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

 

Olé extra virgin olive oil black cod poached Alaska with herbs

Get elegant with this light delicious entrée

 

Ingredients needed:

1 Tablespoon Olé extra virgin olive oil

1 Medium red bell pepper, diced

1 Medium onion, diced

2 Stalks of celery, chopped finely

4 Garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 Cup dry white wine

1 Tablespoon of thyme leaves

4 Cups chicken, fish, or vegetable broth

2 – 3 Cups Olé extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover fish fillets)

4 Alaska black cod fillets, (approximately 4-ounces each), fresh or thawed

 

Directions:

Sauté onion, red pepper and celery in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a stockpot until soft (about 5 minutes).

Stir in garlic and continue cooking 5 minutes.

Stir in wine and thyme.

Add broth and cook 5 to 10 minutes,

Turn off heat, cover and keep warm.

While vegetables are cooking, in a shallow high-sided, heavy pan or stockpot, heat 2-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil over low heat until oil appears wavy.

Add salt and pepper to Alaska Black Cod fillets.

Add fillets to Olé extra virgin olive oil, making sure the fillets are covered, adding additional oil, if needed.

Turn up heat to medium and poach 10 to 12 minutes, cooking just until fillets are fully opaque throughout.

Remove fillets with slotted spoon and place each fillet in a shallow soup or pasta bowl. Divide broth over fillets; garnish with fresh herbs.

 

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

Olé Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Olé Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is very easy to make, and super healthy, with the benefits of the high antioxidants of Olé extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients needed:

2 pounds yellow potatoes, (Yukon Gold or German Butterball), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces.
8 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt
Quarter cup Olé extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.

2. Add potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces), garlic and 2 teaspoons salt and cook at a brisk simmer until potatoes are tender – about 15 minutes.

3. Drain potatoes and garlic, keeping 1 cup of cooking liquid.

4. Mash potatoes and garlic.

5. Beat in the Olé extra virgin olive oil and then thin to desired consistency with reserved cooking liquid.

6. Check seasoning and enjoy!

Olé olive oil and rosemary flatbread

This super easy-to-make flatbread is delicious and a real crowd-pleaser at your next dinner party.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

230g plain flour
1 tbsp chopped rosemary, plus 2 sprigs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp salt
75ml Olé extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
125ml water
Salt

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/450F. Stir together the flour, chopped rosemary, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, then add the water and Olé olive oil and gradually stir into the flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead it gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

2. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, cover 2 of them with clingfilm and roll out the other on a sheet of baking paper into a 25cm round disc.

3. Lightly brush the top with additional Olé oilve oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on a preheated oven tray about 8-10 minutes or until pale golden and browned in spots. Transfer the flatbread to a rack to cool, then repeat with the other rounds.

4. Flatbreads can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Lamb Souvlaki

This Delicious Lamb Souvlaki is great served with salad, grilled vegetables, and rice, or in a pita wrap. However you serve it, don’t forget a little tzatziki!

Ingredients needed:
2 lbs (1 kg) lamb (or chicken or pork), cut in 1-in (2.5-cm) cubes
1/4 cup Olé extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup wine, white or red 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sea salt
Keep in mind: If you are using wooden skewers to broil the souvlaki, first soak them in water to prevent the exposed tips from burning.

1. Set oven to broil or turn barbecue on to high.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let marinate for at least 2 hours (best if overnight).
3. Place 4-5 pieces of meat on each skewer and broil or barbecue, turning so that meat is browned and cooked evenly on all sides, about 7-12 minutes.

Serves:
About 20 skewers or 6-8 servings.

Garlic Sauteed Kale & Tomatoes with garlic and olive oil

This kale sauté is a great starter. Try it served with salmon or grilled chicken.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup Olé extra virgin olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in halves
• 2 bunches of curly kale, stems removed, and chopped
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Sea salt, to taste
• Cracked black pepper (to taste)

Steps:
1. Heat the garlic and Olé extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.
2. Add the chopped kale and sauté until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.
3. Add the garlic and grape tomatoes.
4. Sauté for an additional 2 – 3 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Add the lemon juice.
6. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.Kale