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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking at Ingredients: A Mediterranean Diet

My latest cooking class was back at Ingredients.  Sarah-Jane Bedwell, the nutritionist from Nashville, was back to teach us about healthy eating using the Mediterranean diet as the example. 

A few of the points she made were:

There is an abundance of food from plant sources; including whole grains.

It emphasizes a variety of minimally processed, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods.

Olive oil is the principal fat.

Fresh fruit is the typical dessert.

Red meat is consumed only a few times a month.

Sarah-Jane expanded on the whole-grains by explaining that some food companies take advantage of being able to label “whole grain” because they have “some” in their product. But you need to take a look at the list of ingredients to see how much that “some” is. You want to see ‘whole grain’ up at the top of the listing. You can double check by looking at the amount of fiber the food contains.

It is recommended that you have at least 20 grams of fiber a day. But the average American gets in their overly processed diet about 9 grams. Not good. Sarah-Jane recommended Fiber One cereal as an excellent source of fiber that tastes good too. So I tried it and she’s right! 

(A word of warning… if you have a low fiber diet right now, do NOT leap into a high fiber diet all at once. You (and everyone around you) will regret it!! Build up over a couple weeks unless you already have a fairly high fiber diet as I do.) 

She prepared 4 dishes for us that are high in fiber, good oils and antioxidants.

Creamy Hummus

Lime baked Salmon

Confetti Couscous

Triple Chocolate cookies

Salmon and Confetti Couscous

For salmon:

Olive oil

4 pieces of salmon filet, 4 oz each

1 lime

Salt, pepper and garlic powder – used to taste

For couscous:

1 box Near East brand Whole-grain wheat couscous; roasted garlic & olive oil flavor

1 box grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 cup reduced fat Feta cheese; crumbled

1 cup green onion tops, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a glass pan and place the salmon in it. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the top of the salmon and sprinkle to taste the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve on bed of couscous (recipe below).

Confetti Couscous:

Prepare couscous according to package directions. (You can substitute the water for low-fat chicken broth for a richer flavor). When finished, fluff and add the tomato, feta and onion. Gently stir in the ingredients. Can be served hot or cold.

You can get the rest of the recipes at:


  1. Thanks for posting this recipe! I'm looking forward to trying it.

  2. I love Mediterrean food! I am not a big meat eater, so there lighter, veggi based meals are perfect for me.
    Thanks for posting these recipes, they look really yummy.


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