Labor Day often marks the end of summer for most of us, but for me, it also represents a time of year when I can get back to organized living and on a school schedule. When my kids go back to school I often automatically refresh my eating habits and include healthy fall options. In celebration of our end of summer special holiday, I’ve taken inspiration from the Mediterranean Diet, which, like me, aims to bring joy back to healthy eating. Based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy around 1960, the Mediterranean Diet champions fresh, seasonal produce, whole grains, and minimally-processed foods. It recommends protein sources like eggs, poultry, and fish over red meat, olive oil over butter, and above all, homemade food over convenience foods.

Take a peek at the food pyramid found on the Oldways.org site, and note – red wine is definitely there! Speaking of red wine, check out this tasty Salade Niçoise Recipe for your Labor Day Picnic, which would pair beautifully with a nice juicy glass of red wine!

Salade Niçoise Recipe
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 pound potatoes
1/2 pound fresh green beans
4 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tb. vinegar
1/2 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 large onion, sliced very thin
1 can (5-6 oz) chunk light tuna, drained
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
2 large tomatoes, quartered

Directions:
Scrub the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces. Trim the ends off the beans. Bring two saucepans of water to a boil and cook the potatoes and beans until fork-tender but not mushy, approximately 10 minutes for the potatoes and 3 minutes for the beans. Drain immediately. Or, steam each until tender.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the vinegar, mustard and garlic, and whisk to make the dressing. Add the onion, potatoes, beans, and tuna to the bowl and toss gently with the dressing.

Arrange the vegetables and tuna on a platter and garnish with the egg and tomato quarters.

* Option: Drain and rinse 1 can of white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, navy, etc.) and toss with the salad in step 3. This adds about 20¢ per serving to the cost.