Mediterranean food is not restricted to merely a country but an entire region encompassing nearly 15 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea such as Portugal, southern Spain, southern France, southern Italy, Malta, Greece, Crete and parts of Israel, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon and Morocco. There is growing interest in the Mediterranean diet since it has been observed that people from Greece and the Greek Island of Crete have longer life expectancy when compared to any other regional groups. There is lesser incidence of cancer and heart disease.
Diet is not the only factor that leads to good health. It is a combination of various lifestyle elements such as relaxed attitude to eating, regular physical activity and plenty of sunshine. You too can incorporate fresh, flavorful and healthy Mediterranean recipes into your meals. Look up our easy-to-cook Mediterranean diet recipes.
The Mediterranean diet corresponds well to the USDA food pyramid. Whole grain breads, pasta, couscous or rice can form a base for a meal. Including fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet has manifold benefits. Fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce are a rich source of antioxidants. From artichokes and zucchini to eggplant and asparagus, the Mediterranean diet is choc-a-bloc with colorful vegetables.
Fava beans, chickpeas, haricot beans, beans and lentils find their way into many a Mediterranean recipe.
Add fresh salads to all your meals. Consumption of garlic and onions helps the body fight infections and reduces blood pressure.
Yogurt is another essential part of many a Mediterranean recipe. You can eat it plain or topped with fruits and nuts, you can add it to marinades or even use it in savory sauces. Cheese is yet another favorite in a Mediterranean meal. From Feta and Mozzarella to Parmesan and Mizithra, cheese is used in ricottas, pastas and cheesecakes.
- Olive oil - rich source of monounsaturated fat
- Moderate consumption of wine
- Animal fats are not included
- Red meat and dairy products are consumed in small quantities
- Sea food and white meat is eaten more often
- Rich in vegetables, grains, legumes and fruit
- Garnished with fresh herbs and garlic
Consumption of oily fish such as tuna and sardines provide beneficial omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. This lowers the risk of heart disease by preventing blood clot formation in the arteries. Grilled or skewered meat basted with spices and herbs are popular.
Nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pine kernels are also added to some Mediterranean recipes. Seasonal fruits be it cherries or watermelon, pomegranates or figs are the ideal finale to a flavorful Mediterranean meal. A couple of glasses of red wine provide phytonutrients that are so essential for LDL oxidization and bioflavonoid, which helps to eliminate bad toxins from the body.
Mediterranean diet recipe
Sift 1 cup white flour into a bowl. Gradually add combined egg and 1 cup soy drink and keep mixing until smooth. Use a non-stick skillet to pour out thin pancakes. Brown them on both sides with a hint of margarine. You can top up the crepes with chopped fruits, honey or a host of other healthy toppings.
The minestrone is typical soup of the Mediterranean and can be adapted for winter and summer with suitable ingredients.
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 garlic cloves chopped
Rosemary, bay leaf and thyme
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Chopped onions, celery, spinach and carrots
1 cup pasta
hot peppers (optional)
Sauté chopped garlic, celery, onions and celery in olive oil. Add spinach and herbs and cook for a couple of minutes till soft. Add stock and vegetables. Add cheese if desired. Allow the broth to simmer for about 15 minutes on a slow flame. Add cooked pasta. Add garnishing and seasoning. If you are using bacon, sauté it till crisp and add it to the soup while serving.
Mediterranean recipe for Healthy soup
You can cook up healthy soup with haricot beans, fava beans and vegetables such as beans, onions, celery, carrots, cabbage and endive leaves. Seasoned with fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese and extra-virgin olive oil, this soup is sure to find favor with most!
Cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups broth
Chopped onion, garlic
Tomato pasta sauce
Grated Mozzarella cheese
Feta cheese crumbled
In a thick pan, sauté onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Add broth and fresh herbs. Add spinach and cook on slow flame for a few minutes. Add tomato pasta sauce. Prepare a baking dish with a light coating of cooking spray. Spread cooked noodles and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over it. Add a layer of sautéed mixture and top with mozzarella cheese and Feta. Bake for 30 minutes.
Mediterranean diet recipe for Healthy Salad
Combine sliced cucumbers, spinach leaves, bell pepper, sliced black olives, tomato wedges and add salad dressing.
Mediterranean diet recipe for Grilled Lamb
Make a marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced onions, chopped garlic and fresh basil and salt and pepper. Add to lamb chops and chill them for about 3 hours. Grill the lamp chops till done.
Mediterranean diet recipe for Couscous
2 cups couscous
4 cups boiling water
Minced parsley, coriander, garlic and scallions
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup of garbanzo beans
Cook couscous by pouring boiling water over it. After a few minutes, add garbanzo beans. Combine other ingredients and pour over couscous mixture.