idea of cooking over the stove or turning on the oven has been repulsive. Thus, tonight I made up some simple, cook-less zoodle salad. This salad uses mediterranean ingredients, which includes a lot of plant based foods. This assortment of different ingredients helps increase the diversity of your gut microbiome. Uh oh no, Shalaya’s going to start pulling out the science lingo…. but hear me out– I promise to keep this short (ish).  Our gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live in our digestive tracts. I know that sounds like something from a science fiction movie, but these little guys are pretty important. These microbes have a tremendous potential to impact our physiology. They contribute metabolic functions, protect against pathogens, and aid the immune system [1].  What you eat rapidly alters your gut microbiome. And the greater assortment of foods you eat, the more diverse your microbiome, i.e. the more species of microbes you have [2]. Having a diverse microbiome pays off too- it’s long been understood that those individuals with the richest diversity of microbes have strong immune systems [3]. So just think, by mixing up your diets, and adding in some new things, you could not only be diversifying your palate, but be helping add new the little critters to your digestive tract that could help you stay healthy and have a long uninterrupted season!

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What you’ll need

  • 3 medium zucchini spiralized
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 can 15 oz artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • SUNDRIED TOMATO DRESSING:
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine spiralized zucchini, olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, almonds and feta. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the dressing: Place sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in food processor. With food processor running, drizzle olive oil through top, pulsing dressing until completely smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When ready to serve, toss sundried tomato dressing with zucchini noodle mixture. Enjoy!
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[1] Shreiner, A. B., Kao, J. Y., & Young, V. B. (2015). The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Current opinion in gastroenterology31(1), 69.
[2] David, L. A., Maurice, C. F., Carmody, R. N., Gootenberg, D. B., Button, J. E., Wolfe, B. E., … & Biddinger, S. B. (2014). Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature505(7484), 559.
[3] Larsen, O. F., & Claassen, E. (2018). The mechanistic link between health and gut microbiota diversity. Scientific reports8(1), 2183.

 

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