Category Archives: Mediterranean Recipes

Potato and smoked salmon salad with creamy avocado dressing

Potato and smoked salmon salad with creamy avocado dressing

Great food that’s great for you — that’s how I’d best describe a MediterrAsian way of eating. This opulent salad is the perfect example. It doesn’t just taste wonderful, it’s also packed with nutritional goodness.

The buttery smoked salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The luscious dressing is made primarily with avocado and extra virgin olive oil — two excellent sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. The crisp salad greens are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And the potato provides complex carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and brain, and they’re also a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C (and because the potatoes are eaten together with protein and goods fats, it means they’re digested slowly and don’t cause blood sugar spikes).

But the last thing we were thinking about when we were chowing down on this salad was the nutritional content. We were too busy savoring the taste!

Here’s the recipe.

Greek-style nachos

Greek-style nachos

As much as we love munching on a plate of nachos, we don’t much like all the calories and salt that go with it. So to make our nachos healthier but no less delicious we like to give them a Greek twist, and substitute traditional, fresh, Greek ingredients for the usual less healthy ingredients.

To lower the calorie content, we use feta and Greek yogurt in the creamy whip instead of using cheddar cheese and sour cream. Feta is stronger and saltier in flavor so you don’t need much, and the thick Greek yogurt adds extra creaminess without all the calories of sour cream. Using baked pita wedges instead of fried corn chips also saves calories.

The feta and Greek yogurt whip also has a secret ingredient — white beans. This not only helps add a creamy texture, but it also provides extra protein and fiber. We also make a fresh salsa instead of using jarred salsa to further reduce the amount of salt and sugar. The juicy tomato, cucumber and red onion salsa is accentuated by the authentic Greek taste of kalamata olives, oregano and fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Here’s the recipe.

Mediterranean cream of tomato soup with garlicky toasts

Mediterranean cream of tomato soup

Tomato soup is one of the most delicious and comforting soups. But forget those canned tomato soups packed with preservatives and laden with sugar and sodium. This soup — made with canned tomatoes and tomato paste for convenience — gives you the rich color and natural sweetness of tomatoes, without any unwanted food additives, and it can be prepared in under 20 minutes.

The oregano and thyme have a natural affinity with tomatoes, and the addition of onion and celery creates a lovely balanced flavor. The garlicky toasts are a great accompaniment — their crunchiness complements the velvety texture of the soup, and the garlicky flavor enhances the soup’s Mediterranean flavors. We prefer to pan-grill the toasts in a large frying pan because it gives them a delightfully crisp, light texture. But you can also cook them under the oven broiler.

Here’s the recipe.

Roasted vegetable medley with rosemary, garlic & lemon

Roasted vegetables

With Christmas just around the corner, this Roasted Vegetable Medley with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon makes a tasty alternative to traditional roast veggies to serve on the side of festive meals.

The beauty of these roasted vegetables is their simplicity — and there are a few tricks we’ve learned which guarantee great results. Start by cutting the vegetables into uniform bite-size pieces so that they’ll cook evenly, and then pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, which helps them roast up better. You need to provide ample oil so that the vegetables turn crispy during roasting. Not swimming in oil, but enough to coat all the vegetables well. We’ve found that it’s easiest to toss the vegetables with the oil mixture in a large bowl, using your hands to mix well, before transferring to a baking dish — one that’s large enough to fit the veggies in a single layer.

It’s best to serve these roasted vegetables piping hot straight from the oven to retain their crisp texture. However, you can roast them ahead of time and reheat them briefly in the oven to crisp up. Leftover roasted veggies (if there are any!) are great on pizzas, in pies, frittatas and quiches, stirred into risottos, pasta dishes and bakes like lasagnas, added to stews and curries, tossed into salads, blended into soups, or eaten straight from the fridge as a snack.

Here’s the recipe.

Greek pita pizzas

Greek pita pizzas

As much as we love pizzas made with homemade dough, there are times when we want pizza but don’t fancy making dough from scratch. So over the years we’ve experimented with a variety of bread bases as alternatives to dough: English muffins (Ham, pepper & olive mini pizzas); flat-breads (Smoked salmon, feta & zucchini pizza); baguette (French bread pizza); and even naan bread (Indian-style naan pizza).

But one of the best instant pizza crusts we’ve used is pita bread. It’s a staple of many Mediterranean meals; from pita bread sandwiches to homemade pita chips served with dips and spreads. So using traditional Greek pita bread instead of the usual pizza base provides the perfect canvas for these Greek-inspired pita pizzas.

In this recipe, whole grain pita breads are spread with tomato paste and topped with a mix of simple Greek ingredients: sweet red peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, oregano, garlic, and crumbled feta (which browns beautifully in the hot oven).

These Greek Pita Pizzas make a deliciously healthy lunch or dinner. You can serve them with a side salad for a more satisfying meal, and they make great festive food served with a wine or cold beer.

Here’s the recipe.

Greek tuna and vegetable stew

Greek tuna and vegetable stew

Some people might have the time to spend hours slowly simmering away a big pot of stew. Unfortunately we don’t. But just because we’re time poor doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a rich and robust homemade stew. In fact, in a little over 35 minutes (including preparation and cooking time) we had this glorious Greek stew on the table ready to be greedily gobbled down.

As we’ve always said, eating for pleasure and eating for health don’t have to be mutually exclusive — and this stew is the perfect example. Not only did we absolutely love how it tasted, it’s also packed with ingredients proven to promote health and prevent chronic diseases: oily fish which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids; plant foods including tomatoes, red peppers, onions, garlic, parsley and capers which provide high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants; and olives and olive oil which are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and special bioactive compounds.

But the last thing we were thinking about while we were devouring this stew was its nutritional profile — that was just a wonderful bonus!

Here’s the recipe.

Falafel bowl with tahini dressing

falafel bowl

Just reading the ingredients in this recipe makes you feel healthier. This dish encapsulates everything we love about Middle Eastern food: fresh colorful veggies, crispy falafel and creamy tahini dressing. This superfood bowl is brimming with delicious flavors and textures, and it’s also loaded with protein, good carbs, good fats and antioxidants — nutrition nirvana!

Falafel are made with chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs and spices, and are a great source of fiber. Traditionally they’re deep-fried, but we prefer to pan-fry ours for a less caloric (yet just as tasty) version. We serve this bowl of goodness with fresh or toasted pita wedges to make it a balanced meal on its own. You can also stuff it all into a pita pocket or wrap if you like.

Here’s the recipe.

Mediterranean chopped salad

Mediterranean chopped salad

It’s coming to the end of a chilly winter here in New Zealand, and as the sunshine hours begin to increase, so does our consumption of salads. We’ve been particularly craving hearty salads that can be eaten by themselves as a main meal. And this super tasty salad fits the bill perfectly because it’s not only balanced and filling, it’s also packed with nourishment.

The chickpeas provide slowly-releasing carbs as well as protein and plenty of fiber; the walnuts also contain protein and are a good source of healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids); the tomatoes are a great source of vitamins as well as of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps lower the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Then there are all the other colorful, tasty and nutrient-rich vegetables including roasted red peppers, cucumber, red onion, and crispy salad greens.

Not only can you enjoy this dish as a main meal or side salad, it also tastes great as a filling for a wrap or pita pocket.

Here’s the recipe.