Mediterranean Diet Foods

The Mediterranean Diet is of course a diet that involves emulating the way that people eat on the European continent. The diet became popular ever since it was found that people who ate a Mediterranean Diet actually lived longer and experienced a lower incidence of heart disease and other issues.

And at first this surprised researchers – after all, the Mediterranean Diet mainly consists of eating fats (olive oil and cheese) and wine! These are things that are traditionally thought to be bad for us.

Upon further inspection it happens that in moderation – and when combined with a nutrient rich diet – they can actually be beneficial.

So what exactly is this nutrient rich diet? How do you eat like a Mediterranean? What foods are on the menu? Let’s take a look…

Salads

One of the mainstays of a Mediterranean Diet is salad. Salad is highly nutritious and provides the body with lots of iron, calcium and other minerals. At the same time, it also helps to bulk up a meal without adding many calories.

One of the very best salads out there for the Mediterranean Diet is Greek salad. This meal consists purely of chopped tomato, cucumber, pepper and feta cheese with a little oil drizzled on top!

Fish

Being near the warm Mediterranean means being near tons of fish. And as it happens, fish is actually incredibly good for you.

The biggest benefit of eating lots of fish is that it will provide lots of essential fatty acids and amino acids without adding too many calories. Fish is lean. Fish is great for the brain, it keeps you full and is all round an excellent option.

Try some calamari to enjoy sea food at its finest!

Seeds and Nuts

On the Mediterranean Diet, a lot of dishes include seeds and nuts for flavouring (alongside lots of herbs). This is a great addition to any diet for numerous reasons once again.

For starters, seeds and nuts keep us full and make a brilliant snack that won’t pack on calories. At the same time, they also provide us with nutrients (zinc, potassium, magnesium) and really make any salad a lot more delicious!

Fruits and Vegetables

Living in a sunny climate also facilitates lots of berries, grapes, tomatoes and root vegetables being ripe for the picking and for adding to the diet. This is a big cornerstone of a Mediterranean Diet and is one of the biggest ‘secrets’ when it comes to making sure that you enjoy a long, healthy lifespan without getting ill!

Fats

Finally, the Mediterranean Diet contains all of the healthy kinds of fats, most notably extra virgin olive oil. That means saturated fats (not trans fats!) which aid in testosterone production while also enhancing nutrient absorption and improving cholesterol!

Mediterranean tuna and bean salad

This tuna and bean salad is packed with protein and fiber and is quick to prepare. For extra flavor, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne.

Ingredients:

– 8 cups mixed salad greens
– 1 15- to 19-ounce can beans (feel free to use, chickpeas, rinsed kidney beans or black-eyed peas)
– 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
– 2 5-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked
– ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
– ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
– 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– ½ cup lemon juice, divided into 2
– 4 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
– Freshly ground pepper
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– Sea salt

Serves 4

Procedure:

1. Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, ¼ cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl.

2. Season with pepper.

3. Combine the remaining ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt in a large bowl.

4. Add salad greens; toss to coat.

5. Divide the greens among 4 plates.

6. Top each with the tuna salad.

Enjoy!

Recipe from: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2009

 

Tomato Basil Pasta with Olé extra virgin olive oil

A simple delicious dish.  It refrigerates well and can be served as a cold pasta salad.

Ingredients

2 cups diced tomatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

6 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

6 leaves fresh basil, torn

10 ounces fusilli pasta

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Stir tomatoes, onion, Olé extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and basil together in a bowl
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook fusilli in the boiling water, occasionally stirring, until cooked through but firm to the bite, (approximately 12 minutes)
  3. Drain
  4. Toss warm pasta with feta cheese and Parmesan in a large bowl
  5. Stir tomato mixture into pasta and season with salt and pepper

Enjoy!

Smoked salmon omelette with Olé extra virgin olive oil olive oil

A delicious and quick omelette with smoked salmon.

Ingredients needed

  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 15g (½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 40g (1½ oz) smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp Olé extra virgin olive oil olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Beat the eggs together in a bowl and season to taste, with salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat the butter in an omelette pan until it begins to foam. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook for a few seconds, until the bottom of the omelette is lightly set.
  3. Push the set parts of the omelette into the uncooked centre of the omelette. Cook again, until the omelette has set further, then push the set parts into the centre of the omelette again.
  4. Repeat the process until the eggs have just set but the omelette is still soft in the centre.
  5. Place two-thirds of the smoked salmon into the centre of the omelette and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Remove from the heat and tilt the pan slightly to move the omelette to the edge of the pan. Slide the omelette onto a serving plate, then shape it into a neat roll. Brush the omelette with Olé extra virgin olive oil olive oil and serve.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Salmon Baked with Olé extra virgin olive oil & Herbs

Serves 4

This is a great and foolproof way to make a delicious salmon dinner.

