It seems like the Mediterranean Diet is popping up everywhere. It is not really a gimmick diet in the way of the low-carb craze or these crazy diets your see mentioned on those Weight Watchers commercials. It's not really even a diet in the way of drastically changing what you eat to lose weight. It IS, however, a diet in the way of "the diet" of a certain people. The folks who live around the Mediterranean Sea have been living and eating the way they do for a long time. The way any certain number of people eat according to their culture and locality is defined as one's diet. That is what the Mediterranean Diet is all about... Look at the way people of the Mediterranean countries eat: I've seen many blogs and even videos on YouTube speaking of the importance of eating the way they do. Lots of pasta, lots of beans, fruits and veggies, and less meat than the average American is used to eating. There are supposedly studies that show that the people who live in Mediterranean countries have better heart health and live the longest.
I was definitely raised the way many were by way of dinner containing a meat, a starch, and a veggie. We always had meat. Always... even on our pasta. We usually had potatoes or bread, and then there were the veggies, which, especially as children, we ate the least of.
Since becoming an adult and more aware of treating my body better, making better food choices, and eating cheaper, I've began the transition to what I've realized is classified as the "Mediterranean Diet." I began eating pasta for lunch because it was cheaper and easier than making myself something else. (Deli-meat is surprisingly expensive unless you get the overly processed chunks of mystery meat.) Top Ramen doesn't count as pasta by the way, as it's loaded with salt and fat and other artificial things I've been trying to stay away from. I mentioned some videos by Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman a while back, talking about the importance of eating "true" food (foods on the perimeter of the grocery store), and not eating meat from wasteful (and sometimes cruel) factory farms.
Pasta and beans are some of the cheapest things you can get for your money, make them stretch the farthest, and give you the most nutrition-bang for your buck. I've began eating lentils, chickpeas, and brown rice almost daily. I'm also fond of pasta (I prefer whole-wheat pasta, but budget doesn't always allow), and I try to throw in whatever veggies I have. One thing I've discovered is legumes and pasta together. I've discovered that hummus is a wonderful topping/sauce for pasta. I've experimented with lima beans and pasta, green beans and pasta, and chickpeas and pasta.
My favorite pasta/bean combo so far is this one I make with chickpeas, zucchini, and of course pasta. The silky texture of the zucchini and the firm texture of the chickpeas is just delicious. I'm submitting this to Lore over at Culinarty for her monthly Original Recipes Roundup... check it out.
Mediterranean Pasta Toss
print recipe only here
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick half-moons
- 1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes (about 6-8 tomatoes)
- 1 cup farfalle pasta, cooked (2 oz uncooked)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- freshly cracked pepper
- fresh basil, for garnish
Serve hot as a meal side or cold as a pasta salad.