Easy, Travel-Friendly, Plant-Based Salad
Traveling can be daunting for anyone trying to stay healthy. When you’re thrown out of your routine (and out of your kitchen!) it can be tough trying to stay on-track. Plus, there’s the added stress of new neighborhoods, unknown delays, foreign languages, and living out of a suitcase. However, this easy, plant-based salad has been my go-to for eating healthy while traveling. It’s the best recipe for staying on-track, despite 12-hour jetlag.
The Salad That Traveled the World: A 10-Minute Recipe to Healthy Eating Anywhere in the World
This salad has been with me from the markets of Peru to the Patagonia peaks in Chile. It’s been my lunch companion at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. Yet, it’s even walked through the castles of Germany. Without a doubt, it’s my easy go-to, make-anywhere, take-everywhere favorite recipe.
The Easy, Basic Travel-Friendly Salad Recipe
The basic recipe for this salad is ridiculously easy:
- A couple of bell peppers, a cucumber, and a few tomatoes are the base
- Canned beans add hearty fiber and plant-based vegan protein
- Fresh basil adds bright flavor
- Balsamic vinegar helps bring out the natural juices from the veggies
- Chopped olives add a
briney, salty bite
This recipe works for any diet: plant-based, vegan, oil-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free. With minimal chopping, you can just throw everything together quickly. In 10 minutes and have a big batch of healthy meals, ready to go.
Healthy Variations on this Plant-Based Salad
The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. While a few basic ingredients create the template, there’s lots of room to play. In fact, you can add tons of variety depending on what’s available wherever you’re traveling. For instance, Germany had incredible mushrooms that worked well to soak up flavors. Argentina’s bountiful olive selection made it fun to try out different flavors. And in Peru, their giant lima beans replaced the standard cannellini.
Some easy ideas on healthy plant-based variations:
- Add other fresh, seasonal vegetables to the basic pepper-cucumber-tomato mix. Sliced mushrooms, chopped asparagus, and sliced summer squash are some of my favorites.
- Instead of cannellini beans, use any beans. Red kidney, garbanzo, and white navy beans all work well.
- Use any fresh herbs! Basil is great, but you should also try fresh chervil, cilantro, mint, or lemon thyme. For fancier flavors, try some of the more unique herbs you see at many Farmer’s Markets. Thai basil, chocolate mint, and spicy microgreens make fun additions.
- If you don’t have balsamic, don’t worry. Any acid will do! I often will raid the hostel kitchen (or kindly ask a hotel kitchen staff) for
a splash of vinegar. Red wine, white wine, rice vinegar, Sherry, and Champagne all would work. In a pinch, I’ll use fresh lemon, lime, or even orange juice.
- Besides olives, other brined vegetables work to add a salty bite. You can use jarred artichokes, capers, roasted bell peppers, or even pickled vegetables (like cauliflower and asparagus). This component can be especially fun in countries with a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food scene. It may be surprising, but you’ll often find incredible olives in South America, all over Europe, and even in Northern Africa. Savor the local flavors!
Truly a Travel-Friendly Healthy Meal
Besides versatility, this salad gets even better after it sits for a while. That means, you can make it the night before, pack it in your carryon that morning, and it will be perfect about an hour into the flight. Or, put it in your backpack in the morning for an incredibly satisfying lunch.
The magic is in the acid + juice action. When the vinegar is allowed to mingle with the vegetables for a bit, it draws out their natural juices from the tomatoes. The crisp peppers keep their crunch while the beans get a little creamy. The fresh herbs balance the brined olives. It’s flavor perfection, developed over time.
This is one of my favorite salads when I hike. I’ll make a big batch the morning of a big hike. I start out on the trail early in the morning. By the time, I get to the top, there is something amazing going on…the tomatoes are juicy, the vinegar is macerating the bell peppers. There is the perfect delicious blend of crunchy, juicy, salty, sweetness. Lunchtime on the top of the peak…the other hikers get jealous.
Why You’ll Love
this Easy, Healthy, Plant-Based Vegan Salad
There are so many reasons to love this salad! It is:
- Easy to make
- Incredibly versatile
Watch the Recipe Video:
The Best Easy, Travel-Friendly Healthy Plant-Based Salad
Easy | Servings: 6 | Ready In: 10 minutes | Yield: 10 Cups Salad
The Best Easy, Travel-Friendly Healthy Plant-Based Salad
- 2 bell peppers any color, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 4 tomatoes cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 1/4 cup pitted olives any variety, chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- dash of black pepper
- To make the Fast, Easy, Travel-Friendly Healthy Plant-Based Salad: Combine everything in a large bowl and toss together.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 1 g||1 %|
|Saturated Fat 0 g||1 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 593 mg||25 %|
|Potassium 388 mg||11 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 32 g||11 %|
|Dietary Fiber 11 g||43 %|
|Sugars 6 g|
|Protein 9 g||19 %|
|Vitamin A||54 %|
|Vitamin C||119 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.