Celebrating Mediterranean diet month

May is Mediterranean diet month and registered dietitian Jennifer Fillenworth from Mercy Health joined My West Michigan to show us how the Mediterranean diet can be not only healthy, but also flavorful.

The Mediterranean diet has been a favorite of health care professionals for a long time.

Studies have shown that the diet has positive effects on heart health, anti-cancer properties and could potentially extend life. This is thought to be due to the high antioxidant, fiber, and healthy unsaturated fatty acid content.  

The Mediterranean diet encompasses the cooking styles of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Foods typically included are fish, heart healthy oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and yes, even wine.

Mediterranean pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1lb whole grain spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 12oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions (green onions), top trimmed, both whites and greens chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup pitted olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Preparation:

  1. Follow package instructions to cook thin spaghetti pasta to al dente
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat
  3. Lower the heat and add garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 seconds, stirring regularly. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes and chopped scallions. Bring down heat to low
  4. Remove pasta from heat, drain cooking water and return to its cooking pot
  5. Pour the warmed olive oil sauce in and toss to coat thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and sprinkle with black pepper
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy

Mediterranean shrimp with feta, olives and oregano

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lb tail-on medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/3 lb feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

Preparation:  

  1. Cook the Israeli couscous according to the package instructions
  2. Stir in 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm and set aside
  3. Preheat an oven to 400°F
  4. Lay the tomatoes in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil
  5. Bake just until the tomatoes release their juices, about 8 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and top with the shrimp, olives, feta and oregano. Bake until the shrimp are bright pink and opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes
  7. Fill bowls with couscous, top with the shrimp mixture and drizzle with olive oil
  8. Serve immediately

Baked Mediterranean peaches

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup pistachios (crushed)

Preparation:

  1. Slice peaches in half
  2. Grill flesh side down until lightly charred
  3. Fill with ¼ cup of Greek yogurt in each half
  4. Drizzle each half with ½ Tbsp honey
  5. Top each half with crushed pistachios

Resources:

 

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