It’s a great time of year to get together with friends and family. Here are a few recipes that I love to prepare; they are healthy; have anti-inflammatory properties, and are so festive they will add a pop of color to your table.
Let’s start with appetizers! This tasty dip is high in protein, and the scallions and honey add a sweet contrast to the dip.
Feta Dip with Sauteed Scallions and Red pepper flakes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced (light green and white parts)
1 tsp chili flakes
1-2 tbsp honey
7 oz feta cheese, room temperature
5 oz ricotta, room temperature
4 oz Plain Greek yogurt (2% works well)
1. Add oil to a medium sauté pan; add oil.
2. Add the scallions and red pepper flakes.
3. Sauté until softened, about four to five minutes.
4. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.
5. Drizzle in the honey and stir again; set aside.
6. Using a food processor, combine the feta, ricotta, and Greek yogurt.
7. Pulse until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, and season with a small amount of salt.
8. Spoon the feta dip into a serving bowl when ready to eat and drizzle the scallion oil over top.
Serve with pita chips, toasted baguette, and roasted or raw vegetables.
Next is a vegetable side dish. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare zucchini. The crushed red pepper, garlic, and onion add a depth of flavor to this carbohydrate-balanced dish.
Zucchini With Parmesan and Red Onions
4 medium Zucchini squash
1 t. olive oil
1 c. red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. parmesan cheese, shaved
- Use a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into ribbons, and discard the seeds.
- Add oil to a large sauté pan using medium heat.
- Add squash, onion, and garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Put on your favorite serving plate and add parmesan ribbons.
Nutrition: Calories 83; fat 3.2 g; Carbohydrates 9.4 g; Fiber 2.7g; Protein 5.7g
The addition of pecans and pomegranate color this rice side dish beautifully. Begin to roast the vegetables as you normally would, but halfway through, toss the vegetables with a small amount of maple syrup.
This side dish is easy to prepare and can be lightened up by modifying by omitting or adding less of the grain, or substituting the brown rice with farro or quinoa.
Tossed Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Brown Rice
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 pound brussels sprouts halved
2 cups butternut squash cubed
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
4 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 (convection if possible)
Place halved brussels sprouts in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil and ¼ tsp kosher salt, arrange on a lined or lightly oiled sheet pan. Be sure that they do not overlap.
Wash, peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2″ cubes. Add these to a medium bowl also and toss with olive oil and kosher salt as above, and place on a lined sheet pan.
Cook for 10 minutes and remove from oven; drizzle with maple syrup, then bake an additional 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, smoked paprika, and pepper and blend until emulsified.
Put brown rice and vegetables in a large bowl. Add pomegranate, pecans, and thyme leaves, then toss with the dressing.
Nutrition: Calories 262; fat 13 g; carbohydrates 35g; fiber 4g; protein 6 g.
And finally, the main dish; salmon roasted with a mixture of sauteed red bell peppers, red onion, capers, and lemon.
This salmon is perfect if you are entertaining. High in omega-three fatty acids and an excellent source of protein and this easy recipe will allow you to spend time with your guests while it roasts. After checking for bones, rinsing and patting the salmon dry. Simply season with salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet ( stoneware works great) with parchment paper and saute the vegetables; pour over and bake to an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit or desired doneness.
Roast Salmon with Onions and Dill
- 1 lemon; ½ sliced thin and ½ juiced
- 1 ½ pounds skin-on salmon fillet
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- ½ small red onion, sliced into thin rings
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 c fresh dill
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- Place the salmon skin side down on a lined baking sheet.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling occasionally until the butter has started to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil, sliced lemon, and half the onion and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the capers and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes
- Pour the butter mixture over the salmon. Place it in the oven and roast until just cooked through to an internal temperature of 135, 12-15 minutes, or until the desired doneness. Fish should flake easily with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish.
- Meanwhile, toss together the dill, lemon juice, and 2T of olive oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper; pour over the salmon.
Nutrition: (4-ounce portion of salmon with vegetables) Calories 327; Fat 22 g; saturated fat 4.6 g; carbohydrates 1.2g and protein 31 g
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. If you are trying to adhere to the Mediterranean eating plan; don’t forget one of the aspects is enjoying our meals with family and friends. Mealtime should be relaxed and enjoyable, savor each bite and you will stay on the Path to Wellness!