The Mediterranean diet sounds like it’s good for what ails you (if what ails you is most of our current chronic diseases), but how do you translate that into breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
One of the most important tricks to eating healthier is to enjoy what we are eating. So today I thought I would take some typical American favorites and alter them to make them more Mediterranean. That doesn’t necessarily mean we all should be eating only fish and chickpeas. It’s a principal of building our dinner plate based on seasonal produce, healthy grains, and smaller amounts of meat, chicken, and fish.
Here are some recipes that I mentioned in the episode:
Pasta Primavera with fresh tomato and basil
12 – 15 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
½ onion, diced (can substitute 2 shallots)
1 boneless chicken breast, cut into stripts
8 ounces dry penne pasta
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine or minced in a garlic press
½ zucchini, sliced thin
1/4 bag (approximately) organic baby spinach
1/2 cup white wine
6 to 8 leaves of fresh basil
optional ingredients: parsley, cracked pepper, grated Parmesan cheese
Start the water boiling for the pasta in a saucepan.
Sauté the garlic in the oil for a minute or two. Add the wine. Add the chicken and cook a while longer.
Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the oil mixture. You can then add the zucchini, spinach, or optional ingredients about 4-5 minutes before the pasta is done.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and add the pasta to the saucepan with the vegetables.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
2 cups dried chickpeas (Do not use canned or cooked chickpeas)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
1/2 cup fresh dill, stems removed
7-8 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
organic vegetable or canola Oil for frying
Fixings for falafel sandwich:
tahini sauce or hummus
Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl filled with water to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 extra inches. Soak overnight bus 16 – 18 hours (more if the chickpeas are still too hard). When ready, drain the chickpeas completely and pat them dry. Pulse shop the herbs in a processor 1st. Then add the chickpeas, garlic, and spices. Run the food processor until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Cover the mixture tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Just before frying, add the baking powder and sesame seeds to the falafel mixture and stir with a spoon. Scoop tablespoons of the falafel mixture and form patties, about one half an inch thick. It helps to do this with wet hands. Heat a fry pan with about ½ inch of oil on medium-high. Carefully drop the falafel patties in the oil. Let them fry for about 3 – 4 minutes or until golden brown. Place the fried falafel patties on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Served in Pita bread or as desired.