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!

Virgin olive oil promotes wound healing

Virgin olive oil promotes wound healing – More benefits of virgin olive oil from the University of Jaén

Scientists at the University of Jaén (UJA) have described that ‘squalene’, one of the main minor components of virgin olive oils, has positive effects on wound healing and tissue repair.

The study published in the journal ‘Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ explains that virgin olive oil has positive effects on macrophages, immune cells that play an important role in recovery and healing.

The UJA Professor of Immunology and researcher responsible for the study, José Juan Gaforio, explained that two types of macrophages are involved in wound healing, the so-called M1 and M2. The former are pro-inflammatory in nature and the latter anti-inflammatory. The latter effects are vital for the definitive resolution of wounds. “Basically, squalene enhances the anti-inflammatory effects of macrophages, which would help in the last stages of wound resolution and healing”, indicated José Juan Gaforio in a note.

In this research, together with Gaforio, Cristina Sánchez Quesada and Alicia López Biedma, researchers from the Immunology Area and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Olive Groves and Olive Oils of the UJA, as well as Estefanía Toledo, researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

This refreshing salad is full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals but also rich in healthy monounsaturated fat from a trio of avocado, olives, and super-healthy Olé extra virgin olive oil.

It is easy to make. With a combination of artichoke hearts, cucumber, red onion, hearts of palm, tomatoes, and fresh basil, this salad has a delicious Mediterranean twist that you’re going to love.

Ingredients
Lemon Vinaigrette
• 1/4 cup Lemon juice
• 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Olé extra virgin olive oil
• Himalayan pink salt (to taste)

Chopped Salad
• 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
• 1/2 cup hearts of palm, chopped
• 1/2 cup Persian cucumber, chopped
• 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olives, chopped
• 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
• 1/2 of an avocado, chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

Directions
1. To make the vinaigrette: Add ingredients to high-speed blender and blend until emulsified. Add salt to taste.

2. In a large salad bowl, combine cucumber, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, tomatoes, olives, onion, capers, avocado, and basil.

3. Toss salad with enough vinaigrette to coat everything. Serve and enjoy.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

*From: Shape Magazine

 

 

 

 

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

 

Coconut-Vegetable and Cashew curry

cococurry

A delicious and exotic one-hour meal.
Recipe from “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian”

Ingredients
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cups diced (½ inch) unpeeled eggplant (about 8 ounces)
1 can (15–16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups ½-inch cauliflower florets (from ½ small head, cored and thick stems removed)
1 cup diced (½ inch) carrot
1 cup diced (½ inch) onion
1 cup ½-inch lengths green beans (about 4 ounces)
2–3 tsp. minced seeded jalapeño or serrano pepper, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 can (13.5 ounces) regular or light coconut milk
½ cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted cashews
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup Olé extra virgin olive oil

Directions
1. Heat the Olé extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes

2. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until they are slightly darker (approx. 2 minutes).

3. Add the chickpeas and eggplant and cook, over medium-high heat while sturring for 5 minutes.

4. Add the carrot, onion, green beans, cauliflower, jalapeño, ginger, curry powder, garlic, salt and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for five minutes, maintaining a steady sizzle.

5. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until thickened and the vegetables are tender, (approx. 10 minutes).

6. Spoon the curry into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the cilantro and cashews and serve.

Enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

** Find Olé extra virgin olive oil on Amazon!

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!

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!

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!