Travel Bites: My Go-To Around The World Salad.

By Posted in - Food & Travel Bites & Travel Blog on July 15th, 2012

Sampling exotic food from around the world is a travel staple – it’s that simple. The downside is that eating on the road can get old fast, cost a ton of money and it can make you pretty ill if you don’t pay attention to what you’re eating.

I love eating new foods on the road but because we travel long term we simply don’t have the bank account that supports restaurant dining every day of the week. Furthermore, even if I did have an unlimited budget I still wouldn’t eat out every day (ok, maybe in Paris I would) because restaurant food tends to be high calorie and as a vegetarian sometimes I really can’t figure out what is truly in a dish.

I also really love fresh foods – at home I juice at least one meal every day and I eat a lot of raw veggies & fruit. I try to stay away from almost all processed food or anything that comes from a box. Switching to quick on-the-road food is often greasy, fatty and usually makes me feel crummy all around if I eat too much of it.

I seem to get run down when we travel and after repeated bouts of illness I started to notice a pattern.

Working my butt off as a volunteer on organic farm even in wet, cold conditions = healthy

Traveling day to day and not paying attention to nutrition = rundown and sick

Why? On the farms we ate fresh, organic food every single day. When we traveled on our own from place to place I didn’t pay much attention to what I ate – we ate quick, cheap foods and would occasionally indulge in a nice meal. We didn’t prepare a lot of our own meals. Through the patterns of being healthy and being ill (for no real reason) I pieced together the puzzle and the answer was food. It was really simple – when I ate fresh foods I was healthy, when I didn’t I got ill. I honestly never noticed how much influence food had on my entire immune system but on the road it quickly became obvious. The good thing is that once I figured it out, it became a lot easier to manage.

Do you hit up the local grocery store or market when you travel?

From Iceland to Mexico and everywhere in between we’ve learned that one of our favorite things to do when we travel is to hit up the local grocery store or market. We save a ton of cash making our own food, we discover great new foods to try and we get to see a slice of local life. Plus, we get the chance to prepare and eat really fresh foods that keep us feeling good. As an added bonus a lot of times we make new friends if we’re cooking in a hostel or campground kitchen!

I love sharing my food with other travelers. Most people don’t realize how easy & fun it can be to cook on the road and sharing meals in a hostel is a door to instant travel friendship.

Each month I’m going to highlight one of my go-to travel recipes on our new segment: Travel Bites. All of the recipes have a couple things in common – they are budget friendly and super easy to make on the road. And unless Randy decides to join in on creating the Travel Bites posts they will also be vegetarian!

I’m not a super cook by any stretch of the imagination so believe me they will be simple foods that anyone can make when traveling!

Travel Bites #1 is My Go-To Around The World Salad:


I got hooked on this salad when we were WWOOFing on organic farms in Serbia. With homegrown tomatoes it is downright drool worthy. Honestly, I eat some version of this salad every day, sometimes twice a day. I eat it when I’m on the road and when I’m at home. It’s a travel staple for me – I even went to the grocery store in Maui so I could buy the ingredients!

I really, really love it and I crave it when I don’t have it. It’s super healthy, fresh and really tasty – try it out and I guarantee you’ll be addicted too.


  • 1 Large Tomato (or two handfuls of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 Large Pepper (I use red but you can use any color. You can also use a cucumber in place of a pepper.)
  • 1/8 of a Purple Onion ( more or less depending on how much onion you like)
  • 1/4 of an Avocado
  • Cheese of any kind (However much you want to use.)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper & any other seasonings you want

This recipe is so easy! Dice up all your veggies in a bowl and cut up some cubes of cheese. I prefer to use soft cheese but anything will work. I use local cheeses when we’re traveling and at home I tend to use 1 triangle of Laughing Cow cheese. Pour about a half tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it and mix it all up with your fork. Add salt & pepper and any other seasonings you have on hand. I usually use oregano or any type of herb mix – Italian, Cajun, garlic powder, etc. This past week I’ve been using a smoked Maui herb mix I bought while we were there and it tastes amazing!

We usually buy a loaf of local fresh bread to eat with it and we also try to find some hummus to go with it as well. You could probably add some beans to it if you wanted some extra protein. Because it does taste good with hummus, I’m sure Garbanzo Beans would be a great addition. Hmmm….I may have to try that tomorrow.


Hands down, this is a fantastic salad. It will fill you up and there’s no need to fuss with cleaning lettuce. I personally don’t really like lettuce salads anyway because they aren’t filling and I hate cleaning and drying the lettuce. Lettuce is annoying.

