Tasty and Healthy: You’re Speaking Mediterranean Dishes

We can hardly believe it, but a new year has arrived! For many, the beginning of 2015 marks the beginning of New Year’s resolutions, often related to health. Whether your goal is to be healthier, get in shape or add flavor to your already healthy lifestyle, Mediterranean meals can help you keep your resolution. Food from this region is a great way to mix international dining into your family’s eating habits and can also be amended for low-carb, low-fat, vegetarian or high-protein diets.

Here are three Mediterranean recipe options to incorporate into your meals throughout 2015 that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Baked Falafel

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREOne staple of Mediterranean cuisine is falafel. Made with garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), these crispy, vegetarian patties are rich in protein. Falafel is a healthy yet hearty snack or appetizer and can be served in a number of ways. Try it in pita bread with veggies and tzatziki sauce, with or without meat, on top of a salad or paired with your favorite hummus.

SERVINGS: 2 (4 patties total)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and dried

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wrap onion in cheesecloth or dishcloth to squeeze out moisture and then set aside.
  2. Place garbanzo beans, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and baking soda in a food processor. Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed.
  3. In a bowl, mix garbanzo bean mixture with onions. Stir in flour and egg.
  4. Shape mixture into four large patties and let stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. In a large oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Place patties in skillet and cook about 3 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Place skillet into preheated oven and bake about 10 minutes until heated through.

Now your falafel is ready to serve. Enjoy these Mediterranean bites hot out of the oven or refrigerate to enjoy later, hot or cold.

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

vegetable stewIn the chill of winter, some days you just want to eat a hot, comfort food dish while still being healthy. This Mediterranean vegetable stew is the perfect combination, with a medley of veggies that provides a variety of nutrients and vitamins. Ideal to serve as a starter or entrée, you can enjoy this hearty dish all season long.

YIELDS: 6-7 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped red onion

2 cups coarsely chopped green pepper

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small eggplant, unpeeled

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Sauté onion and pepper for about 10 minutes until soft.
  3. Then add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, mushrooms and eggplant.
  4. Simmer, occasionally stirring until eggplant is softened but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
  5. Add tomatoes, olives, garbanzo beans and rosemary. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in parsley and your stew is ready to be served on a cool winter’s night. Sprinkle feta cheese on top of your stew for an extra touch of the Mediterranean and enjoy with friends and family.

Pan-seared Scallops with Pepper and Onion in Anchovy Oil

scallops 2In addition to vegetables, the Mediterranean is also host to many seafood dishes, including pan-seared scallops with pepper and onion in anchovy oil. This dish is a tasty, lighter protein alternative to heavy red meat, popular in coastal cities such as Greece, Italy and more.

YIELDS: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 (2 ounce) can anchovy fillets, minced

1 pound large sea scallops

1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 large orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced lime zest

1 1/2 teaspoon minced lemon zest

8 sprigs fresh parsley (garnish)

Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and anchovies on medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve anchovies.
  2. Add sea scallops to skillet and cook without moving the scallops for 2 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine red and orange peppers with onion, garlic, lime zest and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add vegetables to scallops and continue cooking for 2 more minutes until scallops brown.
  5. Turn scallops and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown the other side of the scallops.

Serve scallops and vegetables garnished with parsley sprigs and enjoy. Try this alone as a low-carb option or over pasta or rice for a heartier entrée.

Recipes via:

Baked Falafel via All Recipes

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew via All Recipes

Pan-Seared Scallops via All Recipes

 

Image Sources:

momo via photopin cc

F_A via photopin cc

ER and Jenny via photopin cc

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