Following onto yesterday’s post, “Can a Mediterranean Diet Protect Against Cancer?” we are bringing you some great Mediterranean Diet recipes across the board today. Enjoy!
Individuals who follow the Mediterranean Diet have a longer life expectancy and lower rates of chronic diseases than do other adults.
The Mediterranean diet emphasises plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It replaces butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, and uses herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month, while fish should be on the menu twice a week.
The Mediterranean diet is also about enjoying delicious foods — as you’ll discover when you try these recipes.
These healthy and appealing recipes will get you hooked on the Mediterranean diet.
Polenta with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
Dietitian’s Tip: To best prepare this recipe, cut all of the vegetables a day ahead of time and put into a covered container and refrigerate. You may roast the eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and red pepper earlier in the day. Cover and refrigerate the vegetables until needed.
Yield: Serves 6
- 1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small green zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 medium mushrooms, sliced
- 1 sweet red pepper, seeded, cored and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups coarse polenta (corn grits)
- 2 teaspoons trans-free margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced
- 6 dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water to rehydrate, drained and chopped
- 10 ripe olives, chopped
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- Heat the broiler (grill). Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
- Brush the eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and red pepper with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet and broil under low heat.
- Turn as needed and brush occasionally with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- When tender and slightly browned, remove from the broiler (grill).
- Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for later use.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a decorative, ovenproof 12-inch flan or quiche baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat and slowly whisk in polenta.
- Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
- When polenta comes away from side of pan, stir in margarine and season with 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper.
- Remove from heat.
- Spread polenta into the base and sides of the baking dish. Brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
- Drain spinach and press between paper towels. Top polenta with spinach.
- Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Top with remaining roasted vegetables.
- Sprinkle with oregano and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
- Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. When warmed through, remove from the oven.
- Cut into 6 wedges and serve.
Vegetable and Garlic Calzone
Dietitian’s Tip: Instead of high-fat meats, this calzone is stuffed with fresh vegetables, which significantly reduces the amount of fat and calories. Serve with a salad and fruit.
Yield: Serves 2
- 3 asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound frozen whole-wheat bread dough loaf, thawed
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2/3 cup pizza sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, add the asparagus, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and garlic. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over the vegetables and toss to mix well.
- Heat a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- On a floured surface, cut the bread dough in half. Press each half into a circle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an oval. On half of the oval, add 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables, 1/2 of the tomato slices and 1/4 cup cheese. Wet your finger and rub the edge of the dough that has the filling on it. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges together. Roll the edges and then press them down with a fork. Place the calzone on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat to make the other calzone.
- Brush the calzones with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Heat the pizza sauce in the microwave or on the stove top. Place each calzone on a plate. Serve with 1/3 cup pizza sauce on the side or pour the sauce over the calzones.
Roasted Red Pepper with Feta Salad
Dietitian’s Tip: For convenience, use roasted red peppers from a jar in this recipe. However, roasting peppers yourself is more flavourful. Roast whole red peppers over the grill (or under a broiler) until skins are black, turning frequently. Place into a paper bag to cool. Remove blackened skins and seeds.
Yield: Serves 4
- 1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fat-free blue cheese dressing
- 2 whole roasted red peppers, divided in half, with each half cut into strips
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil plus 4 small leaves for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine the feta cheese and the blue cheese dressing. Stir to mix evenly.
- Arrange the equivalent of 1/2 red pepper in the center of 4 small serving plates.
- Drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the feta cheese-blue cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle black pepper and 1/2 tablespoon chopped basil over the salad.
- Garnish each with a basil leaf and serve at room temperature.
Fresh Tomato Crostini
Dietitian’s Tip: Crostini is the Italian word for little toasts. These little toasts are topped with a tomato, basil and garlic mixture.
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 pound crusty Italian peasant bread, cut into 4 slices and toasted
- Combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Cover and let stand 30 minutes.
- Divide tomato mixture with any juices among the toast.
- Serve at room temperature.
Baked Apples with Cherries and Almonds
Dietitian’s Tip: Any good baking apple, such as Golden Delicious, Rome or Granny Smith, holds its shape beautifully for this dish.
Yield: Serves 6
- 1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 small Golden Delicious apples, about 1 3/4 pounds total weight
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons dark honey
- 2 teaspoons walnut oil or canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a small bowl, toss together the cherries, almonds, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
- The apples can be left unpeeled, if you like. To peel the apples in a decorative fashion, with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, remove the peel from each apple in a circular motion, skipping every other row so that rows of peel alternate with rows of apple flesh.
- Working from the stem end, core each apple, stopping 3/4 inch from the bottom.
- Divide the cherry mixture evenly among the apples, pressing the mixture gently into each cavity.
- Arrange the apples upright in a heavy ovenproof frying pan or small baking dish just large enough to hold them.
- Pour the apple juice and water into the pan.
- Drizzle the honey and oil evenly over the apples, and cover the pan snugly with aluminum foil.
- Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Transfer the apples to individual plates and drizzle with the pan juices.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Strawberry Banana Milkshake
Dietitian’s Tip: For this milkshake, you can substitute 1 cup of sliced fresh peaches in place of the strawberries for an equally tasty treat.
Yield: Serves 2
- 6 frozen strawberries, chopped
- 1 medium banana
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt
- 2 fresh strawberries, sliced
- In a blender, combine the frozen strawberries, banana, soy milk and frozen yogurt.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into tall, frosty glasses and garnish each with fresh strawberry slices.
- Serve immediately.
All Recipes from the Mayo Clinic