Tag Archives: mediterranean diet

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

This simple and colorful dish will look and taste great on your Rosh Hashanah table and matches well with these recipes for brisket and green beans.  The pomegranate, turmeric and olive oil provide a  powerful antioxidant combination.

anvil

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C     Lucini Pinot Noir Vinegar
  • 1              Onion (sweet, small, thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 tsp  Paprika (smoked or sweet, optional)
  • 1/4 tsp  Turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp  Sea Salt (kosher salt will work in a pinch)
  • 1/2 tsp  Black Pepper (fresh, ground)
  • 1/2 C      Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 TB        Lucini Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 C           fresh Spinach (baby spinach or chopped large)
  • 1 C           Walnuts (chopped coarsely)
  • 1/2 C      Pomegranate seeds
  • 2              Eggs (hard boiled, sliced, optional)

Preparation:

In a small skillet over low heat, toast the walnuts until fragrant – 5-7 minutes.  Allow the walnuts to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, onion, paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper.  In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the oils until emulsified. Adjust the ingredients to fit your taste.

Coat the spinach with the vinaigrette, mixing well for even distribution.  Sprinkle with the toasted nuts and pomegranate seeds, then toss again, making sure the pomegranate and nuts don’t collect at the bottom of your bowl.  Garnish with the egg slices, if using.

Roasted Potato Salad

This simple potato salad recipe is always a hit at family meals, picnics and barbecues.  If you find potatoes at a farmers market, those will work best in this recipe, as the potatoes are front and center here, not hiding behind strong mayonnaise or dressing. I love creamy potato salads as well, but this one brings out the full flavor of the potatoes through roasting, the light spices and fruity olive oil add a beautiful color and complimentary taste.  If so inclined, you can jazz it up a bit with some chopped olives, green peppers or even kim chee!

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix oil, turmeric, chili powder, paprika and mustard seed.  Cut potatoes into even, small bite size pieces and then toss in oil.  Roast potatoes for 10 minutes, transfer to a bowl and then cool in freezer until potatoes reach room temperature.

Mix other ingredients well.  Add potatoes and stir until all the potato pieces are coated.

Pesto

Why flax seeds?  I have been reading a lot about omega 3 lately and trying to work it into my diet more often (rather than relying solely on supplements).  One of the best sources of omega 3 is ground flax seeds and thinking about the groundness of the seeds led me to pesto – the root of the word is the same as pestle and both derive from the Latinpestâ” (to pound or crush).  It seems that many people have negative connotations for flax seeds – that the texture is weird or flavor will be unpleasant.  But, i’ve tested this recipe on some discerning palates and everyone thought that the nuts used were either 100% walnuts or a mixture of walnuts and pine nuts.  Be sure to taste before and after adding the salt – I usually avoid salt in pesto recipes, but because the Lucini Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano is so rich and flavorful and has less of a salty profile than generic Parmigiano Reggiano, I do add salt to this preparation.  As always find it better to start with a little less – you can add more, but if you start with too much, fixing the taste is difficult.

pesto

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Grind the flax seeds.  Combine the garlic, flax seeds, walnuts and salt in a food processor (or a mortar and pestle, for a more ‘authentic’ consistency) and blend until the mixture forms a paste.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, blending slowly.  Add the Parmigiano 1 tablespoon at a time, blending for short beats until the mixture forms a thick paste.  The pesto can be put in a container, topped with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil and then stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.  Without this preservation layer, the pesto discolors very quickly and the garlic flavor will turn bitter in a matter of days.

Italian Comfort in a Jar

This yummy bean recipe is  from Art Smith’s blog:

TUSCAN BEANS IN A JAR
Makes 8-12 servings

2 pounds Tuscan beans, soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator
10 Roma tomatoes
¼ pound pancetta, diced
2 small onions, diced
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Lucini brand)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Drain the beans and rinse. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cut an X on the ends of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the water in batches, if necessary. After 40 seconds, remove and plunge into an ice-water bath. Leave in the ice water for 40 seconds and drain. The skins should peel right off. Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Place a large Dutch oven over high heat, toss in the pancetta, and render until it begins to turn brown and crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain off some of the fat and toss in the onions, sautéing for 4 minutes or until the onions begin to look translucent. Reduce the heat to medium and add the beans, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2½ hours. When the beans are done, add the basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately or let cool, then ladle into jars and refrigerate for later use. They will keep for up to three days.

