Fresh Fridays

September 5, 2014
Vol. VI No. 17

In This Issue
Whole grains are one of the foundation foods of the Mediterranean Diet
Mention the Mediterranean Diet and delicious and healthy foods like pasta and pita bread come to mind immediately. However, there are many other healthy and scrumptious whole grains and whole grain products common to the traditional Mediterranean Diet, such as barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, millet, oats, polenta, rice, wheatberries, and couscous.

These established traditions may surprise you. The Venice region, for instance, is famous for bigoli, a buckwheat pasta; in Tuscany, farro is a favorite choice. Moving on to Turkey, you'll find köfte, patties or cylinders of bulgur mixed with chopped vegetables, nuts and herbs. Bulgur is also at the heart of tabbouleh, the bulgur-parsley-mint salad enjoyed throughout the Middle East. And don't forget North Africa, also part of the Mediterranean region. In Tunisia, a favorite grain is barley, according to acclaimed cookbook author Paula Wolfert in her book Mediterranean Grains and Greens. Tunisians make barley couscous and even barley bulgur, and use both of them in a wide variety of dishes.

More and more of us are discovering the nuttier, fuller taste of whole grains, and their ability to deliver flavor and satisfaction. According to the Whole Grains Council, whole grain consumption in the U.S. jumped 23% from 2008 to 2010, as more people discovered the many delicious whole grain options available in restaurants and on grocery shelves. Yet most people are still far short of recommendations, and would benefit from switching more of the grains they eat to whole grains.

To acknowledge the importance of whole grains, Oldways and its Whole Grains Council (WGC) celebrate Whole Grains Month every September.  This year we are encouraging people everywhere to "Make the Switch" to include more nutritious and delicious whole grains in their everyday meals, with a special contest. We invited sixteen leading bloggers and dietitians to take an "old" recipe made with refined grains and transform the dish into one featuring whole grains - and many of the recipes have a decided Mediterranean flair.

Millet and Lamb Tagine... Grilled Ratatouille Quinoa... Spiced Ginger Citrus Millet with Feta... Barley Risotto with Kale and Squash... You'll find the flavors and ingredients of the Mediterranean region in many of these recipes. Try a few - then vote for your favorites. At the end of the month, we'll pick a random lucky winner to receive cash and whole grain prizes, from among everyone who votes.

Decades of science document the health benefits of whole grains; some benefits kick in at as little as one serving a day, though people who eat three or more whole grain servings a day benefit most. If you've been confused by the many myths about grains that have been sensationalized in popular pseudo-science bestsellers, check out the Whole Grains Council's collection of health studies and our "Myths Busted" page to see the real science. Or attend our upcoming conference, where all the hot issues in whole grains will be covered by top experts.
To enjoy Mediterranean whole grains at every meal, we invite you to try the recipes below. We hope you'll take a look at the "Make the Switch" contest recipes on the WGC site; or the many recipes on the Oldways  and WGC recipe pages. Finally, from the Oldways Bookstore, we highly recommend any one or all of the three books featured in this newsletter.

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe. 
Barley is possibly the oldest grain in the world. Adaptable and strong, it grows on both frigid mountaintops and in blistering desert heat. Here it brings character to an easy-to-make Mediterranean salad.

Recipe and content courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito; photo courtesy of Oldways.
Thanks to its quinoa crust, perfectly ripened California Avocados, and array of Mediterranean colors and flavors, this dish is an excellent source of protein and a good source of calcium, iron and vitamin A. Plus, it provides 5 grams of "good" mono and polyunsaturated fats.

Recipe courtesy of Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE for the California Avocado Commission; Photo and content courtesy of the California Avocado Commission.
This beautiful and delicious salad is incredibly versatile. Have it as a stand-alone salad or on top of a bed of hearty greens. It's also fabulous with whole grain chips as a dip or as an accompaniment with grilled chicken or ribs.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Gretchen's Grains.

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be. 

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        





Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being.       



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Nov. 9-11, 2014
 Hyatt Boston Harbor

Misunderstandings and rumors abound in the grain world. We'll cover all the key grain issues, such as:

Is modern wheat different? Who should avoid gluten? What defines a "good carb?" How can I keep my blood sugar from spiking? What makes sprouted grains worth exploring?

Join us for solid science, delicious food, great networking, and more. Sign up today; early bird pricing ends September 14.

12 CPE credits for RDs.

By Paula Wolfert 

Paula Wolfert is passionate about the Mediterranean -- its landscape, its people, its culture, and above all, its rich culinary tradition. In her book
Mediterranean Grains and Greens, Wolfert focuses on the delectable grains and greens-based dishes she discovered in five years traversing the Mediterranean region, from Spain in the west to Israel, Lebanon, and Syria in the east, with stops in France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece.

By Maria Speck

In this inspired and highly-personal book, Maria Speck draws on food traditions from across the Mediterranean and northern Europe to reveal how versatile, satisfying, flavorful, and sophisticated whole grains can be.  


By Robin Asbell

From whole wheat, oats, and rice to farro, barley, and quinoa, no grain is left unturned in Robin Asbell's more than 75 healthful recipes. There's a tasty dish for every meal of the day: Quick Skillet Flatbreads made with millet or teff for breakfast, or a hearty dinner entré of lamb and rye berries braised in red wine.

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