The Mediterranean diet has long been championed for its multiple health benefits. It’s also darned delicious and captures many happy holiday memories, so we’ve picked our four favourite dishes to spice up your summer.
The marvels of the Med diet
Full of healthy fats, wholegrains, veg and lean proteins, it’s no wonder the Mediterranean diet is so good. Research shows it can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and dementia, and is great for the brain, weight loss and even longevity.
It’s not so much a diet as a lifestyle, choosing freshly prepared, full-flavour food over processed meals. This lifestyle also often includes sharing food with friends and a glass of red wine with dinner. Sound good? Then get set…
Store cupboard staples
To get the real flavours of the Med, make sure you have a few essentials ready. Olive oil is number one, closely followed by onions and garlic. Herbs and spices are a must (think basil, rosemary and paprika), as are tinned tomatoes, beans and chickpeas.
Pasta, rice and cous cous will all come in handy, as will bulgur wheat and orzo. Have a supply of nuts and seeds like pine nuts (hello homemade pesto!), almonds, pistachios and sesame seeds. And don’t forget olives, capers and dried fruit such as apricots and dates. Let’s cook!
Homemade sausages with none of the fiddly casing, cevapcici or cevapi are made with a mix of minced beef, pork and a good dose of seasoning. They hail from the Balkans and are popular in places like Croatia and Bulgaria.
Bring these delicious flavours to your next barbeque or grill night with these easy recipes. This straightforward cevapcici recipe is a great guide to get you started and includes plenty of yummy sides. If you like the sound of flatbreads and a rich red pepper sauce, try this cevapi and ajvar.
Med veg medley
Perfect growing conditions mean that the Med diet is packed with plenty sun-soaked veg. Roast or fry with a little seasoning and you’ll have a gorgeous plate of food for minimum effort. Try this light-on-oil recipe, grill these rainbow coloured kebabs or mix together this tasty veg and orzo pasta salad.
Enjoy on their own or add some satisfyingly salty grilled halloumi or spiced lamb chops. These succulent fish parcels are a great match too.
Sure as eggs shakshuka
- This one-pan veg and egg dish makes a winning standby meal at any time of the day. Go traditional with this classic shakshuka recipe, a mouth-watering combo of tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, spices and eggs.
The beauty of this dish is, not only is it a one-pan wonder, but you can also easily adapt it. Add lentils, chuck in chorizo or swap in kale and feta – simple!
Top of the pots tagine
A tagine is both the aromatic, slow-cooked Moroccan dish and the iconic earthenware vessel it’s cooked in. The tagine pot does a brilliant job of locking in flavours and basting the food, but you can also use a slow cooker or a heavy, shallow baking dish tightly covered in foil.
Discover how doable – and versatile – this dish is at home with a lip-smacking chicken or fish tagine, go veggie or make it a meatball affair.
Master these delicious dishes and you’ll always have a bit of the Med at home with you.