5 Mediterranean-inspired Dishes

med-meal-plan

This meal plan has four dinner recipes and one side dish. Eating Mediterranean isn’t only delicious, it’s also good for you.

Researchers at Columbia University recently studied 674 Manhattan residents with the average age of 80 and found that the brains of those who ate a Mediterranean diet — mostly vegetables, legumes, grains, and some fish, little meat and diary — were more robust. They had more grey matter, which was the equivalent of slowing the aging process by five years.

From an article in The Guardian: “There is an increasing amount of evidence that eating a healthy diet rich in fish, vegetables, legumes, and nuts is good for your brain,” said Dr. James Pickett, the head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society. “This study delves further into the potential benefits that diet could have, but it does not prove that a Mediterranean-style diet can stop your brain from shrinking as you age.”

Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
For the Chickpeas
  1. 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the dressing
  1. 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  2. 2 teaspoons dijon style mustard
  3. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  4. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad
  1. 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  3. 1/2 red onion, diced
  4. 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  5. 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  6. 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  7. 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  8. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl, combine the chickpeas with spices and oil. Lay them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until slightly browned and crisp, about 35 to 40 minutes. Toss chickpeas halfway through cooking time.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic and salt in a bowl. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking continuously. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Set aside.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower reaches a fine, crumbled consistency.
  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and combine with the cherry tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, parsley, pumpkin seeds, and crushed red pepper flakes. Toss well. Slowly drizzle with dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Once seasoned add roasted chickpeas and serve.
Adapted from Andrea Bemis
Adapted from Andrea Bemis
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/
A wonderfully garlicky, lemony chicken dish that is guaranteed to become a favorite.

Garlicky Chicken Thighs with Lemon
Serves 4
This chicken recipe is paleo friendly. And it’s gluten and dairy free, if you’re lactose and gluten intolerant, or just avoiding inflammatory foods.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs)
  2. Freshly ground black pepper
  3. 7 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  4. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the wilted lettuce salad
  5. 7 anchovy fillets (anchovies packed in olive oil, drained)
  6. 3 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
  7. 1 large pinch red pepper chile flakes (1-2 tablespoons, depending on how spicy you want it)
  8. 2 lemons (1 for juice, another for garnish and for zest)
  9. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  10. 1 cup fresh chopped parsley (half for the sauce, half for serving)
  11. 1 head romaine lettuce, halved
  12. 1 cup scallions (green and white parts), chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper, set aside until ready to pan-sear. Mince two of the garlic cloves and set them aside for later.
  3. In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the 5 smashed whole garlic cloves, the anchovies, capers, lemon zest and chile. Let cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies, until the garlic browns around the edges and the anchovies dissolve, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the thighs, place the pan in the oven and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. When chicken is done, transfer thighs to a plate (the pan has been in the oven and the handle is hot).
  6. Place the skillet back on the medium-high heat and add minced garlic, sauté for about 15 seconds, then add the juice of one lemon, and 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley. Cook for about 30 seconds, deglazing and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Put the chicken back in the pan and cook for about 30 seconds with the sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, top with half the sauce.
  7. In the pan put the scallions and romaine lettuce, cook for about 30 seconds or until the lettuce is wilted, coating with sauce.
  8. Transfer the lettuce and scallions to a serving platter. Pour half of the remaining lemony, garlicky, anchovy sauce over the greens and drizzle a little olive oil over the lettuce and scallions, and season with pepper. Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken and squeeze half a lemon over the chicken and garnish with the rest of the chopped parsley.
Adapted from Melissa Clark of The New York Times
Adapted from Melissa Clark of The New York Times
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/
A delicious stew rich in flavor, high in antioxidants.

