Could you be Vegiterranean?
Yes. Yes, I can. You can too. It’s easy with the latest book in for review, The Vegiterranean Diet by Julieanna Hever. It’s like the Mediterranean diet but better; it’s a whole foods, plant base update to the long-standing Med diet.
The beginning sections of the book covers the history, science and nutrition (complete with tables, charts and references), the myths and benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how it can be improved upon, thus becoming the Vegiterranean Diet. Primarily by debunking the myth that it’s olive oil, red wine and fish that’s the main benefit of the Med diet when it’s actually the whole food way of eating that’s truly beneficial.
The next part covers tips, strategies and meal plans for eating healthy and well. And lastly, a selection of Mediterranean-style recipes demonstrating just how tasty eating Vegiterranean can be.
Starting off with Belila (page 222) pictured at the very top, a traditional Egyptian breakfast of wheat cereal with warm milk. I’ve never tried belila before but I loved this updated gluten-free version with quinoa. And if you already have cooked quinoa in the fridge, it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up this warm, filling breakfast.
No stranger to tofu scrambles, the Shakshuka (Middle Eastern Tofu Scramble, page 223) is one of the better ones that I’ve had, with its many herbs and spices. I’m just bummed it isn’t tomato season yet, I had to leave them out as there’s no way, no how, I’m using store-bought tomatoes.
The White Bean and Rosemary Dip (page 194) came out a little chunky, I blame my super ancient blender. The flavors are all there though, with the lemon and rosemary brightening up the white beans. Very easy to make with canned beans and just simply served with Mary’s Gone Crackers.
The Cheesy Smoky Butternut Squash Pasta reminds me of a lighter, healthier version of mac n’ cheese. I don’t know where the smoky flavor comes from, there’s no liquid smoke or anything like that in the ingredients. Perhaps it’s the roasting of the butternut squash. Once again, it came out a little chunky. Dang blender.
A refreshing Brain-Boosting Blue Smoothie (page 189) to enjoy while reading (sciencey things is not my strong point, even if it is written in an easy and straightforward manner, I need all the brain boosting I can get).
Whether you’re just starting out or been at it for awhile, The Vegiterranean Diet is a helpful guide to making sure you’re eating healthy on a plant-based diet. To download a 5-day sample meal plan and three recipes click over to Julieanna Hever’s site, The Plant Based Dietitian.
Cheesy Smoky Butternut Squash Pasta
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 1/2 cups chopped butternut squash, raw
1 (12-ounce) package dry pasta (e.g., rigatoni, penne, macaroni, and spirals)
1 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets
3/4 cup unsweetened almond, soy, or other plant milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained, or hempseeds
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice with zest
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. On a baking pan, roast the squash until dark brown and bubbling, 20 minutes.
3. Fill a large pot 3/4 full of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and return to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until pasta is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Before draining, add fresh broccoli florets and allow to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and return to pot.
4. Meanwhile, puree the squash, almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and zest, tamari, and chipotle powder in the blender until smooth, 10 to 20 seconds. Pour the squash sauce over the pasta and the broccoli, and stir to combine. Serve warm.
From The Vegiterranean Diet by Julieanna Hever. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014
Disclosure: I received the book free of charge from the publisher to review. The opinions and experience with the book expressed herein are my own. There was no pay to say.
This post also contains Amazon links, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on any of the links and make a purchase of anything.