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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Healthy appetizers improve nutrition

Healthy appetizers improve nutrition

Men and women who want to lose weight or just eat healthier need look no further than foods native to the Mediterranean. Dubbed "the Mediterranean diet," this lifestyle choice involves enjoying an abundance of vegetables, grains, legumes, and seafood, while dairy, poultry and red meat are consumed sparingly.

Mediterranean foods are high in monounsaturated fats, fiber and antioxidants.

Dishes that make up a Mediterranean diet feature similar ingredients. Those ready to dip their toes into Mediterranean cooking can try the following recipe for "Dolmades" from "The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook" (Rockridge Press).

(Makes 20)
Dolmades are stuffed grape leaves, a popular appetizer in Greece, where they are usually served with tzatziki, a cucumber yogurt sauce. This complex vegetarian version features rice, herbs, buttery pine nuts, sweet raisins, and tangy lemon.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup short-grain rice
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Juice of one lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2/3 cup water
4 green onions, chopped
1 small bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
20 preserved grape leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the rice, golden raisins, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add water, bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow rice to cool.
Add the green onions and herbs to the rice filling and mix well. Rinse the grape leaves in water and stuff each leaf with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Roll tightly and place each in a steamer, seam-side down.
Steam for about 10 minutes, until leaves are tender. Serve warm.

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, grated
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper.