Give the Mediterranean diet a try with these 3 recipes

By now, you're probably aware of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Multiple studies have shown the healthy aging and heart benefits of the diet, which includes a great deal of fish, olive oil, whole grains and hearty greens, and new research published in the Journal of the American Society of Hematology further reinforces the benefits. According to the recent study, the diet can help reduce inflammation as well as blood platelet counts, which are typically high in those with heart conditions. Try the following recipes for a healthy dinner that's good for your heart and tastes great.

1. Mediterranean rice This recipe from the Food Network mixes couscous with cauliflower to create the perfect healthy side dish. Pair with fish or chicken for a well-balanced meal full of protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 sliced shallot
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • Chopped parsley
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Cook couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Then, rinse with cold water, strain and place on the stove. Add olive oil, cauliflower and shallot, letting it cook for six minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper as desired and add cinnamon and dates. Cook for two more minutes, and add couscous, a splash of red wine vinegar, parsley and more salt and pepper.

2. Sweet salmon

One of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, salmon can be seasoned with ginger and honey to make it extra tasty and sweet. Give this recipe from Allrecipes.com a try for tonight's dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 salmon filet

Directions

Mix ginger, garlic, soy sauce, orange juice, honey and green onion together in a sealed bag and add in salmon. Make sure it's tightly shut, and shake gently to coat the meat in the marinade. Store in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. Next, place in a large pan over medium heat and lightly cover with oil. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the meat becomes flaky.

3. Tomato risotto

Another great side dish, tomato risotto is as tasty as it is healthy. This recipe from the Mayo Clinic is sure to be one of your favorites to enjoy with a heaping serving of fish.

Ingredients

  • 10 large plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups pearl barley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and lightly dress with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften and turn brown, and set aside. Next, combine the vegetable stock or broth and water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. In another pan, heat the rest of the olive oil and cook the shallots for two or three minutes. Add wine and mix for another couple of minutes. Next, stir in the barley for one minute, and then add 1/2 cup of the stock mixture. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, and add in remaining stock gradually until the barley is tender. It should take about 45 minutes. Finally, remove from the heat and add in the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, cheese and remaining salt and pepper. Serve with your meal, and enjoy.