A Colorful Way to Mediterranean Your Diet

April 15, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

The Mediterranean diet is modeled on that of our friends across the ocean who live around that sea and eat meals around a table filled with family and friends. (Kind of sounds like a Southern thing.)

These meals are filled with vegetables, whole grains, fruits and heart-healthy fats such as those found in avocado and olive oil. The diet is low in red meats, high in fish and lean meats, high in nuts and seeds, low in butter.

A glass of red wine may accompany the meal – the key word being a glass, not multiple or the extra-large servings that we so frequently consume. One serving of wine is 4 ounces – one glass for females and two for males... sad news, but it is what it is.

The Mediterranean population has one of the lowest rates of heart disease, due in fact to their lifestyle. Enjoy this bulgur wheat rendition of stuffed tomatoes – it was one of the favorite recipes from our most recent Providence Cooks! class.

Baby Greens with Garbanzo Beans, Bulgur Wheat, and Parsley Stuffed Tomato

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 15 1/2-ounce-can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
6 vine-ripe tomatoes
6 cups of baby greens
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice tomatoes in half horizontally and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Rest upside down on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack to extract juices, about 15 minutes.
Roast tomatoes for 15 minutes.
Bring 2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add bulgur and salt and stir to blend.
Cover and let stand until bulgur is just tender – about 20 minutes.
Drain well, pressing to extract excess water.
Transfer bulgur to large bowl; cool.
Mix in remaining ingredients for the stuffing.
Place ½ cup of baby green on each plate.
Take the stuffing mix and stuff the roasted tomatoes.
Yield: 12 servings

Nutrition information: 120 Calories, 4 grams fat, 6 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrate.

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This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Hospitals in Columbia.

Kay works in Health and Wellness at Providence, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She’s not a chef herself, but in consultation with the actual chefs at Providence, she’s learned a lot over the years as she has worked to help patients help themselves after they leave the hospital.

She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.