Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Mediterranean Diet Recipes

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  1. Experts and the general public are appreciating the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, traditional foods of Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, offer protection against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. The diet itself features fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, low fat dairy, and fish. Mediterranean diet recipes include very little red meat. Researchers believe that monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants are responsible for the diet’s health benefits. These easy, delicious recipes will introduce you to this healthy diet.  


    Lentil and Barley Soup (for Slow Cooker)

    Serves 6 to 8



    1 pound dried lentils

    1/2 cup pearl barley

    1 medium onion, chopped

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    2 celery ribs, chopped

    3 bay leaves

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

    1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

    1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    1 teaspoon salt

    Sort through dried lentils, and remove debris. Rinse, drain, and place in 5-quart slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, including chicken stock and olive oil. Stir to combine, and add enough water to cover the ingredients by 1/2 inch.

    With slow cooker temperature at “high” setting, cook for 5 to 6 hours or until lentils are tender and fully cooked. Check soup occasionally, and add water if necessary to maintain desired consistency. When soup is finished cooking, add salt, combine thoroughly, and turn heat to “low” setting. Cook 1/2 hour more. Serve hot soup in a bowl.


    Whole Grain Pizza

    Makes 8 slices




    1 envelope active dry yeast

    1 Cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)

    1 Cup whole wheat flour

    2 Cups all-purpose flour

    3/4 teaspoon sea salt

    2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl


    2 roma tomatoes, diced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1/2 cup black olives, chopped

    2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

    2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating pan 

    In mixing bowl, soften yeast in warm water. Add whole wheat flour and 1 Cup all-purpose flour, salt, and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface 4 to 6 minutes, until smooth.

    Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch dough down. Lightly coat a large pizza pan with olive oil. Pat dough into pizza pan and place tomatoes, garlic, and black olives on dough. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until crust is light brown. Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle the pizza with chopped basil.

    You may use other vegetables for toppings, such as bell peppers. Tuna fish packed in oil is another delicious topping.



    Makes 2 Cups



    1 Cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

    1/4 Cup cooking liquid from garbanzo beans

    2 to 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice, to taste

    2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

    2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Sort through dried garbanzo beans, and remove any unwanted debris. Rinse, drain, and soak the garbanzo beans in 3 cups of cold water for 4 hours or overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot, boil 2 quarts of water and add the beans. Lower the heat and simmer the beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender.

    Drain and rinse beans and reserve 1/4 Cup of cooking liquid. Place beans, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a blender, along with reserved cooking liquid. Blend until smooth, usually 4 or 5 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture from the blender into a bowl. Stir in salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita bread or raw vegetables.  

    Instead of dried garbanzo beans, you may use 1 16-ounce can of beans. You need not cook the canned beans; simply add the beans, along with 1/4 Cup of liquid from the can, directly to the blender.

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