Mediterranean Meals to Brighten (and Lighten) Up Winter

Unlike some healthy-eating fads, the Mediterranean diet isn’t going anywhere. And for good reason: It was recently ranked the best plant-based diet and the third best diet overall by U.S. News & World Report. A major selling point? Unlike restrictive plans that cut out entire food groups, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes what you should eat more of: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, spices, seafood and poultry—it even includes red wine. But while grilled fish and Greek salads are great options for the summer, the cold weather can make you crave cheesy, starchy, heavy dishes instead. To the rescue: Three Mediterranean diet meals that will satisfy your comfort-food cravings.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls
Serves 4
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch broccolini
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, slivered
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 Meyer lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces feta, cubed
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

  1. Bring 2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, placing broccolini on top of quinoa after 10 minutes. Transfer broccolini to a cutting board and quinoa to a large bowl; fluff quinoa with a fork.
  2. Toss together quinoa, red peppers, chickpeas, capers and oregano; season to taste with salt and pepper. Roughly chop broccolini and add to quinoa mixture. Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. Gently fold in feta and parsley.

Nutritional information per serving (yields 4 servings) 366 calories, 12.7g fat, 4.8g saturated fat, 897mg sodium, 224mg potassium, 49.2g carbohydrates, 14.9g protein, 1.9g sugar

 

Baked Shrimp With Tomatoes and Feta
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells removed
⅔ cup crumbled feta

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
  2. Remove sauce from heat and stir in parsley, shrimp, feta, salt and several grinds of fresh pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until shrimp are cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. Serve with bread, rice or quinoa.

Nutritional information per serving (yields 4 servings) 274 calories, 10.7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 747mg sodium, 295mg potassium, 14.2g carbohydrates, 27.1g protein, 6.0g sugar

 

Greek Chicken Stew
Adapted from Budget Bytes
Serves 6
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 whole bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  1. Pat chicken thighs with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden-brown and crispy, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer chicken to a plate and add onion and garlic to pan. Cook until soft and transparent. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and half the parsley to skillet. Stir well to combine, then return chicken to pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Nutritional information per serving (yields 6 servings) 542 calories, 18.6g fat, 3.2g saturated fat, 1245mg sodium, 1203mg potassium, 47.1g carbohydrates, 46.9g protein, 6.8g sugar

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Photo credit: Meal Makeover Moms

 

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