As we already said in articles before, Mediterranean diet is not only a diet program for those who would like to lose weight, it is a diet for all those who want to stay healthy and in shape. It is easy to follow, no special programs needed, no calorie counting, just eating healthy Mediterranean ingredients and staying physically active will bring you towards your goal.
Breakfast and lunch are definitely the most important and abundant meals, snacks have to be fresh and healthy and dinner light without carbohydrates.
Mediterranean Diet is based on eating seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, legumes, seafood, whole grain, nuts, seeds and lots of herbs and spices. There are various recipes that you can try when on Mediterranean Diet, make some of you own and have fun with all those healthy ingredients.
Here are 5 simple and healthy Mediterranean recipes and some tips so you can try it out:
1. Cold pasta
Cold pasta salad is a perfect summer recipe. You have an enormous amount of fresh ingredients to season your pasta and eat some healthy and delicious meal. Classic cold pasta recipe is pasta seasoned with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. You can give free rein to your imagination and modify the recipes as you like. I love adding various nuts, seeds and herbs, but I put just a small amount of nuts because they are high in calories. Basil and mint are my favorite herbs for seasoning the cold pasta salad. You can also make your own yogurt with herbs dressing and season the cold pasta. Remember to cook the pasta “al dente” and then you should drain the pasta and cool it under the running cold water, drain again, put it in a large bowl and season with some extra virgin olive oil so you can prevent sticky pasta. If you have time, the better option is not to put the pasta under the water, but to spread the pasta onto baking paper, spray it with extra virgin olive oil and let it cool down. Then add all the ingredients previously prepared. I like to prepare it in advance so it can stay in the fridge for at least an hour. Put the salt in the water only when it starts to boil.
Click here to find some tasty cold pasta recipes.
2. Octopus salad
This recipe is very easy to make and it is absolutely delicious. I prefer to prepare for dinner because it is easily digestible and low in calories. There are various recipes of this dish, although the octopus should always be prepared in one way if you want to get the tender result. Cooking octopus to get that tender result is the main key of this recipe, then after if you want to add sage or not, olives or not it is just a question of preferences.
If you use frozen octopus you are already closer to having a tender octopus after cooking, so buy a fresh one and freeze it for at least two days. When you wish to prepare it, let it defrost naturally the night before, without putting it in hot water or other. Put it in boiling water and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. Another tip for making the octopus even more tender is to put a wine cork into the boiling water. When ready, put the pan with the octopus under the running cold water for a couple of minutes. When cold, take it out and cut it into small pieces. This procedure is important because if you start cutting warm octopus you won’t be able to cut it into firm pieces and it wouldn’t look very inviting. Then wash it again and it is ready to be mixed with the rest of ingredients.
You can add various ingredients to your octopus salad, from the easiest recipe by just adding extra virgin olive oil, black olives and capers, to adding cherry tomatoes and sage or make it even more special by adding an apple, lemon juice and peppers. As I said before, give free rein to your imagination. Check out our recipe here.
3. Chicken salad
This is another easy and super tasty recipe that I love to eat during the hot summer nights. It is low in calories and very high in nutrients. There are many versions of this recipe and like those before you can create one of your own depending on you preferences. I love adding apples to each and every salad I make, it gives it that sweet flavor that goes deliciously good with other salty things that I mix in like cheese and olives for example. Another super fruit to put in your salad is orange and if you don’t like vinegar use lemon juice.
Chicken salad is tastier if you grill the chicken before. Also, you can give it some bitter taste by adding sage. I love experimenting with this kind of salad because there is really an infinite number of healthy ingredients that you can add. For example, my favorite one is with sage, pine nuts, apples and figs.
It doesn’t matter if you are on a diet or you just want to maintain your weight, this recipe with all its variations will please any palate. Check out our Chicken salad recipe here and give it a look on other delicious Mediterranean recipes.
4. Sea Bream
Sea Bream “al cartoccio” (baked in foil) is one of my favorite dishes. It is easy to prepare (if you have someone who knows how to clean the fish first, probably it will be the one who sold it to you), and it is low in calories and very nutritious. When you prepare the fish the Italian way you need to have right next to you some good white wine, salt, parsley, garlic and obviously some extra virgin olive oil. Chop parsley, salt and garlic, mix it with extra virgin olive oil. Put the fish in a baking tin, put the parsley and garlic mix on it, some white wine and around it capers, black olives and cherry tomatoes and voila. Cook for about 30 minutes and that’s it. If you want to do it “al cartoccio”, you do the same procedure, just put some foil under the fish, after putting the parsley and garlic mix onto it, cover the fish with the rest of the foil and cook for 30 minutes on 180 °C. Cooking time depends on how big the fish is.
5. Mediterranean stuffed peppers
Why I entered this recipe on this list is because you can experiment with it in so many ways. The main ingredient are peppers that you cut in half if they are big or you just cut the upper part and fill the peppers. Obviously if you are following the Mediterranean diet you should fill it with fresh seasonal vegetables, seafood and other healthy ingredients. My favorite ones are stuffed peppers with olives, capers and tuna fish. But just as other dishes that I wrote about before you can experiment with a different kind of ingredients. From chopped chicken, onions, black olives and parmesan to shrimps, cherry tomatoes, couscous and garlic. Check out our Stuffed peppers recipe here.