Hey! Hey! My name is Adrienne Hellar. And I’m the blogger behind The District Nerd, a blog about home brewing and technology. When the Wine’ing Momma put out a call for guest bloggers, I was excited to have the opportunity to share something else that I’m passionate about- healthy eating. In particular getting started on the Mediterranean diet with my favorite dish.
Like most African-American families, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are common in my family. In my teens, I decided I didn’t want that for myself. I wanted a long life free of pills. I wanted to be physical fit until the very end. So I familiarized myself with the health warnings of my time, which included staying away from fried food, saturated fat, and eggs. Fad diets like the Zone and the Atkins diet do not intrigue me. Instead I am drawn to making quality lifestyle changes, that look at eating food in a healthy way. Eating the same food the same way all the time gets boring mentally and physically. So I’m always searching for new diets that introduce me to alternative ways of looking at food.
The Mediterranean Diet
Last year, The Mediterranean Diet: Unlock the Mediterranean Secrets to Health and Weight Loss with Easy and Delicious Recipes by John Chatham crossed my path. At the time all I knew about the Mediterranean diet was pasta and tomatoes, two things I’m not a particular fan of. But Chatham’s book dispelled any Americanized ideas I had about the Mediterranean diet. The biggest take away from his book is that the Mediterranean diet is built on the idea of eating lots of polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. “What are Polyunsaturated fats?” you ask.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in plant-based foods and oils, they have a number of health benefits including improved blood cholesterol levels. Simply put, these are the good fats. The base of the Mediterranean food pyramid is whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, which are to be consumed on a daily basis. These are also foods that are water rich and high in fiber. High fiber foods normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels. Fish, poultry, eggs, and sweets are consumed once a week while pork, beef, and lamb are consumed once a month. In addition to explaining the Mediterranean diet, Chatham complies an interesting mix of recipes. However, my favorite dish didn’t come from Chatham’s book.
My favorite Mediterranean dish
One of my favorite Mediterranean dishes, I found in a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication – Diner on a Dollar published in Fall 2015. There are several reasons I fell in love with this recipe. The first being its simplicity. The recipe doesn’t call for any stove cooking except for boiling water, for the most part this is combing ingredients in a bowl.
Second, I like that it is a meatless dish. Over the last year I’ve been trying to reduce my meat consumption. The recipe gets protein from the beans, nuts, and cheese.
Lastly, this dish is cheap. Most of the time I only need to buy the beans, the cheese, and maybe some couscous, tomatoes, cilantro and onions. But enough talk let’s get to the real reason you’re here White Beans and Couscous with Fresh Tomato Sauce!
Over time I’ve adapted the recipe to fit my preferences, but the recipe provided below is the recipe from the magazine. I highly suggest that you adapt this to your own preferences, just keep the Mediterranean pyramid in mind. I prefer roasted pecans instead of pine nuts and I substitute feta for mozzarella. And depending on time I’ll buy diced tomatoes instead of making the tomato sauce.
- White Beans and Couscous with Fresh Tomato Sauce (Prep 25 minutes)
- 1 ¼ pounds fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 ¼ c boiling or very hot water
- 1c whole wheat couscous
- 1tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 15 to 19oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
- ¼ c crumbled feta cheese (1oz)
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- Combine first 5 ingredients and sit aside.
- Combine the next five ingredients.
- Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Fluff couscous with a fork.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients.
You can serve the sauce on the side or on top and it will make four servings.
Big thanks for Adrienne for sharing this amazing recipe. What are some of your favorite healthy recipes to prepare?