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Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Summer Vegetable Side Dishes

Enjoying summer’s bounty is what living the Mediterranean lifestyle means. Fresh tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, and cucumbers are in full bloom and, as the recipes here demonstrate, you can be prepare them in many different ways. Find some new favorite recipes for those long summer days.

Chilled Cucumbers with Dill Sauce

Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

3 cucumbers

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

  1. Cut the ends off the cucumbers, slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds.

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  2. Cut the cucumbers in 1/2-inch half moons and place them into a small bowl. Sprinkle them with the salt and allow them to sit for 20 minutes.

  3. Rinse the cucumbers with cold water in a colander and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, dill, garlic, green onions, and lemon zest. Mix in the cucumbers and chill for at least 1 hour prior to serving.

Per serving: Calories 66 (From Fat 2); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 321mg; Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 7g.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

1 large eggplant, or 2 Japanese eggplants

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 medium zucchinis

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Peel the eggplant with a vegetable peeler and cut it into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

  2. To extract the eggplant’s bitterness, layer several paper towels on a large plate.

    Place a generous amount of sea salt (around 1/2 teaspoon) on the towels and stack the eggplant rounds in a single layer.

  3. Sprinkle the remaining sea salt on top of the eggplant slices.

    Layer more paper towels on top and top with a weighted plate. Allow the eggplant to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant well under cold water and pat dry.

  4. Slice the zucchinis into three 1/2-inch slices lengthwise. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.

  5. Oil the grill or grill pan and heat it over medium-high heat.

    Grill the eggplant for about 8 minutes per side and the zucchini for 4 minutes per side or until they reach the desired tenderness.

  6. Combine the olive oil, garlic, parsley, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

    Pull the vegetables off the grill and dip the ends of each piece into dressing. Pour the remaining dressing over the top to taste and serve.

Per serving: Calories 129 (From Fat 86); Fat 10g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 502mg; Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 2g.

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

6 medium tomatoes

1 cup white rice

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup plus 1 cup white wine

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup plus 6 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

  1. Cut 1/2 -inch caps off the tops of the tomatoes and set aside.

    Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp and put it into a medium saucepan. Put the hollowed tomatoes upright into an 8-x-8-inch baking dish.

  2. Heat the saucepan over medium high-heat, add the rice to the tomato pulp, and cook for 1 minute.

    Add the stock, 1/4 cup of the wine, the bay leaf, and the olive oil and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

    Discard the bay leaf. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the rice mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the green onions, and basil to the cooled rice. Fill the tomatoes with rice mixture.

  5. Top each tomato with 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.

    Place the top onto each tomato and lightly cover the pan with foil.

  6. Bake the tomatoes for 20 minutes.

    Remove the foil, pour the remaining wine over the tomatoes, and continue baking for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with the wine drippings over the top.

Per serving: Calories 236 (From Fat 36); Fat 4g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 197mg; Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 8g.

Look for flat-bottomed tomatoes so they stand up easily in the baking dish. If necessary, you can slice a small sliver off the bottom of the tomato to create a flat surface.

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