How often do we come home at the end of the day worn out from work and wish for dinner to make itself? Thankfully the Mediterranean Diet offers not only healthy meal options, but also ingredients with bold flavors making it easy to get a delicious, flavorful meal on the table quickly and easily at the end of a long day.
Try incorporating these traditional Mediterranean Diet ingredients into your meals to boost flavor without adding lots of extra prep time:
- Feta Cheese: Feta's firm, crumbly texture and tart, salty taste beautifully complement fruits, as well as eggs and grains. Just a little bit goes a long way in a salad, omelet, or on a flatbread.
- Herbs and Spices: Oregano and basil might be the most familiar Mediterranean herbs on your spice rack, but don't be afraid to experiment with others like cardamom, cilantro, dill, fennel seeds, ginger, rosemary, saffron, or turmeric.
- Olives: With the extensive variety of olives available, ranging from very bold dry Greek olives to mild black ripe olives, it is easy to find a variety that suits your palate. Try adding olives to salads, pasta dishes, and pilafs.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes have an intense flavor and pack 12 times more lycopene (an antioxidant associated with reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease) than raw tomatoes! Use them in wraps and sandwiches, or pasta sauces and bean dips.
- Wine: Adding wine to cooking liquids can deepen the flavors in seafood and vegetable dishes. Try including a little white wine in a risotto or red wine in your next tomato sauce.
Here are some other ideas to help you speed up the dinner-making process:
Consider these quick and easy recipes when planning your menus for the week.
- Freeze your grains: On a day when you have time, prepare a large batch of brown rice or other whole grain. Let it cool, and then freeze it in small portions. Pull out a portion and defrost it in the refrigerator while you're at work or pop it in the microwave for a few minutes when you're ready to use it.
- Purchase pre-cut vegetables: Look for prepackaged vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and squash in the fresh produce section, or pick up bags of frozen vegetables, which are both prewashed and pre-cut.
- Plan ahead: Plan all of your dinners for the week on Saturday or Sunday. Make a shopping list and take just one trip to the supermarket. Set aside the recipes or mark the pages in your cookbooks. Having everything on hand when it's time to start cooking will get dinner on the table faster.
(Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.)