Updated: Aug 27, 2022
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the more healthier eating patterns because it is rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, and healthy fats. It limits the consumption of red meat and processed foods. Red wine can be consumed in moderation during mealtimes.
What are the health benefits?
It is high in antioxidants which protect your body against free radicals and free radicals are things like chemical pollutants, smoking, and radiation that cause DNA damage to your body over time. It has a balance of omega 6 to omega 3 fats and these fats aid in heart health and have anti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in fiber, so it aids in digestive health. Studies have shown that it can be protective against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Here are some dishes you can try to add a Mediterranean flare to your diet!
For the dressing
· 1/3 cup olive oil
· 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
· 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
· 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1/2 teaspoon oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
· freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the salad:
· 1 19oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (white kidney beans)
· 1 19oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
· 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
· half an English cucumber, quartered and sliced
· 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
· 1 bell pepper, diced (red, orange, or yellow)
· 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
· 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
· 1/2 cup small-dice red onion
· 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
· 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (113 g)
o In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
o In a large bowl, gently mix the beans, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, olives, parsley, red onion, and basil.
o Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated. Fold in the crumbled feta.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
· 2 roasted red peppers (jarred) OR roast 2 red peppers at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes (turn halfway through roasting)
· 1 540 ml can chickpeas rinsed and drained
· 2 cloves garlic minced
· 2 teaspoons tahini
· juice of one lemon
· 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes optional
· 7 tablespoons olive oil
· minced garlic, chili flakes, and chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)
o If roasting your own peppers, roast 2 red bell peppers at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
(Turning once during roasting). Let cool. Remove the stems and seeds.
o Add the roasted red peppers to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. If using jarred peppers, use approximately the equivalent of 2 bell peppers.
o Add the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and chili flakes to the food processor.
o Blend on high speed and drizzle the olive oil in while the food processor is on and continue blending until the hummus is smooth and creamy.
o Scrape it into a serving bowl or container and top with some additional chopped roasted red pepper, chopped garlic, chopped basil and/or chili flakes for garnish (optional).
o Serve with pita chips or veggies for dipping.
Homemade pita chips
· 6 large pita breads *white, whole wheat or gluten-free
· 1/3 cup oil
· 1 tsp garlic powder
· 1 tsp smoked paprika
· 3/4 tsp sea salt
· 1/4 tsp black pepper
o Preheat oven to 400℉.
o Cut each pita bread into 8 pieces. Lay flat, single layer onto 2 large, sided cookie sheets, making sure there is room around the pieces.
o Mix oil and spices. Using a pastry brush, brush each triangle with oil mixture. Turn the pieces over and repeat.
o Bake until crispy, about 10-14 mins making sure to rotate cookie sheets from top to bottom halfway through.