31 Days of Global Flavors: Day 31

On the last day of National Nutrition Month and the last day of my “31 Days of Global Flavors” series, my colleague and friend Dr. Keith Ayoob is sharing why he loves thyme — which is the flavor we are celebrating today.


There is regular thyme which is sort of a dry “shrub” but broad-leaf thyme is a more succulent, crunchy leaf that dices up well and adds a lighter, but still “herby” flavor that wakes up the usual salad ingredients. I think the flavor is more like oregano.  It’s sometimes called “Spanish thyme.”  It’s best fresh, and in addition to salads, I’ve added it to bean dishes and stir-fries.  It’s also very compatible with fish dishes.

I love broad-leaf thyme chopped into salads, and it’s excellent added to savory bean dishes. This salad below can incorporate everything, including protein, tons of fiber, some fruit, and of course a lot of veggies. It’s also great for using up leftovers.

Courtesy of Keith Ayoob

Keith’s Chopped Salad 

Fill a large mixing bowl with the following:

  • Romaine leaves
  • Arugula
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Fennel (I slice this thinly sliced, rather than chopped)
  • 2 or 3 leaves of broadleaf thyme, minced
  • Optional, but nice: pitted, chopped olives, pickled peppers, or fresh sweet peppers, radishes, cooked vegetables, any leftover canned beans (garbanzos, black beans, whatever you have), diced pears (red pears are great if you have them)
  • Protein options, if it’s a main course: crumbled feta, goat, bleu cheese or diced mozzarella, hard-cooked eggs, quartered, poached or broiled fish (salmon is fabulous with this)
  • Grated parmesan

Directions: Chop all the ingredients but slice the fennel and mince the broadleaf thyme as noted, and add everything to the bowl. Toss it all together until nicely combined.  Dressing: In our house, it’s EVOO and Balsamic, at a ratio of about 2 parts EVOO to 1 part Balsamic. If I have some Balsamic syrup, I’ll drizzle it all over after I’ve dressed the salad. A fat-free Italian is fine too and makes the salad or meal even leaner.  Pass the grated parmesan for sprinkling on top to everyone’s taste.  You may want to save the proteins to add on top, when serving.