Mango & Quinoa Salad

This is an incredible easy and very tasty quinoa recipe.  Quinoa is a high protein food and the proteins we get in quinoa also include fiber, carbs, and phytochemicals that protect against disease.  The mango adds a bright flavor, along with healthful vitamins and minerals, including: Potassium and Vitamins C, A and B6.  Grind some flax seeds, throw them in and you will add considerable omega-3, without inflammation promoting omega-6 acids!

quimang

Ingredients:

  • 1 C          Quinoa
  • 2 C          Water
  • 1/4 tsp  Salt
  • 1              Mango, chopped
  • 1/2 C      Cucumber, chopped small
  • 2 TB        Flax Seeds, ground (optional)
  • 3 TB        Pumpkin Seeds, roasted
  • 3 TB        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp       Turmeric
  • 1 tsp       Curry Powder
  • Black Pepper, ground
  • 1              Lime, juiced
  • 1 TB        Pinot Grigio Italian Wine Vinegar
  • 2 TB        Cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

Wash the quinoa and then toast in a small dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it crackles and becomes aromatic, about 4-5 minutes.  Boil the toasted quinoa in salted water for 10 minutes, then let the quinoa sit until it absorbs all the water.  Fluff with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.

Peel the mango and cut into cubes.   Dice the cucumber, and add to mango along with the flax and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Mix the lime juice and vinegar with the curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.  Emulsify the olive oil into the dressing and then add the cilantro and stir well.

Add the cooled quinoa to the mango mixture, pour the dressing over the salad, and mix well until well distributed.

Sardine and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

I have been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of sardines and trying to work them (and similar fish such as mackerel) into my cooking repertoire.  This recipe utilizes sun-dried tomatoes; their sweetness stands up well to the oils (omega-3!) and saltiness of the fish.  If you do not have any vegetable or poultry stock available try orange juice for a fresh citrus twist.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz        dried Pasta (i use fusili or penne, but choose your favorite)
  • 2 TB        Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1               small red Onion, chopped
  • 2 TB        Garlic, minced fine
  • 3 TB        Pine Nuts (or Flax Seeds)
  • 1 can       Sardines in olive oil (3.75 oz), chopped large
  • 1/2 C      Vegetable Stock (Chicken Stock will also work)
  • 1              dried Chili pepper, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp  Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp  dried Oregano
  • 1/4 C      Sun-Dried Tomatoes (dried or olive oil-packed)
  • 1/3 C      Lucini Organic 3 Year • Parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

Boil a large pot of well salted water.

As the pasta is reaching boil, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and pine nuts; cook for two more minutes.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until almost tender (‘al dente’).

Stir in the stock, chili pepper and oregano.  Bring to a boil and reduce stock by a half.  Add the sardines and sun-dried tomatoes and when they heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is  ready.

When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the sardines.  Turn the heat off and mix well in the pan.  Let stand for 2 minutes to absorb the flavors of the sauce.  Add the parmesan and mix again.  Divide onto serving plates, and top with more grated Parmesan cheese, if so desired.

Black Bean, Mango and Lentil Salad

This recipe is very simple, healthy and flavorful, a spin on ubiquitous Three Bean Salad.  There is room to have a lot of fun with substitutions here:  any cooked lentils can be used – for example green, black beluga or red.  Papaya or melon will work instead of mango, scallions substitute for red onion, and garbanzo, adzuki or kidney beans can replace the black beans.  I have also thrown in cucumber, corn, parsley and bulgur.  It is a fun salad to bring to picnics or social meals – just refrigerate for 20 minutes and the salad will get back to room temperature on your travels.  Double the recipe and you will have a nice side dish for your lunch the following day!

BlackBeanSalad_Web3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  C     Mango, chopped
  • 1  C         canned Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  C     Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 C      cooked lentils
  • 1               Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 C      Red Onion, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        fresh Cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        Lime Juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 TB        Orange Juice, fresh squeezed or purchased
  • 1/2  tsp  Salt
  • 2 TB        Lucini Garlic – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:  Mix ingredients well in serving bowl.  Chill for 20 minutes and then bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.