Introduce Favorite Fall Vegetables into Your Mediterranean Diet

By Meri Raffetto, Wendy Jo Peterson

Although the fall isn’t as big a veggie season as summer, you can find several choices to incorporate into your Mediterranean diet, including broccoli, cauliflower, and late summer eggplants and squash. These recipes highlight some of the vegetables you can find from September to November, adding a punch of flavor with fresh herbs, spices, olive oil, and cheeses.

Grilled Romaine with Lemon Anchovy Dressing

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

4 anchovies, canned in oil

Juice of 1/2 a medium lemon

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste (optional)

1 large head romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Chop the anchovies, lemon juice, parsley, Dijon, and garlic in a small bowl, then in a blender or food processor for 1 minute. Turn on the machine and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil until combined, about 2 minutes. Using a piece of the lettuce, taste the dressing and season with salt (if desired).
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the lettuce with the remaining olive oil and grill the cut side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until grill lines appear.
  3. Roughly chop the grilled lettuce and toss in a large serving bowl with a little dressing at a time until coated. Top with the Parmesan and serve immediately. Save the remaining dressing in the refrigerator and use within 3 days.

PER SERVING: Calories 177 (From Fat 137); Fat 16g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 7mg; Sodium 284mg; Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 5g.

Sautéed Eggplant with Tomatoes and Black Olives

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

One 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1/4 cup kalamata or black olives

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 to 3 tablespoons water

1 cup fresh basil, sliced thinly

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

  1. In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, eggplant, and oregano and sauté for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, olives, tomato paste, and vinegar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the eggplant softens, stirring often, about 15 minutes. If needed, occasionally add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan to help the eggplant soften and cook.
  3. Stir in the basil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place into a serving dish, dollop with spoonfuls of the ricotta, and serve.

PER SERVING: Calories 118 (From Fat 61); Fat 7g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 164mg; Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 4g.

The figure shows how to cube an eggplant.

mediterranean-eggplant
Illustration by Liz Kurtzman

When cubing an eggplant, keep the cubes at 1/2 inch.