3 Healthy Mediterranean Recipes You Need to Try

3 Healthy Mediterranean Recipes You Need to Try

Losing weight and staying fit means more than reducing calories -- what you eat has more impact on your health than calories do. For example, a diet comprised of Mediterranean foods can contribute to longer life expectancies and lower rates of chronic disease. Mediterranean dishes are some of the most vibrant of all world cuisines, and perhaps the most tasteful way to stay fit and fight fat.

Romesco with grilled eggplant

Romesco sauce originated from northeastern Spain, where it's commonly paired with seafood and vegetables. Built on a tomato base and enriched with a modest amount of olive oil, romesco sauce is naturally low in fat and makes a robust accompaniment to grilled eggplant.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 roasted red peppers
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Italian eggplants
  1. Process the garlic clove, red peppers, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, parsley and sliced almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil while processing. Season the sauce to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve it over 1/2-inch-thick grilled eggplant slices.

Catalan cod with cannellini beans

This healthful take on the classic Catalan dish of cod and cannellini beans replaces chorizo with wild mushrooms. Wild mushrooms add an unctuous dose of umami and maintain the heartiness of the original.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

  • 1/4 pound wild mushrooms
  • 3 sliced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus a little more
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cod fillets
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean and slice the wild mushrooms.
  2. Saute the mushrooms, shallots and minced garlic clove in a scant amount of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and cook them until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cannellini beans and set the heat to low.
  3. Lay the cod fillets in a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Brush the cod with olive oil and season it to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle the tomatoes, beans and mushrooms around the fish.
  4. Roast the fish until flaky, about 20 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with freshly chopped basil.

Creamy polenta with vegetable ragout

This vegetable-based Italian ragout is as thick and rich as the meat-based classic, but its overall lightness keeps it from weighing you down. Serve the ragout over a creamy polenta base to round out the meal.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 3 cups crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss 3 the crimini mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, garlic cloves, fennel bulb, plum tomatoes, chopped onion, sliced zucchinis, chopped parsley and chopped basil with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season the vegetables with kosher salt to taste. Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  2. Roast the vegetables until tender, about 45 minutes. While the vegetables roast, make the polenta.
  3. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt.
  4. Whisk in 1 cup of quick-cooking polenta and turn the heat to low. Cook the polenta for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Take the polenta off the stove.
  5. Saute the scallions and a pinch of pepper flakes in a scant bit of olive oil until fragrant. Add the cooked polenta to the pan with the scallions to reheat it.
  6. Heat the polenta until steaming. Spoon the polenta onto rimmed plates and top with the ragout, still hot from the oven.

Healthful eating doesn't have to be boring. Include whole foods in your diet -- and glean a few meal ideas from Mediterranean cooking -- to keep both your body and your taste buds in shape.


"Mediterranean Diet Recipes" (Mayo Clinic) http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet-recipes/art-20046682

CATEGORIES: Diet, Recipes, Food, Meals, Mediterranean, Cooking, Healthy-food, Meal-ideas