The Mediterranean diet is known as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Based on the fresh and natural ingredients of the Mediterranean region, this diet has been associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. The key ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine are simple yet highly nutritious. In this post, we will explore the basic ingredients that every cook should have at their fingertips to cook Mediterranean style.
Mediterranean cuisine uses basic ingredients that are simple but very nutritious, making it one of the healthiest ways to cook. Most of the ingredients are based on fresh and seasonal produce, which ensures that you get the best quality and flavor. In addition, Mediterranean cuisine is rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood, all ingredients that contribute to a balanced and healthy diet.
A short list of ingredients could be grouped into olive oils, fish, seafood, seasonal vegetables and legumes, herbs, spices, fruits, seeds, dairy products and red wine. To this list you can add ingredients of your preference and that complement the previous ones. One of them, for example, could be couscous. If you want to know a little more about this particular ingredient you can visit the following link: riceselect.com/product/riceselect-pearl-couscous
Olive oil is one of the most important ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamins E and K. Olive oil is used in most Mediterranean dishes, from salads to main dishes. It is also used for cooking, frying and baking. For a more authentic taste, choose high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Fish & Seafood
Mediterranean cuisine is based on a wide variety of fish and seafood. Fish and shellfish are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and other essential nutrients. The most popular fish and shellfish in Mediterranean cuisine include tuna, salmon, sardines, squid and shrimp. They can be grilled, baked, sautéed or broiled.
Vegetables & Legumes
Mediterranean cuisine is famous for its great variety of vegetables and legumes. Vegetables and legumes are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The most common vegetables in Mediterranean cuisine are tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, artichokes and asparagus. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans are also common ingredients and can be used in main dishes or as a side dish.
Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices are essential in Mediterranean cuisine to flavor dishes. Oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, garlic and cumin are just some of the most commonly used herbs and spices in Mediterranean cuisine. Spices such as paprika and turmeric are also used to flavor dishes.
Fruits & Nuts
Fruits and nuts are an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The most common fruits in Mediterranean cuisine include oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots, grapes and pomegranates. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, are rich in protein, healthy fats and antioxidants.
Cheese & Yogurt
Cheeses and yogurt are an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Cheeses, such as feta, goat cheese and Parmesan, are rich in protein and calcium. Yogurt, made from cow’s or goat’s milk, is rich in probiotics, protein and calcium. They can be used in main dishes, salads or as desserts.
Red wine is an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. In addition to being a popular drink in the region, red wine has been shown to have health benefits when consumed in moderation. It contains antioxidants, especially polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.
In Mediterranean cuisine, red wine is used in many dishes, from pasta sauces to stews and meat dishes. Red wine can add flavor and complexity to dishes, and can also be used to reduce sauces or caramelize vegetables.
When choosing a red wine for cooking, look for one that is of good quality and has a flavor you like. Remember to consume red wine in moderation. One glass of red wine a day for women and up to two glasses a day for men is considered a moderate amount.
Mediterranean cuisine is famous for its fresh and natural ingredients. The above list details what are the basic ingredients that every enthusiast should have to cook Mediterranean style. Incorporating these ingredients into your daily meals can improve your health and make your dishes tastier. Remember to choose bright, fresh and high quality ingredients to get the best results. Enjoy!