Moroccan Chickpeas with Chard
Serves 6
This is a hearty savory, sweet stew. Wonderfully aromatic with spices inspired by Moroccan cuisine. Easy to make, this dish yields enough food for a big dinner party or great leftovers for a busy work week.
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Prep Time
12 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
14 hr 30 min
Prep Time
12 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
14 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  3. 2 large jalapeño peppers, seeded if desired, chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  6. 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  7. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  8. 1 ½ teaspoon smoky paprika
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  11. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  12. Pinch of cayenne
  13. 1 small can of tomato paste (about 6 oz.)
  14. 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
  15. 1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  16. 2 carrots, diced
  17. 1 small butternut squash, cut into bite-size chunks
  18. 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover
  19. 1 splash (about 2 tablespoons) of unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  20. Juice from 1 lemon
  21. Juice from ½ lime
  22. 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon or fresh lemon zest, more to taste
  23. 1 cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
  24. (Optional) arugula, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeños and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned.
  2. Add butternut squash, chard stems, carrot and cauliflower, and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
  3. Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add the lemon and lime juice and the splash of apple cider vinegar. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
  4. Add chard leaves, 1/2 the cilantro, and preserved lemon or the fresh lemon zest to pot, and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and arugula, if you want the extra peppery bite.
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/
Everything in the salad is very, very good for your health and your taste buds. Your mouth will be happy, your skin will be bright, and you’ll have energy to spare. 

Grilled Zucchini Salad Niçoise
Serves 4
A hearty, delicious salad that nourishes you on every level.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
For the Salad
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1 large lemon, juiced
  3. 4 medium-sized zucchini, grilled, then diced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1 avocado, diced
  6. 1 large tomato, diced
  7. 1 cup of edamame, blanched
  8. 1 cup of basil (about 10 big leaves), torn
  9. 2 stalks of celery with leaves, diced
  10. 1 can or jar of wild-caught tuna in olive oil
  11. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Millet
  1. 1 cup millet, cooked
  2. Sea salt, to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/2 fresh basil, leaves torn
  6. 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup of millet, bring the heat down low, and cook the millet for about 15-20 minutes, until al dente, and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on so it stays warm.
  2. Halve the zucchinis lengthwise and brush with zucchini with olive oil, paprika, and salt. Grill (or bake) on medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes. Once cool enough to cut, chop into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the edamame (it cooks very quickly) for about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the tuna of the excess olive oil in the can or jar.
  5. Finely dice the basil, red onion, and celery. Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks, and the avocado into nice-sized pieces.
  6. In a medium sized bowl put the warm millet, toss the onion and basil until the millet is flecked with red onion and green basil. Dress the millet with olive oil, cumin, making sure to stir so the olive fully coats the grain. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Add the avocado and basil and gently toss in the dressing. Add the zucchini, edamame, celery, and tomatoes, and gently toss until coated with the lemon dressing. Top with the chunks of tuna and toss once.
  8. Season the millet and nicoise salads with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve the salad on a plate with the millet on the side or, if you prefer, serve the salad over the millet.
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/
This salad is a meal for 4 or a great side dish for 6. If it’s summer, I’d serve this with a big plate of fresh tomatoes and basil, drizzled with olive oil.

French Lentil Salad with Potatoes, Cucumbers & Olives
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups French lentils
  2. 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 1 pound of small fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  5. 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  6. Sea salt
  7. Juice from 1 lemon
  8. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar vinegar
  9. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 1 large cucumber, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  11. 1 cup pitted Niçoise olives, roughly chopped
  12. 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
  13. 3/4 cup goat milk feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put the lentils, garlic, and bay leaves in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender but firm, about 12-15 minutes. Drain the water and remove the garlic and bay leaves.
  2. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400°F.
  3. Toss potatoes in a medium bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with sea salt, and arrange potatoes in a single layer in a pan.
  4. Roast until they are golden on the outside and tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. While the lentils and potatoes are cooling, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar.
  6. Put the lentils, potatoes cucumbers, olives, and mint in a large bowl. Gently stir until ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour over the vinaigrette and gently toss, making sure dressing is evenly distributed.
  8. Sprinkle the feta over the dish.
Notes
  1. If you're doing the Ageless Diet Reset, skip the feta. And, if you are eating feta, make sure it's goat milk feta. It's easier to digest. You can jazz up this salad with tomatoes or any other fresh herb you love. You could also top with a grilled meat of your choice.
Adapted from Sarah Crowder
Adapted from Sarah Crowder
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/