Simple Meals, Mediterranean Style

Why Mediterranean?

  • According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet showed a reduction in risk of stroke, heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent
  • According to the British Medical Journal, following a traditional Mediterranean diet reduced risk of dying from cancer by 9 percent
  • According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, postmenopausal women following a traditional Mediterranean diet were 22 percent less likely to develop breast cancer

Key Features of Mediterranean Diet:

  • Omega-3 fats — essential fat, polyunsaturated fat
    • Fish, walnuts, chia seed, flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans
    • Anti-inflammatory and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol
  • Monounsaturated fats
    • Olive oil and nuts (go for extra-virgin olive oil)
    • Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Plant-based foods — rich in antioxidants ("rust cleaner") and fiber
    • Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, peas), nuts and seeds
  • Reduce dairy, red meat, processed foods and sweets
  • Wine in moderation
    • Contains resveratrol (polyphenol), from grape skins, which is an antioxidant and may reduce inflammation and blood clotting

Simple Strategies for Mindful Eating

Key Features

  • Dine rather than eat
  • Slow your pace of eating to at least 20 to 30 minutes for meals
  • Enjoy each bite noticing flavors, texture, smell and visual qualities
  • Balance each meal by filling half your plate with fruits and veggies

Mindful Eating in 3 Steps

  • Listen to your physical hunger and fullness cues, then respond appropriately
  • Choose foods that not only taste good but are good for you
  • Notice your "head" hunger (emotional, stress, boredom eating, etc.), then address these without food

Looking for a Good Resource?
Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies
By Meri Raffetto, RD, and Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Sharp HealthCare Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian, visit Nutrition Education and Counseling Program or call 619-740-4632.

Executive Chef Bernard Guillas from The Marine Room, La Jolla, shares his favorite Mediterranean recipes.

Mediterranean Tabbouleh


  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup medium grain bulgur
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup sun dried dates, pitted, chopped
  • 2 tangerines, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons minced mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Add stock, saffron, 1 tablespoon olive oil, parsley, cumin and salt to sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Stir bulgur into stock. Cover 15 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Fluff bulgur with fork. Fold in remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl.

Serves 6.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon Confit With Crushed Fennel Potatoes and Black Olive Tomato Vinaigrette



  • 12 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 5-ounce salmon fillets, skinless, boneless

Combine thyme, sage, peppercorn, salt, garlic, orange zest and olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot wide enough so fish does not touch. Place deep-frying thermometer in pan. Heat oil to 180 degrees Fahrenheit over medium-low heat. Reduce heat and monitor temperature, keeping temperature stable at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Add fish to oil. Oil temperature will drop, so raise heat slightly to maintain required temperature (never above medium-low). Once temperature returns to 180, lower heat. Cook fish for 15 minutes until top is completely opaque to medium-rare or medium. Remove from oil onto paper towel-lined plate.

Crushed Fennel Potatoes


  • 2 pounds new potatoes, scraped and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch watercress leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in well-salted, boiling water in large stockpot until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Add fennel. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Set aside. Drain potatoes. Return to pan. Gently crush each potato against the side of pot with the back of fork. Add fennel, watercress and remaining olive oil. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Black Olive Tomato Vinaigrette


  • 1/2 cup hazelnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons chives
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tangerine, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, roasted, crushed
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted, quartered
  • 1/2 cup teardrop tomatoes cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In small mixing bowl, combine hazelnut oil, chives, champagne vinegar, white balsamic and tangerine juice and zest. Whisk together until well mixed. Add sesame seeds, olives and tomatoes. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  • 12 sprigs chives
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 6 sage leaves

Spoon the potatoes in the center of warm serving plate. Top with salmon. Spoon the vinaigrette onto the plate. Garnish with herbs.

Serves 6.