Try this simple, healthy Chilean salad & lose the weight!

chilean saladWhenever I come back to the States after visiting my patria and familia I go through a period of mourning, an empty feeling that doesn't go away but does get better with time. There is so much that I miss about Chile that I can't replicate here at home. There are however a few recipes that I've come close to emulating and have even managed to add my own "American" twist to make them mine.

The Ensalada Chilena is a very simple salad that is served everywhere in Chile and reflects the country's focus on fresh ingredients (similar to most Latin American countries).

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Ingredients for 4 servings:

4 to 5 tomatoes (Chileans peel them but I don't), cut into wedges. I absolutely love the Campari tomatoes they sell at my local Stop & Shop.

2 medium onions, sliced thinly "a la pluma" or like feathers. Chileans typically reduce the strong taste and effects of raw onions by placing the sliced onions in a colander and running them under warm water with a couple of tablespoons of salt. For those who suffer from heartburn, this technique allows you to enjoy onions without the effects from the acid they typically cause

Finely chopped, fresh cilantro

Seasoning: salt, pepper, olive oil and a finely chopped "ají verde" or green chile. I use a jalapeño and also add garlic. 

Preparation:

In a bowl, put the sliced tomatoes, washed onions and cilantro. Add salt, pepper, olive oil (garlic and jalapeño are optional). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. I often add sliced avocados (in Chile we call them Palta). Avocados are another staple of the Chilean diet.

You can serve the salad with a piece of steak, chicken or pretty much anything. And if you're feeling adventurous and have time to cook, you can serve it with the typical and delicious Chilean dish: Pastel de Choclo (Corn Casserole). You can find the recipe here: http://quemas.mamaslatinas.com/food_fiestas/106081/hispanic_heritage_month_traditional_chilean.

My mom's version of this recipe uses whole pieces of chicken which are prepared separately. Also, the slices of hard-boiled eggs and olives are layered on top of the beef mixture, not mixed in. Only the raisins are mixed into the beef mixture. 

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: 30 min recipe  salads  easy recipe  eating healthy