Thai fish cakes with sweet chili-lime dipping sauce

Thai fish cakes

Fish cakes are a popular appetizer and snack in Thailand — and they’re really easy to make at home. We not only love eating them as an appetizer, we also slice them and add them to stir-fries. The fish cake mixture can also be used in other ways. You can roll it into balls and add them to Southeast Asian soups and curries — they poach beautifully in hot broths and curry sauces.

You can also shape the mixture into larger patties for Thai-style fish burgers with lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot, and sweet chili sauce mixed with mayo for the dressing.

Thai fish cakes

Another great thing about these Thai fish cakes is that you can make them ahead and keep them covered in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. So they’re perfect for entertaining, and ideal for mid-week meals.

Here’s the recipe.

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.

24 Meatless Mediterranean and Asian Meals

Meatless MediterrAsian meals

When we began incorporating Mediterranean and Asian culinary traditions into our lives, a world of choice literally opened up to us. Instead of centering our meals around a Western-style diet, with hefty helpings of red meat, we adopted a healthier, mainly plant-based diet naturally rich in foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.

So to inspire you to reduce your meat intake and introduce more plant foods into your diet, here are 24 of our favorite meatless Mediterranean and Asian recipes. They’re all easy to cook, and use everyday ingredients. They’re also cheaper than many Western meat-centric meals and a lot healthier too because they’re rich in antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. And you won’t be missing out on any protein either, as these meals contain plenty of protein-rich beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Curries and stews

Pasta dishes

Stir-fries and noodle dishes

Rice and grain dishes

Sandwiches and wraps

Indian fried rice with shrimp and cashews

Indian fried rice

Although a lot of people think of fried rice as a classic Chinese dish, there are countless versions throughout Asia including Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Khao phat (Thai fried rice), and Com chien (Vietnamese fried rice). India also has their own version of fried rice called Vagharela bhaat, from the Gujarat region of Western India. It cleverly combines leftover rice with a few simple ingredients and some flavorful herbs and spices to make a delicious and nutritious meal.

Like a lot of traditional dishes it was born out of necessity and scarcity. It resulted, in part, from a need to use up day-old rice in the days before refrigeration, so as not to let any food go to waste. And stir-frying the ingredients quickly over a high heat – a healthy and energy-efficient cooking method used for thousands of years throughout Asia – came about as a way to retain nutrients and conserve fuel.

We make our version of Indian fried rice with baby shrimp, which are already peeled and cooked so they’re really convenient, as well as being a good source of protein. We like to add a handful of cashews and peas for extra taste, texture, and protein. The basmati rice also offers a bit of protein, and brings a unique flavor, aroma and fluffy texture to the dish. You can replace the shrimp with shredded precooked chicken breast, canned salmon, cooked egg, or any other protein you like.

This Indian fried rice always goes down a treat at our place. So much so that we specially cook exra rice so that we can make this for dinner the next night. You can eat this as is, or serve with plain yogurt, chutney or pickles on the side.

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.

Gingered salmon stir-fry

Salmon stir-fry

We live not far from the Marlborough Sounds, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a majestic marine environment that offers an abundance of outdoor activities as well as a bounty of locally-produced foods. When we visit, we enjoy mountain-biking along the Queen Charlotte Track and kayaking in the pristine waters of the Sounds. We also enjoy eating the amazing Green-lipped mussels and arguably the world’s best salmon which are farmed in the deep, crystal clear waters.

The Sounds

We’ve been hankering to head to Marlborough this summer but haven’t had a chance, so when we spotted some gorgeous salmon fillets at our supermarket seafood counter that had been delivered fresh from the Sounds that morning, we figured that we could at least treat ourselves to a taste of the region in the meantime. As well as give ourselves a tasty way to get a hit of healthy omega-3s.

In terms of flavor and texture, this salmon is so good that when we do cook it at home we like to keep things simple and add just a handful of other ingredients to complement the salmon. For this dish we marinate it briefly in soy sauce and ginger before stir-frying in a dry wok (the salmon releases its natural oil during cooking so you don’t need to add oil first). We like to pair the mouth-wateringly moist and tender salmon with sweet, tender-crisp stir-fried green beans and yellow pepper, but you can also use snow peas and red peppers if you prefer.

Here’s the recipe.

Our most popular recipes of 2016

Well it’s been another year of feasting for us. From fragrant curries, comforting pasta dishes and rustic stews to warming soups, and super satisfying stir-fries, all washed down with a wine or cold beer. And not once have we counted a calorie, or worked out how many grams of fat or carbohydrate are in our meals. Yet neither one of us has gained any weight. In fact my jeans are actually feeling a little looser than they did this time last year.

But we’re certainly not surprised — it’s been like this for years now. And all we’ve been doing is simply eating how the world’s healthiest and longest living populations eat, plus we’ve been moving naturally as part of our everyday lives (which is another thing the world’s longest living peoples do).

Here are our most popular recipes of 2016. And we’re looking forward to cooking up lots more delicious and nutritious Mediterranean and Asian meals in 2017!

Italian Stew

Italian Stew with White Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Olives. A robust Italian stew with cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Wonderful served with crusty bread, polenta, pasta, rice or couscous.

Thai chicken soup

Thai Chicken Soup with Basil and Lime. A warming and delicately spiced Thai chicken soup accented with fresh basil and lime juice.

Cantonese chicken stir-fry

Cantonese Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry. Bite-size pieces of chicken stir-fried with red pepper, green beans and baby corn and coated in a glossy and flavorful Cantonese sauce.

Spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with sautéed spinach, garlic, oregano and crumbled feta, and baked until tender.

Potato and asparagus salad

Potato and Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing. An Italian-inspired salad with asparagus and chunks of potato coated in a lemony basil dressing.

Thai-spiced baked salmon

Thai-Spiced Baked Salmon. Succulent salmon infused with a ginger, lime, chili and cilantro dressing, and baked until deliciously moist and tender.

Tuscan chickpea and spinach fritters

Tuscan Chickpea and Spinach Fritters. Protein-packed chickpea fritters with spinach and rosemary. Delicious served as a fritter with salad, and they also make super tasty veggie burger patties.

Mediterranean chopped salad

Mediterranean Chopped Salad. A delicious medley of Mediterranean ingredients including chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cucumber, red onion and walnuts coated in an oregano-infused red wine vinaigrette, and served on a bed of mixed salad leaves.