Brazilian foods are fresh, healthy, and satisfying. In recognition of the Olympic games in Rio, the SHREDZ foodies came up with 3 Brazil-friendly, delicious salads that are easy to prepare, highly nutritious, and tasty. These can be eaten as main-dish salads or as side dishes. So gather ‘round the tube and enjoy watching your team go for the gold while you dine like an Olympian in Brazil!

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Watercress and Mango Salad with Brazil Nuts

Watercress is a popular green leafy vegetable in Brazil. Delicate and mild-tasting, watercress is best eaten as soon after harvesting as possible, because it’s grown in water and doesn’t like to be out in the air! Watercress is packed with vitamin K, important for bone health and blood clotting. It’s also a superb source of vitamins A and C. It’s sometimes hard to find, so you can substitute baby spinach or baby arugula for this recipe.

Mangos are one of the most popular Brazilian fruits (they’re grown there), and pairs beautifully with the watercress. It, too is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

Brazil nuts are from, guess where? Their claim to fame is being one of nature’s best sources of the mineral selenium, which may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Brazil nuts are also a super source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

You will need:
  • 4 cups watercress (loosely packed)
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped brazil nuts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash the watercress well and tear into bite-size pieces. Add mango, nuts, and parsley and gently toss with the greens.

Whisk together the oil, lemon, and salt and pepper to make the dressing.

Very gently toss the greens with the dressing and serve right away.

4 week shred 

Black Turtle Bean, Hearts of Palm, Tomato, and Avocado Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing

These ingredients are as Brazilian as can be! This salad is a nutritional powerhouse, with a ton of fiber from everything, complex carbs from the beans and hearts of palm, protein from the beans and even a bit from the hearts of palm, and healthy fats from the avocados and olive oil. It’s the most refreshing dish you’ll taste this summer.

You will need:
  • 1 14-oz can hearts of palm, thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz can (about 1.5 cups cooked) black turtle beans
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut in eighths
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the hearts of palm, beans, avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro in a bowl. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper together and drizzle over the top. Toss well and serve right away.

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Sweet Potato Salad Açaí-Coconut Dressing

This salad incorporates some of Brazil’s favorite ingredients. Açaí puree is available frozen in the states, but if you’re lucky enough to have açaí berries available you, you can puree your own. Açaí berries, native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, are commonly eaten there with cereal or yogurt. They are an impressive source of iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants that protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. They have a bit more fat than other fruits, more than any other berry, but are lower in sugar than other berries.

Coconut water is the water found naturally in the center of the coconut. Widely available canned and bottled, it is prized for its potassium content (more than sports drinks) and low sugar.

You will need:
  • 3 small red chili peppers (or 1/2 medium red bell pepper if you don’t like too much spice), diced small
  • 2 medium or one very large cooked sweet potato, cubed into bite-sized dice
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup açaí puree
  • 6 fluid ounces (3/4 cup) coconut water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut

Toss the peppers, sweet potato, and scallions together in a bowl. Whisk together the açaí puree, coconut water, vinegar, and oil. Toss all together and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle coconut on top.

by Dina Aronson, MS, RDN

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