This salad is full of vitamins, takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and it’s really inexpensive. Plus you can find these ingredients just about anywhere in the world. I guarantee that your body will thank you for the dose of freshness.

You can also change the flavor of it by changing your seasonings or by switching up the veggies and type of cheese. Got leftover veggies and cheese? Just pop it in your hostel or apartment fridge (or ask the hotel if they will put it in their fridge for you) and bring it with you to the next destination.

If you don’t happen to travel with a small bottle of Olive Oil or spices like I do, don’t worry – you can almost always find these items in a hostel kitchen, a rented apartment or even at a campground kitchen. Or you can buy them on the road – usually for cheaper than you’ll find at home.

With all the fresh colors, your spaghetti cooking hostel mates will be eying this dish for sure!

Please let me know in the comments what you think of this dish or if you can think of an ingredient that would make the perfect addition to it.


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(14) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Callie -

    July 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I saw a girl at a hostel in Ecuador make this once, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since! It’s good with garlic and cumin too…

  • Kieu -

    July 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    OMG, drool! I love your recipe. My simple go to salad when I’m on the road is tomato, basil, evoo and balsamic. If I could get my hands on some mozzarella, I’m golden. But I love your use of avocado. I might add some fresh herbs, something green, but it honestly looks good the way it is. 🙂

  • Ryan at Travel and Graphs -

    July 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Seems like a handy meal to have knowledge of, a great way to always have something tasty to fall back on

  • Pamela -

    July 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    It looks yummy! I have tried many variations of it and I love it. Is easy, healthy and delicious. One variation I like is adding cilantro and cucumber (maybe lime instead of oil). Thanks for sharing!


  • Laurel -

    July 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I make a similar salad at home and love it. It tastes even better with oregano and if I have it on hand, I’ll also add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.

  • Tiffany -

    July 20, 2012 at 5:21 am

    That looks extremely delicious and healthy! Haven’t tried it yet but I think I will add this to my must-try recipes. 😀

  • Vera Marie Badertscher -

    July 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Good discovery–eat fresh=stay healthy.
    I love to buy things from road side stands and from local grocery stores. Sometimes they look at you a little weird if you are just buying enough for one meal for two people, but it is just as important as if you’re cooking for a crowd.

    The good thing about salads is that most anything goes. Mix veggies and fruit, cheese, nuts, beans. My mother called it a “round the refrigerator” dish–whatever bits and pieces you find go into the salad. I always like to add olives, by the way. And it is so wonderful to buy olive oil or specialty vinegars at the source for 1/2 the price you’d pay at a gourmet store back home.

  • Ayngelina -

    July 23, 2012 at 5:16 am

    If you wanted to throw an Italian twist into it you could add some day old crusty bread.

  • Gina -

    July 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

    That salad reminds me of a Greek salad (which I love!) but a bit different. I’ll have to try it! Agree that what you eat on the road can make all the difference in how you feel.

  • Antoinette -

    August 2, 2012 at 6:02 am

    I actually make a similar salad to this, with the cucumbers added and a few squeezes of lemon or lime to add a little zing to it, and it’s truly deelish and easy to make! I’m not much of a cook (read: can’t cook!) so I always like to know simple recipes for long-term travels.

  • James -

    August 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Well! its looks really tasty. Usually when I am travelling I carry a mixture of corn, green, red and yellow capsicum cut into small pieces, finely chopped onion, oregano in mayonise or sometimes cheese which is like a spread. I buy a packet of bread and and always have a pocket kbnife with me. This spread with bread is an awesome treat. try it!

  • Ellen Keith -

    November 15, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Frustrated with the never-ending plates of potatoes and rice served with every South American dish, I’ve been craving something healthy, and been trying to incorporate a lot more salad into my diet. This looks delicious, and I’m especially liking the incorporation of avocado into the salad! 🙂

  • LeslieM -

    January 27, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I make a similar salad, but my main spice is usually lemon thyme (sometimes other lemon-flavored herbs, but usually lemon thyme) and I always add kidney beans or, occasionally black beans. I don’t like raw onions so often do celery for the crunch. I use a splash of lemon juice with the olive oil. Lately I’ve been using a fabulous mesquite olive oil with a strong smoky flavor. Oh–definitely garlic, too!

  • Ann -

    January 27, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Eating more market style, personally made meals is not only economical and healthier but often safer in some countries. Would exercise caution with purchasing cheese though, since local milk can be contaminated with really harmful bacteria. The softer Mexican cheeses are often contaminated with listeria which can be deadly for those with a less than robust immune system and most especially for pregnant women.