A Refreshing Italian Salad For Mother’s Day

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - May 06, 2009
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In honor of Mother’s Day, this column is dedicated to a truly inspiring mom. Donna Otto is the mother of three boys - all of whom were born prematurely. Her eldest, Devin, is this year’s Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child. Representing all of Hawaii’s children who have triumphed at Kapiolani over disease, accidents, birth defects and prematurity, he and his family recently traveled to Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C., where he met President Obama (also born at Kapiolani!) and took Disney World by storm.

In addition to raising three active boys and running two family businesses, Island Collections and NyLawn, with husband Rory, Donna still finds time to volunteer with the family support program in the NICU at Kapiolani to help bring a ray of hope to anxious moms and dads.


Happy Mother’s Day to Donna and all the moms in Hawaii!

Share your Kapiolani story at KapiolaniGift.org.

If you are making Mom a special dinner, try this refreshing salad to accompany the main entrée, or for a starter course. This is great served with your favorite pasta dish; crisp, freshly baked Italian bread completes the meal.

This Italian salad uses nonfat mayonnaise, but you can substitute low-fat or regular mayonnaise if you are not watching your cholesterol and fat intake.


* 6 firm Roma tomatoes, sliced

* 1 head Romaine lettuce, torn

* 12 black olives

* 6 Italian pickled peppers (optional)

* 3 carrots, sliced thinly

* grated Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top (optional)

For Dressing:

* 3/4 cup nonfat or lowfat mayonnaise

* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

* 1 tablespoon apple juice or water

* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

* 1 tablespoon sugar

* 2 cloves minced garlic

Toss lettuce, tomatoes and salad ingredients (except cheese) in large bowl until mixed. Place all dressing ingredients in a small food processor and blend until mixed. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Makes six servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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