Not much meat, dairy, saturated fat. A lot of it is low-calorie and high-nutrition. (And a lot of it is not.)
At any rate, The New York Times reported that the actual Mediterranean diet is nearly impossible to define, as it varies from regions as diverse as Italy and Egypt. Also, in reality, the diets of many locals are trending toward western foods such as french fries and burgers.
Meanwhile, the “Mediterranean Diet” we’ve been trying to emulate brings to mind cold, watery tomatoes and overpowering olives punctuated by the tasty, but ubiquitous feta cheese.
I’m sure if you eat a lot of these foods, you probably will get healthier than you would on burgers and fries. But I think there are a lot tastier ways to eat healthy foods without stuffing grainy pita bread with fish and eggplant.
Maybe it’s just the recipes I’ve been using, but I haven’t found one yet that’s worth writing about. If you disagree — and have tasty recipes that match up to what’s commonly known as “Mediterranean” foods, please share.
Here’s one I actually like. It originally ran with my Loaves & Dishes column in 2002.
1 (151/2-ounce) can chickpeas
(garbanzo beans, ceci beans)
4 teaspoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
(about half a lemon)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Drain and rinse chickpeas, reserving 1/3 cup of the canned liquid; set aside.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, lemon rind, garlic, cumin and salt.
3. With the processor running, gradually add the reserved liquid through the feed tube and process until smooth.
Makes 11/2 cups for 6 (1/4-cup) servings.
n Per 1/4 cup: 63 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 192 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein and 23 milligrams calcium.
– Weight Watchers, “Take Out Tonight!”