Monday, February 1, 2010
Mediterreanean foods -- eat more of these!
Here's a list of nine foods that are staples the mega-healthy Mediterranean diet and that we should all be finding ways to include on our own tables. They include some of my favorite ingredients, most of which are easy to find and prepare.
The list is adapted from an article in Eating Well, one of the best food mags out there.
1. Broccoli rabe (also called rapini) -- an Italian green (pictured, right) that's loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. To remove any sharp bitterness, blanch a coarsely chopped bunch in boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain and saute in 2T canola oil with a bit of minced garlic added right before you take the pan off the heat. Serve as a side dish with grilled fish or meat, or toss with pasta.
2. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) -- if you eat hummus, you're eating chickpeas. They're also good on salads or added to cooked veggies or soups. Just be sure to drain and rinse the canned beans--as you would any canned beans--to remove excess salt.
3. Couscous -- whole wheat versions are the healthiest, and the big bonus here is in convenience. No cooking required--just soak in boiling water -- or follow package directions.
4. Eggplant -- an amazingly versatile veggie, can be prepared a thousand ways. Just search the 'Net until you find a recipe you like.
5. Hazelnuts -- though most nuts will substitute. You should eat some nuts every day, really.
6. Olive oil -- a healthy foodie's staple
7. Peppers -- green, yellow, orange, red or purple, they're good raw or cooked. These are even more versatile than eggplant. I eat raw orange pepper slices literally every day--they make a convenient, tasty and super-healthy snack.
8. Shrimp -- but almost any seafood will suffice. Try to eat fish at least twice a week.
9. Tomatoes -- out of season, go for the canned variety, although I've been trying to find them in other containers after hearing how bad the can-liner substance BPA is for us.