The fish is basically poached in a very shallow pool of olive oil, protected from the heat by the oil below and a paste of herbs on top.

Together the oil and the herbs keep the fish from overbaking, so even if it cooks for 5 minutes too long, it will still be moist, tender, and falling apart on the fork.

Ingredients:
1 1/4-pound salmon fillet
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh dill fronds
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley or tarragon leaves
Zest of 1 lemon

The Process:
Heat the oven to 250°F.
1. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a small baking pan, just large enough to hold the entire piece of salmon.
2. Lay the salmon skin-side down in the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
3. Blend the shallot, dill, parsley, and lemon zest in a food chopper or small food processor.
4. Blend in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pat this herb paste over the salmon.
5. Bake the salmon for 22 to 28 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet).
6. To check for doneness, insert a fork into the thickest part of the fillet and gently pull. If the fish flakes easily, then it is done. If it is still gooey, and if the fork is difficult to pull out, bake the salmon for 5 more minutes and check again.
7. Serve with rice or fresh bread and a generous green salad.

Enjoy!!

 

Olive oil halibut nuggets with garlic and mint

A great, healthy and delicious dish that’s easier than it seems.  Give it a try with Olé extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients
1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
4 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves,
½ teaspoon dried mint
1 small rosemary sprig
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
Chopped fresh mint (for garnish)

Preparation

1. Season halibut all over with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. In a medium-size skillet just large enough to hold fish cubes in a single layer, heat oil over low heat. Add fish, rosemary sprig and dried mint, and let cook slowly until fish begins to turn opaque, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and cook until garlic is fragrant and fish is just cooked through, another 3 minutes or so (heat should be low enough so as not to brown the garlic or fish but high enough to gently cook everything; the cooking time will vary widely with your stove).

3. Taste and add more salt and pepper and a few drops of lemon juice if desired. Stir in the fresh mint and serve, using a slotted spoon if you want to leave the poaching oil in pan; it is delicious over couscous or potatoes.halibut

Cilantro and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Company coming?  Try this quick and easy Pesto, to spread on toast or crackers for a great starter or snack.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed, not in oil)

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup Olé extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon diced green chiles from a can or fresh jalapeno, (if you like it spicy.)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps:

1. Soak sun-dried tomatoes in the Olé extra virgin olive oil for 2 hours or overnight, if possible.

 

2. In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients except the salt and pepper until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender or bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

 

3. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

 

Enjoy!

 

Beef with green olives…and cinnamon!

You’ll love this recipe with cinnamon and Olé extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

• 1 kg beef
• ½ kg green olives
• 3-4 ripe tomatoes
• 1 clove of garlic
• Cinnamon
• Salt, pepper
• 1 cup Olé extra virgin olive oil
Preparation:

1. Cut the meat into medium-sized pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the meat until it browns.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, finely chopped garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper and 1 cup of water.
4. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the green olives into scalding hot water and when the meat is half cooked, add them to the pan. Cook for another 30 minutes.

 

Shortbread Hors d’Oeuvres with Parmigiano Reggiano

Serves: 8 people

Ingredients needed:

1 cup of organic all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Olé extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of chopped olives
1 cup of chopped prociutto
1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/3 cup of salted butter
1 3/4 cups of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 Tablespoon of freshly-grated garlic
1 cup roasted pine nuts

Steps:
1. Mix the flour, butter, olive oil, cheese and garlic to make the dough (the dough will be a bit dry at this point).

2. Combine all the other ingredients and the dough in a bowl, adding a few tablespoons of water to moisten the dough, if necessary.

3. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight if serving the next day.

4. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6. Roll out the shortbread on a floured surface until about 1/2” thick. Use a small glass or holiday cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place the shapes about 2” apart on the prepared cookie sheet.

7. Bake in the oven until the shortbread is light brown, about 15 minutes.

8. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven. Serve the Hors d’Oeuvres fresh out of the oven, but cooled slightly, with a glass of Chardonnay. This is a classic French hors d’oeuvre, but it is even more tasty and healthy when it is homemade. If there are any leftovers (unlikely), store them in a metal box.