Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Spring Vegetable Side Dishes - dummies

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Spring Vegetable Side Dishes

By Meri Raffetto, Wendy Jo Peterson

Springtime in the Mediterranean (March through May) brings warm weather and new crops such as brightly colored, pencil-thin asparagus; dark leafy greens; and artichokes. Nothing is quite like seeing these welcoming veggies lined up in the produce aisle or at the farmers’ market after a long, cold winter. Here are some simple Mediterranean-inspired veggie dishes to go along perfectly with a spring meal.

Lemon Asparagus with Parmesan

Prep time: 8 minutes

Cook time: 3 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/4 pounds asparagus

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces Parmesan cheese

  1. Fill a 6-quart pot with water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, trim tops of the asparagus and remove the outer skin of the bottom of the stalks (about 2 inches from the bottom) with a vegetable peeler. Cut the stalks into 3-inch pieces.

  3. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes; strain. Immediately place asparagus into a large bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Strain again and place in a serving bowl.

  4. Combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic, olive oil, melted butter, and salt. Pour the mixture over the asparagus and toss. Peel long strands of Parmesan over the top of the asparagus and serve.

Per serving: Calories 116 (From Fat 83); Fat 9g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 13mg; Sodium 451mg; Carbohydrate 4g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 6g.

Braised Artichokes

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 23 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

4 small artichokes

1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 leek

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup mint or basil, chopped

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup white wine

Salt to taste

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tip of the artichoke stems and remove the artichokes’ tough outer leaves.

    Cut a 1/2-inch off the top of each artichoke and trim any remaining thorns on the tips. Cut the artichokes in half.

  2. 2Place all the halves in a large bowl of water.

    To prevent browning, slice the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the water, and place the lemon halves in the water as well.

  3. 3Using a spoon or paring knife, cut out the purple choke (not to be confused with the heart) in the center of the artichoke.

    Slice each artichoke half into 4 to 6 wedges and return them to the lemon water.

  4. 4In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

    Cut the leek into 1/4-inch slices, separate the rings, and rinse well to remove any sand. Add the leeks and garlic to the heated olive oil and sauté for 6 minutes.

  5. 5Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Add the mint and artichokes to the pan and continue to cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the stock.

  6. 6Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover for 10 minutes.

    Stir in the white wine and simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and serve.

Per serving: Calories 152 (From Fat 85); Fat 9g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 113mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 4g.