Most of the Mediterranean countries, including Italy, Spain and Greece to name a few, have it right when it comes to eating delicious, wholesome and healthy foods. More than just a way to drop a few pounds, the Mediterranean diet is considered an actual lifestyle focused on healthy eating, regular physical activity, low stress and finding pleasure in daily living. If you need a lifestyle overhaul, particularly one that promotes heart health and fights cancer, the Mediterranean diet is a mouthwatering place to start. Here's what you need to know about living more Mediterranean.
Asparagus and Lima Bean Casserole
Makes 4 servings
3 large asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 rosemary stalks, minced
1 pound fresh lima beans
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1 piece of toasted bread
A few fresh basil leaves, minced
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Steam asparagus in a pot with water until tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet then add onions and sauté until softened. Add tomatoes and rosemary and cook until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the lima beans into the mixture and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
While lima beans are cooking, combine the garlic and pine nuts and mash together. Mash the bread into the mixture then mash in the basil. Stir in a few teaspoons of water.
When the lima beans are tender, stir in the flour and remaining water and cook a few more minutes. Season mixture with salt and pepper and add garlic and pine nut mixture.
Stir well and cook a few more minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
Shrimp and Feta
Makes 4 servings
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine shrimp with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and salt and toss well.
Heat oil in a skillet and sauté celery, scallions and jalapeno until tender. Add wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook until they are cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and mix in remaining lemon juice, feta and pepper to taste. Stir until cheese begins to melt. Serve warm.
Olive Oil Cake
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour a 9x13-inch rectangular pan.
Beat eggs and sugar together until mixture is fluffy. Mix in flour, orange zest, oil, milk and orange juice. Add baking powder, stirring until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Let cool on a wire rack. Top with homemade whipped cream to serve.