Ursula Ridens is a registered dietitian from Sharp HealthCare, and Chef Bernard is from The Marine Room in La Jolla. View the Mediterranean Eggplant Tagine recipe.
Ursula: Hi I’m Ursula Ridens, registered dietitian at Sharp HealthCare. Today we’re talking about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet and we have Chef Bernard here from The Marine Room in La Jolla to help us out.
Chef Bernard: My favorite diet. I have to tell you, being healthy is what it’s all about. Because after all, you are what you eat. So, what if we do a little tagine? Do you like tagine? Tagine is most like a vegetable stew, we put a little bit of grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is very good, very healthy. And put everything on high heat; we want to roast those beautiful onions, and we’ll add some garlic.
Ursula: The garlic here is great for your heart health, particularly your blood pressure.
Chef Bernard: Then of course the eggplant. It’s all about eggplant. You love eggplant!
Ursula: I love eggplant! This is wonderful. The dark, deep purple color means it’s very rich in phytonutrients. Now the Mediterranean diet is excellent for heart disease prevention. It’s high in phytonutrients and antioxidants. All of the herbs and spices have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work like a rust cleaner in our body, so it’s keeping our blood vessels clean and clear. Smells delicious.
Chef Bernard: Smell-ology. Smells so good!
Ursula: The Mediterranean diet is known for being high in unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated fats. So we have a few ingredients here that we are going to highlight in just a few moments. First, we have what looks like raisins.
Chef Bernard: I have to tell you. First of all we want to do is to make sure you do not overcook your eggplant because you will destroy the nutrients. Very, very important. Then we will add some gorgeous raisins.
Ursula: Fiber and iron.
Chef Bernard: And we have some green olives
Ursula: Healthy fats.
Chef Bernard: Very healthy. And then some garbanzo beans.
Ursula: Fantastic, some protein.
Chef Bernard: They’re legumes, delicious. And then I love to add some almonds, toasted almonds.
Ursula: Fantastic! Almonds are very high in unsaturated fats. In fact, there was a recent study done on the Mediterranean diet that showed that a diet supplemented with nuts every day, as well as extra-virgin olive oil, helps to reduce heart disease. Specifically strokes, heart attacks and death by 30 percent.
Chef Bernard: Now look, look at the colors. Isn’t that great?
Ursula: And I can see the almonds in there. A little bit of crunch. Fantastic.
Chef Bernard: Add a little bit more. Actually, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to put this on top here. Isn’t that great? Do a little clean up. And then what you want to do is drizzle a little more of that gorgeous extra-virgin olive oil. That’s it, and we finish with some basil.
Ursula: Did we already use the lemon in this recipe?
Chef Bernard: Oh no, that’s coming up right now. A little squeeze of the lemon.
Ursula: A little citrus. A little vitamin C there.
Chef Bernard: And then add a little bit of lemon zest. The zest brings a nice bite to the dish.
Ursula: Again, high in flavor, low in sodium and high in fiber. We have some protein with the garbanzo beans. This is a perfect all-around dish.
Chef Bernard: And you know what’s great with this? You can add grilled chicken, grilled salmon, any protein you want or you can keep it 100 percent vegan.
Ursula: Fantastic! Thank you so much Chef Bernard for showing us that wonderful eggplant tagine recipe.
Chef Bernard: It is my favorite recipe! And it will also taste even better tomorrow as all the flavors marinate together.
Ursula: This is the perfect way to eat a healthy Mediterranean diet.